Cadburys FlakeMost books on marketing and branding  will tell you that you need to “position” a product and you should avoid associating the product with anything that conflicts with that brand positioning. (At least, I’m assuming they do. I don’t think I’ve read any!).

For example, Pot Noodle position themselves as the irreverent antidote to all the healthy options. A marketing manager at Ikea would perhaps say they are all about affordable style.

I was hit over the head by a positioning contradiction this weekend whilst out with the family in sunny Southend.

We stopped for an ice-cream (Mint choc chip and black cherry if you must know – they didn’t have any Tutti Frutti) and we all had the obligatory flake stuck in the top. Because that’s what flakes are for – putting in an ice-cream that’s on a hot summer day. Right?

Well not if you remember the series of “crumbliest flakiest” adverts, like the one  starring an attractive young lady in the bath. The word “phallic” springs to mind. These squarely positioned it as a sexy chocolate for grown ups. You can’t get much further away from it being a chocolate you plonk in an ice cream on family outings.

Are there any other products that successfully manage to position themselves in two such contrasting ways?

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Writing this blog post got me wondering where the name “99” for a flake in an ice-cream came from. The Wikipedia page offers a number of entertaining possible explanations. But the highlight of the page for me was the quote from Eastenders: “get off my 99, you flake stealing nonce!”

I’m going to post this blog on Twitter first with the original title, and then again with the quote above as the title. I’m betting the second gets lots more clickthroughs. I’ll update this page with the results.

Update:  When touted on Twitter with “Get Off My 99, You Flake Stealing Nonce” as the title, it got 20% more clicks than when using “The Chocolate With a Personality Disorder”

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