Jan 7, 2008


I read that Kraft is discontinuing C.W. Post's caffeine-free instant coffee substitute, Postum. Many Mormons are in a quandary, as they seem to be the last consumers of this toasted cereal beverage, drinking it in accordance with their cult's ban on caffeine (Postum is 100% caffeine free, unlike decaf coffees).

But in the middle of the night, an idea arrived via night-mail (which is how I get most of my ideas).

Suppose you were Kraft Foods, and you saw the declining market share for Postum and recognized that changes were needed. So, you came out with NEW IMPROVED Postum (NIP), which was really 100% Columbian coffee. Except for Mormons, the folks who tried the samples of NIP loved it. They felt refreshed, stimulated, and excited by their new Postum experience, whereas their same old Postum experience (SOP) was of a tasteless, ineffective, uninspiring beverage that they were told was "good for them", although they could discern no changes in the lives of the SOP drinkers.

The consumers clamored for more of this NIP, but Kraft saw that switching to NIP was going to require more changes in the production and distribution channels than the entrenched hierarchy was willing to accept. So their plan was to entice new consumers with NIP, and then once they were used to the branding, switch them slowly back to SOP.

They were puzzled when those who came to the New Improved Postum abandoned the brand when Kraft began blending in SOP with NIP. Eventually, all the NIP drinkers went down the aisle to the new Starbucks brand... even many of the decaf drinkers (but not the Mormons).

"What in the hell is this all about?" you might ask.

This is how most mainstream churches deal with attempts at renewal within their bodies. Bait and switch. When the renewal fails (after the switch begins), they blame it on the fickle consumers, who have since moved on to a more refreshing, stimulating, and exciting non-denominational coffee shop down the road.

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