Can a brand spread good taste in a tasteless society?

After a lengthy absence from advertising, the legendary Grey Poupon mustard is back with a new Facebook campaign.

BooboomustardThe new campaign's slogan is 'Spread good taste' and the strategy calls for pre-qualifying consumers to see if they're classy enough to join Grey Poupon's 'Society of Good Taste.' Aspiring Society members' FB profiles will be checked to “…see whether their proper use of grammar, taste in art, restaurant check-ins, books read and movies selected combine…” to earn them a coveted membership.

This may sound elitist, but I like it.

That said, will a society that embraces such trash as The Kardashians, Brittney and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo aspire to join a good taste society? And, even if some do, could they possibly pass the Grey Poupon test?

I think the campaign will play well among the One Percenters. But, I cannot in my wildest dreams see any significant percentage of the Under 35 crowd giving a damn. They may have loved the Wayne's World riff on the mustard maker's classic 1980s TV commercial, “Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?”, but few Millennials possess the intellectual wherewithal (or desire) to belong to a Society of Good Taste.

All of which leaves me thinking Grey Poupon has exacerbated a problem faced by other Baby Boomer brands from insurance companies to automobiles: knowing their core constituency is dying off, how do they reinvent themselves to attract a younger, edgier buyer with a different set of wants and needs?

I'm going to take Grey Poupon's Society of Good Taste challenge. But, I guarantee the vast majority of 20 Somethings won't. And, therein lies the marketing conundrum: how does a brand spread taste in a tasteless society?

7 thoughts on “Can a brand spread good taste in a tasteless society?

  1. No, I’m in with politics. Since I don’t get to see many comedy acts these days, where else can I get such great satire?
    Since it’s what people complain about the most, I doubt anyone ever really gives up on politics, even if they don’t vote.
    I hate Grey Poupon. I come from a Mets household; Gulden’s all the way!

  2. I’ll disregard your first comment, as the joke dates back to 1993.
    The Grey Poupon test won’t be a debate question, but if it were, Romney would say or do anything to act “regular.” He does this despite routinely failing spectacularly at it. And Obama would lie about it as well to get re-elected.

  3. I’m not surprised that someone who once dated Asian kickboxing twins failed the Grey Poupon Society of Good Taste quiz, Peter. I am surprised that you see it as a Red Badge of Courage (actually, it should be a mustard-colored badge of courage, but still). Romney was born with the proverbial silver spoon, so I’m guessing he’d breeze through the test. And, Obama seems to have learned all there is to know about diplomacy (save: Israel), so there’s hope for his becoming a Society member as well.

  4. When John Kerry ran for President, I imagined that fancy boy asking his wife Theresa to pass the Grey Poupon, to which she nastily replied, “Heinz makes mustard too, dammit.”
    I’m proud to say I failed the Grey Poupon test. Maybe Mitt and Barry O could prop up their regular guy status by claiming the same.

  5. They’re totally overdue for an update. It was a great campaign, but I think it has outlived its usefulness. How about this:
    An obvious Man of Leisure strolls up to a sidewalk hot dog venor. “Excuse me? Do you have Grey Poupon?” he says. The vendor nods and removes his apron to reveal a tuxedo shirt. He dons white gloves and bends down to retrieve a silver serving tray with a jar of Grey Poupon, which he spreads elegantly on the order. Cut away to the Man of Leisure walking away enjoying his hot dog while the vendor puts the apron on in the background. Ends with the line: “Grey Poupon. When you want to keep it classy.”
    Or you can have two hipsters on fixies (wearing tuxedo shirts?) stopped at a traffic light where they ‘refresh’ the original campaign. You’ll hit the millennials demo with the hipsters and the boomer demo who remember the original. Just doing my Don Draper impression over here.
    “Keeping it classy” is in the current zeigeist and it doesn’t allude to any kind of exclusivity as with the earlier commercial, which would probably be in poor taste given the current economic climate. While you do have to have good taste to enjoy it, you don’t necessarily have to be well-heeled.
    I’ve probably put way too much thought into this, but yeah, many brands do need to give their respective Aunt Jemima’s a new hairdo.