Most Memorable New Product Launches

Brand new gold Apple iPhone 8 front side isolate on white background with clipping path.
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For nearly two decades, Schneider Associates has conducted the annual Most Memorable New Product Launches (MMNPL) survey in association with Sentient Decision Science, LLC and The SymphonyIRI Group. The sought-after survey tests whether or not the consumer remembers a new product, which is critical whether it is a major national brand or a local/regional product. If the consumer does not remember, how will they buy it? The 2017 MMNPL survey showed big wins from major brand names and showcased the power of innovation for technology and food products. Technology surged back this year after 2016’s top ten list was dominated by seven food products.

Top 10 2017 Product Launches

  1. iPhone 8
  2. Samsung Galaxy Note 8
  3. Nintendo Switch
  4. Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino
  5. Google Home
  6. Dominos Bread Twists
  7. Google Pixel
  8. Taco Bell Double Stacked Tacos
  9. Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chalupa
  10. Microsoft Surface Laptop

The Smartphone, Not the Model, Matters 

The iPhone 8 (#1) and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (#2) predictably topped this year’s list—Apple and Samsung products achieve this feat nearly every time they are released. Consumers were about twice as likely to recall either, a new iPhone (without naming a model number), or assign an incorrect model number, then they were to recall the new iPhone 8. It’s possible that the launch of multiple sub-brands within the same year has muddled awareness for individual tech product launches for Apple and likely other brands as well.

Games, Google, and Microsoft Perform Well

Nintendo made the list for the first time since its Wii U console launch in 2012. The Switch (#3) features revolutionary connectivity and showcases the kind of innovation that has sustained Nintendo as a gaming leader for more than three decades. Also noteworthy is Google’s first appearance on the list, taking #5 and #7 with its first-ever smartphone and home assistant speaker device. The Google Home is a viable contender against Amazon’s Echo, a past MMNPL top-ranked product. Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop (#10), was memorable thanks to an effective integrated marketing campaign that touted the computer’s versatility and processing power.

Starbucks Makes the List

In the food realm, Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino (#4) represents a new breakthrough for the brand, which hasn’t had a top ten MMNPL product since the 2010 launch of VIA Instant Coffee. The Unicorn Frappuccino, with its Instagrammable rainbow colors and fruity flavors, was one of the most-talked-about beverages of 2017. “The real masterstroke of the Unicorn Frappuccino was Starbucks creating a drink that begged to be photographed and shared on social media. Pictures of the colorful concoction, captioned with Starbucks’ hashtag, flooded Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram,” Schneider Associates’ CEO Joan Schneider commented. Social media has clearly amped up the benefit of good word-of-mouth advertising that brands need in order to be remembered.

Restaurants Connect Emotionally

Domino’s (#6) and Taco Bell’s (#8-9) launches on this year’s list had similar viral potential (like a chalupa shell made from fried chicken), proving again that innovation is what creates success for both fast food and technology.

Authenticity and Transparency Rule

The most compelling outcome of the 2017 survey found that shoppers are looking for brands to be genuine and transparent. The survey noted that this is not the time to piggy-back on trending stories, but rather to allow your brand to stand out for its authenticity. Brands would be smart to forge real connections and relationships with buyers and showcase those stories.

“The heightened attention to polarized political news content has made the importance of emotional marketing even greater than before,” said Aaron Reid, Ph.D. Chief Behavioral Scientist at Sentient Decision Science, Inc. “Emotions focus attention and make memories. And this year, we found a significant correlation between the emotional connection to a new product and its ability to break through and lodge itself in the implicit memory structures of consumers.”