Equator Gringos

January 18, 2008

Joy and the Snob Jelly

Filed under: Ecuador — lstollin @ 6:09 am

There are many familiar, American and European brand names at our grocery store here in Quito, Ecuador: Hunts, Campbell’s, Quaker, Prego. Other local or regional brands abound as well, and sometimes the names look and sound funny to English speakers, because they are take-offs of English words — like Hony brand Graham Crackers for example. One of my favorites is the brand “Snob.” That would Almost work as a brand name in the U.S. — we certainly have brands intended to appeal to the elitist in us, but this one a little too descarado (bald-faced). We’ve been getting canned Snob palmitos (palm hearts) since arriving, and we recently bought their strawberry-blackberry jam for an abortive trek — it comes in these great tough flexible envelopes with a screw top nozzle, perfect for travel.

Normal American brands marketed here sometimes have local twists. The dish detergent we get is Joy brand (my sentimental favorite for its stubbornness and resolve when it comes to cleaning). For some reason, in smaller print above the big JOY logo, it says, “non-ultra.” So we buy Non-Ultra Joy. My wife Joy assures me that there is no Ultra Joy available (because, among other reasons, she is not for sale). Anyway, it’s like, “just in case you were wondering, you are not buying the amazing new improved version of this product, which by the way we no longer sell at this or any store.”

I wonder if this will start a marketing trend, campaigns of lowered expectations. Here are a few ideas, no charge: Half-decent Hellman’s, Mediocre Matzo, Not-so-fresh Salad Mix, Don’t-get-your-hopes-up Doughnuts, Not your Mama’s Macaroni & Cheese.  I think this approach was actually behind one U.S. state’s 1980s tourism campaign, “Oklahoma’s OK.”


1 Comment »

  1. Enjoyed your insightful “take” on brands. One of the labels I discovered over here in Hong Kong is Self Raising Flour:-)

    Comment by Bettye Kelso — January 25, 2008 @ 3:21 am

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