BUAD 307





"Scarf of the Tiger"

PowerPoint Narration

The Scarf of the Tiger.  On the first day of class, we discussed the question of why Tony the Tiger wears a scarf.  his is admittedly, to quote a behavioral scientist reflecting on a slightly different issue, “a question that only a psychologist could ask.”  Tony made this fashion choice.  So what?

As trivial as this issue may seem, it actually raises an interesting question, in part because this question can be answered at several different levels. 
From a “bottom line” perspective, Kellogg almost certainly made this decision because market research showed that consumers responded more favorably to versions of Tony that featured a scarf.  Few major marketing decisions are made by accident.  Most likely, several different “Tonies” where tried, and the one that “tested” best among consumers was chosen.  In truth, marketing research is usually very much a “numbers game:” You prepare several different ads, package designs, or cartoon figures, and you select the one that consumers rate highest.  Frequently, that is not the one that you liked best or even the one you predicted people would have liked.  Consumers have minds of their own!
Now let’s look at a possible explanation as to why consumers may have made this choice.  There is potentially a very delicate balance to be struck here in making Tony genuine enough as a tiger while still keeping him as a likable role model for cereal consumption.  Let’s face it, most tigers are not politically correct enough to sustain themselves on a vegetarian diet of cereal.  Most tend to walk on four, as opposed to two, legs most of the time, and most tend to have a much duller fur than Tony’s bright orange.  Adding a scarf, in this manner, may help Tony take on slightly more human characteristics.

Note again that while we can provide a seemingly rational explanation as to why consumers prefer Tony to wear a scarf, marketers are best off making actual decisions on test results rather than their own intuitions or theories.


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