Archive for May, 2005

Burger King’s Deal

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

Billboards I saw outside of town say that you can get a Whopper Jr. for

.89 ¢

That’s less than a penny. If you walked in and gave them a penny for a Whopper Jr., which would be overpaying, would they take it? Would they give you change? How? We don’t have pieces of eight anymore.

Thumbs down to Burger King for not knowing to write $0.89 or 89¢.


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Dairy… Or Anything

Monday, May 30th, 2005

Today’s example doesn’t come from a major company. It’s one person’s self-marketing in the efforts to get a job.

I got an email to one of my frenz.com addresses saying, "i want any kind of dairy job..there." I wrote back asking why someone was emailing the fan club website for Split Enz (a rock/alternative band) and their musical spin-off projects asking for a job in dairy.

The response was, "hello sir.. i need any type of job out there…." I replied saying that I wasn’t "sir," and that we’re not hiring. I got an email saying, "sorry mam…. i had misstaken but any way, if u can help regarding my problem than plz do send mail… ok bye 4 now"

Any type of job out there.

Note to job seekers. Writing to potential employers in instant message-speak is not great marketing of yourself and your abilities.


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Smells Like A Mother I Never Had

Monday, May 30th, 2005

Glad has a commercial for fragrances. Evidently, they’re so wonderful, they’ll take you back to your childhood. In this commercial, a man who looks like he could be 40 or younger is transported back to his childhood kitchen with his Mom baking apple pies.

Two problems with this commercial. One, in his "daydream," his wife (speaking to him in the kitchen) has become his mother. Is the target audience Oedipal? Second, they’ve made his mother and the kitchen look very 1950’s. The actor appears to be 35-40. That means that in the 1950’s, he would be roughly negative ten years old.

Mostly, I’m uncomfortable with the husband temporarily not being able to tell the daydream mother from his wife.


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We’re #1

Friday, May 27th, 2005

We’re #1. Every business wants to tell you that, and some will flat-out just tell you we’re the #1 brake specialist in our area code. Everybody can find something they’re the best at in some sort of area or industry! Normally, they pick something honest that they can prove. I once saw a college say they were "Alabama Best Value in Higher Education." Best value?

Something caught my eye recently. There is a guy whose accounts on eBay have been permanently suspended. He hasn’t sold on eBay in nearly a year. And his website said that he’s the "world’s #1 eBay author and speaker." Interesting! He didn’t play it safe and honest by saying he’s the best author and speaker no longer selling… or the best eBay speaker from his particular neighbourhood. He went right for the "you can’t top this!"

So how does one become the world’s #1 author and speaker on a topic? Is it the number of books you publish? After a 5-month delay, his first book just came out. Is it the number of people who have booked you for appearances? His website says his 2005 calendar of events is coming soon, which I read to mean that he has no events to announce yet. Is it the amount of time you’ve been doing some speaking events? He started in late 2003 with his seminars. Other eBay speakers and instructors have been out there for years before that.

In case you’re wondering, I would say that Jim "Griff" Griffith is the #1 eBay speaker for how long he’s been doing it, how well-loved he is, how accurate he is, and how many people he has helped. I would say that Marcia Collier, who wrote eBay For Dummies and many other books, is the #1 eBay author. She has great information, and you can always trust her advice and recommendations. She makes a great speaker too, and Griff has a good book, but I am sticking to my current claims. :)

So it’s unfortunate that someone has to use such a claim to try to make people believe. And when you believe, you are giving him your money. How many people will just believe it just because the statement is made? How many people will ask him to back it up? When he gets up in front of a group and tells them that he was a huge eBay seller but doesn’t sell anymore because he doesn’t feel like it, how many people will ask him why his eBay acccount says that it’s a suspended account? How many people will stand up in front of a seminar crowd and announce that the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes? So far, none.

You may not be the person who asks, but maybe you will be the person who does more research before buying a book or attending a seminar. Maybe you will research a claim next time without just believing it. Some marketers are liars, and they’re not going to tell you who they are! But you can find out. Do research, ask questions. Watch where you spend your money, and which "experts" you choose to believe.


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Filtered Brooklyn Tap Water

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

Dasani. Sounds exotic. It’s water, your very own bottle. And from which mountain spring did it roll down? From which artesian well was it drawn. Er….

According to the dasani.com website, Dasani is "purified water enhanced with minerals for a pure, fresh taste." So we didn’t need minerals for nutrition. We needed minerals added for taste. What did this water taste like that it needed something added to taste more like water?

Read a Dasani bottle next time you’re around one. It’s a Coca-Cola product, and much of it is bottled in their Brooklyn, NY plant. So I like to say that it’s filtered Brooklyn tap water. How much should you pay for that, and if you’re bottled water shopping, were you hoping for something purified, filtered, treated, and with minerals added?


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Read This Book

Wednesday, May 25th, 2005


Seth Godin, the Lord and Master of modern marketing (well, according to us and everyone we know who’s into marketing), has a new book out. All Marketers Are Liars. I took that personally until I read it, and I agree with what he’s saying. Marketers have a social responsibility to NOT lie to consumers, yes even in the name of selling items and making profits!

We stand out (again) for not lying. We don’t lie in what we say about ourselves, and we won’t let our clients lie in what they want to say to their customers. It’s a shame that this approach makes us stand out! It should make us one in a million, but it doesn’t.

The best things about Seth’s books are that they make you think about marketing… the marketing you see and experience as well as what you put out there. They force people stuck in old ways to throw away outdated marketing ideas, and they present how to market in today’s society. These ideas have changed the way we’ve presented our company, and we can see direct successes from taking Seth’s advice. It’s not easy, but it’s not so hard. :)

Seth’s message is not so different from ours in this blog. We want to applaud people who found positive ways to connect with their audience, and we want to shame companies who treated consumers like idiots, did a poor job advertising, or are telling some sort of lie. There are plenty of lies out there, and we will be adding some interesting ones to the blog in the coming days.


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tC Stands For…

Tuesday, May 24th, 2005

This is under "That’s Good Marketing" because we are getting a major kick out of this, and it’s honest!

We just got a new Scion tC, which is now 100% built by Toyota. The Scion xA model is basically the Toyota Matrix. I saw an old Toyota Celica on the road the other day, and I thought, "Hey, that looks like the car I’m getting."

I said to my dealer today that the tC reminded me of the old Celica. He said it basically is a Celica body with the engine Toyota puts into the Camry and 4-cylinder Highlander. He then mentioned that officially, the tC doesn’t stand for anything. They were going to name it xC, but there was a car from another maker already called the xC. He said that the rumour is that it stands for "Toyota Celica."

That’s evidently the rumour around Toyota. I would guess that if anybody knows, they’d know. Of course, it’s only a rumour, but we are really enjoying that the Scion tC is the Scion Toyota Celica.


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End To End

Monday, May 23rd, 2005

"If you lined up the amount of product we make yearly end to end, it would go from Toronto to the moon and back three times!"

Nearly every product that I’ve seen on "Unwrapped" on the Food Channel has some sort of statistic about placing their products end to end over some period of production time, and how far that would stretch.

Why is that a dominant statistic? What consumer question is that answering? Is that really the most important or most memorable fact you want to leave with your potential customer? How many trees did you save this year? How many organic items are in there?


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Make Your Customers Buy More

Friday, May 20th, 2005

What the smallest unit of pizza you can buy? The slice. For the most part, you can’t buy half a slice or a fraction of a slice. You can buy a bunch of slices or even a pie, but the slice would be the least you could buy.

How do you get people to buy more pizza from you? I found out today when visiting Mama’s on Magee (in Tucson, AZ). I ordered a plain cheese slice, and it was $4.03 with tax. I was surprised… in NY, I paid around that but for a "specialty" slice (chicken marsala pizza, taco pizza, grilled veggie pizza).

Then I saw it. It’s huge. It’s at least the size of two pieces of pizza, I was thinking to myself as it was served to me across two paper plates, and now that I’ve done the math, I can tell you it is. I estimate that a typical slice is 1/8 of a 16" pie. That means it’s 8" long and the crust goes around 6.28". This was 1/8 of a 24" "family" pie, so it was 12" long and 9.42" around the crust. Yes, I calculated the area. Typical slices are 25.12 sq. in. This monster slice was 56.52 sq. in., so I was getting more than twice the pizza. The good news is that even out here in Arizona, they came very close to the taste of a NY pizza.

This is genius. Why? Because you can’t buy half a slice and get the amount of food you’re used to getting. One slice is now two slices, and you’ve paid for it even if you don’t finish it. I bet it doesn’t cost them twice to make it. Plus, if you’re eating that much pizza, you may need more to drink! Ring up those sodas, which are nearly pure profit.

A pizza place found a clever way to get you to buy more, and the slice is so wacky you’re likely to tell everybody about it, thereby spreading the marketing buzz for free. What can you do in your business to get people to buy more and then tell their friends about it?


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Why eBay Works

Thursday, May 19th, 2005

Yesterday, we talked about how purchasing certain items automatically put you into an international brotherhood/sisterhood for that product. The same is true for eBay.

eBay’s main focus in advertising as well as their large, annual convention is community. eBay’s annual convention is not a swap meet. Sellers are there to meet other sellers, meet eBay staff, try to find vendors who’ll make their lives easier, take free classes, and party. It’s cheap to attend, and you can only exhibit on the trade show floor if you can prove to eBay (via application) that your company has a product and/or service that directly benefits the eBay buyer and/or seller. We know of companies who applied and were rejected. Of course, we’ll be in booth 726 this year! :)

People like to know they’re buying from other people for a change… they have plenty of other opportunities to buy from corporations and chain stores who don’t really care. The idea is that a seller who’s "just like them" will care, and that’s a relationship.

That’s why we know of eBay sellers who saw a noticeable increase in their sales when they put a small but good picture of themselves in their listings. It says, "We’re you! We’re regular folks just like you." None of these people are models, so it’s not a hotness factor. In fact, most pictures are very casual and are not professionally taken. One of our clients just sent a picture of him and his wife wearing "Medieval Times" paper crowns from the theme restaurant (taken on their honeymoon). It’s a community connection. Your seller is a mom with kids or a guy in a wheelchair or a husband and wife team or a small hometown business with 15 people.

Someone who wanted to compete with eBay would not only have to have a solid marketplace with trust, safety, and features. They would have to find a way for 60 million active users (the current eBay stat) to feel like they are part of a special community. There’s a lot you don’t "get" if you don’t buy and/or sell on eBay. What other website or shopping experience makes people feel that way?


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