This post is part of an assignment for my Global Branding course at WU.
Assignment for 10/13/2016
Find a weird product/service/good etc. that doesn’t lend itself well to branding but does well in the market.
- Google search of “weird brands” resulted in the following articles/listicles among other results
- Redefined search terms to “weird products”
- Scrolled through Craigslist for weird services or offers but didn’t find anything useful
- Finger iPhone stand reminded me of the tiny hands toy which became popular b/c of SNL, One Tiny Hand blog, subsequent meme, and Tiny Hands SuperPAC
During the first session of Global Branding, we were assigned to find weird products that do not lend themselves well to branding but still had success or have the potential for success on the market. We would then present our products to the class and vote on the best brand. During my search for weird brands and products, I came across many ridiculous products with interesting branding strategies. A few of my favorites are pictured and linked above with Big Mouth Inc.’s Tiny Hands being my chosen product to present in lecture.
I chose Tiny Hands because it amuses me. They are tiny plastic hands with limitless comic possibilities and no intrinsic value yet awareness, popularity, and demand are relatively high because the branding is effective and innovative, though not entirely intentional.
Of the three drivers of value for this product, only two, want and demand, exist since they do not serve a basic need but addresses a want for comedic entertainment and are relatively affordable and accessible, making demand for the product sufficient enough to justify its existence. Since Tiny Hands are very unique and do not fit easily into a product category, the product levels of meaning do not describe it well. Generally though, Tiny Hands can be categorized as a novelty product and can be analyzed within that context. The core benefit is that it satisfies a want for entertainment. A generic novelty product would usually be non-harmful and functioning, some expected attributes are plastic materials, portability, and clean design. On the augmented product level, Tiny Hands adds on the unique attributes of being shaped like hands and being tiny. Additionally, the name serves as a unique selling point because it is short, catchy, and descriptive of the product so if a potential consumer wants to purchase it, they can easily search and find the product with just a few key words.
Since it is difficult to analyze Tiny Hands with product models due to its unique identity as a novelty product, branding it would be nontraditional as well. Nevertheless, branding exists on all levels of product meaning (core benefit, generic, expected, augmented, and potential), so the same goes for these plastic hands. The difference with novelty products and in particular Tiny Hands is that traditional marketing strategies do not always work. For example, the target consumer of novelty products is someone who may not need much convincing to buy these products because they already have the psychographic (attitudes and personality) and behavioral attributes (benefits sought and usage rate) that lend them to purchase the goods. Also, since novelty products tend to be fairly unique, there is not a lot of direct competition so POPs and PODs are much more general when comparing to indirect competitors such as other novelty products, toys, more serious gift items, and other potential purchases.
This makes branding Tiny Hands relatively simple and straight forward since there is not much more that can be said besides “they’re tiny plastic hands you use for entertainment; it’s funny.” Big Mouth Inc.’s slogan is “Tiny Hands equals big laughs.” What makes this product’s branding and position in the market successes is its prominence in the zeitgeist through meme-ification. The concept of “tiny hands” reached virality thanks to an SNL sketch from 2008 in which Kristen Wiig used tiny plastic hands for her character’s bit and the One Tiny Hand meme that started in 2012 in which photos of famous people are edited so that one of their hands is significantly smaller than the other. The usage of tiny hands for comedic purposes in media such as Buzzfeed videos and the reference to Donald Trump’s tiny hands as an indication of incompetence helped to strengthen the prevalence and humor of Tiny Hands in consumers’ minds. Personally, I have never seen any advertisements or marketing of any kind from Big Mouth Inc. for its products and only knew about this product from online memes and viral videos that feature the hands. I assume a lot of other consumers can attest to the same.