Get on the fast track        


Jul 23, 2020    Burn Book



Ahh, yes, the nostalgia play. What better way to tug at the wallet of any demographic of consumers than to tug at the heartstrings first? Everyone has a sense of nostalgia for something, right?

Even people without a prescribed “typical” home life growing up will have an aspect of nostalgia that matches whatever they did have. It’s a human concept that did and will exist no matter what changes cause it (the nostalgia)– like technological advancements, cultural shifts, notions debunked or introduced. This list goes on and on in vague terms and thus, it is the job of the targeter (you, who has a product to sell, and me, who’s good at helping people sell things) to denote:

— what demo/psychographic group misses something the most

— & what combination of product naming, growth hacking, and brand marketing strategy will position your product as the thing they miss?

Why does this show sound like I miss my sister?

The whole point of this tactic is not to fool the consumer into misplacing their nostalgia in a totally new product, but to show that this evolution is good, and keep the most classic parts the same. (Nuances are what hold the show, people. People don’t miss Tom & Jerry because there are no new or better cartoons; they miss Tom & Jerry because what they actually yearn for is no longer common in their life, such as the cold milk and sugar cereal you were allowed to have only on Saturday mornings as you watched cartoons and both parents were home at the same time. Now it’s obvious why so many brands do “vintage” or “throwback” limited time branding.)

This week, in Part 12 of us stalking emerging startups from a Gen Z perspective, we’re VERY excited to run into a beloved that spans generations: chicken nuggets.

Oh yes, we love nugs.

Not just from McDonald’s. Not even just those Tyson microwavables or Dino Buddies. Just chicken nuggets in general. (Did you know that Gen Z lovingly refers to them as “chicken nuggies” because of how comforting they are, knowing fully well it’s due to the generational trauma they’re all dealing with as having the highest rates of depression and therefore highest rates of relatable content and self-soothing? Anyways, they don’t say all that but, same, ~~ chicken nuggies 🙂 ~~ )

SIMULATE, who’s in their Series A round at $11M, has officially caught our little dino nuggy eyes with their reimagined plant-based product, NUGGS. Operating like a lab iterating on software, they combined vegan nutrition with technology to create NUGGS. So basically what we hear is, among a growing love for the environment and therefore plant-based products, a steady love for new technology, and an intergenerational love for chicken nuggets, SIMULATE knows dang well what they’re doing branding-wise. They even mention using an agile customer feedback loop, something most brands are always too late to the game with.

The Uber of Funeral Homes, or Something

That’s enough for us to give them a little applause, even though I know our CEO would hate their home page saying “The Tesla of Chicken” ……. (breathe, Annie). THAT part, along with everything (literally anything) being “The Uber of Something” we still openly hate on, but only because it’s such lazy product naming. There are so many more effective ways to tackle category marketing strategy and productization than tacking on a completely different established brand name into your tagline or logo. We’re just being real, we can all do better than that and we know it.

But we still dig SIMULATE and NUGGS and we’d be lying if we said we, even as marketers who know how the sausage gets made, weren’t feeling our heartstrings getting pulled just like anyone else’s. That’s good integrated marketing strategy and product naming, which are both critical for a direct-to-consumer strategy.

What’s next, chicken tendies? …..

“We plan to SIMULATE other processed “meat” products in the very near future – think DOGGS, TENDERS, all the classics. But that’s just the beginning.” – Ben Pasternak (CEO & Founder) to AlleyWatch.

Stalk more startups here, & see here how we’ve built, grown, and sold startups alongside founders for the last decade.

Let Your Curiosity Take Control