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Introductory Marketing
Case: Un-Hip Fries
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Case: Un-Hip Fries
© M Louise Ripley 2013  

At 9:00 a.m., Irma Singh sat at her desk at  BellyFul, a large food-oriented consumer goods firm in Toronto. Having completed her Bachelors of Administrative Studies Honours degree in Marketing at the Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies at York University, she had had no trouble landing this job as Assistant Product Manager, and she had held the job for almost a year now. Her Marketing professor had warned them that this day would come, and Irma had listened in class, so she was not surprised, but still, she wished she had more time.

The Vice President of Marketing, Hector Chan, had just dropped on her desk the complete file on Un-Hip fries, their proposed entry into the new fake-fat diet food category. Hector needed Irma’s decision by noon on whether or not to go ahead with the project. Irma wished she could consult her boss, but he was away on paternity leave and had empowered her to make decisions in his absence. Hector particularly wanted Irma's opinion on whether to include the new fries in the offerings of the company's new e-marketing branch that sold delivered groceries over the Internet. 

Un-Hip was a brand of frozen french fries that tasted great, had only two thirds of the calories of regular fries, and contained no fat. What it did contain was the newest fake-food invention "obeseno" - a chemical with all the good properties of fat and none of the bad, and which had proven safe for human consumption. Obeseno had only one small drawback: it tended to cause nausea and vomiting in some people. Preliminary studies showed that there was definitely a market for this product. The government had approved its use, provided a warning was printed on the label.

Irma knew that her decision would affect not only the stockholders and managers of BellyFul, but their competitors, their potential consumers - many of whom were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new fake fat fries, and society in general. She drew out of the file the letter from the citizen action group called "Health Not Wealth" dedicated to combating the making of profit from the dieting mania of North America, especially among teen-age girls. Irma looked at her watch and laughed to herself, recalling the fellow student who had been in several of her classes who, whenever an assignment was due, claimed to be sick or busy. She wondered what he would do now. She knew what she had to do - she had to make a decision, and she had to do it by noon.

UnHip Fries
Answer the two questions below on the decision of whether to market UnHip Fries. You will be asked to come back to this question at the end of the course to revisit your answer 

1. If you were Irma, what would you recommend that Bellyful do with UnHip Fries, and why? 

2. Think through how your answer would differ if you belonged to one of the other stakeholders in this decision: 

Stockholders Potential Consumers Competitors Citizen Action Group Bellyful
Internet Sales Manager

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AP/ADMS 2200 3.0 Introductory Marketing
York University, Toronto
© M Louise Ripley, M.B.A., Ph.D.