SHAPES have been a classic Aussie favourite for more than 40 years, with flavours such as barbecue and pizza always being a crowd favourite. Arnott’s have recently released to the media that they will be changing the recipe of Shapes to fit with the demands of their consumers. As Arnott’s spokeswoman, Nicky Thompson states, Arnott’s are “listening to the demand for more flavour with our new range, and now sprinkling seasonings on both sides of the biscuit and baking it into the centre, giving a flavour hit like never before”. She also assures the public that the new Shapes have been “tested and trialled extensively” by “thousands, literally thousands, of Shapes fans”. Clearly Arnott’s have done their market research and received a good response from their target segment. However, social media tells a different story as to what consumers really think of this new change.
Arnott’s would have conducted their market research by first identifying the research problem, which is, that customers want more flavour in their Shapes. They would have then gone ahead with experimenting with new recipes until they found something good enough to allow people to sample the product and offer feedback. As Thompson stated they did trial the product on thousands of people and collected information from them possibly from both qualitative (interviews) and quantitative (surveys) methods. All of this data would have then been collated and analysed. The conclusion being, lets release our new product into the marketplace because the response we received was positive and thus, we can assume it will be profitable for us.
To really understand what a marketing plan should look like, here is an in-depth example of one Arnott’s made when releasing a new range of Tim Tams: http://www.lib.uts.edu.au/gta/13912/arnotts-biscuits-slice-action
So why have people already taken to twitter to denounce Arnott’s for the drastic change on their beloved snack? Twitter user, Matt Smithson (2015) writes “Wow the new @CampbellArnotts #Shapes are terrible. They don’t even taste like barbecue any more. They’re too sweet.” Others have even begun stocking up on the original recipe Shapes in preparation for the new stock. #Shapegate
Matt Smithson (@mattsmithson) April 11, 2016
Tim Carabott (@timcarabott) April 11, 2016
After all that market research, where did Arnott’s go wrong? Well lets see. Firstly, Thompson states that the people who were trailing the new product were ‘Shapes fans’, meaning most of them would be brand loyal and possibly be biased when critiquing Arnott’s new product. They may have been better off with choosing a random sample from the Australian population to receive equitable feedback. Another point to add is that some people on social media have started to speculate that this may be a marketing ploy. Chris Sinclair (2015) writes, “It seems to me that this is a tactic to get everyone riled up and talking about shapes, then, Boom! Change back to the old recipe and sales skyrocket”. Although Sinclair’s theory doesn’t seem all that far-fetched, Arnott’s took to twitter to set the record straight “…The original BBQ shapes are sticking around, alongside the new flavours”.
Regardless of whether the new shapes live up to the old, tried and true recipe, Arnott’s may still have a profitable product on their hands. After all the media attention surrounding the new change, consumers will now be curious to try the ‘new and improved’ shapes and if they don’t like them they can just revert back to the old shapes, which boosts Arnott’s profits either way.
Market research is pivotal when launching a new line of products, whether you are a completely new business or you’ve been in the business for a long time, such as Arnott’s. However, no matter how much research and planning you do no one can really predict the success rate of a product.
Now I am off to buy some new and improved Shapes.
Meher Chubb (MeherChubb08)
Brown, V. and Sullivan, R. (2016). Arnott’s Shapes: New recipes, flavours slammed by fans. [online] NewsComAu. Available at: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/food/eat/arnotts-changes-recipe-for-shapes-range-and-customers-are-not-happy/news-story/81f99423f3620c8f0d96d09cab276138 [Accessed 11 Apr. 2016].
Calligeros, M. (2016). Crunch time for Arnott’s after customers snap over ‘new and improved’ Shapes flavours. [online] The Sydney Morning Herald. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/arnotts-shapes-new-and-improved-flavours-leave-customers-furious-20160414-go66ik.html [Accessed 11 Apr. 2016].
Iacobucci, D. (2013). MM4. Mason, OHIO: South-Western, Cengage Learning, p.199.
Twitter.com. (2016). #Shapegate – Twitter Search. [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/search?vertical=default&q=%23Shapegate&src=typd&lang=en [Accessed 11 Apr. 2016].