Hot sauce brand Sriracha has made the remarkable move of licensing it’s brand to internet startup Sriracha2Go. While licensing food brands and production isn’t anything new (think beer brands) this seems like a risky move for a growing and thriving brand.
Created in the eighties by it’s Vietnamese-American founder David Tran. Sriracha is recognisable to anybody who frequents Asian or even general fast food restaurants and seems to be popping up everywhere these days, maybe it’s just trending in Melbourne, but it certainly seems like a brand on the up. So I found it interesting when Merren commented about the interesting new campaign Sriracha was running: Sriracha2Go.
On first glance it seemed like a clever campaign, with cooky naive videos and a selection of other branded products that play on the interesting history and authenticity of an Asian food brand from California. Sriracha2Go mainly sells small keyring bottles for the sauce with some other merchandised products like socks and mugs and will be selling sauce sachets. As a brand building campaign it would be genius, but the problem is Sriracha’s owners Huy Fong Foods seems to have no connection to Sriracha2Go apart from licensing the brand. Now it appears the naivety is coming from Sriracha’s business leaders. Allowing a third party to come between your brand and your customers is a risky business move. Allowing them to use and amend your brand name, exploit your unique packaging and redirect url addresses to their site seems careless.
It’s only a matter of time before some of the big food brands start picking up on the flavour trend and introduce some competition and with a brand name that is also the category name Huy Fong Foods could find the next stage of growing their brand more difficult. It may be of value to them to reign in their brand and keep a tighter control on how it’s communicated to it’s audience.