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Annals of Marketing
We Pay Tribute to a Marketing Legend
Tuesday, 6th April 2010  - David Farmer
Donald Goerke

Here we have a brilliant example of marketing ingenuity. Take a simple, everyday product and package it a new way. The results may surprise you.

Donald Goerke, a Campbell Soup Company executive whose nonlinear approach to pasta resulted in SpaghettiOs, died Sunday at his home in Delran, N.J. He was 83. In 35 years at Campbell, Donald Goerke refashioned spaghetti for children with SpaghettiOs and also created Chunky soup.

"Introduced in 1965, SpaghettiOs has been a fixture in the American pantry ever since. Its memorable advertising jingle - "Uh-oh, SpaghettiOs!" - sung by the pop singer Jimmie Rodgers, is indelibly lodged in the public consciousness. More than 150 million cans of SpaghettiOs are sold each year, a spokeswoman for Campbell, based in Camden, N.J., said Wednesday."

"The shape was crucial on two counts. The first was durability: it had to withstand canning and reheating. The second was damage control: long pasta and young children mix dangerously, with child, chair and walls ending up beribboned with dripping strands.

A simple "O," Mr. Goerke realized, would solve both problems. Its stable shape allowed a thinner strand of pasta to be used, making the reheated product less gummy. It also fit tidily in the bowl of a spoon.

Shapes considered and rejected by Mr. Goerke's team included baseballs, cowboys, spacemen and stars."

*From the New York Times, January 14, 2010.

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