Thursday, December 17, 2009

Who's Supporting The Arts?

Who's Supporting The Arts?

Top 10 DMAs in which adults reside who contributed money to an arts or other cultural organization in the past year:
1 San Francisco/ Oakland/ San Jose

2 Seattle/ Tacoma

3 Boston

4 Washington, D.C.

5 Hartford & New Haven, Conn.

6 Albany/ Schenectady/ Troy, N.Y.

7 Rochester, N.Y.

8 Minneapolis/ St. Paul

9 Honolulu, Hawaii

10 New York

Source: Scarborough Research

Monday, December 14, 2009

Top 10 Most Talked About Brands....Heading into the holiday season.

1 Wal-Mart

2 Ford

3 Target

4 Home Depot

5 Apple

6 Lowe's

7 Verizon Wireless

8 Toyota

9 Walgreens

10 Best Buy

Source: BrandIndex

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

State Farm Fuels Game Day Rivalry

State Farm activated its title sponsorship of the Border Showdown Nov. 28 with pre-game interactives that fanned the flames of competitiveness between the University of Missouri and University of Kansas football teams.

Taking a two-tiered approach, State Farm created activities for both the 18-24 and 30-49-year-old targets. For the young adult segment the company set up the State Farm Border Showdown Lounges at a hotspot near each campus three days before game day. The lounges were equipped with five Xbox Live stations that allowed students from each university to play NCAA 2010 against each other in real time. Participants were given headsets so they could trash talk their opponent on the other end of the game. Crowds hung out to cheer on the players. The goal was to accrue enough points to beat the other team (Kansas beat Missouri 90 to 87). State Farm spread the word to register online via a State Farm Border Showdown Facebook fan page as well as on where the scores and other related information were posted throughout the events. On the campuses, State Farm generated buzz through student organizations, hung up posters and handed out cards.

On game day at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, State Farm appealed to all ages by bringing its Whack-a-Mascot (like Whack-a-Mole) mobile fan experiences to tailgaters. Instead of whacking a mole, each team could whack their opponent’s mascot, either a Kansas Jayhawks or Missouri Tiger. Those that provided personal information received branded merchandise like a Koozie or eye decals reminiscent of the black patches football players wear under their eyes. Of the consumers that went through and did the Whack-a-Mascot game about 25 percent provided their data; 80 percent of those opted in to be contacted by an agent

“This year we have been trying to use our sponsorship as more of a platform versus just going in with some type of mobile unit on game day and having that be it,” Jerry Nevins, marketing analyst at State Farm, told Buzz. “The number of hot leads generated on game day far exceeded what was done previously. At least three times more than in 2008.”

During the game State Farm also executed a MU versus KU text promotion. Each team was provided a short code on the video board to see who could strike a virtual mallet (like at a carnival) by texting the most. When it was over State Farm sent each player a thank you message and chance to enter a $250 sweepstakes.

Baby girl Ezri!

The free calendar has been a marketing staple..

The free calendar has been a marketing staple for as long as anyone can recall, a branded thank-you extended by businesses ranging from banks to fast-food chains to car repair shops. Now cable TV provider Comcast has made the old new, crafting a recent mail campaign that integrated the time-honored calendar with a fresh digital twist.

Just before the year began, Comcast began sending out branded calendars to customers in select areas in hopes of engaging its audience via bold graphics and some money-saving offerings. The calendars are filled with coupons for on-demand movies and discount offers on Comcast digital video recorders. They also provide links to free software and invitations to create a personalized link on a Comcast Web site.

Comcast also cleverly tied in monthly events or holidays with a message that promotes Comcast products. For instance, on the date a pro football championship was to be played, the message on the calendar read: “Enjoy the big game in Comcast HD.”

Breen says the calendar — which was mailed to customers in several states in the Northeast and Midwest — is largely a gesture of appreciation, but it also allows the cable giant to communicate more intimately with its audience about the value of the cable service. “We’re happy with what our customers have bought, and we want them to get the most out of what they have,” says Karen Breen, vice president of marketing strategies for Comcast’s North Central Division. “This is really important in tough economic times for people to realize the value they have.”

The calendars also allow Comcast the chance to educate recipients about its array of offerings beyond its cable service. “Direct mail enables us to have more room to say what we want, and we do leverage it quite a bit,” notes Breen. “We were trying to think of an innovative way to talk about our product benefits and features that would have a life and context to it.”

In the first few months of the campaign, Breen says, anecdotal feedback has suggested that the effort will prove fruitful. Customers have called Comcast to get their own calendars and are also asking to be added to the mailing list for next year’s version.

As the year progresses, Comcast will track redemption of the on-demand video coupons, which are sprinkled throughout the calendar, to determine how many calendars are prompting consumer action. Breen says the company will also study Web traffic to determine how many calendar recipients are being driven online.

Breen says the idea for the calendar grew out of a series of creative direct mail pieces that Comcast designed in 2008, featuring bold graphics that promoted the Comcast user experience. Many of those images were included in the calendar.

In addition to the mailings, the calendar was also used as a free-standing insert in newspapers and given away at Comcast service centers in the targeted states.

Source: Deliver Magazine

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Cowboys run on Dunkin.....

America's Team now runs - and passes, blocks and kicks - on Dunkin' Donuts, America's all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods. The company announced today that it has entered into a partnership with the Dallas Cowboys Football Club, which includes becoming the official coffee for the team. Dunkin' Donuts pouring stations, located strategically throughout Cowboys Stadium, will serve Dunkin' Donuts hot coffee, iced coffee, hot chocolate and iced tea during Cowboys home games, college football games, concerts and other stadium events.

The Dallas Cowboys are one of the world's leading professional sports franchises with a global fan base. As part of the partnership, Dunkin' Donuts signage will appear within the stadium and advertising will be shown during events on the LED ribbon board and video board. Co-branded advertising will also be seen throughout the Dallas-Ft. Worth area announcing the partnership. Additionally, on weekdays after every home game, customers can redeem their Cowboys game ticket stubs at any Dunkin' Donuts location to receive a free medium hot coffee.

According to Dunkin' Brands CEO Nigel Travis, the agreement to bring Dunkin' Donuts coffee and beverages to Cowboys Stadium provides a simple yet significant benefit for visitors. "The new Cowboys Stadium offers fans arguably the most impressive array of state-of-the-art amenities in any venue in the country. We're proud to partner with the Cowboys organization to help enhance visitors' stadium experience even further by making the country's best coffee part of every home game, concert or event," he said.

"We are proud to have Dunkin' Donuts as a partner in our new home," said Dallas Cowboys Owner and General Manager, Jerry Jones. "The quality of their coffee is unmatched and exactly what our fans expect when they come out to Cowboys Stadium."

Dunkin' Donuts' partnership with the Dallas Cowboys is a significant milestone in the brand's strategic growth efforts, which are focused on bringing the brand's world-famous coffee and baked goods to new, targeted locations across the country via steady contiguous growth as well as through innovative partnerships. In the sporting industry alone, Dunkin' Donuts offers its coffee and beverages at sporting venues such as Fenway Park and the TD Bank (Boston) Garden in addition to Cowboys Stadium; it is also the official coffee provider for many professional sports teams, including the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. Additionally, in recent years, Dunkin' Donuts launched the brand's first-ever theme park restaurant at Hershey Park, its first hotel location at Great Wolf Lodge in North Carolina, and multiple new locations at airports including Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth and New York City.

Dunkin' Donuts has set the standard for offering a superior grade of coffee, and the company sells more than one billion cups of hot and iced coffee every year. In 2008, an independent taste test showed that Americans preferred Dunkin' Donuts coffee over Starbucks. Dunkin' Donuts has earned the No. 1 ranking for customer loyalty in the coffee category by Brand Keys for three years running.

About Dunkin' Donuts

Founded in 1950, Dunkin' Donuts is America's favorite every day, all-day stop for coffee and baked goods. Dunkin' Donuts is a market leader in the regular/decaf coffee, iced coffee, hot flavored coffee, donut, bagel and muffin categories, and the largest coffee and baked goods chain in the world. Dunkin' Donuts has earned the No. 1 ranking for customer loyalty in the coffee category by Brand Keys for three years running. The company has more than 8,800 restaurants in 31 countries worldwide. In 2008, Dunkin' Donuts' global system-wide sales were $5.5 billion. Based in Canton, Massachusetts, Dunkin' Donuts is a subsidiary of Dunkin' Brands, Inc. For more information, visit

Yankee "parade" with Sponsors?

Do Yankee Sponsors get to ride down the Canyon of Champions today?.....if not shoyuld they?

Friday, October 30, 2009

What Consumers Want.. Custom Publications

Consumers may be bombarded with marketing messages these days, but that doesn't mean they've tuned out. In fact, consumers are more interested than ever in hearing from companies-provided that information comes in the form of a custom publication, such as a magalog or a catazine.

A recent Custom Publishing Concil poll shows consumers are increasingly attracted to these marketing methods because they include useful information:

68% Say it helps them make better purchasing decisions when companies provide product info through custom publications.

78% Don't mind Sponsors selling their products and services through custom publications- as long as the info is interesting.

74% Say getting info from an interesting collection of articles is more appealing than getting info from ads

59% Read print custom publications whereas only 36% look through electronic custom publications.

The message seems clear: if you want to get consumers attention, send them your message in the form of interesting and useful infomation.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Campbell Wants to Show You Just How Long Its Noodles Are...

The Green Giant brings over some friends
The Green Giant has found a friend to help him sell his green beans. The question is will you be more likely to buy the Green Giant..then the other brands because of Sponge Bob? And if so should The Green Giant just step aside and let Sponge Bob sell his green beans?
"Parents tell us that they look for motivating ways to encourage their kids to eat vegetables,” said Jon Nudi, marketing vice president, Green Giant, in a statement. “Teaming the Nickelodeon characters with Green Giant vegetables through packaging offers parents extra tools to teach their kids healthy habits.”
Question: Do you really think kids are going to eat more green beans because the frozen package has Sponge Bob on it? Its still green beans not Captain Crunch...right?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cycling's Rites of Passage

01. Realizing that the hill isn’t in the way; it is the way. 02. You go from one pair of shorts to a dedicated drawerful. 03. Being unable to sleep the night after you first shave your legs, because of the tingle of bedsheets against your skin. 04. When "thanks for the ride" goes from something you overhear to part of your lexicon. 05. You see someone at the beach tanned low on the quads and biceps, and give him a nod of recognition. 06. Bonking so bad you don’t think you’ll be able to make it home. 07. Discovering how a convenience-store Coke can resurrect the dead. 08. Starting and finishing a ride—the same one—in pouring rain. 09. When you hang out at the bike shop and no one expects you to buy anything. 10. When your bike computer registers triple digits for one ride. 11. Clearing a log on a the trail. 12. You embrocate. 13. Staying with the paceline long enough to take a turn at the front. 14. You’re on the bike for the fifth straight day, and your butt doesn’t hurt. 15. You try bibs and realize you can never go back to shorts. 16. You stop riding beside and behind the pack and instead ride inside of it—with no claustrophobia. 17. You swing off the front of a paceline before you get tired. 18. You blow a snot rocket without hitting your shoulder or leg—or the rider behind you. 19. You notice that someone else has the chain grease on his right calf. 20. You get stuck in your pedals and topple over at a stoplight. 21. Someone you introduced to the sport kicks your ass on a ride. 22. Riding a bike through a big, congested city and feeling smarter than everyone else because you’re moving. 23. You wake up to find the sheets stuck to your road rash—and still feel excited about riding that day. 24. Your boss stops by to ask you to explain what’s happening in the Tour de France. 25. You fix up your old bike to get someone into the sport. 26. Wearing out your first set of tires. 27. You ride through a pothole, and it’s no big deal. 28. Getting hopelessly lost—deliberately. 29. You stop midride to give your only spare tube to a stranded cyclist. 30. You realize you’re driving your car as if it’s a bike—drafting, looking for holes, getting away from the squirrelly guy. 31. Fixing a busted chain. 32. When you no longer have to stop to take off your jacket. 33. Feeling confident about taking off your jacket while riding—then catching the trailing sleeve in the rear wheel. 34. The first time you crumple your race number. 35. Planning a riding vacation. 36. Seeing a sunrise from the saddle. 37. Wondering how the biggest local hill would rank on the Tour de France climb classification. 38. In your head, Phil Liggett narrates your ride. 39. You got dropped, you flatted, bonked, got turned around—and when you got home you said you had a great ride. 40. You roll through a patch of gravel and, without thinking, reach back to brush the crud off your tire with your palm. 41. A rider you respect says, "You were flying today." 42. Rolling through a stop sign—and knowing it was the right thing to do. 43. Doored! 44. When you crest the summit of a climb, start down and realize you’ve gone the wrong way. But keep going anyway. 45. Rubbing wheels—and staying up. 46. Letting go of your kid’s seat and not having to grab it again. 47. Getting a bike stolen and being surprised at how deeply it hits you. 48. Cleaning the cassette with your old toothbrush. 49. Sprinting the neighbor kids. 50. Chasing a rabbit down singletrack. 51. Falling asleep when you stop for a break on a mountain bike ride. 52. Endo. 53. Telling someone which bike to buy. 54. Overcooking a turn. 55. Breaking a collarbone. 56. Figuring out how to layer without overdressing. 57. Deciding which car to buy in part based on how it will carry your bikes. 58. Your first ride with a jersey instead of a T-shirt. 59. Riding on a day so cold the water in your bottle freezes. 60. Discovering that a shot of Jameson in each bottle keeps the water fluid. 61. Though you’re not clear on exactly how to do it and unsure of the outcome, you manage to fix your first flat. 62. Walking home in your cleats. 63. Getting so deep into the sport you think your helmet looks good. 64. Following a favorite pro racer—besides Lance Armstrong. 65. Finding out your favorite pro racer was doping. 66. Wrapping your bar tape so the handlebar plug stays in and no bare bar shows at the tricky bend at the brake hood. 67. Naming a route. 68. Bumping elbows, then being relaxed enough to make a joke about it with the person next to you. 69. Sitting in with the big weekend training race. 70. Developing that "V" of muscle definition on the back of your calf. 71. Espresso at the halfway point. 72. Crashing and immediately asking, "How’s my bike?" 73. Fixing your bike with a rock. 74. Paying for a coach. 75. Figuring out that training advice doesn’t get much better than "Ride lots." 76. Clacking into a rough tavern in cleats and spandex. 77. Having a position on Bartali vs. Coppi. 78. Throwing up after a sprint. 79. Chasing back on after a flat. 80. Winning a town-sign sprint and remembering it forever. 81. Explicating your training in exquisite detail on a blog, then realizing nobody cares. 82. Watching the compressed CO2 from your only canister shoot off into the air instead of into the tube. 83. Matching your bar tape to your tire’s sidewall— then realizing on your next ride that your bike looks like it’s been decorated by a blind pimp. 84. Riding someplace you’ve always driven. 85. Outsprinting a crazed dog. 86. Summiting an H.C. climb. 87. Waving at a cyclist coming the other way and being ignored. 88. Getting annoyed by an uninvited wheel sucker. 89. Getting so fast you’re confident enough to ride slow. 90. Wondering if cycling matters too much. 91. Not caring if it does. 92. Surfing traffic on adrenaline and luck in one of the world’s 10 biggest cities. 93. Sitting up, taking your hands off the bar on a downhill. 94 . At the PTA meeting, looking around at all the fat parents. 95. Dropping someone half your age. 96. Outclimbing someone half your size. 97 . Passing someone whose bike costs twice as much as yours. 98. Looking inside the bottle you’ve been using all season, seeing mold. 99. Dismissing what used to be your favorite cycling magazine because it keeps repeating topics. 100. Reading The Rider. 101. Coming home from Europe with a cobblestone in your luggage. 102. Finding out no one makes your favorite handlebar-bend anymore. 103. Riding down a trail you couldn’t safely walk. 104. Telling the joke, "God wishes he was Eddy Merckx." 105. Cheating a crosswind by joining an echelon. 106. Feeling superstrong, then turning around for the ride back and realizing you had a tailwind. 107. Pedaling the Brooklyn Bridge, toward Manhattan, at night. 108. Being the person whose bike squeaks drive everyone nuts. 109. Reading a rites of passage list and finding that your own favorite one is missing.

Source: Bicycling Magazine

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

5 ways to get your customers talking about you and your Brand

Here are five ways to get your customers talking about you and your Brand!

1) Ask them – the best word of mouth starts with “word of listen.” Call your customers up and ask them why they buy, why they stick around, and why they tell their friends about you. You might be a bit surprised by their answers. Hint: it’s usually not the stuff you have in your new marketing brochure. You stand a far greater chance of attracting the right customers and the right buzz if you really understand what your current customers value about doing business with you. This goes for online and social media listening as well – what are they saying in chat rooms, blog comments and on twitter?

2) Teach them – sometimes great word of mouth just happens, but sometime you’ve got to help it along. One way to do this is to make sure you are teaching your customers how to spot an ideal client, what a prospect in need might say when looking for your products, and how to properly and concisely describe how your company in different. Of course, in today’s hyper social media world you should also be teaching your happiest customers how to write reviews on Yelp, Insider Pages and CitySearch type rating sites.

3) Include them – People like to be asked what they think, it’s just human nature, but it’s also a great way to get some sound advice. Create a round table discussion group made up of select customers and charge them with advising you once a quarter or so on new marketing and business initiatives. (Reward them for this in some way as well.) This can include advising on everything from a product extension to the look and feel of your web site redesign. Members of your marketing round table will become natural ambassadors for the brand. (You can do this with simple video chat meetings – tinychat)

4) Star them – Letting a customer testimonial or success story go uncaptured or untold is downright criminal in WOM circles. Go out and get a TouchMic MityMic to record customer testimonials to your iPod or get a Flip video camera and start doing video interviews with customers to record their success stories. These “real life” bits of content are gold and turn your featured customers into talking referral billboards for your brand. Want to take this idea up a notch? Hold a customer party and film a dozen or so at one time in a great atmosphere – this alone will get your customers talking.

5) Surprise them - I like to think I saved the best for last – few things get people talking faster than surprising them. This can include doing something that was out of the blue and much appreciated to just giving them more than they bargained for.

Bottom line of course is that you’ve got to do good work, do something that somebody appreciates, and create an experience worth talking about, but then, prime the pump and leverage all that greatness.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

UPS Shows Brands What 'Brown Can Do' For Them

In a first for a package delivery company, United Parcel Service is giving away samples from major brands to its customers. The company is piloting a program in Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Miami, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., in which people who get UPS' Direct-to-Door home delivery also get offers and samples from a roster of brands. It is expected to go nationwide in 2010.

The offers will be packaged in a custom-designed "UPS Direct-to-Door Pak" -- white with an image of a UPS delivery van -- and delivered to residents in the test ZIP codes who are receiving a small package shipment that day. Each Direct-to-Door Pak can contain approximately 12 offers and samples from UPS customers.

Brands participating in the program include Williams Sonoma, Bed Bath & Beyond,, Pottery Barn, The Finish Line, Sephora, West Elm and

A spokesperson for UPS tells Marketing Daily that about 12 brands are involved now. "We are asking brands to put in discrete offers you wouldn't get with other marketing channels," she says., for instance, is giving recipients an invite to its VIP club, whose members get free shipping, among other perks.

The company is not promoting the program at this point, per the spokesperson. "Right now, there's no advertising in place, but we actually will be getting metrics from feedback and talking to customers. Like any pilot, we have to go through evaluation."

The samples will come in a separate, uniquely designed pack. The spokesperson says UPS developed the idea after doing focus-group research on direct-mail marketing that suggested people are too inundated with offers to notice them.

The focus group attendees said they would feel differently about it if a sample package were delivered by hand by a familiar person. "They trust a familiar face, the UPS driver, and they are more likely to accept something from them that's a surprise or gift."

"As marketing channels evolve and consumer choices increase, we need new touchpoints to connect with customers," said Pat Connolly, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Williams Sonoma, in a statement. "With a UPS Direct-to-Door delivery, we're reaching an active consumer, an important factor for increased response rates."

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Design for Hockey Ad/Boards

Check out the Sponsor Ads on the boards in Sweeden....very nice design...clean looking. Maybe the next thing to hit NHL?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sponsorships are like Sailing on the open seas....

Ever wonder why Christopher Cross' iconic song, Sailing, never mentioned anything about operating costs? The 80's song probably wouldn't have reached #1 had he started reeling off the costs for sails, slugs, slides, shackles and spinnaker socks. Like your local yacht dealer, the person selling you a sponsorship probably can't tell you exactly what you need (and what the cost) will be to make YOUR sponsorship work.

You pay for the opportunity to get on the water, but buying a boat doesn't guarantee you fun. Buying a sponsorship, doesn't guarantee you results, but used (activated) the right way you'll see you're expected ROI (and hopefully have some fun in the process!)

Any boat owner will tell you, you'll have to pay a lot more than the purchase price to make the most of your boat...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Survey Says: People Like Sponsors!

Interesting research from the U.K. commissioned by London agency Target Media: Of 2,000 music festival attendees surveyed, 41 percent had positive feelings toward brands that sponsored such events.

Thirty-nine percent said sponsor ads fit better with the festival experience than ads elsewhere, while only 19 percent said they were annoyed by sponsor ID at festivals. Additionally, 75 percent of attendees said they could recall beer, wine or spirits sponsors at music festivals, with 77 percent believing such adult beverages “work best” as festival sponsors.

British and European sponsors typically do a very good job at activating their presence at music festivals to ensure their brands play a role in enhancing the attendees’ experience, which I am willing to bet plays a large role in the positive feedback to this survey.

Source: Jim Andrews
Senior Vice President / Editorial Director

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Tips from the best motivational sales speach ever!!



C= Closing

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Open the Sale before closing the sale!

The panhandler's secret

When there were old-school parking meters in New York, quarters were precious.

One day, I'm walking down the street and a guy comes up to me and says, "Do you have a dollar for four quarters?" He held out his hand with four quarters in it.

Curious, I engaged with him. I took out a dollar bill and took the four quarters.

Then he turned to me and said, "can you spare a quarter?"

What a fascinating interaction.

First, he engaged me. A fair trade, one that perhaps even benefited me, not him.

Now, we have a relationship. Now, he knows I have a quarter (in my hand, even). So his next request is much more difficult to turn down. If he had just walked up to me and said, "can you spare a quarter," he would have been invisible.

Too often, we close the sale before we even open it.

Interact first, sell second.

Bobby Flay Rocks Up-State NY

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Marketing Lessons From The Weinermobile

Marketing Lessons From The Weinermobile


By Rob Strasberg
Strasberg is vice chairman and chief creative officer of Doner

Someone recently sent me the picture of a crashed Wienermobile in Wisconsin and it reminded me of my own experience driving it 18 years ago and how much a 22-foot-long wiener can teach you about marketing.

Lesson 1. I was a living, breathing brand 24/7 for an entire year. I was an Oscar Mayer Hotdogger. Who in their right mind would hand their billion dollar brand and an $80,000 motorized hot dog over to a 22-year-old right out of college? That was my first lesson - a brand is a big responsibility. Take it seriously (but not too seriously in my case – it is a Wienermobile), understand the brand, the voice, the identity, the company point of view – it was clear my collegiate toilet humor was not the brand voice.

Lesson 2. Everything is advertising. My partner and I were responsible for creating public relations, setting up events, speaking with press, working with the salespeople, talking to consumers and cooking over a grill (usually my most important duty). Our efforts consistently garnered more gross rating points than Oscar Mayer’s national ad buys and built strong field relations (ads rarely do that).

Lesson 3. Get along with your partner. A Wienermobile is not that big – make it work. Stay positive – no matter how many times your partner sings along to the Indigo Girls on the radio. Same in an agency: get along with your creative partner. When you’re young, you’ll create big ideas, and later, with your business partners, you’ll create even bigger ideas.

Lesson 4. It’s really easy to make a sexual pun, avoid them at all costs.

Lesson 5. Be prepared. Do your homework. Know your stuff. One wrong move and you could become a national joke.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Selling to Gen's complicated!

When I was 16 years old I went out looking for my first car. Together with my parents, I had set a budget of $8,000. For a 16 year old this felt like $100,000, but to the people trying to earn my business, that $8,000 was enough to sell me what ever they wanted to sell me. I found a beautiful Ford Mustang at a local car lot. My Dad drove me down to the see the car, and I ran excitedly toward the Mustang.

The salesman approached me, and I asked him how much the car cost.

He asked me how much I was looking to spend.

I told him $8,000.

And as you may have guessed he told me that was exactly the price of the Mustang.

Lesson learned.

Now, what is the lesson for you?

As a marketer, you are in a position to manipulate your customer if you so choose to. But that doesn't mean you should. And when dealing with Gen Y you can either use their characteristics to work with them, or you can use their characteristics to take advantage of them. As you can imagine, in the spirit of the greater good, you should use your market research to work with them.

So, now that we have covered your obligation to Gen Y, let's take some time to learn about them financially.

1. Gen Y is wracked with debt, and they don't realize the ramifications of this. The average person graduates college with over $20,000 in student loan debt. This is actually a good example of selling something (loans) to a group of people that aren't in the best position to make a good financial decision.

I'm not discrediting the importance of a college education, but I'm simply pointing out that 18 year olds are committing themselves to levels of debt that they can't possibly comprehend. Understand that it's quite possible that your product or service could contribute to this train wreck of debt.

2. Gen Y either doesn't care about planned obsolescence or doesn't know what it is. Either way, planned obsolescence will continue to break (financially) Gen Y until it's no longer an industrial trend. Planned obsolescence, simply put, is a manufacturing strategy that encourages customers to always buy the latest greatest thing.

This is generally accomplished through a slight tweaking of product features, and then marketing the hell out of the feature changes. The customer ends up buying the features, and ignores the fact that the previous product they own is still a very workable solution.

Gen Y always wants the latest greatest thing because they haven't caught on to the game of planned obsolescence. Are you going to perpetuate the practice of planned obsolescence? Or are you going to build a product or service solution that is a long-term solution?

3. Gen Y has created a group of expenses that I call The New Necessities. This is a category of spending that didn't exist 15 years ago. The category includes Internet access, mobile phone charges, cable, designer coffee, and lease payments. Young people don't think twice about paying big money for cell phones and coffee.

I guess that's why there are so many highly caffeinated broke people face down into their cell phone texting their highly caffeinated broke friends. Gen Y doesn't see anything wrong with spending money on these items, and if your product or service can find it's way on to this new sacred list, then you are golden.

4. Gen Y has more bailout plans than the federal government. And as is the case with the newsworthy bailout, Gen Y bailouts are also ill conceived. Gen Y will not hesitate for a second to solve their financial problems in two very distinct ways. They will use their credit cards in a heartbeat, and they will pick up the phone and call their parents in an instant.

Ask a group of Gen Yers their backup plan, and these two solutions will come up time and time again. As a marketer, this is a very important thing to know. Gen Y never says die; they will find a way to afford the things that they want.

You may be thinking that Gen Y is a generation that is guilty of the "keeping up with the Joneses mentality," but they aren't. Their desire to have the things that they want is personal. They don't particularly care what their friends have or don't have. That is more a characteristic of Gen X.

This nugget of truth paired with the financial characteristics outlined above will certainly help you understand this generation from a financial perspective. And this understanding should help you market to this elusive yet important part of your customer base.

Friday, June 26, 2009

1st key to selling...Interact first, sell second.

The panhandler's secret

When there were old-school parking meters in New York, quarters were precious.

One day, I'm walking down the street and a guy comes up to me and says, "Do you have a dollar for four quarters?" He held out his hand with four quarters in it.

Curious, I engaged with him. I took out a dollar bill and took the four quarters.

Then he turned to me and said, "can you spare a quarter?"

What a fascinating interaction.

First, he engaged me. A fair trade, one that perhaps even benefited me, not him.

Now, we have a relationship. Now, he knows I have a quarter (in my hand, even). So his next request is much more difficult to turn down. If he had just walked up to me and said, "can you spare a quarter," he would have been invisible.

Too often, we close the sale before we even open it.

Interact first, sell second.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Girls....Love you guys:)

Miller MGD Sponsorship rewards the 64th place finisher!

Hooray for 64th Place! MGD 64 Rewards 64th Place Category Finishers At Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

To celebrate its first year as the official beer sponsor of the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon & 1/2 Marathon, and add a little fun and excitement for runners, MGD 64 today announced it will award an exclusive prize pack to the 64th place finisher in each age category.

MGD 64 prize packs will be awarded to the male and female 64th place finishers* in each of the thirteen age categories. Each winner will receive a gift basket full of fun items including branded apparel, a pedometer, a subscription to Competitor Magazine, Inside Triathlon, Triathlete Magazine or VeloNews, and other great items.

"MGD 64 is the perfect beer for social and active beer drinkers with on-the-go lifestyles. Celebrating the 64th place finishers is a fun way we can reward runners who are literally on the go," said Tristi Pfeiffer, MGD 64 marketing manager. "Whether runners place first or 64th, everyone can appreciate the fresh, crisp taste of MGD 64."

In addition to awarding prize packs to the 64th place finishers, MGD 64 will have an experiential area at the pre-race Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Health & Fitness Expo where consumers can learn more about the 64-calorie beer that's "as light as it gets." MGD 64 will also host a stretching area at the post-race Finish Line Festival where participants and supporters can gather to cool down, stretch out and listen to live music.

Legal-drinking-age runners are invited to celebrate their achievement with a free, refreshing bottle of MGD 64 at the Finish Line Festival.

"Our partnership with MGD 64 is a great way for us to provide our participants, as well as their friends and families, with the best light beer available," said Megan Young, event manager for the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle. "We utilize our Expo and Finish Line Festivals to provide health and fitness products and information for our participants. This is a great setting for a brand such as MGD 64 to introduce its fresh, crisp taste to thousands of people who definitely have something to toast after finishing the race."

With just 64 calories and 2.4 grams of carbohydrates, MGD 64 has steadily grown in popularity with calorie-conscious consumers since it launched nationally in the summer of 2008. This is the brand's first year as the official beer sponsor of the eleven-event Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series which hosts races in Nashville, San Diego, Seattle, Chicago, Virginia Beach, Philadelphia, San Jose, Denver, San Antonio, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

*Only participants 21 years and older are eligible to win the MGD 64 prize pack

Friday, June 19, 2009

Leverage Gen Y Workers To Support Your Brand

Marketers can take full advantage of Gen Y's unique situation in the workforce. Members of this demographic can add value to their companies by being corporate citizens and brand ambassadors. They are marketing tools that can be leveraged by their own marketing organizations to reach customers, prospects, the press and various other stakeholders. As long as they maintain a positive reputation, their companies will benefit, and they will have better careers as a result.

Smart marketers understand that Gen Y workers can provide value to companies by leveraging their social networks. They can also protect the corporate brand and help employers recruit top talent fairly easily because they're constantly connected. Many Gen Y members have even labeled themselves as "social media experts" because they are tech savvy and are using web 2.0 tools outside of the workplace to communicate with peers. Marketers are realizing that they need dedicated resources for their own social media programs.

Aside from recruiting Gen Y, companies are looking at their current workers and asking some of them to start exploring this new territory. As the shift in communication turns from advertising and traditional marketing to new media marketing, it's critical to engage Gen Y and ask for marketing support. In today's digital world, the more connected you are, the more successful you can be.

Brand monitoring

Most companies aren't paying for blog monitoring services such as Buzzlogic or Radion6 and many aren't even using free services, such as Google Alerts. Keeping track of brand mentions, whether it's your CEO, your product or your company, is required. Word-of-mouth marketing online moves very fast and what starts off as a mere tweet can spawn a blog post and then a YouTube video and then become the front page story in the New York Times.

You should engage Millennials, who are already paying attention to conversations that are happening online, and ask them to monitor and report on brand mentions. Gen Y folks are more familiar with the online tools that allow you to listen well and can leverage that familiarity to prove themselves critically useful to their companies.

Marketing for free

Marketing budgets are on the decline, but companies still need to get their messages out to the marketplace. Traditional forms of advertising are clearly out of budget, but new media costs only your time. Gen Y members have been using social networks, such as Facebook, before they were even available to the masses, which means that their "friend" list is much greater than other generations.

Also, many have blogs that are related to their current industries or positions at their companies. Their blogs help position them as thought leaders and community activists, and as they build out their subscribe lists, they have more people to market to.

A blog is one of the best ways to build a brand for yourself -- whether it's for your ideas or products-Marketers should engage Gen Y when they need to push out a message to stakeholders by asking them nicely and simplifying the message so it's consumable by that audience.

Referral recruitment

Companies are hiring right now, but they not for advertising positions. Instead, they are using the power of referrals to track down the best talent out there. Marketers can take advantage of the interconnectedness of Gen Y members when they are looking to hire talented people because they already surround themselves with them.

One request can turn into three potential hires within an hour because of the speed at which Gen Y communicates with its peers. Whether it's a text message, a tweet or a Facebook post, you can get the best talent without having a marketing budget.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Who has the best "Brand Equity"

Got Brand Equity?
Here's how Harris Interactive ranked brands in its 2009 EquiTrend brand equity study:

1 M&M's Plain Chocolate Candy

2 Hershey's Kisses Chocolate Candy

3 Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

4 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Chocolate Candy

5 Hershey's Milk Chocolate Candy Bars

6 Kleenex Facial Tissues

7 Campbell's Soups

8 Google

9 M&M's Peanut Chocolate Candy

10 Crayola Crayons

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Good Sponsorship Buzz?

I worry about a conflict of interest that might occur in the next several months, should MSNBC's "Morning Joe" -- now promoted as "Brewed by Starbucks" -- have to cover a specific caffeine-infused story.

The show, hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who now can be found drinking Starbucks' coffee on-air, will be put into a bind. Will the TV director look to frame out any Starbucks-logo-ed cups should an uncomfortable situation crop up?

That's the problem -- even if everyone swears there isn't one. NBC might do everything right, but it'll always have the appearance of a conflict of interest. This isn't the first time there's been a Starbucks association. During last year's political season, "Morning Joe" originated from many Starbucks locations.

Of course, any advertiser involvement in a news operation is a tricky affair. Keeping the lines clear between church and state -- editorial and business -- has always been an uneasy balancing act between editors and business executives. Local TV news reporters have done in-depth pieces about a less-than-scrupulous' local automotive dealerships, and newscasts have paid the price with lost local automotive advertising business.

TV news executives make sure stories about plane crashes aren't followed by enticing TV commercials of people jetting off to Florida or other vacation spots.

In the old TV days -- the 1950s, specifically -- did any of those cigarette-sponsored network newscasts, complete with on-air hosts puffing away on products, even approach fringe health issue stories about tobacco?

Nowadays, product placement deals for TV news have been virtually taboo. Instead, such shows have standard 30-second commercials from pharmaceutical and financial companies that buy broadcast and other TV news programs to grab the dominant older TV news viewer.

So, let's say coffee might be good for your health -- or maybe not. Keep a close eye on any future coffee-related news report, and what becomes of the Starbucks-sponsored "Morning Joe" TV billboard, or a Starbucks mug sitting on the anchors' desk in plain view.

Perhaps nothing. If Starbucks is sincere about its reportedly $10 million association with the perfectly and "organically" titled TV news show "Morning Joe," I'm sure it realizes what a coup it has.

In the wake of any controversial coffee-related story, I expect only to hear the sip of a venti latte coming from Starbucks executives. Of course, snarky TV viewers may offer up the sound of a different gulp.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


All the statistics in the world can't measure the warmth of a smile. ~Chris Hart

After all the years working on marketing plans, training front line and back line personnel, having war room day long sessions and re-branding efforts...I have come to learn that one simple act can set the tone for your business/brand. That one act is a smile! Wow that's simple right? But try and think about the last time you were in one of the big box retail stores...did anyone of the associates smile at you and introduce themselves? If you have to think about it the answer is no! Because if they had you would have been taken back by the gesture because you are not use to that kind of treatment. But you should be...and that's the first step in Inside-out Marketing. A smile and a hello goes a long way toward building your brand and retaining the clients you worked so hard to find.

So next time you are in a big box I hope you get a smile....and if you do maybe they read my blog!!!


Friday, May 22, 2009

Talking Blogs...and Social Media

Great talk about Blogs and Social Media from Seth....

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Allure Of Action Sports

The Allure Of Action Sports
Gen Y is drawn to action sports. According to America Sports Data (2007), in the U.S. alone there are 11.6 million skateboarders, 6.88 million snowboarders and 3 million BMX participants, and, of these numbers, the majority is between the ages of 18 and 30. The action sports allure comes not only from the fun, but also from the freedom. Whether it's skateboarding, riding a BMX, surfing or snowboarding, it comes down to you and the elements.

In action sports there are no rules, only technique. The way two people arrive at learning a trick can be completely different from each other, and each will develop their own style in the process; and in action sports style is everything.

This process of personal expression usually leads practitioners of action sports to explore other ways to express their individuality and creativity. Skaters and surfers often become musicians, painters, actors or artists of some type -- no other sport is so tied to a broader youth culture. In action sports, young people find a community that not only encourages but celebrates their natural creativity and individuality.

Action Sports in Mainstream Culture

It's difficult not to notice the immense popularity action sports has gained over the last 10 years. TV's bastion of youth culture, MTV, can credit some of its most popular shows to action sports. "The Life of Ryan," "Viva La Bam," "Jack Ass," "Rob and Big," "Rob's Fantasy Factory" and "Nitro Circus" all are shows based on action sports and the lifestyle.

Action sports events like the Dew Tour and X Games pack traditional sports venues and receive coveted broadcast coverage. Skaters like Jason Lee and Dave Chappelle have become famous actors, skateboard legend Mark Gonzales has become a famous artist, professional surfer Jack Johnson has become a renowned musician. TV networks like "Fuel TV" broadcast only action sports, XM radio station "The Faction" only plays "the music of action sports." Woodward has a camp catered to action sports and an increasing number of schools have surf PE, skateboard PE and snowboard week. For decades, its impact was slow and steady, but over the last decade, action sports has become woven into the fabric of youth culture.

Corporations Join the Fold

As endemic companies like DC, Billabong and Volcom become household names, it's little surprise that riding the coattails of this popularity are many corporations, including Nike, Gatorade, Converse, Adidas and Toyota, to name a few of that have created action sports programs.

The amount of money spent on traditional sports marketing far exceeds what is spent on action sports, yet action sports continue to replace traditional sports in popularity -- with participation numbers in action sports rising at the expense of traditional sports.

The power of the action sports market has yet to be completely realized. For non-endemic corporations, breaking into this market isn't as easy as it may seem. Skaters, surfers and snowboarders traditionally are leery of non-endemic brands.

Here are some tips for marketing to the action sports demographic:

  • Before the start of your project, speak with young people who are invested in action sports culture to educate yourself and your staff
  • Whether they are pro athletes, amateur athletes or other respected personalities in action sports, get well-respected "ambassadors" to help be the face and voice of your brand when trying to reach young people
  • Sponsor grassroots action sports events and competitions, not just the large, made-for-TV events
  • Advertise in endemic print and online outlets
  • Hire photographers who specialize in the respective action sport to photograph anything you are doing in the sports

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Talking Twitter....

Talking Twitter!

It seems that in the past month or so alone -- with headlines about The Real Shaq, Jon Stewart's Comedy Central critique, and addicted-to-it admissions by major news anchors and, especially, Oprah's April 17 segment on the subject -- the entire world has discovered Twitter.

For those of you who have been focusing on less pressing matters -- say, the economy -- Twitter is a microblog through which people communicate within a maximum of 140 characters. The real-time result, as others have suggested, is much like a large cocktail party with many unrelated conversations occurring at the same time. Twitter can be perplexing, disorienting, even overwhelming.

In comparison to social networks such as Facebook, with its 200 million active users, Twitter is a social neophyte, with 14 million users (pre-Oprah), according to What makes Twitter newsworthy, however, is that this figure indicates a significant spike -- an increase of 76.8% in the past month alone.

Is Twitter a great way to market to moms?

The jury is still out -- but the possibilities are intriguing. Moms are certainly tweeting in droves. Of the core group of 100 or so mom bloggers we work with on an ongoing basis, for example, roughly 80% have Twitter accounts. The Twitter format itself -- short bursts -- may particularly appeal to busy moms, as a way to stay in touch between myriad parenting tasks. The influential TwitterMoms network includes numerous subcategories for different areas of interest, from "Online Marketing Moms" to "Twitter Newbies." March saw the launch of independent microblogging variations on Twitter, designed to appeal directly to moms.

Moms who tweet comment on everything from potty training to politics. Granted, there are numerous posts along the lines of, "What shall I make for lunch?" and "Just dropped Jimmy off at practice." Earlier this month, there was much lively debate on a TV segment on "the secret life of moms" as well as a major fundraising effort for a mom in need.

Though clearly not a direct opportunity for marketers, these activities offer insight into a mom's world. More relevant to corporations, there is also a great deal of news and knowledge shared, mom to mom, about product giveaways, coupon offers, special events, and more. Many of the conversations that started online have evolved to off-line -- the "meet ups" or in-person meetings originated by bloggers have evolved into "tweet ups" for Twitter fans.

Small and large businesses alike have tiptoed into Twitter waters in an effort to reach moms. Graco and Johnson & Johnson have a presence, as do Nickelodeon and Disney, among others. Companies such as Whole Foods, Starbucks, Zappos and JetBlue use Twitter to target a broader audience.

For those marketing in Twitter space for the first time, there is a distinct learning curve. Some basic lessons:

  • Identify your objectives carefully. What do you want to achieve through a Twitter presence? Create visibility? Improve your customer service? Move a particular product? Develop greater awareness of an online or offline promotion?
  • Allocate the time to do it right. For a channel known for its word limit, Twitter can be incredibly time consuming if you want to convey a specific marketing message effectively. For originating posts and reading and responding to others, expect to devote one to two full hours a day.
  • Pursue followers aggressively, but selectively. Full disclosure: This is counter to traditional thinking. Many Twitter experts will tell you that the best way to establish expertise and relationships is to generate a massive following -- by following the masses, who in return will most likely follow you. But what if your real audience is a lot more specific than broad? If you're reaching foreign real estate brokers and your target is American moms of young children, what is the point, aside from big-number bragging rights? And, realistically, how can you possibly read and interact with -- which is the whole point -- posts from a huge list?
  • Make a contribution. Don't become one of those companies whose updates consist of constant repetition of the same message, "Here's my product." Share value: answer questions, address concerns, provide unique opportunities and interesting updates on activities at your company, but also volunteer helpful information on relevant subjects. For example, if you're promoting a family travel destination, post links to third-party tips for traveling with kids.

Despite the fact that it's been around for three years, Twitter is only now really taking off when it comes to corporate involvement. Readers, what have your experiences been with Twitter? Marketers, what have you done that's effective? Moms, what should companies on Twitter do to make themselves more appealing?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Why Sponsorship is Growing even in this Economy!

Changes in the economy, demographic shifts and the fragmentation of media have all contributed to sponsorship’s growth. Some of the largest factors behind sponsorship’s rise are:

Decreasing efficiency of measured media
Costs for traditional advertising continue to increase, while ratings and readership decline. On top of that is an even more basic problem: consumers are not paying attention to ads.

The situation is particularly acute in television. Where once the VCR’s fast-forward button was the greatest enemy faced by TV ads, the popularity of personal video recorders such as TiVo and ReplayTV has made viewers’ ability to avoid commercial messages even easier and more automatic.

Sponsorship, on the other hand, provides opportunities for embedded advertising, a fail-safe delivery system where messages are incorporated right into the action.

Changing social priorities
As issues such as poverty, the environment and AIDS loom larger, there is a growing realization that the needs of society and the interests of business overlap. Buyers are demanding to know where a company stands before they purchase its products. Making the world a more livable place is a prerequisite to achieving consumer affinity. Sponsorship, which allies companies with community responsibility and improved quality of life, is precisely the kind of statement consumers will respond to. When a company sponsors, it is providing something for its customers – not making some media conglomerate richer, but saving a high school sports program or underwriting a symphony performance.

Shifting personal values
Conspicuous consumption has been replaced by cashing out. Shopping for shopping’s sake has become déclassé. Tapping into today’s consumers’ elusive will to spend requires turning the buying experience into something larger than just acquisition. Sponsorship provides companies this opportunity. It says to the potential customer: “Buy this product not to indulge yourself, but to help make the world a better place.”

Increasing need for two-way communication
In response to the fragmentation of the mass market and mass media, companies are looking for alternative methods to communicate sales messages. The idea is to find delivery systems that allow companies to deepen their relationship with customers.

Sponsorship, which is the most direct channel of communication, is tailor-made for this environment. It reaches people in an environment that matches their lifestyle rather than intrudes upon it. It is not a passive monologue that interrupts a TV show, or comes as a piece of mail that needs to be dealt with. Sponsorship speaks to the public, not at them, creating opportunities for two-way dialogue.

High consumer acceptance
While traditional media is less effective than ever, much of the new media alienates consumers. For example, 75 percent of Americans view phone solicitation as an invasion of privacy, while 81 percent find ads in stores to be distasteful, according to a Brandweek study. In addition, 69 percent of consumers who buy or rent movies on video are annoyed by advertising before the film, according to a Gallup survey conducted for Advertising Age.

On the other hand, public response to sponsorship has been overwhelmingly positive. Sponsorship is viewed favorably because it is seen as a form of marketing that gives something back, that benefits someone else in addition to the marketer. It implies a degree of altruism absent from more commercial types of marketing.

For example, eight out of ten respondents to a survey conducted in Britain said sponsorship makes “a positive contribution to society.”

The following is a sampling of recent market research regarding sponsorship’s acceptance and ability to influence what and where people buy.

Cause marketing. Eighty-four percent of U.S. adults said they would be likely to switch brands to support a product that associated with a cause they cared about, according to the 2002 Cone/Roper Corporate Citizenship Study. According to Cone/Roper’s latest Cause-Related Trends Report, cause marketing had the strongest impact on people who Roper classifies as “Influentials.” This group – about 20 million strong – are opinion makers and group leaders. By a two to one margin (41 percent to 20 percent), Influentials are more likely to have made a cause marketing purchase than consumers at large.

Festival sponsorship. Eighty-five percent of attendees surveyed at the city of Chicago’s Gospel Festival could name one or more of the event’s sponsors, according to a survey conducted by research firm McKeon & Assoc. of Joliet, Ill. When surveyed one month later, 70 percent could still recall a sponsor. Eighty-two percent attested they would be more likely to purchase a product made by a company that sponsored Gospel Fest. The figures held across all age and earning categories, with sponsor loyalty actually increasing with income level.

Arts sponsorship. British Petroleum found a positive relationship between arts sponsorship and a company’s image and reputation. BP also examined public reaction to the BP logo built into the set of a performing arts event. Eighty-one percent of respondents thought the logo was noticeable. Of those, 88 percent said it was very acceptable or quite acceptable. Only two percent thought it was quite unacceptable; no one found it very unacceptable.

Sports marketing. Given the choice between two products of equal cost, 72 percent of NASCAR fans would “almost always” or “frequently” choose the brand they associate with NASCAR over one that is not associated with NASCAR, according to Newport, R.I.-based Performance Research.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Check out Jacks new Office Space!

New site from Jack in the Box allows you to have Jack call your friends wit a message....Classic!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Starbucks: Not as Expensive as You Think....Really?

CEO Sets Campaign to Combat Image Coffee Chain Is 'Poster Child for Excess'

Distressed that Starbucks has become the "poster child for excess," CEO Howard Schultz said the coffee company plans to run an ad campaign proving its coffee isn't expensive.

Howard Schultz

"There's a myth out there that there's this $4 cup of coffee at Starbucks," Mr. Schultz told shareholders at the company's annual investor meeting earlier today. "For whatever reason, Starbucks Coffee Co. has become the poster child for excess, and if you want to be really smart, you should cut out that $4 cup of coffee."

Not going to stay silent
Mr. Schultz, noting that half of the chain's beverages cost less than $3 and one-third are priced less than $2, admitted that Starbucks has been defined by its competitors. "Don't let anyone tell you their coffee is the same as Starbucks because it's not," he said. "We've been silent about these issues, but I can assure you we're not going to be silent for too long." Starbucks has also launched "value pairings," such as a breakfast sandwich or muffin and a drink, for $3.95.

Forthcoming advertising will attempt to convince consumers that Starbucks products aren't as expensive as they are perceived. Mr. Schultz said to expect social-media efforts, internet advertising, and more and sporadic TV ad buys he refers to as "brand sparks."

The company's presentation ended with a music video (rather than the usual live musical performance) of street musicians from around the world performing "Stand By Me." Mr. Schultz said the song would be incorporated into upcoming marketing efforts.

Starbucks has long eschewed traditional advertising, but has placed a number of TV ads since moving its business from Wieden & Kennedy to Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York, in October. Mr. Schultz said that these ad buys have generated strong response with consumers. The chain gave away 2 million cups of coffee on Election Day, with a promotion by way of an ad during "Saturday Night Live." He said that the spike in traffic also resulted in incremental sales and the chain was profitable for the day.

Starbucks later partnered with Oprah Winfrey on an Inauguration Day-related volunteerism push. The chain did a limited ad buy, encouraging Americans to stop by Starbucks and get a free coffee in exchange for pledging five hours of community service before the end of the year. The day after President Barack Obama's Inauguration, Ms. Winfrey plugged the promotion on her show. Mr. Schultz said that the chain had racked up 1.25 million hours in pledged community service during the promotions two-week window.

Plans for Via instant coffee
Mr. Schultz also gave some insight into Via, the company's foray in instant coffee, as first reported by While the global instant-coffee market is valued at $17 billion, he said only about $1 billion of that is in the U.S. And Via, he hopes, will lure some people to convert from brewed coffee. Of the 65 billion cups of coffee brewed in the U.S. every year, Starbucks has only about 4% of the market. The company will attempt to change consumer behaviors at home, where 25% to 30% of coffee is wasted, and at work, where many people don't like the coffee that is sometimes offered free of charge in company kitchens.

Starbucks is testing Via in Seattle, without advertising, and in Chicago, with TV ads, in-store displays, and an outdoor push that has included on-the-street sample distribution, bus and shelter ads, and a fleet of hybrid cars marked with the Via logo. BBDO has anchored the Chicago effort. Mr. Schultz said that Starbucks would use the pilot period to determine the efficacy of the advertising. Via will launch nationwide this fall and internationally next year.

Starbucks is, of course, attempting a complicated turnaround. In January, the company reported earnings were down 69% to $74 million, due largely to restructuring charges and same-store sales down 10% in the U.S. alone. At the time, Mr. Schultz said the company was beginning to see improvement in its business. Starbucks reports earnings again next month.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback

Pepsi Bets on Soda With All-Natural Ingredients

PepsiCo is adding three new soft drinks to its portfolio as part of the company’s “Refresh Everything” strategy.

The lineup includes a premium all-natural cola, called Pepsi Natural, to be released this month in 10 select markets, along with limited-time throwback versions in April of Pepsi and Mountain Dew. All three products will be made with all-natural sugar, and aim to take customers in a different taste direction.

Pepsi has been prepping this “natural” launch since 2006 as an answer to consumers' concerns about high fructose corn syrup.

Pepsi Natural is packaged in a sleek 12-oz. glass bottle and will be available in retailers’ premium or natural food aisles as single-serve or four-pack offerings. The cola is amber hued due to natural caramel, kola nut and apple extracts, and is made with “lightly sparkling water.”

Distribution includes Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Las Vegas and New York.

The two memory-lane beverages, Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback, will have 1960s and ’70s inspired retro packaging and a flavor distinct from the current beverages. The retro soft drinks will be available for eight weeks starting April 20.

“Pepsi Natural and the ‘Throwback’ duo give consumers the opportunity to refresh how they experience soft drinks,” said Frank Cooper, vp of portfolio brands, Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages, in a statement. “We’re continuing to offer a variety of products across different beverage categories, with a splash of nostalgia and entirely new experiences.”

PepsiCo spent $214 million on U.S. media for its soft drinks in 2007 and $177 million last year (not including online initiatives), per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cereal going Old School

NEW YORK ( -- If food can be comforting, how about packaging? With consumers embracing old-world classics such as casserole, some marketers are trying to get on the bandwagon by trotting out some old-school style.

Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs: General Mills has given Target a month-long exclusive on retro box designs for some of its best-selling cereals.
Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs: General Mills has given Target a month-long exclusive on retro box designs for some of its best-selling cereals.

General Mills has given Target a month-long exclusive on retro box designs for some of its best-selling cereals, Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs and Trix. The package-food company is giving away T-shirts with the old designs as part of the deal. Consumers with five proof-of-purchase labels will be entitled to a free shirt at Consumers who would rather just buy one can go to the site and spend $5 to don a defunct Mills design.

Taken from the archives
The promotion, which began in stores Feb. 15, runs through March 21. The box designs were taken from General Mills archives and given minor tweaks, such as updated product shots. But for the most part, the designs are the same, with original games and activities.

Target did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"Our brands have a history that spans many young adults' childhoods," Kerry DeLaney, associate marketing manager-Big G Cereals, said in a statement. "The retro-box concept is a fun and unique way to create a package design that appeals to Target's guests."

Although the promotion is still running, General Mills spokeswoman Shelly Dvorak said the company is very pleased with initial results. "We have even seen blog posts by consumers talking about the retro boxes," she added.

General Mills has avoided direct marketing, leaving promotion to bloggers. Andrew Gibbs at TheDieLine wrote, "My initial reaction was one of refreshing surprise -- what a pleasant treat for someone like me, who appreciates the aesthetics of yesteryear." He added, however, that such designs may have limited appeal to children, the products' ostensible consumers. "Perhaps the obvious conclusion is that these retro designs are aimed at adults who would otherwise not buy anything promoted by a cartoon rabbit," he said.

Deals have cachet
Dan Ochwat, editor of Shopper Marketing Magazine, said General Mills and Target are likely looking for a short spike in business, because the promotional window is so small. But exclusive deals certainly have cachet.

"Exclusivity is what they're all looking for now," he said. "That in these times is how you strike gold." One potential problem, he said is that many private-label packages have a retro look, and marketers may risk looking more like one of their lower-priced imitators.

Virginia Valkenburgh, senior VP of Cannondale Associates, a Wilton, Conn.-based marketing consultancy, noted that Target is known for seeking out exclusive deals. She described the retro promotion as particularly current. Consumers want to be comforted, and they are cooking and eating more at home, she said.

"It's going to make the moms and the kids feel good," she said.

Monday, February 23, 2009

As Social Media Grows....

Social media continues to grow globally in terms of adoption, usage, interest and impact in a massive way. It’s undeniably changing the way that content and information work particularly in terms of the publishing of consumer opinion. This has transformed the way that consumers relate to brands and the way that brands should operate, driving direct interaction, transparency and a more consultative approach.

However, we still operate in a system defined by the old media world and consequently big brand involvement is still in the main tentative and sporadic. From my experience of trying to get big brands to embrace the social revolution, there are a number of reasons why they have yet to embrace the real opportunities that involvement can deliver:

1. Social Media is often viewed as just another marketing channel: It is of course so much more; it is a completely different approach to interacting with consumers and customers. Of course, you can advertise in a social media environment, but the true return on investment comes from developing communities, creating content to be shared, and talking and listening directly with consumers.

2. It does not fit into current structures: True social media falls somewhere between marketing, PR, communications, content production and web development. No one is quite sure whose responsibility it is and who should ultimately deliver their organisation’s social media strategy.

3. Communities and content are global: Users of social media connect, consume, and share content globally with little care for international borders. Marketing and PR departments and objectives are set up nationally or regionally. Very few organisations have a truly international structure and perspective.

4. Social media needs a long term approach: To build community, distribute content, or get people actively involved in an application takes time. Marketing and PR work on short time frames and are wedded to sets of individual campaigns or short term objectives. Social media is not a campaign, it’s a permanent approach.

5. No guaranteed results: You book advertising and it’s guaranteed to work. For, example you book a web campaign on page views and you keep going until you reach your goal. This is what advertisers call a push medium, i.e. you choose when people see it. Social media is a pull medium; usage and interaction is totally dependent on the user choosing to do so. If it’s not relevant or lacks creative brilliance it will not work. This makes it hard.

6. The metrics are new: Companies are used to the big numbers of advertising, but these numbers are different. Advertising is measured in booked exposures, i.e. page views, while social media is measured in direct interactions, i.e. number of friends, number of views or number of users. These numbers will always be smaller, but not necessarily any less measure of success.