It’s the same as the rest but buy this commodity. Commodity marketing

27 Jun

I was very interested when I saw the latest ad for Uncle Tobys’ Oats

Oats are a commodity product which means that there is virtually no distinguishable difference between one brand and another eg: milk, sugar, flour. Sugar is sugar, flour is flour.

It is very difficult for companies to sell commodity products in a premium price range because, hey, why pay more for something that is exactly the same as the other products on the shelf with a different brand attached to them?

Uncle Toby’s has done something interesting in this ad.
1. They state that inside the box is “Just oats”. So they are stating that their product is a commodity and also lets the customer know that it is natural.
2. They state that Oats are rich in Beta Glucan which helps to lower cholesterol. Which is a known fact but is now, thanks to the ad, associated with the Uncle Toby’s Brand
3. They state that “these arn’t just any oats. These are Uncle Toby’s oats” “nobody does oats like Uncle Toby’s”. Which is a complete back flip on what they just said. After all… it’s a commodity… every pack marked Oats is going to be the same technically isn’t it?!

I like that. They have created a selling difference, albeit technically weak, but it is a commodity product so they did a good job. So people will be in the supermarket thinking “hmm I want to eat a nice cereal that will lower my cholesterol and oh yes, nobody does oats like Uncle Toby’s I’ll buy their oats because I know that they are good for me”… even though the home brand oats are a dollar or so cheaper and not in a bright red box and haven’t had an ad on TV telling you about their benefits.

I often wonder about advertising cross pollination. Uncle Toby’s has shelled out the big bucks to make an ad to promote their oats… but the little brands in the oat market must benefit from Uncle Toby’s advertising about the benefits of oats. Educated people would surely realise that home brand oats are still oats and this will have the same benefits as Uncle Toby’s offering.

So does a red box really make the difference with your oats?

Note to self: find a way to advertise sunlight. But “Australian Sunlight”. It’s much better than anywhere else!


One Response to “It’s the same as the rest but buy this commodity. Commodity marketing”


  1. Loss Leaders, Door Busters – Coles and Woolworths – Milk price discounts « Marketing Nabbed! - February 5, 2011

    […] not be purchased because milk is a commodity. Milk is milk so why pay more for the same thing. (See my post on branding commodities here). Brands like Dairy Farmers, Farmers Union and Pauls must really be angry. This is why the milk […]

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