You might be aware that earlier this week Toblerone caused national consternation by announcing that it would be increasing the space between the triangular peaks on its iconic bar. You might also remember that last year, Crème Egg announced that it would be changing the recipe in its famous Easter treats. 

By Richard Stone, managing director

Cadbury also announced it would be changing the recipe in its classic Fruit & Nut bar last year – again causing ream upon ream of media coverage and a pile up of radio DJs ready to discuss the change live on air…

Hang on, this is weird! They all generated lots of media coverage by changing their product! Almost as if they did it on purpose!

It is, of course, a classic FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) PR trope – announce a recipe change and, whether the brand goes through with it or not, you create a media and social media furore. 

But could a B2B industrial PR brand achieve the same effect? My first thought was no; we don’t fall in love with industry in quite the same way as we do with our childhood chocolate love substitutes (Freud alert - Ed).

But when I put some thought into it something struck me – colour. What if JCB started making electric caerulean or azure construction equipment and scrapped the famous yellow? What if KUKA discontinued its orange robots and started making them in smashed avocado or Greek olive?

There would be outrage, and not just over the hipster colour names. We associate these iconic colours with their manufacturers. If they changed, their brand recognition would decrease and there would be media outrage, if only trade media outrage in KUKA’s case.

So should they? Would the coverage be worth announcing a colour change and not actually implementing it?

I think you would probably generate the press clippings and social impact to make it worthwhile, but a B2B brand might not be forgiven as quickly as Toblerone or Crème Egg.

For some reason, we don’t believe the statements that B2B brands make in quite the same way that we swallow wholesale the announcements from consumer companies. Could JCB or KUKA do a Toblerone? Go on, I dare you.

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