Bubblegum Broccoli


Here’s what McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson said when describing bubblegum-flavored broccoli that the company developed a few years ago:

“It wasn’t all that.”


Put yourself in the shoes of those poor kids who tasted this Frankenstein “food.” Imagine what you might have said if you sampled the stuff. 

It’s gotta be more (lots more) than, “It wasn’t all that.”

Bubblegum-flavored broccoli is not some Wonka-esque fantasy.

McDonald’s wanted (aka was pressured) to offer more nutritious vittles.

So they conjured up broccoli-shaped bubblegum — check that…I mean…bubblegum-flavored broccoli. 

The concoction “confused” kids who tried it.

So said the CEO who seems prone to understatement. 

Lotta lessons to draw from this story.

Lesson one: Bubblegum flavor belongs in just one place — bubblegum.

Lesson two: Broccoli should taste like broccoli…or maybe…

…like soy sauce.

Lesson number three (the one you should heed if you’re a marketer): Test your stuff before you bring it to market.

McDonald’s got this part right. So this story has a happy ending.

They tested the broccoli before trying to sell it.

Bubblegum-flavored broccoli failed the test (another understatement!).

So McDonald’s scrapped the idea.

Aside from tainting the taste-buds of some juvenile testers, McDonald’s limited the damage.

All businesses, including yours, come up with bad ideas. 

Smart businesses test ideas.

Roll with ideas that pass the test.

Scrap ideas that fail.  

This applies to big ideas (a new product or service).

This applies to small ideas (a subject line for an email). 

The more you test, the smarter you and your business will be. 

p.s. I help coaches, consultants, and business leaders discover and deliver powerful stories that captivate prospects and inspire them to act. Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.

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