Friday, December 2, 2022

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    What do gen Z and gen alpha really want for Christmas? A bottle of juice, apparently…

    Forget Lego and Jiggly Pets – what gen Z and gen alpha really want for Christmas this year is a bottle of juice. Rosie Denny of Strategiq investigates, and looks to brands including Starbucks and Nike for proof that if it’s scarce, it sells. 

    All gen Z and gen alpha want for Christmas is a bottle of juice. But not any old juice. This season’s must-have product is Prime Hydration. Originally destined for supermarket sales (currently Asda is the only stockist), it’s a product so hyped that it’s pretty much impossible to get hold of on shop shelves and exchanges hands on eBay for many times its recommended retail price. 

    But why? Developed by influencers and boxing-rivals-turned-business-partners Logan Paul and KSI, it’s also the ‘official hydration partner’ of Arsenal FC. School lockers have reportedly been broken into in attempts to get hold of the drink, while children have been queuing outside Asda hours before opening time prior to a ‘drop.’

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    Credibility is the new currency 

    A bottle of Prime, snapped alongside the pre-teen content creator and shared with the current platform of choice, is probably worth more than 10 boxes of Lego. At least, until the next big thing comes along. This is, by definition, a fad – something that creates an intense enthusiasm for something, and is very likely to be short-lived. And, like many fads, the item doesn’t have an intrinsically high value.  

    But when the bubble bursts, as undoubtedly it will when stocks increase, Prime will take its place among all the other brightly-colored energy drinks – leaving us all wondering what the heck that was all about. 

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    Does scarcity sell? 

    Whether it was a planned marketing tactic or a side effect of phenomenal influencer power (it sold out almost immediately), Prime is a great example of the scarcity principle – an economic term that basically means people will pay more for items that they believe aren’t easy to get hold of.  

    Often, people will try to buy these seemingly highly desirable items, even when they can’t afford them – the opposite of rational self-interest. A sad reflection of a sign of the times? Or a clever sales tactic as old as time? 

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    Desire and drop 

    Keeping supply well below demand is a classic way to create that ‘desire’ element of the attention, interest, desire, action (AIDA) model. Everyone knows that product drops – secretive details made available only to ‘in the know’ customers – are used to great effect by superbrands.  

    Independents too have a lot to gain from honing in on reselling items perceived as rare or authentic. You only have to look at resale prices of ‘rare’ Nike Jordan 4s and its collabs with the likes of Travis Scott and Off-White to see what people will pay for what are, frankly, hideous sneakers. But that’s not the point. People will pay for something they perceive to be different, rare and authentic.  

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    How to embrace scarcity marketing tactics 

    How can brands incorporate scarcity marketing principles without compromising their integrity?

    Firstly, add a sense of urgency to your communications: countdown timers, limited offer vouchers and widgets that reveal how many other customers are viewing a particular product ‘right now’ are all easy ways to create FOMO.  

    Make it Insta-worthy: if you’ve got a product that looks good and is also hard to get hold of, then that’s half the battle. Just look at the thousands of posts dedicated to showing off Starbucks’ #unicornfrappuccino and Nike’s #rarejordans. The Prime bottles are unashamedly bold with color-block neon that corresponds with various flavors (orange, grape, blue raspberry and, perhaps the coolest of them all, ice pop). 

    Up the ante on your retention strategies by creating your brand’s equivalent of a product drop: is it a first look? Is there an opportunity to trial a beta version of the product?  

    Look sideways at your targets: sure, it’s the budget holder’s purse strings that you’re after. But come up with a limited offer on a cool product that you know their kids will scream for – that’s a surefire way to stay front of mind. 

    Combine your approach: scarcity marketing tactics work hand in hand with influencer marketing – so if you can get a relevant public figure to back your product or offer (and share it socially) then even better.  

    Deliver on your promises: you’ve got a rush of people buying your exclusive items – great. Just make sure that your stock levels are in real-time and that you can fulfill orders to avoid doing serious damage to your brand rep.

    Be careful with your tone: if you’re the distributor or agent, being upfront about stock shortages will reassure people and make them more likely to hang in there when items do eventually land. For now, the quest to find a bottle of Prime Hydration continues. Wish me luck. 

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