It all started with Cotton candy grapes. Yes: Cotton. Candy. Grapes. They even have their own hashtag! From Wikipedia: Cotton Candy grapes are a variety of grapes produced in California by Grapery, which became available for consumers to buy in 2011.

These Cotton Candy grapes are from Spain. Photo by me

I didn’t know about them until my wife told me about them a few months ago, but at that time we hadn’t had the chance to get some. They were all gone.

And that’s probably why Costco has them from time to time. They must have done their homework and found that there was hype around them. Or at the very least you figure it out pretty quickly when they fly off the shelf quickly. It’s simply supply and demand.

They are available!!

My wife is on a closed local Facebook Fan group and this morning someone posted that the grapes were available. What followed is an impressive trail of comments and interaction. I found that interesting to witness the power of loyalty and marketing through social media. And that is without Costco having to do anything! Because the post was inside a closed group, Costco probably doesn’t even get stats/metrics on this! Genius.

Screenshot of the post in the closed local Costco facebook group

After a quick research I found out that the grapes had their own hashtag in twitter, many article in Facebook and are easy to find on Google.

Through their team of buyers that does market research, social media team listening and the supply and demand numbers, they must have an incredible amount of data to rely on and determine if they want to bring them back the next year or so. And that, for each individual product!

Obviously not every product has a hype over them, but my question for them would be: “Would Costco pay someone from the public, that brings them tips about a hype in a specific local group, online or offline, allowing them to strategize accordingly?” Like a freelance headhunters would go on to find individuals to fit in specific position in a company for a small commission, maybe? You would become a “Freelance social media listener”. I doubt they would, but maybe we should develop an app for that!

All that to say that after my wife jumped in the wagon, we managed to taste some tonight! They do smell and taste like cotton candy and, both my kids asked to get some in their lunch the next day! Have you tasted them yet?


facebook Did you know that Cotton Candy Grapes existed? http://bit.ly/2OYUXBx

twitter How I found out about #Cottoncandygrapes http://bit.ly/2OYUXBx

4 thoughts on “#Cottoncandygrapes

  1. Interesting reflections! I found out about cotton candy grapes at work. But my coworker refused to share — she intentionally raved about them and then ate them all. Advertisement at its best: I bought some the next time I saw them at Costco. Sometimes, hype is just that, hype. I don’t actually care for them all that much. But the product is novel: let’s cultivate real food that tastes like candy.

    Which brings me to my point: interesting concepts, even if they result in bad products (in my opinion), can really generate lots of hype. Social media facilitates the craze. Remember the deep-fried butter, or the cronuts? We all heard of it through social media, but does it always help sales? I won’t be buying deep-fried butter anytime soon.

    • That’s not nice from your colleague… I work in cubicle-land, if you work in that environment as well, here’s a few ideas for you: http://bit.ly/2Em4BKg

      And yes, let’s stay away from deep-fried butter. I’ll go for a run instead.

  2. I’ve never heard of them before, wonder if they are really sweet? Better still, can they be used to make wine!!! #Possibilities

    I think it might be cool to try and re create this hype with other products for a prelaunch, get someone with undirected enthusiasm and a good following and there might be a new take on a marketing approach.

    Thanks for sharing this story! Now to find some grapes!

  3. Great post Serge! I have to say, when I saw your title #Cottoncandygrapes, you had my attention immediately haha. I had never heard of cotton candy grapes before. Now I really want to try them!
    It’s crazy how certain things can trend so quickly on social media even without the company doing anything to promote a certain product.
    I like your idea of a “Freelance social media listener”. It would be great if companies started paying people to do that. I think it would be pretty interesting to do that as a side job.

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