Creating Demand through Scarcity: A Girl Scout Story

How many boxes of packaged cookies do I buy from the grocery store in a given year? One. Maybe two. 

How many boxes of Girl Scout cookies arrived on my doorstep yesterday? SEVEN.

As much as I love Carmel DeLites and Lemonades, I almost definitely wouldn’t reach for them on the store shelf on any sort of regular basis. But there’s something about that feeling of knowing that if you don’t get them now you are going to miss out for another whole year that makes one feel the need to stock up.

Girl Scout cookie season lasts from January to April each year. In this short four-month period, 200 million boxes of cookies are sold, generating $800 million in revenue for local troupes (1). The U.S. share of everyone’s other favorite cookie, the Oreo, stands at $650 million per year (2)(3). The Girl Scouts sell more cookies in a third of the time!

Keebler even makes a few products with very similar flavors to the Girl Scouts’ most popular (4)(5), yet Keebler’s sales are declining (6). Just goes to show what a strong brand and creative demand strategy can do.

1        https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/01/03/girl-scout-cookie-sales-start-today-best-selling-cookie/1000299001/

2        https://www.mondelezinternational.com/en/~/media/MondelezCorporate/Uploads/downloads/OREO_Fact_Sheet.pdf

3        https://www.mondelezinternational.com/~/media/mondelezcorporate/uploads/downloads/mondelez_intl_fact_sheet.pdf

4        https://www.keebler.com/en_US/cookies-and-more/fudge-shoppe.html

5        https://www.girlscouts.org/en/cookies/all-about-cookies/FAQs.html

6        https://www.fooddive.com/news/kellogg-plans-to-sell-keebler-bakery-brands-and-cookie-business/542073/

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