Companies spend huge amounts of money on launching new products. An effective product launch can be a strong force for a product to succeed or fail in the marketplace. A powerful start is a key factor for a successful future, and for building a Brand name. But, how best to build a solid long-term brand awareness? What are the parameters that determine the success or failure of a new product?
The Lebanese ice cream market is value driven and people are extremely loyal to the existing ice cream brands that they know. It is a really tight market with tremendously high competition between a couple of brands where there is no space for new-comers. However, for Fouad Es, president of a leading Lebanese distribution company, Transmed, nothing was impossible. Entering into a new market such as the Lebanese market with a new product and brand was a risky and great challenge for Transmed.
Pearlfisher, a well-known British product design company, whose portfolio includes designs for international brands such as Absolute Vodka, Innocent, Nivea, and Cadbury, to name but a few, was tasked by Transmed to create a unique and distinctive new brand to redefine ice cream for the Lebanese market. The brand needed to be appropriate for the mass market; with quality ice creams, consisting of different ice cream products, and with different price points. The work to be done by the design company also included product segmentation, product naming, and product packaging design.
After taking on the challenge, Pearlfisher succeeded enormously, according to Transmed’s president. Fouad was quoted: “This must be a record project in terms of timing – from the day we made the decision to build an ice cream plant until we placed our first SKU in the market took less than 9 months!” A new ice cream was introduced to the Lebanese market in April 2010. It is called Cornelli. It was impressive how Pearlfisher understood the Lebanese culture so quickly and were able to create a brand that represented people’s background so aptly. “The brand identity personifies the Lebanese people – it is colourful, daring and very high quality. I have no doubt that, with these foundations, Cornelli could very soon become the leading ice cream brand in Lebanon,” Fouad added. The brand is a joyously colorful world that celebrates the irrepressible spirit of Lebanon, the vivid pleasure of ice cream and the exuberant passion of Italy. It brings intense pleasure and refreshing variety into people’s lives.
After the fast and successful branding, by product segmenting, naming, and packaging, it was time for the people to get to know this brand. A new Cornelli TV advertisement was presented for the Lebanese. The commercial shows how a family coming back to Lebanon after a long time abroad, was shocked that everyone around was talking Italian! It was only afterwards, when the son started talking Italian having eaten the ice cream, that the family understood the reasons why. The idea of the ad and the way they executed it was very interesting and attractive. However, very few knew about the new brand for a number of reasons. The ad wasn’t intensely shown on different TV channels, and Cornelli didn’t even bother to use any other means of advertisement. In addition to that, the product wasn’t sufficiently distributed in the market.
By now, I assume that you think Cornelli ice cream is a failed product launch. In fact, Cornelli, now is one of the most famous ice creams in Lebanon. I know this seems unreasonable and strange, but only before you read the next part of the story.
Summer 2011 was the turning point for Cornelli. The company launched a huge marketing campaign for its ice cream. Wherever you are, whenever you are, Cornelli was definitely a part of your life because of the two catch phrases “I Like It” and “It’s About Time” and the character of “Jay Jay”. Lebanese comedian Fady Raidy was the star of all kinds of ads for Cornelli. “Jay Jay”, a Lebanese man living in the United States, coming back for a visit to his home country doesn’t want to go back after he has tasted Cornelli because of the fact that in the States there is no Cornelli. In addition to the magnificent idea they came with, the advertisement meant they were much more diversified. Through billboards, TV ads, Radio commercials, Magazines, and internet, the brand was spread and reached each and every Lebanese person. These smart advertisement moves by Cornelli were accompanied with other marketing campaigns such as offering free ice cream samples to almost 10,000 people across Lebanon.
By now, starting with the product designing following with the huge marketing campaign with diversified means of advertisement, I believe most Lebanese have been introduced to a successful product launch campaign run by Cornelli Ice cream. Transmed were able to build the perfect long term brand name for their ice cream. Nevertheless, the question that must be asked is, is this sufficient to be considered as a successful product launch? The company should monitor customers’ perceptions over the coming years in order to determine the true longevity of the product. Customer feedback and implementing changes with respect to consumer’s tastes is indispensable.