Brand Repositioning to the Original Position

A1 sauceA1 Sauce, to most people alive today, is a steak sauce. This is due to the fact that since the early 1960s that is what their brand position has been. This year, they are repositioning the brand as a sauce for “Almost Everything. Almost.”

A1 has dropped from a bit over 2% market share to about 1.7% share (in the table sauce category). It’s believed this is caused by fewer people eating steaks. A1’s previous attempt to establish the brand as for more than just steaks, such as hamburgers, met with limited success.

This time Kraft appears to be going for broke by repositioning the brand as sauce for foods of all types. Literally “Almost Everything. Almost.” They have created TV spots and intend to make a major push.

Ries and Trout, authors of Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, have cautioned for years about brand extension and one could suggest that is what is going on here. However, one can argue this is not the case. In fact, before the 1960s, A1 was in fact a table sauce not a steak sauce. The steak niche was created in the 1960s to leverage beef’s popularity, and to niche the brand. They are simply returning A1 to its original position.

Will this work? I don’t know … obviously. In the final analysis it will come down to taste. The best the campaign can do is to encourage trial of A1 on other foods. If people like it, success will accrue. If not, then not.

All I can add is that my older son has liked A1 on “Almost Everything” for as long as I can remember. When he was 4 he ordered it for a steak in a restaurant his grandfather had taken him to. The waiter never brought it. Guess he considered it to be an insult to the chef.


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