New product recall at all-time low

Advertisers and brand managers have new challenges to face as Americans are less aware of new product launches than ever before, according to the seventh annual Most Memorable New Product Launch Survey (MMNPL), conducted by Schneider Associates, Mintel International and IRI.

When asked about new products from 2008, 69 percent of 1,000 respondents could not remember a single new product launched during the year. Even the most memorable new product of 2008, the Wii Fit, was recalled by only 22 percent. "2008 was a year of distractions, with the average American's attention pulled in many different directions simultaneously," says Lynn Dornblaser, director of trend insight at Mintel. "The fervent presidential campaigns and election genuinely excited many voters. But even more, we saw people deeply impacted by the financial crisis. From higher food prices to unemployment to housing scares, economic struggles seriously affected the way many people lived this year."

Char Partelow, senior vice president, Panel Consulting Group at IRI notes that Americans have cut back on spending, making them inherently less aware of new products. "Because many people can only afford the basics, they're sticking to what they know, and products and services that bring them comfort. We found that 'a trusted brand name' ranked as the number one quality respondents looked for when buying new products. Many Americans are simply less interested in 'risking it' on a new product."

Of the products most frequently remembered in aided recall (from a list of 50 choices), five were new twists on familiar food and drink: Bud Light Lime, McDonald's Southern Style Chicken Biscuit & Sandwich, Kraft Mac & Cheese Crackers, Gatorade G2 and Yoplait Fiber One. "Consumers recalled new product launches from brands they know and love. McDonald's, Kraft and Bud Light are trusted brands that gave people a new variation on something familiar," says Julie Hall, vice president, Schneider Associates.