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Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008 at 11:22 am

My Cup Runneth Over from High Slurp-Factor™

By John Quarto-vonTivadar
February 7th, 2008

Blueberry Green TeaHave you tried Arizona Iced Tea? They aren’t bad at all, and I’ve really taken a shine to the No-Carb Blueberry Green Tea they produce. For the longest time I could not put my finger on why the product always make me smile, until last night.

After so many months, it dawned on me: the containers for the green teas are overfilled. When you open the bottle, there’s more product in the container than it should be expected to hold — even to the point that if you opened it up while exerting pressure on the bottle (careful, Readers-who-Test!), you’d spill blue-ish tea on yourself. Sometimes I have to reach down and take a “slurp” off the top so it doesn’t spill — which no doubt causes the rest of the family to consider that “Q’s own personal bottle” of the stuff. An interesting way to establish territorality.

Back to point: I feel happy when I open this product because I feel I’ve gotten more than expected, and certainly more than any competitive product. Obviously that extra slurp’s-worth costs them some finite amount of money, but I’m wondering if the delight I feel at getting more is common enough across their customers that it’s driving more sales than the cost of the slurp. And if I feel good about a product, I buy it regularly, and therefore my slurps and the slurps of my fellow… Slurpers represent significant lifetime value to the company.

Does your company’s product or service delight customers more than they expect?

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Comments (7)

  1. John Q, long time no see! Was it last in Washington, DC?

    Surprise and delight. I’m not sure why more people don’t care about this simple idea, but it really can bond a person to a product or a company. It just takes a little thought, and hopefully some Marketers can step away from the media buying long enough to use their empathy on the product side.

    Here’s a couple more examples of surprise and delight, one for customer acquisition, the other for customer retention:



  2. Small business link digest – February 8, 2008…

    Learn from the best minds in marketing every week by enjoying the best of the Web. This week includes Mike Moran, Escape from Cubicle Nation and Grok Dot Com.

  3. John,

    I think you are right, the extra slump is made up many times over in customer loyalty and more purchases of the product in the long term. I often get emails telling me how great our customer service is, in many different ways. It just has to help the business in the long run to treat the customer as fairly as you can and sometimes, even going way beyond what the customer expects. I just replaced an Audio Bible product after the customer had ordered it 11 months ago.

    We already give a 60 day money back guarantee which is twice as long as most, which I think lets the customer know we are there for the long run. I basically gave them another Audio Bible for free, this my not show up in the short term but in the long term treating people well, pays off.

  4. I’ve been an evangelist of theirs for a long time.

    I love their Rx Energy Herbal Tonic like you wouldn’t believe.

    There aren’t many companies that give you more than you expect these days.

    That’s sad.

  5. Am I the only one who’s noticed that this trend is more or less universally true with bottled drinks? It doesn’t matter whether it’s a 12 oz. Poland Spring water or a 48 oz. Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail — I assume the bottles are shrinking slightly because of packaging costs (certainly the makers aren’t supplying *more* liquid) and the result is what you guys think is some kind of inspired marketing … a really, really full bottle.


  6. Hi Ricardo,

    I started out thinking the same way until I did a little research first. Probably came at it the same way as you, but once I hit the point of “assuming” that bottle shrinkage was for packaging cost reasons and that “certainly” the makers aren’t supplying more liquid, it dawned on me that those were two dangerous absolutes upon which to jump to a conclusion. Surely it is not beyond believability that consumer impact might play a role — in which case, why exclude the marketers from contention as the source of the over-fillage?

    One good authoritative reference on the subject, the classic insomnia-curative “The Handbook of Beverage Packaging” (1999, Geoff Giles, Editor), acknowledges consumer sensitivity on this topic:

    “No consumer likes to a bottle that appears to be only partly filled”

    and identifies the quick, one-time emotional response available at the point of purchase and first use:

    “the successful package supports the brand through differentiation at the point of sale, [is opened] … and is then discarded by the consumer, without giving the package a second thought”

    and again later, commenting on what beverage packagers apparently refer to as “snap-back” (releasing the semi-vacuum), that, to consumers:

    “The shape of the bottle shoulder can either exaggerate or minimize the effect of volume change”

    clearly indicating that even the most bland of intra-industry publications acknowledge a strong consumer-effect component on beverage container shape and fillage.

    Taken at at face value, and in an area in which the company has already put valuable resources into specialized manufacturing of the container shape, it would almost be incompetent of the company’s marketers to ignore a known emotional-response opportunity to positively persuade at a key moment.

    Marketers often make mistakes but they rarely make systemic mistakes. Perhaps the fact that everyone is now doing it is evidence that the Slurp-Factor(tm) works? Anyway, it’s worth considering and thanks for being a regular reader.

    We underestimate our inner Slurper at our peril!

  7. i got a great laugh out of this article. and it’s really insightful. now if they had really small bottles and tried to deliver that extra slurp, it wouldn’t be such a value add. but the bottles are quite large and having an extra slurp is not an overcompensation, it’s just plain cool. it’s also nice when you can do that kinda thing without affecting product price.

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John is the co-author of the best-selling Always Be Testing and 3 other books. You can friend him on Facebook, though beware his wacky swing dancer friends, or contact him directly at

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