Thursday, March 22, 2012

MAGNUM: Ahh.. Kaya Naman Pala.

Lately, I have been seeing posts of this ice cream on stick on Facebook and it kept me wondering why on earth this ice cream is such a hit. I haven't tried this yet personally (blame it on the diet), but seeing the hype makes me want to break the rules of my diet just to figure out how did this made it to center stage.

Some of my friends say that it only tastes like most of the ice creams on sticks you can find in the market, and that it is not in any way more special that Dairy Queen's Dilly Bar. But that is just their opinion (thanks to that, I now have no urges whatsoever to kill my diet). Having that said, one thing came into my mind: Great marketing strategy through a very effective media, Facebook (and Twitter).

And this article from Yahoo News validated my idea.

"How an ice-cream bar turned into a trending topic and almost sold out."

It trended when it launched on Feb. 28 and then again sometime around March 7. A week later, on March 15, it was the fourth top trending topic on Yahoo! Search.

Kony? Gerald Anderson’s birthday? A TV announcer’s controversial remark?

Nah. Try Magnum.

The ice-cream bar by Unilever-RFM Ice Cream Inc., has inundated the Net with mentions on Facebook and postings on Instagram, a photo sharing app especially favored on Twitter.

On the day it launched, Magnum immediately became the top trending topic on Twitter, gaining millions of impressions, according to Brian Chanyungco, assistant brand manager of Selecta. In online marketing, impressions are the estimated reach of an ad or a topic.

This means that when the brand’s social media-savvy brand “ambassadors” tweeted or used #Magnum, it was retweeted or re-shared by possibly, tens of thousands of the celebrities’ fans or followers to their own network of friends, and so on.

Celebrity stylist Liz Uy alone has more than half a million followers. She is a Magnum “ambassador” together with actress Solenn Heussaff (498,000+ followers), TV host and Esquire style director Raymond Gutierrez (450,000+ followers), designer Rajo Laurel and Chef Erwann Heussaff (100,000+ followers each), and columnist and social bon vivant Tessa Prieto-Valdes (30,000+).

The Yahoo! search trend on March 15 may have something to do with the celebrity Magnum VIP Party scheduled that evening.

But, you can only hashtag a product so far—officially #Magnum with other crowd-sourced variations like #MagnumIceCream and #Magnummadnessmanila. No hashtag can save a dud from sinking. But the opposite is also true: a great product will create its own perfect wave for others to ride on.

Right time, right product

And for many Pinoys, Magnum was the wave du jour.

It arrived at the sudden onset of summer, when temperatures rose to 32 degrees.

For those who have traveled to the U.S., Europe and other parts of Asia, it’s a familiar product—Magnum being the biggest global brand of Unilever and having been in the market since the 1987.

Described as “gourmet” ice-cream, Magnum is coated with Belgian chocolate—said to be the best in the world—that’s been formulated to crack into desirable shards to reveal a generous bar of vanilla or chocolate ice cream.

In the Philippines, three flavors have been introduced (elsewhere in the world, there are 10 or so variants): Classic, Almond and Chocolate Truffle.

Prized flavors, social buzz

What fed the frenzy was the way certain flavors—especially Chocolate Truffle—seemed to run out faster than the Classic. This led to Instagrams on Twitter showing people triumphantly holding a bar (and sometimes a box) of the prized flavor.

Bindoy Baltazar, marketing director of Selecta, admitted the popularity of the product exceeded their expectations but declined to say by how much. But, he allowed, stores have been re-ordering on a daily basis; before Magnum, re-orders of other products would be made every two days.

And the run has been happening on the strength of social buzz alone. Ads for the mainstream media—radio, TV, print—aren’t due until the coming week, Baltazar added.

Cheap? Not cheap?

At P50 a bar, Magnum is pricier than most—a Cornetto, another Selecta product, is half the price—but Baltazar says that the product, which is made and shipped from Indonesia and Australia, is priced lower than a Magnum in Singapore, which costs around SGD$3, or around P102.

As assistant brand manager Chanyungco puts it, “People can afford a P130 cup of coffee, an P80 cupcake and an P80 milk tea, so P50 for a Magnum is very affordable.”

And given the perennially low stocks in convenience stores and the way rhapsodic status updates continue to show up on social sites, people, so far, have agreed.

Source: Yahoo News

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