Oct
29

Dragons, edible play dough, and three-letter abbreviations – oh my!

Company makes dough on the Den while another eats it.

Beg to Differ is going to focus on a beauty and the beast story of two hometown brands that showed up on Dragon’s Den last night, with very different results. One plucky little company made a pile of money from investors, while the other – a much larger organization – wasted a pile of dough. Want to find out more? Of course you do. Read on.

Den - front page with yummies

The Beauty: spreading the dough on the Dragon’s Den

Yummy Dough

Beg to Differ knows that our non-Canadian readers probably won’t be familiar with the Canadian version of this reality TV show where real life entrepreneurs compete to get funding from real-life millionaire business moguls. But it’s a great show, the guest entrepreneurs range from brilliant to insane to just cheesy, and it really helps average viewers get into the entrepreneurial process.

Last night, one of the big winners was the product “Yummy Dough” pitched by Stefan Kaczmarek from Germany and Tim Kimber from Ottawa (who owes me a few pairs of new shoes because my three year old loves his other product PlasmaCar so much).

You can watch episode 5 here and the Yummy Dough product is first up.

If you’re like me, you probably hear “edible” and “modeling dough” and you first think of the PlayDoh most of us grew up with, then you think “YUCK!” Then if you have young kids like I do, you probably also think “I don’t want my kids to eat their PlayDoh!”  But this is pliable cookie dough that you can bake into cookies.

Check out the Yummy Dough site. It tells its story in a fun and compelling way (but make sure you quickly mute the annoying and slightly creepy background noises). One quick positioning note for the owners now that they have some marketing dollars: they need to steer away from the word “clay” and focus more on the “make your own cookies” aspect. It needs to seem like equal parts toy and food product – which will take some careful work.

The Beast: dumping dough on the Dragon’s Den

But another Ottawa-based “brand” is wasting money as fast as Yummy Dough is making it  - probably faster.

Take a look at the screen shot (above) from the Web site, and in particular the sponsor logos in the upper right. You’ll probably recognize the Cadillac insignia. You may be curious about the “Ivey” brand – which is the University of Western Ontario’s school of business (note to Ivey – great name, but negotiate a short tag under your logo with the words “School of Business”).

But unless you’ve directly done business with them or have a family member working for them, you probably won’t know what the letters “E.D.C.” stand for – even if you are Canadian. Yet, EDC has been pumping truckloads of money into season after season of the Dragon’s Den to build brand awareness!

So who the heck is EDC?

Some Hints:

  1. Don’t look for it to be spelled out for you anywhere on the Dragon’s Den page. It’s just EDC in the video ads, side banners, and sponsor logos.
  2. I’ll give you the “C” – it’s Canada, and yes, this organization is run by the Canadian Government.
  3. It is often confused with two other corporations that do similar things and also go by TLAs (Three Letter Abbreviations): BDC and CCC.
  4. See if you can find them on this Wikipedia “EDC May Refer to… “ page. And I’ll give you a bigger hint, it’s the 20th EDC on a list of 25 things that call themselves EDC.

Still stumped?

Well, if you’re not baffled, call your brother who works at EDC and tell him what a bang-up branding job they’re doing. If you are, you’ve helped me make a point I’ve made many times here on Beg to Differ:

An abbreviation is not a brand!

NOMO

Read my July Op Ed from the Citizen with the message "NOMO" useless acronyms!

(Oh, and if you’re still wondering, it’s actually “Export Development Canada” and they do important work – as do BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada) and CCC (Canadian Commercial Corporation). Shame that none of them have real brands…)