1,000 people were surveyed in September.  And 69% could NOT remember a new product that was launched this year.  69%?!

When I first heard that number from the Most Memorable New Product Launch survey results, announced today and hosted by Schneider Associates (disclaimer: my company), Mintel and IRI, I was in shock.  That is a LOT of people.  I mean, lots of products get launched in a year, right?

Right?

And then I started thinking . . . could I remember any products launched?  Or, if I was surveyed, would I be destined to be one of the 69%?

Many of the Top 5 products – Nintendo Wii Fit, iPod Touch, Bud Light Lime, McDonald’s Chicken Biscuit, Kraft Mac & Cheese Crackers – I thought launched the previous year.  Others in the top 10, like Yoplait Fiber One and Rock Band, I thought came out more than a year ago.

Want another scary number?  Out of the Top 50 products offered as new products launched in 2008, 96% of those surveyed could not remember any.  50 products!  Wow.

And yet another surprising result of the MMNPL Survey – purchasing decisions by males are more influenced by social media than females.

At first, I’m shocked by this.  I almost think it would be reverse.  Women are incredible reliant on word-of-mouth and other’s opinions, whether in person or through blogs and Tweets.  If another woman reviews a product and says, “this made my day!”, it seems like more women would listen to that and go buy it than a guy.  We’re women – we like to go to each other for opinions and support.  I mean, look at all the mommy blogs out there.  And look at their power, which can influence other females to buy – or not buy.  The latter is clear from the recent reaction over Johnson & Johnson’s “hip” (used lightly) and condescending Motrin ad; it released such a fury that J&J finally pulled the ad.  And I doubt any woman is going to go out to buy the product now, especially after hearing all of her peers online encourage her not to support a brand that doesn’t seem to understand the female market.

But then I started thinking about what social media IS.  Is it mommy blogs, TheKnot.com forums, deal sites heavily dominated by females, and grrl power groups on Facebook?  Or is it those little annoying ads on the top of your Google search results page and the banners that hover so devilishly over your Gmail inbox, winking with the sinister eye of advertising aiming directly at you?  If so, then I could see men, who seem to be drawn more to interactive flashy things than long, drawn out forum conversations like women, would definitely be more influenced and notice product placement more than women. 

Plus, I think a lot of the brands that made the MMNPL, such as Bud Light, Apple, Rock Band, Kraft, Burger King & McDonald’s, tend to focus their online outreach more towards male and male-dominated sites.  And they use interactive programs, such as microsites with games, to entice potential buyers for their new products.  (Rock Band is made by EA Games, famous for their Sims game that my boyfriend is so addicted to; I would rather email with a long distance friend than play it.)  So I can see why, after playing a branded game on a web site, males would be like, “Yes, this is cool, I want to own it!”

Now, a lot of feminists will attack me for this post, I’m sure (good time to flaunt my love for Bitch magazine?).  BUT, go to the Rock Band web site, just as an example.  If you know me, whether personally or just from reading my blog, you know I am a HUGE music fan.  Huge.  I spent years playing many instruments and I love being on stage performing, whether I’m dancing, acting or playing an instrument.  HOWEVER, when their page launches, it’s all black and dark green and there’s a large leaping tiger (grrrr!) and an angry eagle, rargh.  Hmm.  I may be looking at this with a biased eye, but it’s kind of male-centric to me.  If I wasn’t interested in rock music, I would turn away from this immediately as a female.  But I search the site a little further…

I look at the zine – ooh, interview with Paul Westerberg, woot!  Hmmm…all the articles are written by guys.  Well, then of course they know how to reach men through social media – they’re the ones behind the content!

So where can men and women find common ground?  Well, maybe it is online, but through efforts focused on gender-free initiatives – not just directed at one sex over the other (i.e. Rock Band vs Motrin).  Then we would be united in our discovery of these new products and they would stick better with us, whether we’re male or female. 

Or, maybe it’s in person.  #6 on the list is KY’s Yours + Mine Couples lubricant.  Ahh.  Now that’s something we can all certainly interact with together.  And most definitely remember. 😉

What do you think?  Do you agree?  And what products do YOU remember launching in 2008?

Full list:
Ten Most Memorable New Products of 2008 (Aided Recall)
1. Nintendo Wii Fit (recalled by 22% of respondents in aided recall*)
2. iPod Touch (16%)
3. Bud Light Lime (15%)
4. McDonald’s Southern Style Chicken Biscuit & Sandwich (14%)
5. Kraft Mac & Cheese Crackers (13%)
6. KY Yours + Mine Couples Lubricant (12%)
7. Gatorade G2, Yoplait Fiber One (11%, two-way tie)
8. MacBook Air, Rock Band, Burger King Apple Fries, Neosporin Neo To Go!, Kraft Bagel-fuls (8%, five-way tie)

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