Do you think there’s something wrong with this promo? It’s a milk chocolate circle, originally wrapped in gold foil, embossed with the firm’s name, “Foot Solutions,” and the image of a foot, toes and all. In Product Contagion, I reported on research that showed mere proximity of “disgusting” items like lard and cat litter can change the perception of other products in the customer’s shopping cart. In looking at this promotional item, I can’t help but wonder if stamping both the word “foot” and an image of a foot onto a piece of chocolate is going to generate the customer reaction the firm hoped for. It would seem that, at least on a subliminal basis, an element of disgust might creep into the customer experience.
The “feet vs. food” conflict is nothing new. Decades ago, Campbell’s Soup launched a campaign aimed at female shoppers – it offered “free stockings” to purchasers who sent in a number of product labels. The hosiery wasn’t included in the product packaging, of course, but apparently the mere thought of “feet in the soup” was enough to turn off prospective buyers. Sales declined, and the promo was yanked.
I suppose one can forgive Foot Solutions for not knowing about the soup/stocking gaffe – it seems to have faded into advertising history obscurity. I had difficulty tracking down a citation on that campaign, and if you happen to have a link, feel free to post it in a comment.
Will this hurt Foot Solutions? Probably not – these chocolate disks were “swag” at a health-related community event. And, if anything, the short-lived disgust reaction would transfer to the chocolate rather than the store’s foot products. Still, do you want your customers undergoing a subliminal, “Eeeuww!” reaction when they see your logo emblazoned on chocolate?