Marketing Failure Case: Colgate Kitchen Entrees

Colgate launched Kitchen Entrees, a line of frozen food products, in the US in 1982, hoping to capture the growing market for ready-to-eat meals. It also hoped that customers, after enjoying its frozen food offerings, would go out and buy its toothpaste as well.

Reasons for failure

Colgate is a well-known brand for toothpaste. But the company decided to use the same name to sell food products, called Colgate Kitchen Entrees. The idea must have been that consumers would eat their Colgate meal, then brush their teeth with Colgate toothpaste. But connecting the taste of food and toothpaste was not a good idea. While the idea seemed workable on the drawing board, Kitchen Entrees flopped with customers, who got very confused about Colgate’s brand image. Using the same name was not a good idea and the food products failed.

The Colgate Kitchen Entrees takeaway

Avoid linking products that have nothing in common. It this case, they should have come up with a new brand name instead on trying to take advantage of Colgate strong awareness. It is important not to confuse consumers with your brands. It would have been interesting to make market research first to determine if the name was good. Sometimes, using the same name can work (like Virgin), but here the product categories are too different to be linked.

How to avoid failure: most important elements

  1. Do proper market research before launching your product.
  2. When you make a brand extension you have to think very carefully what core values makes your brand profitable and try not to move away of these values because that is how people feel when they are using your brand and that is how they have to feel with the new extension.

About the Author


CMO, Lecture Strategy and Marketing at SolvayBusinessSchool Passionate by education, entrepreneurship and marketing. Proud father and husband. Join me on Google+

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