Saturday, February 14, 2009

Seth Godin Goodies

A recent item on his blog:

Music vs. the music industry

Some excerpts from an interview on the future of the music industry. I was being specific about one industry, but I think it applies to just about everything:

The music industry is really focused on the ‘industry’ part and not so much on the ‘music’ part. This is the greatest moment in the history of music if your dream is to distribute as much music as possible to as many people as possible, or if your goal is to make it as easy as possible to become heard as a musician. There’s never been a time like this before. So if your focus is on music, it’s great. If your focus is on the industry part and the limos, the advances, the lawyers, polycarbonate and vinyl, it’s horrible. The shift that is happening right now is that the people who insist on keeping the world as it was are going to get more and more frustrated until they lose their jobs. People who want to invent a whole new set of rules, a new paradigm, can’t believe their good fortune and how lucky they are that the people in the industry aren’t noticing an opportunity...

I define a tribe as a group of people sharing a common culture, a goal, a mission, probably a leader. There are tribes of people – like the ones who go to South by Southwest – who are connected because they want to remake the music industry. There is the tribe of people who follow Bruce Springsteen and will pay unreasonable amounts of money to hear him live and compare playlists. The important distinction here is that music labels used to be in the business of grabbing shelf space, on the radio and in the record store. Now, the music industry needs to realign and be in the business of finding and connecting and leading groups of people who want to follow a musician and connect with the other people who want to do the same...

In the ‘70s or ‘80s you listened to a song because “everyone else” was also listening to it. That’s the definition of pop music. In those days we defined “everyone else” as people in our high school or people who listened to WPLJ. Now, “everyone else” is not defined by where you live or what radio station you listen to. It’s defined by which horizontal or vertical slice of the world you connect yourself with. I might listen to Keller Williams because everyone else in my world includes frustrated Deadheads. We don’t have new Grateful Dead to listen to, so everyone else in my circle is listening to Keller Williams, so he is pop to us. He’s not pop to the kids at the middle school who have never heard of him, right? So you end up with all these silos and niches and lots and lots of ways to look at the world...

Digital is about to surpass the CD, and once it starts to happen it’s going to happen faster and faster and faster. The more interesting thing to me is who is going to control the playlist. If there is an infinite amount of music available – and I would argue that as soon as the amount of music available exceeds the amount of time you have in your life, that’s infinite – somebody will have the leverageable spot of deciding what to listen to next. And it’s unclear whether someone will charge to tell me that or will pay to tell me that. It’s still up for grabs in every one of these vertical silos. Who are the tastemakers and how do these ideas spread? The analogy I like to give is if you’re an author and Oprah Winfrey calls, you don’t say, “How much are you going to pay me to go on your show and give away all the ideas in my book?” In fact, if you could you would pay to be on Oprah. For a really long time the music industry has had two minds: On the one hand, they would pay money to be on Clear Channel or MTV; on the other hand, they would charge you money to hear their music in concert or out of your stereo. Those days are all getting intermingled now. “I am the program director of my radio station, so where’s my payola?”

R&G: When a band brands itself, there is a credibility issue with their fan base; they run the risk of being perceived as a sellout.

Seth: I think the first thing I’d ask is, “perceived as a sellout by whom?” Some people say Patricia Barber is a sellout because she’s a popular jazz musician as opposed to a starving jazz musician. But the people in the crowd don’t think that. I think selling out is largely about expectation, about being transparent and telling the truth to your audience. When Talking Heads went from being unsuccessful at CBGB to being really successful on MTV and making a movie with Jonathan Demme, some people said they sold out. Other people said they wished they were more pop-like. I’m not sure that’s something that needs to be at the beginning of the conversation. I think that what you have to do is make it clear to your tribe and to yourself what you stand for, and do that.

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And the Winner is...


Read more from Brandweek:

Survey: Consumers Prefer McDonald's Over Starbucks

Feb 12, 2009

-By Mark Dolliver, Adweek

Would you prefer to live in a place with more McDonald's or more Starbucks? A new report from the Pew Research Center tells of the results it got when posing that oddball question last October in one of its Social & Demographics Trend surveys. Overall, respondents preferred a place with more McDonald's (the choice of 43 percent) to one with more Starbucks (35 percent, with the rest declining to choose). As you'd guess, though, the pattern of response differed significantly among different demographic cohorts.

Age was one sharp dividing line: Among the poll's 18-29-year-olds, Starbucks beat McDonald's by 49 percent to 36 percent. McDonald's had the edge over Starbucks among the 30-49-year-olds (45 percent vs. 37 percent), the 50-64s (43 percent vs. 33 percent) and those 65-plus (48 percent vs. 18 percent). Gender was also a factor. While McDonald's easily outpolled Starbucks among men (46 percent to 30 percent), it eked out just a one-point win among women (41 percent to 40 percent).

In a breakdown of the data by race and ethnicity, McDonald's outpointed Starbucks among white respondents (43 percent vs. 35 percent) and, by a much wider margin, among their black counterparts (56 percent vs. 27 percent). Among Hispanic respondents, though, it was nearly a tie, with Starbucks getting 39 percent and McDonald's 38 percent.

The only one of the survey sample's income brackets in which Starbucks beat McDonald's was the $75,000-plus cohort (48 percent vs. 34 percent). McDonald's had its biggest win among those in the under-$30,000 bracket (51 percent to 28 percent). These numbers dovetail with the breakdown by educational attainment, in which Starbucks won among college graduates (47 percent to 32 percent) while McDonald's won among those with a high school diploma or less (50 percent to 26 percent). Among respondents with "some college," McDonald's had a negligible edge over Starbucks (42 percent to 40 percent).

Regionally, Starbucks had its best showing in the West, where it won by 47 percent to 28 percent. McDonald's won everywhere else, with its biggest margin of victory coming in the Midwest (49 percent to 30 percent). The obvious caveat is that the regional numbers may reflect the real-life distribution of Starbucks and McDonald's outlets around the country as well as consumer preference in the abstract.

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27 Questions about your Email Blasts

Just a teaser for the complete list:

Take This Quiz

It's always good to pause for reflection, and Mark Brownlow of Email Marketing Reports has grouped 27 questions you might ask yourself into thematic categories, along with links to insightful blog posts and articles that address each topic.

Under the heading of coping with increased competition, he poses thought-provoking queries like:

  • What do your emails offer that people can't get from any other email list?
  • If a competitor started offering the same content or similar offers, why would subscribers stay with your list?

Moving along to recipient fatigue, he asks questions like these:

  • Are you controlling the number of emails your subscribers get (not just from you, but from everyone in the organization)?
  • Do you think declining responses are best reversed by sending more emails or by building a better email program?

Later on, under the heading of optimized metrics, he wonders:

  • Have you considered the email impacts that don't show up in standard campaign reports?
  • When you get an unusually bad or good result, do you shrug and move on or do you search for the lesson and apply them to future emails?

The Po!nt: The self-deprecating Brownlow zeroes in on the bottom line with question number 16. "Are you implementing new tactics because some Englishman in Austria with a blog said they worked or because they make intrinsic sense for your list, audience and email model, or because you tested the ideas and found them beneficial?"

Source: Email Marketing Reports. Click here for the complete post.

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School Bus Advertising

Over the years, the amount of options for advertising as multiplied. Unfortunately, there are not enough people buying or selling advertising that understand the dynamics of what it takes to make it successful. I wrote about this recently and you can click here to learn more.

In the meantime, here's another ad medium that is being considered (from Brandweek):

Rhode Island Mulls School Bus Ads

Feb 11, 2009

-By Todd Wasserman

Rhode Island is the latest state to consider advertising on school buses, a somewhat controversial practice that critics say is inappropriate but that proponents argue will aid budget shortfalls.

Al Gemma, a Democrat who serves as the deputy majority leader in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, introduced a bill two weeks ago that would generate revenues by using the sides of school buses as advertising space. Gemma said he had no specific advertiser in mind. “I don’t expect Playboy centerfold ads,” he said. “I mean discreet ads for philanthropists, stuff that’s appropriate for school buses.”

Gemma said he had no idea if the bill would pass.

Rhode Island is not the first state to consider school bus advertising. Media Advertising in Motion, a Scottsdale, Ariz., firm that links brands like Geico and State Farm with school buses, has generated more than $3 million for school districts in Arizona and Colorado with such advertising, said the firm’s president, Jim O’Connell. O’Connell said he makes a distinction between outside-the-bus advertising, which targets other drivers and inside-the-bus advertising, which targets kids. His firm only does the former.

Josh Golin, associate director of the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said the outlook for firms like Media Advertising in Motion is good—he expects more school districts to look into school bus ads. “It’s something that’s going to become more prevalent as budgets get cut,” he said. Nevertheless, the CCFA’s position on school bus ads is that they inappropriate. “We don’t think advertising should be a compulsory part of the school day,” he said.

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5 (read more below)

What is 5? Read this email I got 5 days ago:

Hi Scott,

Let's face it, selling is difficult. But selling in print is
incredibly difficult, since you're stripped of all your
non-verbal communication. Your prospect's ability to get a
"gut feel" about whether or not they should trust and believe
you... isn't as available as you'd like.

However, there are certain triggers or appeals you want to have,
any time you're communicating anything to your prospects.

Without these critical appeals, you don't have a snowball's
chance in hell, of selling anything to anyone. Here they are:

1. Self-interest. Your prospect must be thinking to themselves,
"I can use something like this.... I can seriously benefit from
this product."

If they're thinking anything other than that, then see you
later. This is why you must understand the difference between
features and benefits. Getting bogged down with features may
make you feel good -- it may make you think like you're the
cat's meow what with all them bells and whistles... but your
prospect could care less.

2. Make things simple.

If your prospect has to work to understand what you're offering
them, then you're toast. Unless you're selling water in the
desert, no one's going to work that hard.

Appreciate that this is different from making people qualify,
but that's another topic for another day.

3. Be believable.

Give your prospects reasons why they should believe you. Are
their testimonials? Are your claims outlandish or are they
within the norm? Are there specific reasons why your prospects
should trust you - if so, let 'em know!

4. Arouse curiosity!

Some people are about as interesting as a small soap dish --
don't be this way! Be compelling, be enthusiastic, be

Leave one strap hanging off your shoulder and arouse curiosity
about what it looks like once the remaining strap comes down.

Don't sell an orange, sell the loveliest ripe fruit you've ever
seen... whose dimpled skin covers fleshy pulp filled with the
sweetest juice God ever created.

Be exciting and arouse curiosity!

5. Lastly, make an offer that's worthwhile.

Do you like to get good value?

Of course you do, right?

And yet... "Screw the customer" seems to be the mantra of the

Let me tell you something, what's good for the goose, IS good
for the gander, so when it comes time to making your offer,
make sure you do unto others and all that good stuff, O.K.?

Listen, without these appeals, you're depending on luck to sell,
so take these things very seriously.

Because "luck"... is not... a good business strategy.

Now go sell something, Craig Garber

P.S. 19-year direct-response marketing veteran spills the beans
on this month's Audio Success CD! Get it, along with 18 free
bonus gifts -- yes EIGHTEEN -- when you test-drive Seductive
Selling, at


Questions? Just ask me, baby!

Check out ALL the King's products at

Friend me on Facebook at:

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Night Marketing News

Wrapping up the work week, but remember, there are 6 updates Saturday and 6 more Sunday!

by Sarah Mahoney
Marketing Daily asked Nancy Upton, assistant marketing professor at Northeastern University College of Business Administration and an expert on hedonistic spending--what makes people feel happy when they go shopping--to explain a few things. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
The uptrend was more marked among the highest incomes levels. For example, the percentage of consumers with household incomes of $100,000+ having visited one (unnamed) burger chain jumped from 50.1% pre-meltdown to 57.3% post-meltdown, and the percentage reporting visiting a second unnamed burger chain rose from 25.7% to 31.3%, per Experian Simmons data. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
"We found that people were skeptical that they could get unlimited service to anywhere in country for $40," says The Richards Group's Brian Schadt. "We would have focus groups, and hear again and again that they were interested and it is extremely easy to get people to buy out of their contracts because they are frustrated with charges for texting, for extra minutes. People are looking." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
"At the end of the day, regardless of the media, what consumers care about is story," he said, showing clips of Dove's Real Beauty campaign. "Whenever you tell a good and relevant story, there will always be people willing to engage. "If our brand is at the heart of the story, our brands have higher bonding, equity and loyalty." ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
The company is already enhancing its in-store collateral addressing phone recycling and has set a goal of including a postage-paid envelope for its recycling program with all of its new phones. In addition, Sprint will create an Internet video--to be posted on its corporate Web site and on YouTube--highlighting the need for cell phone recycling. ... Read the whole story > >

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From Drew:

3 keys to napkin innovation (Brett Duncan)

Posted: 13 Feb 2009 05:55 AM PST

71334391 Drew's Note: As I try to do every Friday, I'm pleased to bring you a guest post. Meet another thought leader who shares his insights via the blogosphere. So without further ado...Brett Duncan. Again. Enjoy!

Why is it the best ideas always start on a napkin over dinner?

You know what I’m talking about. You hear inventor and innovators all the time thinking back to when they first had their amazing idea, drafting it out on a napkin. And the rest is history . . . .

It’s easy to pass the napkin off as mere coincidence, but is it really?

I think not. In fact, I think there’s really something to Napkin Innovation, something worth digging into. Here are three reasons why the napkin holds the key to better innovation:

The Setting
OK, when was the last time you had a great idea at your office? I’ve had more ideas in the shower in the past week than I’ve had in my office over the last year. Try as we may, our brains simply can’t accept switching off all the business ideas after 5 p.m. every day. In fact, the fresh air and freedom of a new setting is usually what gets your brain really cooking.

Furthermore, other people help the creative floodgates open. The conversation and different viewpoints get your brain juices boiling. So when you sit down for a meal in a more relaxed, pleasant setting like a restaurant with friends or family, you’re basically insisting that your mind expand. No wonder great ideas can come out of it.

Where you innovate and with whom is extremely important. Don’t wait for it to happen. Get outside of the office with others and give your mind a chance to surprise you.

The Spontaneity
Innovation isn’t on a schedule, and it doesn’t need a routine. But when it strikes, you’ve got to be ready to capture it. Scribbling down your ideas on a greasy napkin isn’t normal, and the dinner table isn’t a typical lab for innovation. It’s this kind of process that you need to get those synapses snappin’.

The whole point of being spontaneous is that it isn’t planned. It’s not something you create, but it is something you can react to, and prepare for. Whether it’s a napkin, scraps of paper or a digital voice recorder, get in the habit of having something to catch all these flashes of brilliance.

The Structure
As important as the setting and spontaneity are, the napkin’s real key to innovation is its smallness. A napkin requires you to be brief. To not get caught up in too many details. To capture the real essence of your idea, and nothing else.

Too many budding ideas are scrapped due to details. “We’ve never done it that way before.” “Our system won’t support that.” “We don’t have the manpower.”

Try this: take an idea that’s pretty complex and sum it up on the space of a small dinner napkin. Prune it until you’ve reached the idea’s core, and nothing more. Then run with it. Move forward with a sense of brevity, of succinctness. Embrace the borders, let them guide you and then go crazy within them.

The Point
Free yourself enough to harness the power of the napkin. Get out of the office, down some wings or something, capture the spontaneous and welcome any constraints upon you. That’s Napkin Innovation.

Brett Duncan is the sole writer of Marketing In Progress, a blog dedicated to making sense of the blur that is marketing communication for small business. He lives in Dallas with his amazing wife April and two-month old son Mason. Email him and learn more.

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Another Example of My Prediction coming to Life

Last year, I submitted a prediction for 2009, that some folks put on their top 10 list:

First, the Prediction. On the Junta 42 Blog, I predicted, Name: Scott Howard, ScLoHo
Prediction: In 2009 the smart brand marketers will reach out via text offers and Twitter offers to the college aged crowd, money saving offers that they can use repeatedly to build brand preferences for the future.
Several bloggers picked this as one of the top 10 from the list.

Here's another example of how it's being carried out:
H&R Block tries mobile marketing to reach 18- to 34-set H&R Block, seeking to build loyalty among younger taxpayers, is pitching its free Web-based tax prep service to the 18- to 34-year-old demographic, via a sponsorship deal with the ad-driven mobile service ChaCha. Under the program, H&R Block is fielding tax queries by phone or text, and providing answers with texts, accompanied by H&R Block ads directing users to its free online tax-prep service. Advertising Age

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Instant Starbucks?

So, at one time, in a galaxy far, far away, there ways this coffee house that decided to become larger than life.

They grew from their humble beginnings to one of the worlds most recognized brands. Thousands of other coffee shops opened up with their version of a mocha, etc.

The concept was you pay 3 or 4 times the amount you used to spend for a standard cup of coffee, and they create a delicious drink diversion that is customized just for you.

Starbucks was the McDonalds of the coffee business.

There were so many that in some cities they were across the street from themselves! In my town, there is one inside a grocery store, and at the other side of the parking lot, is another Starbucks!

So what happened? How did they fall? Was it the economy? No, they were having problems before that.

But the sad side of it all is that they appear desperate. It's almost like they are asking themselves in a panicked frenzy, what can we do to make money NOW!?!?!

That's not what is going on, but that is the perception. But Starbucks needs to really take a good hard look at themselves and determine who they are, what they are and only do things that help their brand image. Otherwise, they'll be as appealing as a watered down cup of instant coffee.

Read this from AdAge:

CHICAGO ( -- Premium java giant Starbucks is venturing into what some would consider lowbrow territory with a soluble-coffee product called Via, according to three executives familiar with the matter.

Starbucks declined to comment on the launch, which is said to be a long-term pet project of CEO Howard Schultz and as such will get a significant marketing push.

Starbucks will begin testing the soluble coffee -- a term that conjures up images of instant brands such as Folgers, Sanka and Brim -- by selling it in Starbucks cafes as early as next month. It's unclear as yet whether the company will also extend the product to supermarkets, where it already has a presence with ground Starbucks-branded coffee.

The chain is announcing its plans next week. More information is expected to be unveiled at the company's annual meeting March 18.

Although the new product seems well-positioned for the current economy in which premium-priced coffee can be a tough sell, Via is not just a sign of the times. The instant product has been many years in the making and is designed to mimic the taste of store-bought Starbucks -- the point the company is expected to make in its marketing for the brand.

"It's a breakthrough in soluble coffee," said a person close to the project.

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People Like Advertising

25 years ago, the radio station I was working for started doing "Non-Stop Music Sweeps". It was the beginning of telling our listeners and viewers that "commercials are bad".

So for two decades, a generation has been programmed to skip commercials, avoid them, change channels, etc.

However the premise that people don't and won't watch or listen to commercials is wrong. And I have proof. What people want is commercials that they like, that they will remember, that are fun and valuable to their lives.

What's my proof?
February 1, 2009.
NBC Primetime.
Read this from Mediapost:

NBC Aired Record 45 Minutes Of Super Bowl Ads
Broadcasting & Cable
NBC squeezed in a record total of 84 spots from the opening kickoff to the final whistle of the Super Bowl, totaling just over 45 minutes in ad time. The past four years' Super Bowls (which aired on NBC, Fox, CBS, and ABC respectively) now occupy the top four slots in terms of most in-game commercial time in the game's history, according to TNS Media.

At the same time, this year's game was the most watched Super Bowl in history, according to Nielsen's updated final national ratings.

General Electric, NBC's parent company, contributed 2:30 of advertising time to this year's game. That is more than the parent companies of Fox and CBS had in the past two Super Bowls, but much less than the 4:30 the Disney-owned entities had in the 2006 ABC-televised game. Pepsi Co. bought up the most ad time, clocking in at 5:30 for eight total spots. Movies were the dominant ad category again this year, accounting for seven minutes, followed by automotive products. - Read the whole story...

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Another reason to listen

Forget about your goals for a moment and ....
Establishing a Timeline
According to a recent Harvard Business Review study, 26 percent of today's prospects say their biggest complaint is that salespeople don't take enough time to understand (and follow) their buying process.

That not only frustrates prospects, in many cases, it makes it difficult for them to agree to do business at all.

Partnering with prospects early on to create a timeline for the sale based on how their process works and when they'd like to make a buying decision builds trust, and it also helps salespeople know when prospects are simply stalling to avoid saying "no."

Source: Tom Atkinson, Research Director for the Boston-based Forum Corporation (2009)

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday Night Marketing News

Click to get more info:

by Karl Greenberg
The new legislation is intended to prevent the sale of items containing lead that could be ingested by a child. Motorcycle and ATV retailers in the U.S. who sell products designed for children under the age of 12 that do not meet the limits for lead and phthalate are staring at a $100,000 to $15 million fine. The regulation takes an estimated $100 million worth of inventory off the sales floors of some 13,000 dealers immediately. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
"This is really two iconic brands coming together around a common cause," says Jamie Joyce, director of interactive marketing communications for the Girl Scouts. "Its main goal is to bridge the digital divide." ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Cross-company marketing efforts are more appealing than ever "with everyone trying to stretch their budgets," notes John Wiest of San Francisco-based branding/product launch consultancy Wiest & Co. "But it can be difficult to match up marketing objectives, and most difficult of all to match companies or brands that share more or less the same retail footprints." ... Read the whole story > >
Packaged Goods
by Karl Greenberg
While the new TV spot does not feature Tori Spelling, excerpts from today's event will be shown on Oxygen's "Tori and Dean." And there will be product placement on the show, per a Kimberly-Clark spokesperson. He says Pull-Ups ad campaigns have, in the past, focused solely on product attributes. "This is the first time Pull-Ups Training Pants has developed a commercial program engaging consumers to help kick-start potty training," he says. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Nina M. Lentini
Aflac is kicking off its first year as primary sponsor of Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Ford Fusion in a big way with the launch of its latest television spots, "Monster Tires" and "Joyride." The 15-second commercials are slated to air during the national broadcast of Sunday's Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
In its most recent quarterly results, Nike registered a strong 6% increase in global sales, but said its future orders--those scheduled for delivery through April of this year--were 1% lower than the prior year. And while overall sales gained 1% in the U.S., sales in apparel fell 3%, equipment sales dropped 17%, and pretax income fell 18%, largely due to lower margins and increased selling costs related to its retail expansion. ... Read the whole story > >

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Fresh Ideas


It's time for your weekly fix of entrepreneurial ideas! Our latest issue is now online. Here's
a quick run-down of the promising new businesses Springwise featured this week:

CapCaps for fans of fictional brands
Fashion & beauty / Entertainment

Lucky Seven makes custom caps that bear the logos of fictional
companies featured in cult films and television shows, immediately
recognizable only to likeminded fans.

MercedesHotel perks for Mercedes drivers
Automotive / Travel & tourism

Through Mercedes' Destinations program, Merc drivers are entitled
to exclusive benefits at partner hotels, including complimentary use
of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, welcome gifts and room upgrades.

ListBuilding green habits, one step at a time
Eco & sustainability / Lifehacks

Green Groove aims to help consumers create and stick to a plan to
eliminate their unsustainable ways and embrace new, greener

Hotel roomPay-what-you-want hotel in Singapore
Travel & tourism / Marketing & advertising

The new Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen hotel just last week launched
a promotion that lets guests choose the rate they want to pay for a
night's stay.

Stickers on IKEA cupboardPre-cut decorations for IKEA furniture
Homes & housing

Sydney-based Grippiks sells adhesive sheets in a variety of bright
colours and patterns for use on the surfaces of many models of IKEA

Rocking horseGroup buying for new parents

Regular readers are already familiar with the benefits consumers
can enjoy when they team up and buy as a crowd. A new site brings
those advantages to buyers of baby and children's goods.

CalendarTracking one's sex life online
Lifestyle & leisure

An entirely personal application, Bedpost is a way for consumers to
keep track of the sexual encounters they've had by logging in and
entering some key details after each one.

Nintendo DSHotel uses tech perks to draw youthful travellers
Travel & tourism

Technology-enabled hotels seem to be popping up all around the
globe, and recently one of our spotters alerted us to one in Germany
that's aimed specifically at budget-oriented youthful travellers.

Kids trade fairIndustry community for kids' products
Retail / Media & publishing

Based in New Zealand, Skout Trade Fair is an online community that
aims to help those in the children's products industry find each other
and connect.

Boat with Coors sailHelping media buyers find sellers of alt advertising
Marketing & advertising

DOmedia bills itself as a matchmaking service for media buyers and
sellers. Listed in its database are opportunities to advertise on college
student notebooks, on phone kiosks, on golf carts and in restrooms.

Jacket buttonJackets and bags made to be handed down
Fashion & beauty / Eco & sustainability

Countering the forces of "fast fashion", British brand Howies is
focusing on the long-lasting quality of its newest clothing line,
appropriately named Hand-Me-Down.

MyGofer logo Sears blends online & off in new retail experiments
Retail / Lifehacks

MyGofer is a new, warehouse-style retail concept that aims to offer
both the convenience and selection of an online store and the
immediacy and low prices of a discount retailer.

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2009 State of the Economy Part 2 (Valentines Day)

First of all, if you missed Part 1, click here.

Next, the big day is just two days away. Click on the charts to make them BIGGER.


Valentine’s Day Index Down 15%

The spending level for Valentine’s Day gifts this year will be slightly lower than last year - $140 to be spent by men (versus $166 in 2008), and $75 (versus $90) to be spent by women, according to the BrandKeys Valentine’s Day Index, writes RetailerDaily.

“Valentine’s Day will be the first major holiday of 2009 to feel the economic pinch,” said Robert Passikoff, president, Brand Keys. “This year the average price consumers placed on love is $108.00, down 15% from last year.”

Gift-giving has also skewed away from the purchase of expensive presents and gift cards to less expensive, more intimate tokens of love and devotion, Passikoff said.


Dinners and drinks, both alcoholic and other, have picked up 16% over last year. The traditional tokens of love and caring - flowers, candy, jewelry, and lingerie - are down 10 to 15%.

“The purchase of gift cards had nearly doubled over the past five years because consumers felt they had become a more-than-acceptable gift for a broader range of recipients,” said Passikoff. “But this is the first year that gift card purchases have flattened.”

This change in purchase behavior is likely due to the fact that in this economy people intend to give fewer tangible gifts and will spend more time with their Valentines instead of giving a more traditional, material gift, he said.


Fifteen percent of men and women (nearly four times the 2008 number) indicated that they intend to stay home.

About the findings: In its bi-annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, Brand Keys asked 1,200 men and 1,200 women (18-60 years of age) from the nine Census regions of the United States what they were going to do, what they were going to buy, and how they were going to celebrate Valentine’s Day 2009.

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New Ad Campaigns

Amy's weekly update:

The Melting Pot stirs things up. A bank that encourages wearing a ski mask. Potato-chip fireworks. Let's launch!

This campaign makes me want to end all my sentences with "yargh." Wellcraft Marine Corp. launched a print campaign this month targeting seasoned boaters who are accustomed to life on the water. Boats run anywhere from 20k to 400k, but you won't see any in the ads. Instead, there are close-up pictures of recently caught fish, alongside fun copy such as: "You've never been seasick. Bet you've been land sick a few times though," and "You wouldn't be caught dead with a fruit in your beer. Unless, of course, you were dying of scurvy." See the ads here, here, here and here. The Republik created the campaign and media buying was handled in-house.

Apparently, Starbucks only makes decaf coffee in the afternoons by request. I learned this tidbit from a print ad placed in USA Today last week by rival Dunkin' Donuts. The ad, which ran only once, takes a stab at the behemoth by reminding coffee drinkers, "customers can enjoy America's favorite coffee regular or decaf, whenever they want it... We don't work around our schedule, we work around yours." Ouch. See the ad here. Hill Holliday Boston created the ad and handled the media buy.

Valentine's Day is this weekend, and if you're still looking for love, look no further than Red Tettemer's iMate. It's hysterical. Go online, browse the selection of eligible Red Tettemer singles, and send them an email. The bios are short and sweet, telling prospective dates everything they need to know. "I'll make your face blush and your toilet flush," says the profile of a handyman. A woman dressed in leotards and leg warmers tells suitors that "Olivia Newton John ain't got nothin' on me." I emailed "Patrick Dancer" this morning, to see if I'd get a response. Nothing yet...

I love the Melting Pot. It's fondue, fun, expensive (not fun), but worth it, on occasion. Whenever I hear someone say "search and rescue," I can't help but laugh. All you Melting Pot frequenters know what I'm talking about! The company launched a new tagline, "Stir Things Up," along with new brand strategy that positions the restaurant as a place not just for special occasions, but a way to make average occasions special. Unless the prices go down, that's going to be an uphill battle. Creative consists of a fondue pot and copy, some of it geared towards Valentine's Day. "'When exactly did you tell the baby sitter we'd be home?"' "'February 15,"' reads one ad, seen here. Another ad, seen here, references the 80s movie "9 ½ Weeks." Remaining creative can be found here, here and here. There's also a Facebook application called "Perfect Pairings," that lets users play Cupid amongst their friends. Drag two friends to a virtual fondue pot, and the couple is sent questions to test their compatibility. Participants will receive a coupon for their next visit to The Melting Pot. Push created the campaign and Octane handled the media buy.

Who knew that three ingredients could be so explosive? Lay's potato chips launched a TV spot where "just potatoes, all natural oil and a dash of salt," create fireworks for townspeople. A large group of residents assemble at a farm, each bringing a fold-up chair and plastic bowls. Before you know it, potatoes are exploding from the ground, making for quite the daytime extravaganza. Spectators are then treated to a shower of potato chips, explaining why everyone came equipped with empty bowls. See the ad here, created by Juniper Park and directed by Mike Long of Epoch Films.

This is a great ad that was created after the Super Bowl, in four days. Simple yet effective. The spot for Fallon Community Health Plan recalls the pain inflicted on characters in this year's Super Bowl ads. The company found "14 commercials with 31 people who may need to see a doctor." The ad then concludes with an effortless statement: "We just hope they all have good health coverage." See the ad here, which ran during Sunday's Pro Bowl on NBC. Mechanica created the ad and Allen & Gerritsen handled the media buy.

Here's a bank that will not blink an eye if you do your banking in a ski mask. In fact, they welcome it. FirstBank launched ads across mountain resorts in Colorado on snowboard racks and ski lift lines that read, "Bank in your ski mask without getting arrested." Before anyone tries this experiment at their local FirstBank, be sure to read the remaining copy that states, "Mobile Banking. Bank Anywhere." See the ad here. TDA Advertising & Design created the campaign and handled the media buy.

MTV Networks International launched a series of PSAs last year, under the initiative MTV Switch, educating teens about global warming and reducing carbon footprints. "Green Song" stars an animated character singing a tongue-in-cheek tune about the loosely defined concept of "being green." "You don't have to be green to be green," concludes the ad, seen here. Two additional spots focus on what people might be missing in the real world while they are busy playing on their computers or playing video games. One teenager surfing the Net misses a shirtless man riding a stallion in her backyard. Where does this real life take place? Watch the ad here. "Mud" is more realistic. A gamer on his sofa neglects to see a car outside that's stuck in mud while three bikini-clad women try and free the vehicle. See it here. 180 Amsterdam created the pro-bono campaign.

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Everyone is a Salesperson

From a recent email:

Unconditional Customer Service - In Good Times and Bad

Imagine if one of your good customers said that times were
tough and that they had to cut their next order by 30%.
Would you even think of giving them 30% less of your usual
best effort? Would you think of giving 30% less of your
brand promise - or your commitment to quality and customer
service? I doubt it.

On a recent flight home from a speaking engagement I met a
flight attendant who delivered atrocious customer service.
It was obvious she hated her employer. Apparently, for her
airline to survive they had to cut salaries by 30%. Even
though the airline is still losing money every month, she
still thinks it is unfair. Her comment to me was this,
"They cut my salary by 30%. I'm going to do 30% less."

Sometimes a company has to make tough decisions just to
stay afloat. In this rough economy, she should be lucky
she has a job. It was obvious that her anger was
interfering with her responsibilities. First and foremost,
she was there for our safety. Second, she was to take care
of the passengers in a manner that was professional and
pleasant. After all, she was on the front line, and the
face of the airline.

She will eventually quit or get fired. And then she'll find
another job. I already feel bad for her next employer.

THE LESSON: At the individual level, every employee needs
to be an extension of the sales or marketing department,
regardless of their job, their pay, economic challenges
etc. It is a job requirement; a non-negotiable
responsibility. The same goes for the entire company.
Look to help your customers through tough times. If they
aren't buying as much, be thankful for what business they
do give you. Continue to deliver the highest levels of
service, as you have always done. Use tough times to build
relationships. Increase confidence as you prove your value
as a partner, not just a vendor. Be it an individual or an
entire company, this is your chance to be amazing!

Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE
Shepard Presentations, LLC
711 Old Ballas Road, Suite 215
St. Louis, MO 63141
(314) 692-2200

Author of "Moments of Magic" and "The Loyal Customer."

Shep Hyken works with companies who want to build loyal
relationships with their customers and employees.

Copyright 2009 Shep Hyken, Shepard Presentations, LLC

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday Night Marketing News

From Mediapost:

by Karl Greenberg
The athlete's biggest drops on the Davie Brown Index were in the realms of "aspiration" and "trust," with the swimmer dropping 15 points in each. His "endorsement" score dropped 12 points. "We are between Olympics right now, so I would see him dropping considerably, given how his numbers have already fallen," says Millsport's Darin David. ... Read the whole story > >
by Nina M. Lentini
More companies are now identifying cost savings and reductions (93% vs. 87% in August) and 37% plan to reduce budgets by more than one-fifth, which is much higher than the 21% of respondents who planned to do so six months ago, the Association of National Advertisers reports. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Les Luchter
"Bank in your ski mask without getting arrested," declare metal signs from Colorado-based FirstBank that have been placed at ski racks, snowboard racks and lift lines at the Breckenridge and Keystone winter sports resorts. In smaller print, the signs read "Mobile Banking. Bank Anywhere." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
New ads, running online as well as in Vogue, Elle, GQ, and Vanity Fair, also illustrate how difficult it is for image-driven brands to find a message that resonates beyond fashionistas, and can connect with shoppers who are still somewhat shell-shocked by the volatile economy. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
Toyota Venza was exclusive automotive sponsor of the "Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show" this week, followed by the Global Pet Expo Friday and Saturday in Orlando, Fla. Venza will be the featured vehicle for pet travel safety demonstrations by pet accessory maker, Kurgo. Toyota will also launch "Dog Park Days," first in Los Angeles, then Phoenix and Denver. ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
"With the developments of the last couple years, and the ubiquity of connectivity across the planet, the skies are the last place where people can't do their business and can't be informed by the Internet," says Dave Ridley, Southwest Airlines svp of marketing and revenue management. "It's kind of the last horizon." ... Read the whole story > >

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