Deep-Fried Opinions of the State Fair

Thursday, August 22, 2019, was the opening day of the Minnesota State Fair! The Fuzzy Duck Team decided this would be the perfect way to close out our summer.

We arrived in the late afternoon and with the Blue Ribbon Bargain Book in hand, we spent a solid three hours exploring as many food selections as possible. 

fair group photo

Of course, you can’t send a bunch of marketing and design professionals to an event like this without critiquing how the food was being marketed. How would these vendors catch our attention? How would they differentiate themselves from the competition? And would the food stand up to all the hype?

With all those questions in place, why not make a game of it? CJ and Katya created “score cards” to help everyone rate the food using the basic categories of presentation, taste, cost and rating them on a 5-star scale.

Having quite a few restaurant clients ourselves, Fuzzy Duck certainly knows the importance of food marketing and we felt it was our responsibility to not only eat the food but also analyze the marketing tactics being used to promote it.

After a quick stop at the Miracle of Birth barn to see all the baby animals, we began our pilgrimage (no ducklings unfortunately – but these baby chicks were certainly cute.) 

State Fair Ducklings

Staying together as a flock of Ducks was difficult with the crowds of people, so, we split up for a few minutes to cover more ground. 

fair crowd

Once we had each grabbed our first food selections, we met back up at the International Bazaar to share our snacks and our findings. We stood at a table under a faux palm tree listening to live music and stuffing our faces with fries, tacos, nachos, and beer.

International Bazaar Collage

A few of us had specific items on our list that we had to try, the rest of us were just going with the flow seeing what items caught our eyes and our appetites! 

So, what did we eat? We had some fair favorites and tried some new things too! Here’s a summary of our findings…

One of our take-aways from this outing was that we recognized many of the marketing tactics as ones we use with our own clients – distinct and unique branding, colorful or lit-up signs with eye-catching graphics, use of cute characters or mascots, clear communication of options and pricing, the occasional vendor employee verbally inviting people to try what they had, ads in the annual coupon book to drive traffic and relying on the quality of the food to help spread “Word of Mouth” marketing or create a social media buzz.

At the same time, we couldn’t help notice some missed opportunities – both in how certain vendors marketed themselves but also some delicious items we failed to try. We’ve already decided that we’ll have to repeat the experiment next year and give ourselves more time to dig into all of the sweet and savory food options!

large fair collage

Are you looking for tasty marketing ideas for your brand?

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