Ryvita Lunch Packs – stretching to grow the core

Ryvita’s new Lunch Packs could be a rare type of brand extension: one that beats the odds (50%+ of extensions fail) and actually creates brand and business growth. What I really like about it is the way it can help drive the core crispbread business. Here’s what I think we can learn from this new innovation.

1. Solving a real consumer problem

Many people are looking for lunch solutions that are tasty, healthy and easy. Ryvita crispbreads combine taste and health, but it’s not easy to take them to school or work… they’re fragile, and you need to take some form of topping with you. The Lunch Packs combine three crispbreads, a nice topping such as goats cheese and pepper, and a dinky little spoon to spread your topping. And each pack is only 200 calories. So, all round, a really neat solution.

2. Driving physical availability

The really smart thing about Lunch Packs is the way they can drive core brand penetration by getting the brand in front of consumers in a new location – the chiller cabinet. This means that people who would never go to the crispbread section of the store will now see the brand and might buy it.

Ryvita could have created some sort of ready-to-eat “sandwich” product, with two Ryvitas and a filling in between. But I think this would have been less effective at driving core crispbread penetration, as the eating experience is not the same. It would have been a different product altogether, whereas Lunch Packs are a different way of eating the same core product.

3. Excellent execution

Poor execution kills many brand extensions. What looked good as a concept in powerpoint often looks less good when it hits the shelf. Well, hats off to Ryvita. The pack looks attractive, the product tastes good and is easy to use.

I also like the branding architecture. Many teams would have been tempted to create some sort of fancy sub-brand for the new product. The “Lunch Packs” descriptor works well on several levels

-        It keeps Ryvita as the star of the show

-        It clearly positions the product

-        It passes the “shopping list test”: “Ryvita Lunch Packs” at five syllables long has a good chance of being recalled.

4. Brings to life the brand idea

The primary reason to launch a brand extension is to SMS : sell more stuff. If they’re good, they can also help build the brand image. And Lunch Packs might do this for Ryvita. They present a new face of the brand, and make it seem more modern and tasty. In doing so the launch can help revitalise the brand, away from being seen just for diets, and positioning it as a tasty, healthy and crunchy base for loads of delicious toppings.

In conclusion, the Ryvita Lunch Pack is an example of a brand extension that has the potential to build both the brand and core business, by solving a genuine consumer problem and delivering good execution.