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September 2010


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Many women choose to leave the rat race because their peers (and potential mates) judge them less by their incomes, and there is less pressure on them to be the breadwinner in their families.

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I didn't realize that category name plays a major role in advertising until I read this post or maybe I'm just unaware of its effect that I didn't know that it's already the reason why I have a personal choice of product. Have you heard of Coca Cola Vitamin energy drink? I think they did great with the category name but it's misleading.

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Great article - we need to outlaw High Frictose COrn Syrup.

Erik Johnson

Laura-You make some great points. Activia is a great example and is one worth noting. The name of categories is extremely important.

Tech companies in Silicon Valley could use the same advice when starting a company. Not only do most choose bad names but they have an unclear or long-winded category name that has little chance of sticking in the mind.

Recent quote from Facebook head of product...Chris Cox,“Getting there first is not what it’s all about. What matters always is execution. Always."


One would expect to hear this from a product guy. Many still confuse first to market and first in the mind. This quote is sure to confuse SV even more.

Categories are important. Great post.

Laura Ries

Read this article from the respected and well researched New York Times. I'm no fan of HFCS, but the science on it is far from conclusive. What is certain is that too much processed food and too much sugar, fat and salt is not healthy.


"Many scientists say that there is little data to back up the demonization of high-fructose corn syrup, and that links between the crystalline goop and obesity are based upon misperceptions and unproved theories, or are simply coincidental.

"There's no substantial evidence to support the idea that high-fructose corn syrup is somehow responsible for obesity," said Dr. Walter Willett, the chairman of the nutrition department of the Harvard School of Public Health and a prominent proponent of healthy diets. "If there was no high-fructose corn syrup, I don't think we would see a change in anything important. I think there's this overreaction."

Dr. Willett says that he is not defending high-fructose corn syrup as a healthy ingredient, but that he simply thinks that the product is no worse than the refined white sugar it replaces, since both offer easily consumed calories with no nutrients in them. High fructose corn syrup's possible link to obesity is the only specific health problem that the ingredient's critics have cited to date — and experts say they believe that this link is tenuous, at best.

Even the two scientists who first propagated the idea of a unique link between high-fructose corn syrup and America's soaring obesity rates have gently backed off from their initial theories. Barry M. Popkin, a nutrition professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says that a widely read paper on the subject that he wrote in 2004 with George A. Bray, a professor of medicine at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., was just meant to be a "suggestion" that would inspire further study.

"It was a theory meant to spur science, but it's quite possible that it may be found out not to be true," Professor Popkin said. "I don't think there should be a perception that high-fructose corn syrup has caused obesity until we know more."


If experts are saying that 'sugar is sugar' their diplomas came from a corn flake packet.

There is a whole class of chemicals called sugars. AND the different sugars are processed differently by our bodies. This is the problem with HFCS - it is processed differently to other sugars (the usual white stuff).

I do think health consequences may be related to a products performance - as well as its marketing.


Experts don't agree that "sugar is sugar". A study from earlier this year by Princeton showed that high fructose corn syrup leads to considerably more weight gain over normal sugar:


Chris Houchens - Brand Zeitgeist

You're right. It's probably too late.
The trouble is that Budweiser and Activia came out of the gate with the right names. I thing HFCS is permanently embedded in the zeitgeist. The people who try to villianize HFCS are the ones who reference the name the most. They're not going to start referring to it as something else.

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