Second Rule of Marketing: Learn Your Fractions
Last week, I discussed a new product campaign undertaken by A&W Restaurants.
The chain decided to add to its menu a one-third pound hamburger priced less than McDonald’s Quarter Pounder.
In an effort to understand why (kudos to A&W for wanting to know), the bane of most corporate executives, market research, was finally undertaken.
What the company learned was this: Customers misunderstood the value. A majority believed that a one-third pound hamburger was smaller than the quarter pounder. And why was that? Because the “three” (in the denominator — 1/3) is less than the “four” in the denominator of the quarter pounder (1/4).
Three is less than four.
Amazing you say? Not so fast.
Marketing lore is rich with such stories. I’ll share more in the weeks and months ahead.
Oh. And one more thing about fractions.
Familiar with Fifth Third Bank?
Aside from irony of financial institutions being unable pronounce fractions correctly, the history of its name is quite interesting.
In 1908, Third National Bank and Fifth National Bank merged — becoming Fifth Third National Bank of Cincinnati. Although Third National was the senior partner and, therefore, should’ve had its name listed first, the merger occurred when prohibition ideas were growing.
Supposedly, “Fifth Third” was better than “Third Fifth” — which executives feared would be construed as a reference to ‘three-fifths’ of alcohol.
And now you know.