Cock Soup (as in Chicken Soup) and the Power of Niche Marketing

Grace Cock Soup and Chicken Soup Packets

If you are outside of the Caribbean, you may have seen the image of “Grace Cock Soup Mix” posted on social media or may have even seen this product on the shelves of your grocery story, usually on the isle with imported foods.

The word “cock” simply means “chicken” (or specifically a male “rooster”), but in many countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, the word has come to mean something quite different, specifically a nickname for a certain male appendage.

As such, the reaction to the name outside of the Caribbean is often met with chuckles by some, while others find the name gross or even offensive.

One person on social media commented:

“At the end of the day that product being on sale in the U.K. just proves the company hasn’t done any research on their market. Calling it Cock flavoured is just going to put people off buying it here and probably offend a fair bunch as well. It’s no different to expanding into an Asian market and not understanding their culture.”

But, actually, it is just the opposite. They know exactly who their target market is.

Knowing their Target Market

Outside of the Caribbean, especially in major markets like the U.S. or the U.K., this is an imported product that is most likely more expensive than competing domestic products. But their target market is willing to pay more because it is authentic and it is an imported product from Jamaica.

Their product is not meant to appeal to the masses because the masses probably aren’t going to buy an unfamiliar foreign chicken soup mix that is more expensive.

The fact that it has an authentic name used in the Caribbean appeals to their niche market. In fact, if they used a generic name, they might lose part of their target market. It might be perceived as being an Americanized version if they changed the name to “Chicken Soup” in the U.S. market, for example. And that is not what their target market is looking for.

From a marketing standpoint, they don’t care what the masses think. They care what their target market thinks. They offer something that competing mainstream products can’t provide. In this case, authentic Jamaican food.

If they wanted to serve the mainstream market outside of the Caribbean, they would have rebranded the product with a different name. In fact, they did change the packet to read “Chicken Soup” instead of “Cock Soup” in some markets. But if they did that in the U.S. and U.K., the product would be less appealing to their target market: immigrants and people who want authentic Caribbean food.

Add the fact that many people find it funny and share it on social media, giving them free publicity, and “cock soup” is the better name.

Applying this Marketing Technique

When you create or market your own product, remember this. You need to appeal to your target market, not necessarily to the masses.

And, if you do want to serve both markets, then you may want to sell two versions, one targeted towards your niche market, and one targeted towards the masses because what appeals to one may not appeal to the other.

And if you can figure out some way to make people laugh and want to share it, that is even better.

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