Lessons from Clearanced Chocolate

I was starving. Well, not actually, but I felt like I was. We stayed out late doing errands and stopped at the grocery store to get dinner. I guessed it would be at least another hour until dinner, and I was starting to feel “hungry sick” as I put it.

My sister wandered down the health food aisle, and I followed suit. We discussed differentΒ chocolate brands and how they were slightly healthier than your average candy bar. (We also discussed chocolate that is so healthy it’s 100% dirt flavored.)

She then showed me this bag of raspberry flavored chocolates and pointed out that it was clearanced. That was good. (Health food prices are terrible.) But, raspberry? Hmm…

Then I examined the packaging.

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At first, I thought the pink and purple were a little weird (I like earthier tones), but the adorable font and close-up chocolate squares drew me in. (I think that font always gets me.) Also, the sight of real raspberries reminded me that I like them. πŸ˜‰

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But the copy on the back was the best. πŸ˜‰ In case you can’t read it, here’s a transcript…

“Raspberry–so mind-blowingly delicious, you’re going to want to hide these. In a filing cabinet. Under a stack of sweater vests. Behind the beret-wearing ceramic cat figurine your aunt gave you. We’re into sourcing the best ingredients, keeping our Fair Trade game tight, and wearing sweatpants after 7 p.m. For more on us or to check out our full product line, visit [their site]. Try not to lick the screen.”

I was so amused and impressed by what they accomplished in this short bit of advertising, that I made everyone shopping with me read it. Since I was hungry, it was clearanced, and everyone at home needed to read it too, I bought the chocolate.

Thinking back on how successful their advertising was, I realize there are a few things lessons for me as an author.

  1. The outside of a product really does matter just as much as the inside does. πŸ˜‰ A book’s cover helps us decide if we will look into the book further. In this case, I was drawn to the chocolate by the images and the font on the “front cover”. I was also willing to forgive some things (like the pink and purple colors) once I was looking at everything more closely. As authors, we don’t have to have a perfect cover, but it does need to fulfill the purpose of catching a reader’s attention and keeping it.
  2. Good back cover copy is crucial.Β I’m gonna go on about this for a while, sorry. πŸ˜€ This was really the part that impressed me…
    1. The back of this chocolate package spoke directly to its audience–quirky, health conscious, MillennialsΒ with a sense of humor. (I don’t fall into all those categories, but the last one was most important.) Our audience doesn’t know they are our audience until we tell them so. πŸ˜€
    2. It also made boring but important things interesting. For instance, they could have just said “Fair Trade” and “check out our site”, but they added humor and created kinship with [at least some of] their audience. (When I visited their site, I did want to lick the screen.) I’m not saying the back cover blurb of a book should be a joke fest, but we should include what will be important to our future audiences. What makes this book stand out? What are readers of this genre looking for? And don’t forget to give a clue to what they’ll find inside. πŸ˜‰ Also, who else loves funny copyrights?!!

So, I ate the chocolate. (And shared with those I forced to read the package.) It was actually really good. πŸ˜‰ A nice, yummy deal.

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There was one more surprise. πŸ˜‰ When I tipped the bag over to get those last few crumbs out, just like they knew I would, I read this…

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Bwahahaha! That’s their audience right there, again. So make this lesson #3–include small details. πŸ˜‰ It’s always a delight when I re-read a book and discover something new. It makes me want to add an “inside joke” to my story for my readers to understand later. πŸ˜‰

I actually finished this chocolate a long while ago, but I was saving the package to show you all. I got a good laugh and some interesting lessons out of it. (Also, a nice snack.) πŸ˜‰

What have you recently learned from an unexpected source? What is your favorite flavor of chocolate?

Special thanks to Anna for helping me with the pictures. You’re better at this than I am!
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14 thoughts on “Lessons from Clearanced Chocolate

  1. That’s great, Kate! I don’t remember really paying much attention to packages of food, maybe I should. πŸ˜‰ But you’re right about books. Covers and back copy matter can make a difference. This was such a fun post to read. And I’m not really late! (You should be impressed!)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Oh my goodness. We just bought those at the wonderful Sprouts. How……….We didn’t get the rasberry ones though…..They had peanut butter and chocolate ones. That was coincidental. Or was it? πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

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