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Monday, July 17, 2006

Industry: Food Media: EggFusion

NY Times reports on CBS' fall campaign to brand shows on the surface of 35 million eggs.

Some of their planned slogans: “CSI” (“Crack the Case on CBS”); “The Amazing Race” (“Scramble to Win on CBS”); and “Shark” (“Hard-Boiled Drama.”). Variations on the ad for its Monday night lineup of comedy shows include “Shelling Out Laughs,” “Funny Side Up” and “Leave the Yolks to Us.”

Newspapers, magazines and Web sites are so crowded with ads for entertainment programming that CBS was ready to try something different, said George Schweitzer, president of the CBS marketing group. The best thing about the egg concept was its intrusiveness.

“You can’t avoid it,” he said. He liked the idea so much that he arranged for CBS to be the only advertiser this fall to use the new etching technology. The CBS ads are the first to use imprinting technology developed by a company called EggFusion, based in Deerfield, Ill. Bradley Parker, who founded the company, wanted to reassure shoppers that egg producers were not placing old eggs in new cartons, so he developed a laser-etching technique to put the expiration date directly on an egg during the washing and grading process.

As EggFusion sees it, consumers look at a single egg shell at least a few times: when they open a carton in the store to see if any eggs are cracked, if they transfer them from the carton to the refrigerator, and when they crack them open.

Mr. Parker said the destination of eggs was tracked so precisely that he envisioned being able to offer localized advertising, even aiming at specific ZIP codes, to promote events like local food festivals and concerts. He is setting aside a portion of the ads for charities, too, he said. The imprint is applied in the packaging plant, as the eggs are washed, graded and “candled,” or inspected for flaws, when the eggs are held by calipers and moved along a production line at 225 feet a minute. Right before an egg is packaged, laser light is applied to the shell, giving it the etching. Each imprint takes 34 milliseconds to 73 milliseconds, so the processing of eggs is not appreciably slowed down, Mr. Parker said.

The etching is ultrathin, to a depth of 50 to 90 micrometers, or 5 percent of the shell’s thickness. The imprint cannot be altered without breaking the shell, Mr. Parker said, in contrast to Europe, where ink is used to apply expiration dates on eggs.


Mnels said...

This is a tactic that smells of late 20th century thinking. Let's find ever-intrusive methods of getting a dull, meaningless, punny messages ("scramble to win"!!) in front of ever compliant consumers who are simply automatons who absorb, process and react accordingly. Yeesh. Then again, the NY Times just made the investment golden.

AKI SYSTEMS 2600 said...

Maybe Ham (or Bacon) can advertise on the eggs, too. Clever puns await in that campaign!

Now if we can only get our messages burned onto the COOKED FOOD...Perhaps FREE COOKWARE WITH OUR LOGOS ON THE BOTTOM? College students sure need free cookware (those slackers), and if the pan burns the Miller Beer logo onto their cooked omelets, then "mo' money, mo' money!"

El Gaffney said...

now that's what i call the high life. why'd they abandon that campaign for a girl on a moon, again? anyway, back to eggs - the only things worse than this cbs eggvertising is being the next company to eggvertise. haven't seen any assvertising since ny health and racquet club did it a couple years back. (and yes, i had to look up what gym it was!) i'd declare the, um, rottening of eggfusion but with 50 million eggs sold per year i know a lot of impression-focused marketers and media peeps who'll no doubt look into it again. plus, who doesn't open the carton and feel the eggs - talk about engagement! i'm definitely "turned on."

Mnels said...

My wife bought a can of Pringles with really lame jokes printed on them. After my kids read these out loud for about 20 minutes, I was convinced I would never buy Pringles ever again. Talk about equity destroyed. It was bad enough I had to watch Barney for a couple years, but turning my kids into miniture Henny Youngmans is unforgiveable.

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