Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cadbury's Initial Response

Given that I didn't send a very lengthy message, my inquiry as to whether Cadbury had ever considered a blueberry Swedish Fish received a suitably quaint and uninformative response. Perhaps my question delved into confidential territory. Or, maybe it's just the kind of generic reply you would expect from a customer service department:

"February 23, 2009

Dear Mr. Pitre:

Thank you for contacting us with a suggestion you feel may be of interest to us. We always appreciate it when our customers are loyal enough to share their ideas and suggestions with us.

We enjoy hearing from you and are especially pleased to learn of your satisfaction. We will pass on your compliments to both our marketing department and our research and development department so they can be made aware of the great job they are doing!

We hope you continue to enjoy Swedish Fish products.


Consumer Relations"

I'm undecided as to whether the response is meaningful in any way. The thought of my compliments being passed on to anyone at Cadbury seems unrealistic. "Hey Bob, guess what? We've just discovered another consumer that loves our Swedish Fish!" Big deal, right? A behemoth like Cadbury thinks in terms of sales and potential sales, not the sentiments of a random consumer. However, being the number one candy confectioner in the world, one would think they'd at least have a clever way to interface with their customers--to involve them in the future of Swedish Fish. Confectioner Masterfoods, in the UK, had the right idea:

Consumers of the multi-flavored candy "Revels" were able to participate in an online game called Revels Eviction, in which each player could sentence their least favorite flavor to a variety of unfortunate demises. Data collected from the online game determined that coffee was the most unwanted flavor, so, for a limited time, coffee flavored Revels were replaced with strawberry Revels. If only it were that simple with Swedish Fish! Why is it that the consumer, being the foundation of any business, seems to have such a limited say?

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