I noticed Blue Ribbon® Extra Long Grain Rice on the kitchen counter. Specifically, I saw the big blue ribbon on the packaging with these words: “U.S. FINEST QUALITY” and “#1.”
(These are the kinds of things a copywriter notices.)
Do you suppose this long-grain rice actually won a blue ribbon? I thought I knew the answer to my question, but I decided to investigate.
At BlueRibbonRice.com I found no evidence that blue ribbons were awarded to any products. However, I did find some apparent claims in the marketing copy: “Add the Blue Ribbon quality to your meals. The best for your family.”
I guess blue ribbon is a metaphor in this case. The brand is making a quality promise.
Rice is a commodity. Whether you’re Uncle Ben’s, Mahatma (which calls itself “America’s Favorite Rice”), or Blue Ribbon, you have to try to differentiate yourself even though I doubt that most people could tell one kernel of long-grain rice from another. So you make your packaging as eye-catching as possible and add phrases such as “grown in the USA,” “fat free,” “cholesterol free” and “gluten free.”
I asked my wife why she bought the Blue Ribbon brand. Was it because of the giant blue ribbon on the packaging?
No. It was because of the size of the package and the price. That should make Blue Ribbon happy. A sale is a sale.