Who cares where the pineapple comes from?

Dole Pineapple

A guest lecturer in branding seminar last night claimed that Dole, a company most consumers associate with Hawaiian heritage, actually produces its pineapples in SE Asia.  Not shocking in the least.

What’s interesting is that Dole invests heavily in maintaining its Hawaiian image, even though there isn’t overt Hawaii-related messaging on packaging or in consumer-facing ads.  There is, however, a vast branded experience on Oahu that attracts a million visitors a year, free of charge, to ‘see how the pineapples are made’ and tour the ‘world’s largest maze’ (of course).

I doubt the tour is quite as forthcoming as the company’s 10-K in disclosing that, in fact, Hawaiian land represents less than 1% of Dole’s total acreage devoted to pineapple farming — the majority takes place on 34,000 acres in the Phillipines.

Again, there’s no real scandal here — anybody who reads the can knows they’re not Hawaiian pineapples, and realizes that such a global mega-producer of pineapple chunks just can’t profitably pack them for less than $1.29 by using the same US-based labor as they did in the early 1900s.  And what’s our place to get Americentric about pineapple supremacy, anyway?

At the end of the day, if a subconscious association with lush Hawaiian landcapes makes you feel better about paying more for a branded can of pineapple chunks, then it doesn’t really matter where they actually come from, does it?  And that’s the beauty of brand.

© Ryan Cunningham 2008

1 Response to “Who cares where the pineapple comes from?”

  1. 1 Arthur Falcone Trackback on March 2, 2015 at 10:50 pm

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thoughts at the collision of business, brand and creativity

I'm Ryan Cunningham. I help companies and culture play nice with each other. At CREATURE we call this Brand Strategy, a term that carries a nice halo of reliability and structure. Here, I'm just another guy who thinks about the world and writes it down from time to time.

The result is a pile of knowledge to be used in, and for, the future. Feel free to sift through the heap for useful connections.

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