Has iconic brand Boost Juice just shot itself in the foot?
I heard a radio commercial this week that took me completely by surprise, and not in a good way. The commercial itself was great and the subject was interesting, even appealing, but the organisation responsible made no sense whatsoever.
I’m talking about Boost Juice’s new Aussie Milk Bar range, apparently developed to recapture ‘childhood memories in a smoothie’. The aptly named, ‘Banana Bread’, ‘Fairy Bread’, ‘Cookies & Crème’ and ‘Rocky Road’ do indeed conjure up nostalgic childhood memories, and sound delicious, but here’s the rub. What the hell are they doing on the Boost Juice menu?
What the hell are they doing on the Boost Juice menu?
Boost Juice is the brainchild of Australian entrepreneur Janine Allis who, in 2000, saw a gap in the Australian market for a healthy fast food alternative. Her menu was developed in consultation with nutritionists and naturopaths, with the aim of creating the healthiest juices and smoothies, free of preservatives, artificial flavours and colours.
She’s built an unbelievable brand, with over 350 stores throughout Australia and around the world on the back of this health-based ideology, and it’s become a go-to destination for the fitness fraternity, with everyone from Yogis to gym junkies queueing up for their regular dose of wheatgrass, coconut water and whey protein.
And it’s not just the tights and singlet brigade who are flocking; it’s a firm favourite of the kids too. My twelve year old only comes shopping with me as he’s guaranteed a large Mango Tango Crush – he gets a real treat and, for a brief moment, I become a cool dad again by buying him something that’s actually good for him!
Boost Juice occupies rare air as a ‘permission brand’ – I’m happy for him to dash off to the Boost Juice kiosk, safe in the knowledge that whatever smoothie he returns with, will be better for him than anything he’d find at Macca’s, KFC, or even the drinks fridge at our local deli.
Now I’m not so sure.
With ingredients like Oreo cookies, Mini Flakes and marshmallows, the new range is an almost seismic departure from their brand – their health-based ideology – that made them successful in the first place.
The new range is an almost seismic departure from their brand.
Why they’ve gone down this route is anyone’s guess but it smacks a little of desperation. Perhaps they need a quick uplift in sales or their research has indicated a niche in the market they haven’t fully exploited but, whatever the reason, it’s a particularly risky strategy.
Even the premise of their campaign (and I’m paraphrasing here), that it’s OK to be bad for a bit, just doesn’t ring true. If it was Hungry Jacks saying it, I’d agree wholeheartedly as I know their burgers don’t do my cholesterol levels any good but ‘being bad for a bit’ gives me permission to indulge in the occasional Wopper Double Beef with Cheese without feeling too guilty. But for Boost Juice, it is completely off-brand.
The Aussie Milk Bar range might be just a discreet, limited time offer but, from a brand perspective, it’s the thin edge of an extremely dangerous wedge that has the potential to undermine the ideology Janine Allis has spent the last 18 years reinforcing.
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