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April 24, 2021

Wonka-style edible ads -- the future of marketing?

By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance

In case you haven’t noticed, newspapers ain’t exactly the place to be right now.

But Old Man Print is a resilient fellow. Even though his battle against the Internet might be more lopsided than one of those Kimbo Slice street fights, there’s now something the papers can offer you’ll never find online.

The Economist reports newspapers might be getting a shot in the arm by delivering edible ads inside its pages, an homage to Willy Wonka and a creative spin on those cologne/perfume pages you see today in magazines.

Even though you might think First Flavor, the company responsible for bringing this idea to life, sound like a bunch of stoners, their approach to make this the next big thing in advertising actually seems legit. 

Their lickable ads, which are produced on edible films, have so far been sent out for Welch’s grape juice, acai-berry juice, lime-spiked rum and baking soda toothpaste in stores, magazines and via direct mail campaigns.

Awful-flavoured cigarette ads were even sent to schools to deter kids from smoking, a move that was likely to spawn the first line of, “Mommy, is this what Courtney Love tastes like?” questions in history.

Now, First Flavour wants to tackle newspapers by stuffing them full of edible ads the way they’ve been with coupons and fliers for years.

The ads would be delivered in sealed pouches and First Flavour wants to see them attached to the front pages of newspapers to accompany corresponding food and drink promotions.

Naturally, papers approached with the idea have been sceptical, but the way the Economist puts it, First Flavour thinks they’re onto something.

They presume “the collapse in newspaper advertising revenue, as a result of the recession and the rise of the Internet, provides an opportunity. Internet advertisements can do all sorts of the things, but so far there is no way to transmit tastes electronically. Edible ads would allow newspapers to offer something the Internet cannot match.”

Sounds fair, at least, yet whether papers will actually go for the pitch is another matter. Though profits in print advertising can’t get much worse, can they?

If this does someday become a reality – and you find yourself making out with your watermelon-flavoured sports page while you walk down the street in 2012 or something – let me offer you one piece of advice.

Please, for the love of God, watch out for this man.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...