When Good Grapefruit Has Bad Marketing

DSCN5865 To your left you will see a photo of half a grapefruit, on a pretty white bread & butter plate, plus the label off the sturdy red mesh bag it came in.

This grapefruit, purchased at the local K. Roger, is not as humongous as many of the grapefruits available, nor is it as intensely pink in color as most of the individually sold grapefruits.

It was tasty.  Easy to section. Juicy, but not overly so. With just the right amount of sweetness.

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But here’s the weird thing about this grapefruit.  Just like Proust’s madeleines, this grapefruit stimulated long-lost memories from my childhood.

It reminded me of being an elementary school-age girl.  Sitting at home in my parents’ warm kitchen while eating breakfast at the old, slightly wobbly, wooden drop-leaf table.  Listening to the local AM radio “Quickie Quiz” show.  Wondering what I’d be doing at recess later in the morning.

So considering the effect that this grapefruit had on me, I’m left wondering what marketing genius came up with the idea to name this product:

NOT your MOTHER’S Grapefruit.

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Putting aside the stupid inconsistent capitalization of the letters of the product’s name, if there was ever a fruit whose essence reminded me positively of my past, it would be these grapefruits.

And considering that grapefruits are pretty much the same old fruit now that they were 40 years ago, I’m irritated with the somewhat passive aggressive marketing message that I’ll be an old fuddy duddy if I don’t buy these particular grapefruits.

I understand that times change, but I gotta wonder how it could be that bad-mouthing grapefruit is the key to more sales.  Does that even make sense?

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Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted most days.

35 thoughts on “When Good Grapefruit Has Bad Marketing”

  1. What does “Not your mother’s grapefruit” even mean? You said it was a little sweet. You didn’t pour half a sugar bowl on it? Wouldn’t that be what you’d emphasize? I don’t know, I’m clearly confused this morning.

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    1. Zazzy, I think the name is implying that you’re cool if you eat this particular grapefruit; but if you don’t eat it, then you’re as unhip as your mother. I added no sweetner to it. I agree that would be a better selling point.

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      1. Huh. I dunno, doesn’t seem so weird to me? Sound marketing strategy, actually.

        Of course, I recently bought a package of underwear that I can pull up to my armpits just because the package was labeled “THESE ARE NOT YOUR MOTHER’S GRANNY PANTIES.” Undies in my armpits = a small price to pay for the comfort of knowing I’m not unhip.

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        1. Alice, if this marketing gets people to buy the grapefruit, then so be it. There are worse ways to spend your money at the grocery store! As for your un-granny granny panties, good on you. I think that’s what they call a win-win.

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          1. It is indeed! It’s also what they call a “tall tale” — but that’s beside the point. Anything (and to and including unresolved mommy issues!) that gets people to eat their citrus? THAT’S the point. 😀

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  2. Perhaps it’s a take on “not your mother’s jeans.” I understand what that means. Someone’s mother (not mine) wore baggy jeans with an elastic waist. Not sure how it relates to grapefruits. You are so lucky. There are some meds that you can’t take and eat grapefruit. I always loved that tartness.

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    1. Kate, I’d forgotten about that brand of jeans. In that case it makes sense to emphasize the two different styles. But this is grapefruit, which is like grapefruit, which is grapefruit. ‘Ya know? The whole thing seems like a lame way to get people to eat grapefruit.

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  3. How bizarre that a grapefruit, of all things, appears to need an image makeover. How is that that regular grapefruits are associated with “your mother” but this grapefruit is for trendy young things? A grapefruit! Very strange. If it was something like Camp Coffee (always a bit fuddy duddy even in its heyday), or the jeans that Kate mentioned above, I could understand it, but a grapefruit? I’d love to meet the genius who decided that was a good idea.

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    1. Polly, I cannot answer your brilliant questions about this weirdly-named grapefruit. Like you said, it needs an image makeover? WHY? I, too, would like to meet whoever came up with this idea– and the graphic designer who came up with the inane lettering for the product. *shakes head in dismay*

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  4. I can’t eat grapefruit anymore – it doesn’t play well with the blood pressure meds. I love it, though.

    I’ve always found that produce in those big mesh bags doesn’t really measure up to the same standards as the kind you choose yourself. Maybe that’s why they felt the need to give it a cutesy name.

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    1. John, I bet that you’re right about the reason behind using a cutesy name. I think that you’re onto something there. However, the choice of this particular name is… weird, imho.

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  5. For me, it’s watermelon and peaches. Those always take me back to summer trips to my grandmother’s. So I guess they could make it: “NOT your GRANDMOTHER’S peaches.” But that sounds kind of weird…

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  6. Grapefruits remind me of my grandparents, who enjoyed grapefruit so much they had actual spoons with the sole purpose of grapefruit eating. I cannot imagine how this marketing tactic works on anyone, either (though thanks to several recent and dorky conversations with my fellow intellectual property litigators, I know the reasons why you now see fruit marketing – which actually have to do with intellectual property. I will stop before I seem even dorkier than I normally do on the Internet).

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  7. Sarah, I’m not enough of a Martha to have special spoons with which to eat grapefruit. Somehow I feel like a failure.

    So all of these cutesy fruit names are connected to intellectual property law! Of course they are. Wouldn’t have it any other way! Makes perfect sense.

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  8. Marketing run amok.
    (Now I’m really curious…wonder if A&M or someone has created a “new and improved” grapefruit….and is it color/size/taste or just shipping without bruising… such an odd label…like saying “we know you as a kid hated being forced to eat grapefruit, but this one’s totally different.” Weird indeed)

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    1. philmouse, it’s all about the marketing of an existing fruit, I think. Somehow, someone got a goofy idea– and somehow, someone let him or her run with it. It makes little sense to me.

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      1. Looks like the same old Sunkist CA star ruby grapefruit. They have identified the younger women/teens as a market and are “educating” them. It’s a healthy super food now. (Your mom only said it was for diets…) Certainly going at it in a big way for the iphone generation crowd with their style of print vs images and colors/design. Here’s a brochure if you are really bored. (Marketing is always interesting) http://www.sunkist.com/pdfs/sunkist_grapefruit_brochure.pdf

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    1. Margaret, maybe with more older people taking that medication, grapefruit sales were slipping. So some marketing genius got the idea for the name of this particular grapefruit? That could be an explanation. Still think it’s a dumb name.

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  9. Hm. Not a fan, actually, but it did start me wondering what the plural of grapefruit was. “Grapefruits” sounds so odd to me, so I consulted several sources. The Gold Standard, The Oxford English Dictionary, says the plural remains “grapefruit.” Other less stuffy sources say either one is fine. There you go! (As if anyone cared but me.)

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    1. nance, good information to know should I need to write a formal essay about grapefruit [formerly grapefruits]. 😉 As an English major I was more irritated with the wonky capitalization. Don’t like it at all. Looks dumb.

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