The Tossed brand is somewhat of a phenomenon when it comes to City of London’s multiple lunchtime food retailers and the positioning of its identity. Tossed’s mission statement is defined simply as ‘Turning over a new leaf’ and Tossed not only offers very good tasting products complete with a plethora of very healthy options (calorie advertised), competitive pricing, very high quality service (similar to USA hospitality) but the foods are 100% ethical from origin and the brand is 100% endorsing fair-trade policies across the brand.
If that wasn’t enough to wet interest into the brand appetite of Tossed, they have a conservative growth strategy that allows new stores to grow more organically, unlike some of their competitors. Tossed is not expanding at such an unrealistic growth rate enabling it to steer clear of financial difficulty, capturing trend changes and cleverly limiting any chance that it could be a victim of its own success.
Yet none of the above is purely the definitive differentiator for the Tossed brand which is setting itself apart from competitors in the vast and furiously competitive fast food market segment. The key element is the genius of the ‘tongue in cheek’ marketing messages that is reminiscent of the highly effective ‘Virgin’ marketers.
Upon entering a Tossed store customers are faced with a vast array of amusing ‘messages’ that stay in your mind, translate to the office via word of mouth/ social media but also subliminally help customers while away the time if the store is very busy (this is usually the case).
For Example: Upon queuing for the salad selection a rather large squirrel is printed into the celing of structural column above you with a message saying ‘Can you see my nuts for down here?’ The staff room door to the kitchen has ‘Do not enter Tossers Only’ and on the reverse of the staff uniforms depicts the slogan ‘I am a Tosser’.
In some retail environments this type of marketing strategy could be blindly offensive and risky however because the buzzing store atmosphere and the light bubbly refreshing ambience of its employees, consumers are encouraged to ‘skid past’ any offenses and encouraged to embrace the slapstick humour. A very clever strategy when Tossed is faced with a store full of somewhat grumpy city workers who have had a punishing day and are about to go back for a gruelling round two.
A key point to mention is that all of the brand messaging is poised towards offending males only and never females. It is clear via female customers reactions (capturing slogans on their mobile devices and sending them to friends/social media) in store that the humour does translate well and appropriately. It does seem that Tossed have managed to capture and create a moment of pure moment/amusement to brighten up the dull commercial day and to generate wider marketing messages about the Tossed brand . Men in the same manner seem to fully embrace the humour so in essence a double whammy, thumbs up for the messaging team.
Looking at the historic origins of the Tossed brand it is clear where the ethos came from and why it is working well in the UK. The brand was created by a young 25 year old CEO, Vincent who did extensive and detailed market research in USA service industry (arguably the best in the world for hospitality), new suitable food and beverage product options, healthy options and alternatives to the ever growing body conscious consumers and also ethical considerations before launching Tossed in the UK to fill a gap analysed by Vincent to gain superior competitive advantage.
It is not uncommon in this day and age to combine humour with traditional and somewhat ‘boring’ brands. When I developed the brand strategy of Winston the British bulldog called ‘Churchill’ for Churchill car insurance in the nineties, the primarily aim was to rebrand the company to gain consumer interest (as Churchill was perceived to be a boring brand along with its stale products) into a fun light hearted brand to engage customers and deliver a fresh commercial awareness to ultimately gain sales. Compare the Market similarly used Meerkats to re-engage insurance consumers and provide strong long term brand messaging to achieve more sales and higher market share.
In summary, the key facets to Tossed success to date has been the integrated approach of an incredible depth of knowledge in service offering, healthy relevant emerging products ranges but without doubt the key differentiator for the brand (awareness and consumer engagement) are the cutting edge slapstick sense of humour messages across the brand. ‘Comedy Marketing’ as I have defined it, looks like it has never been so much fun!
Pushing the boundaries to constant engage and re-engage consumers is a primary aim for marketers to achieve market leading, prime commercial results and strong financial returns. Flipping the marketing coin of success has never been so good for Tossed, heads or tails doesn’t seem to apply for this brand as they have truly differentiated and have secured a third side to the coin and landed on their feet.
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