Probably triggered by an article in BrandEins (the most innovative German business publication) and a report about mass customization by dpa, the German Press Agency, many newspapers and weeklies followed with articles in the last weeks. There was a report in the main news show of RTL. And last weekend, even taz - die tageszeitung, a German newspaper on the left side of the spectrum that normally has no reports about hedonistic products, had a long report.
The theme (similar to the article in BrandEins): Mass Customization of food. I have commented on this category in a previous post.What do I learn from the sudden media attention about a phenomenon that is 20 years old?
1) Perhaps the time now is ripe? People are more internet savvy, willing not just to shop but also to configure custom goods online. At the same time, there is a growing level of sophistication of the market, more knowledge how to create a great MC website has been distributed ...
2) In economical bad times, people love easy sophistication with a bit of affordable luxury - which a custom chocolate bar or your own tea creation probably offers. So this is a great product for bad times.
3) Some journalists are not too creative, and when one is writing a nice article on a new theme, other copy. The same, by the way, is true for many academics.
4) The idea to customize an item still is big news and a real novelty for most consumers. In my classes for students and executives alike, I am still astonished how many people have never ever heard about the possibility to customize products or services online. We finally have to create a better understanding how to communicate mass customization!
=> Context information: For a collection of press articles covering mass customization, please head here (shameless self promotion as all these articles quote me :-)