President's Choice came along by accident, at Christmas 1983, I believe. Dave Nichol came to me and said, 'Design a package for a gourmet coffee that my Louisiana buyers have found that's absolutely sensational. There's nothing like it. Folger's and Maxwell House have cost-engineered the quality down, this product is real coffee.'
At that point, I had a choice. I could use any colour for the package, so long as it was yellow; I could use any type so long as it was Helvetica upper- and lower-case; but I couldn't use pictures. So I created this thing, a yellow package that said President's Blend Gourmet Coffee. Talk about a marketing oxymoron!
It goes on the shelf and becomes the number-one selling item in the grocery section. And Nichol, who was always listening to the consumer, said, 'Well, I guess the consumer is telling us that we should be trading up. Why don't you take your President's Blend idea and figure out how to do a package? Because we've got a lot of yellow in the store, so the only comment I'm telling you is don't make it yellow.'
So we went to white packaging, and changed the typeface and eventually did beautiful pictures, etc., but everything was as a Blend. So at the end, I think it was Jim White who was the former food editor of the [Toronto] Star- that Dave Nichol had working on the Insider's Report - who decided, 'Why don't you call it President's Choice? Because it is.' And it's an abstract idea.
PC was chosen because it was the president's 'choice.' It wasn't necessarily the absolute best that you would find in a gourmet deli or something, it was the best value, best quality, the best relative to the competition.
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