Married at first bite.


She’s a high school teacher who loves her job. He’s a familiar staple with a spicy twist. She wants an easy-going, interesting snack to throw on some toast at lunch time. He’s a can of tuna. Our experts have quizzed them both. We’ve dug-deep into their values, jotted thoughts on post-it notes and asked around a couple of friends. We’re confident this will be a match made in aisle-seven. But can the experts ever get it right?

Has our data guru crunched the right numbers? Did our research guru ask the right questions? Has the creative guru set the perfect scene? We’re about to find out. Join us as a witness for Married at First Bite.


She walked slowly down the aisle. Nervous. Excited. Glancing around at all the other options lined up on both sides. But this time would be different. She wouldn’t be tempted by something that wasn’t right. No, she had a voucher. She only had eyes for him, whoever he was, and she was looking forward to it.

“The voucher was a great idea,” said Data Guru. We know that 67% of household shoppers who enter the supermarket with a voucher will redeem them on the hero product. “Hmmm,” responded the Creative Guru who had never been a big fan of vouchers. “But what about the 98% who never cut it out or print it off?”, he asked. “I guess that depends on the quality of the creative,” said the Data Guru. And that answered that.

Finally, she arrived at the end of the aisle. And there he was. A 95 gram tin of Ocean-Fresh, Dolphin-friendly Tuna in lightly-salted spring water with diced-capsicum and shenally. She smiled. He was still. She checked her voucher. He was a match. She picked him up and placed him gently in her basket. Could this be the start of a lifelong love story?


It was lunch time at school. The kids had been kids all morning. Emails from parents were flooding in and she solved three different six-year-old disasters on the way to the staff room. She was ready for lunch.

“This is the moment of truth,” said the Research Guru. “75% of household shoppers love the new easy-peel ring-pull lid.” “75%?”, asked the Data Guru. “Weren’t there only four people in the focus group?.” “Exactly, said the Research Guru. And 75% loved it.” 

“I’m interested in how she responds to the lightly-salted spring water,” said the Creative Guru. “We all know no-one likes Tuna in brine.” “Isn’t it just the same thing?”, asked the Data Guru. Creative Guru shot him a look with patronising eyes and muttered “sizzle not the sausage”, under his breath.

She put two slices of Vogels into the toaster. Sunflower Seed and Chia flour. “That’s been a massive success,” said the Research Guru. “We worked on that last month.” As the toast toasted, she opened the can easily and seemed to smile as she did it. “Boom, 80%.”, said the Research Guru. “I’ll take that as a win.”

The toast popped and she toasted it again. Vogels is better like that. Finally, she took a knife from the eclectic collection in the top drawer and lathered Tuna luxuriously over the double-toasted, marketing-infused bread. 

“She looks happy,” said the Research Guru. “They all do”, said the Data Guru. We’ve studied webcam footage of people snacking that was dubiously procured through a now-defunct Facebook app and 96.3% of people smile before their first bite. Question is, will she still be smiling at the end.”

And that indeed was the question. Followed up by one from the staff room. “What have you got there?”, enquired a colleague, with a potential twinge of envy. “Oh, it’s some new Tuna thing.” Replied our heroine. “The supermarket sent me a voucher so I thought I’d try it… it’s not bad.”


 “Not bad.” Sent our experts into a frenzy. Early research and pre-purchase predictive modelling data showed that they needed a “pretty good” or better to meet their targets. “I told you the voucher was a bad idea,” said the Creative Guru. “Vouchers make the brand look cheap and it’s almost impossible to create a brand halo from position of desperation.”

“Research backs that up”, said the Research Guru. Lunchtime snacking is about creating moments of intimacy and is heavily influenced by peer behaviour.” The Data guru sulked. “Did you say influenced?”, asked the creative Guru? I have an idea.

And before you can say pay-to-play, he was on the phone to a charismatic Yoga instructor he knew with over 50,000 followers on Instagram. “Let’s go back to the data”, said the Data Guru hopefully. “The data never lies.” But his plan fell on deaf ears as the Research Guru dug out a couple of soundbites suggesting that 26-year old teachers love nothing better than being creative with their food. One thing led to another and before you know it, the socials were awash with smart, simple recipes that taste amazing with Ocean-Fresh, Dolphin-friendly Tuna in lightly salted spring water with diced-capsicum and shenally.

“What’s shenally?”, asked the Data Guru. No one answered.


After our initial underwhelming response, we meet back with our teacher three months later, to find out whether our experts have engineered a life-long love affair between the teacher and the tuna.

They watched her behaviour. They checked her socials. They followed her through the supermarket by data-tracking everything she bought. And three months later, they all convened in aisle seven.

Would the teacher choose the tuna? Would she raise her nose and walk straight past? Would shenally be investigated by the Commerce Commission as a completely made up bit of marketing fluff with no legitimate substantiation?

Tune in next time to find out.

Michael Goldthorpe