Product Polls Are All Lies. For Proof, Look At Chex
In 2004, Kellogg's figured it was time to unveil a new flavor for Chex cereal in Korea, and they decided to do so with a big promotion. They held an election, so customers could choose between two differently flavored candidates. You could vote for cartoon mascot number one, Cheki, who was chocolate-flavored, or you could vote for cartoon mascot number two, Chaka, who was green onion–flavored.
Like most polls open to the entire public, this was not a true attempt to gauge people's opinion but just an ad campaign, what we call "boosting engagement" today. Kellogg's had already decided the new flavor would be chocolate Chex. They set up the election expecting chocolate Cheki would get an easy win. Of course people would vote for Cheki. Who would vote for green onion breakfast cereal?
Koreans, that's who. Some Koreans eat sweet breakfast cereal, sure, but a traditional Korean breakfast is savory and no different from any other meal of the day. There'll be rice, and soup, maybe meat, and definitely a bunch of side dishes with spicy vegetables. We feel a little embarrassed for having to Cracked-splain this to Kellogg's, the breakfast experts, but whoever designed this promo was deeply unfamiliar with the market in question.
With Cheki significantly ahead in the polls, Kellogg's declared a bunch of votes invalid. Many people had illegally voted twice, Kellogg's said without evidence. They then set up a special election booth at an amusement park, figuring people surrounded by stalls selling sweet stuff would pick chocolate, and this time, they were right. And so, the new Chex cereal flavor was chocolate, as planned.
Many Chaka fans felt bitter. Subverting democracy is no joke, especially when dictatorship ruled the land not too long ago. But Kellogg's apologized and tried to make things right 16 years later. In the summer of 2020, they brought out a green onion edition of Chex cereal, and the ad campaign this time featured '90s pop star Tae Jin-ah singing "I'm sorry." Upon tasting the long-delayed cereal, many aging Chaka voters declared that it was ... not very good. It didn't have nearly enough green onion.
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Top image: Kellogg's