Adam Morgan
May 13, 2014

Adding the eggs factor to the ordinary

Great marketing can make even the humblest of commodities into a precious and pricey luxury.

Adam Morgan
Adam Morgan

I love stories of people who make what should be a commoditised product premium, even precious.

Hiroshi Mikitani, the founder of Japan’s Rakuten has a favourite story he tells in interviews of how he was approached by an egg farmer who wanted to become one of Rakuten’s first merchants.

Mikitani was initially sceptical when the man said that he wanted to sell eggs online: one could simply buy fresh eggs in the supermarket down the road, after all, without having to send away for them. Well, no, said the egg farmer, actually that isn’t true. Eggs in supermarkets have been in transit for up to two weeks by the time you get them; they aren’t really fresh at all. Whereas I’ll send them to customers the day they are laid, and they’ll be able to eat them the day afterwards. And I feed my chickens properly, without antibiotics.

So Tamagoyasan became an online egg store on Rakuten. The egg-seller then continually introduced new ways to build the emotional relationship with his buyer (filming the chickens and chicks on the farm) and demonstrate quality: he devised a test with a toothpick to demonstrate the superiority of the yolk. It’s not a test any of us would recognise, or attempt, but that’s not the point, is it? The egg-seller is continually evolving our relationship with both an everyday product that we no longer think about (until we find out that not all yolks are the same), and how we buy it (the humanity of his shop is the diametric opposite of the impersonal shelves in the supermarket). He’s now selling half a million eggs a month online at a premium price.

That shouldn’t be possible. But that’s what makes marketing so exciting, isn’t it? Great thinking and ideas, along with a refusal to accept that anything has to be seen as commodity, can bring the world to us. Even if we’re selling something as apparently unexciting as an egg.  

Adam Morgan is founding partner with eatbigfish. Follow his on Twitter @eatbigfish.

Tags

Related Articles

Just Published

3 hours ago

TikTok appoints 'Safety Advisory Council' in APAC

Council to provide recommendations to TikTok on content-moderation policies and how to address issues such as misinformation and minor safety within Asia-Pacific.

4 hours ago

Hamill and Stewart face off in tense tomato-tomahto ...

Special Group Australia unites the stars of Star Wars and Star Trek as Uber Eats takes the agency's 'Tonight I'll be eating' platform to North America.

4 hours ago

'Second chance': The largest OOH campaign ever

The World Out of Home Organization’s global #OurSecondChance campaign has filled 40,000 digital screens with estimated media value to date of US$40 million.

4 hours ago

Managing the paranoia curve when selling your agency

An M&A advisor explains the rollercoaster of emotion you should expect when buying or selling an agency, and how to manage paranoia so it doesn't derail a deal.