by Charlotte Beal
Consumers are tired and stressed. So who has the energy to care about eating the PC way all the time? Fewer people — that’s who. More citizens (not just eat-to-live types, but even the live-to-eat ones) are looking for a little fun, relaxation and subversion in their vittles.
Workers have a right to take lunch and vacation. They also have a right to eat American cheese, Fritos and Pepperidge Farm white bread — even in a restaurant. New York chef Sara Jenkins caused a bit of a stir when she declared that her second restaurant wouldn’t be a slave to seasonality: “I buy not-local asparagus in February.” Gasp! (Food & Wine, August 2012). Simmzy’s Pub, a burger-and-craft-beer joint in Southern California, states on its menu: “We are committed to sourcing local, responsibly grown, seasonal ingredients for our menu (okay, the beef is from the Midwest, but let’s face it, that’s where a lot of cows live).” As Iconoculture has noted in our research, it’s a message that definitely gets modern diners’ attention — especially the 78 million diners who are Millennials. “The rules” of food are getting a takedown, from Portlandia’s now-infamous “Is it local?” scene to the New Yorker’s recent “I Will Be Your Server” essay.
What this means to marketers
- As our research has noted, it’s OK to laugh, and it’s preferable to Get RealSM.
- Marketing messages of convenience and value may seem basic, but they trump complicated and contrived messaging.
- Health messaging should generally focus on balance and moderation over rules and regs, but there’s never been a better time for indulgence purveyors to play up a devil-may-care attitude.
- Marketing is seasonal, and summer just might be the time to say “take a hike” to the PC police.