Friday, April 08, 2011

Intermezzo

Lactantia's Traditional Spread Margarine is a deceptive product name for its misleading meaning. Traditions are passed from generation to generation according to its definition. This marketing strategy aims to increase people's compliance to purchase their so-called traditional products by necessity to perpetuate a tradition. The mere usage of the word may be enough to increase social compliance.


Margarine has been created as a substitute for butter in 1869 by Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès and was subsequently patented and unsuccessfully commercialized. The word traditional spread could be meaningful on this original product.

Lactantia has however been founded in 1947 [1][2] and its business activities hardly reach two generations where the first generation most likely had a preference for butter. While margarine aimed to be a substitute for butter, it is noteworthy to know that it was illegal to sell butter-coloured margarine in many countries until recently, e.g. the law was last abandoned in 1967 (Wisconsin, US) and 2008 (Québec, Canada).

Lactantia offers three (3) categories of margarines and four (4) different ones in its traditional spreads category: Traditional Spread, Traditional Semi-Salted Spread, Traditional Unsalted Spread and Traditional Garlic Spread. The production in those times were considerably simplified and variety is a relatively recent phenomenon, which decreases the likelihood that all four so-called traditional spreads margarine were available during the initial production. At best, one spread could be traditional in the case that the company would have used the original formula developed in 1869.

The marketing strategy might be attempting to distinguish the three (3) categories of margarines by creating a strong contrast — Traditional Spread, Olivina Margarine and Healthy Attitude Margarine, but at the expense of a misleading product name.