Thursday, November 6, 2008

Marketing Memo: Food and Beverage Marketers, and Others, Hoping to Cash in On Obama Family Brand and Product Preferences

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is a big fan of Honest Tea's Black Forest Berry organic tea. Honest Tea CEO Seth Goldman says the next President's enjoyment of the drink "raises the profile of our brand and all organic products," adding: "We'd love for it to be the official drink of the new administration." We bet he would.

USA: Election 2008 Special Report

Current President George W. Bush is known to be a meat and potatoes kind of guy, and not much of a lover of organic or specialty foods. He's also known to love pretzels. But word is after he had that mysterious incident a few years ago where he almost chocked on a pretzel, he has cut back a bit on the snack food.

However, First Lady Laura Bush is known to prefer healthier foods, including natural and organic products.

And daughter Jenna Bush, who went to college in Austin, Texas while mom and dad lived in the White House in Washington, D.C., was known to be a regular Whole Foods Market shopper in that city, where the chain also happens to be headquartered.

Bill Clinton loved junk food, especially McDonald's, which perhaps led to his massive heart attack a couple years ago.

And of course, we all remember how former President George Bush Sr., the current President's father, famously said how much he hated Broccoli, only to then reverse his opinion of the healthy vegetable after America's Broccoli growers went ballistic.

Then there was former two-term President Ronald Reagan, who's love of jelly beans (and the Jelly Belly brand in particular) sent sales of the little sugar bites soaring for the California based confections company, which made sure Reagan was supplied with free Jelly Belly jelly beans during his two terms in office. The late President even kept a jar of the Jelly Belly beans on his desk in the oval office. You can't buy that kind of advertising.

But what about the family of new U.S. President-elect Barack Obama?

We know a few things because we're intrepid reporters.

First, it's a fact First Lady-elect Michelle Obama likes to shop at the Whole Foods Market store not far from the families home in Chicago, Illinois, as well as at a couple other more upscale supermarkets in the big city. We also know both she and the next President tend to eat healthy, including being consumers of natural and organic food and grocery products. And, they better be "green," as in buying environmentally-friendly products.

But thanks to USA Today staff writer Bruce Horovitz, we can now learn some specifics in terms of what the next American First Family likes to eat, including some of the food and beverage brands and particular items they purchase. You knew it was coming.

Hint: They like organic and premium...but also conventional.

OK, a real hint: Below is a sampling of a couple of the products the Obama family buys and eats, as reported by Bruce Horovitz in this morning's USA Today:

•Snacks. Obama tries to snack healthy. He likes Planters Trail Mix: Nuts, Seeds and Raisins. Planters has White House links dating to former president (and peanut farmer) Carter, as a sponsor of the Plains, Ga., Peanut Festival, says Laurie Guzzinati, a Kraft Foods spokeswoman.

•Drinks. Obama is a fan of Black Forest Berry Honest Tea. "It raises the profile of our brand and all organic products," says Seth Goldman, CEO of Honest Tea. "We'd love for it to be the official drink of the new administration."

Want to know more?

Click here to read the piece in today's USA Today. In it Horovitz also discusses other brands and products the Obama family likes and owns, such as attire and the family automobile. He also talks about what food, beverage and other industry marketers are hoping to do to make hay on the brand and product preferences of America's next First Family.

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