This past week I had food poisoning. If you have ever had food poisoning before you understand how uncomfortable it is, not only because of the ailment but also because you can't eat and you are starving.
An old trick I was brought up with for upset stomach, and later for hangovers, was the consumption of honey in hot water with cinnamon. A cure for stomach ache, hangover, nausea, gas and many other issues. Honey is the ultimate comfort foo…uh… syrup?
For as long as I can remember there has always been honey in a little bear bottle. I suppose it wasn't until much more recently that I realized this was not a single brand that used the plastic bear, rather a great many brands use either the same bear or a similar bear formed bottle.
I grew up with a honey bear with breakfast toast at my parents and a honey bear at my grandparents for afternoon tea. God, I just realized how english the north east sounds. Never once did I realize these bottle probably had different labels with different brand names on them.
This creates an interesting situation as far as marketing is concerned. In this situation no single brand owns the symbol of the bear. There is no Kleenex or Jello of the honey industry. Instead, when you put your honey into a bear bottle you are buying into a shared emotional aesthetic. This buy in may be great for a new company as it gives them instant brand trust and collateral. On the flip side, an established company may lose customers due to to its inability to stand out in the marketplace from the other honey bears.
While I worked at Disney we partnered with the company HoneyTree to create Winnie The Pooh shaped Honey Bear Bottles. This is one way to leverage the honey bear and the equity of Disney to break out of the mold while keeping the familiarity.