Archive for May, 2005

It’s About Community

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

In December 2002, I started leasing a Mini Cooper S. Once I got the car, Mini marketed to me like crazy. Nearly every week for weeks or months, there was something in the mail from them (not a bill). One week it was a mug, one week it was a jokey book on how to do certain things in or with your Mini (get cats out of trees, hold hands with your passenger while shifting gears), or an invitation to some sort of owners’ event.

I didn’t get it at the time. Why are they spending money on selling to someone who bought?

It turns out that being in a Mini automatically puts you in an unofficial club. When Mini drivers pass other Mini drivers on the road, they connect. Lights get flashed, someone waves, maybe someone beeps. They make sure they say "you’re in my community." Mini knew that, and was selling community and connection to the brand in the things that they sent.

We just found this out again because we just bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. People who never looked at us twice now ride by on their Harleys, and we get an acknowledgement that we’re in their community.

I recently saw a review of my car, and the guy hit the nail on the head. He said the car easily develops noises and small problems, but the owners put up with them because they’re so happy to have a Mini. The part he missed is the community. People want to be part of an accepting group, and having a Mini puts you in a brotherhood/sisterhood just like Harley owners.

I am in the process of getting rid of my Mini, and I realize that when I drive by Minis in my new car, if I flash lights or beep, people will think there is something wrong. If I wave, they will wonder if they know me.


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The Worst Possible Name

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

This might be good marketing if you think it’s memorable in a good way, but we think that the name is memorable in an uncomfortable way.

We found a local butcher shop and deli calling itself "Dickman’s Meat." I have the worst camera phone made, but was able to take this shot of the sign at night.

So "Dickman’s" is strongly announced in all caps while "meat" is said softly in a cursive font with initial caps. :)

Back in NY, we thought a local place called "Tony’s Meat Palace" was weird enough, but this wins. Evidently, Mr. Dickman didn’t want to call it "deli" (like it says in his window) or butcher shop, and evidently he didn’t want to use his first name (let’s pretend he’s Bob), the street where the shop is, or really any made-up business name. It could have been Oracle Deli or Bob’s Butcher Shop or Prime-Cuts-O-Rama. It had to be Dickman’s Meat.


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We Signed Anyway

Monday, May 16th, 2005

We bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle yesterday. We actually read every word on contracts, including the fine print.

My favorite was the section that said that if I die, the Lender may require me to pay for the bike in full and immediately. I’d like to see how they send me that notice. "Dear Debbie. We are sorry to hear of your recent demise. Pursuant to…"

Harley owners, if you’re financing, and you’ve made out your will, make sure you get the full payoff price of your bike in there. To rephrase what is said on those life insurance commercials, don’t let your hog be a burden to your loved ones at their time of need.


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The Ultimate Spokesman

Friday, May 13th, 2005

A German brewery has landed a thumbs-up from the Pope for their beer. They sent him 700 litres of beer evidently as thanks. I imagine he negotiated that. :)

That’s great marketing. How many products do you think the new Pope will endorse? None? One? I wouldn’t mind if the Pope told everybody to get their eBay and online sales consulting from our company!


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All Because of Baseball

Monday, May 9th, 2005

BankOne is merging with JP Morgan Chase this year. We just moved from NY to AZ, but could not use our Chase accounts as the BankOne system in AZ cannot recognize anything about our accounts. So we opened all new accounts but kept the NY accounts open for now, and are just waiting for everything to connect. Arizona is a state of transplanted people and snowbirds, so we can’t be the only people who wish we could use a Chase account here.

When will it connect? It already does in some states. When will Arizona get done? LAST, probably October or later. Why should Arizona happen to be last? Is it because of the number of accounts? Is it because of a glitch in the system? Did it draw the short straw?

It’s because of baseball. BankOne Ball Park in Phoenix would have to be renamed Chase Ball Park (or something like that), and they felt that doing that in the middle of the baseball season would be terrible. They are waiting for the baseball season to end, which is usually in October.

Why couldn’t they merge our accounts so that we have functionality and convenience and then change the name on the ball park? That’s the bad marketing. That doesn’t really say customers first. It says weird back room decisions first, customers just hang on.


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Food Pyramid

Friday, May 6th, 2005

Once upon a time, we had one food pyramid. Now, we have 12 food pyramids. Our local newspaper reported that a study of adults showed that 53% of them can’t figure out the new food pyramid. In pursuing this further, I told Dave to go to mypyramid.gov. He misheard that, went to mypyramid.org, and we then discovered the genius.

Someone did a COMPLETE parody of the government’s website at the .org. It looks identical, it functions identically, and it has a touch of honesty you just don’t get from the government. Even though it’s a parody, it may come down at some point. Here’s a great screen shot of part of one of the pages.

It’s great marketing for itself, for organic food, and for healthier eating.


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Teenage Bat Attacks

Thursday, May 5th, 2005

This is the "Bat Proof Pony Express Mailbox" from mailboxworks.com. The website says, "Constructed of durable solid die-cast aero space aluminum with ribbed interior walls for added strength, this mailbox can withstand any teenage bat attack. The Bat Proof Pony Express features a unique spring loaded magnetic delivery drop alert to prevent wasted trips to the mailbox."

The mailbox that can withstand teenage bat attacks. Not teenage bats. Attacks from teenagers with bats.

Where is that such a huge problem that you need to spend $209 (plus shipping) on your mailbox? What stops the teenagers from opening it and messing with your mail? How about the post? A strong mailbox on a weak post will still be ruined by these bat-wielding teenagers. Will teenagers see this mailbox and feel like it’s a challenge, and therefore have a stronger desire to destroy it?


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All Eyes Are On You

Wednesday, May 4th, 2005

All eyes are on you because you’re completely naked in a newspaper ad.

We weren’t sure for WHAT this ad was upon first glance. OK, not an escort service. Dave thought it was for regular eye glasses, which seemed like a bad combination with a naked man (ie: needing glasses to better see something small). I saw "Dr." and the naked guy, thought it might be laser hair removal.

HOT. Largest. Leather. Expand horizons. You deserve the very best. Dominating. A naked man who seems to be holding on to it. What IS the ad selling?

Bad marketing. Memorable, but not for what the ad wanted you to remember (unless the ad wanted you to remember a naked guy and some sexually connotative words). Non-memorable web address of oibydrw.com.


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Mrs. Jim Parker

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

Brawny runs a commercial on TV where the "brawny man" cleans up icing on the kitchen counter. He gives the eye to the camera as he sexily tears off a paper towel. Then he nearly makes love to the counter. Then he cleans icing off a puppy as the narrator says, "That’s a bad little boy." He means the puppy, but we’re not convinced because the narrator sounds like he’s between Playboy Channel gigs. Then it’s "Happy Birthday, Mrs. Parker." There’s something homo-erotic about the commercial that always makes Dave, our VP here, say "Mrs. JIM Parker." Well there are many things homo-erotic about the commercial, but we won’t spell them all out.

We have to say this is bad marketing. If this makes women and gay men run out and buy paper towels, then I guess it was good marketing. But I’m not sure those target segments buy paper towels based on sexual or romantic attraction to a guy in a commercial. PAPER TOWELS. Click the above to get to know The Parkers. Funny that we never meet Mrs. Parker.


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24 Free Dinners

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

A local auto glass place advertises on TV that if you have your windshield replaced by them, you will get 24 free dinners to Chuy’s Mesquite Broiler.

24 free dinners? 1 free dinner, nice. 2 free dinners, nice. One dinner for four, nice promo. Why 24?

I’d rather that they lower the price $500 and give me 2 free dinners. I haven’t been to Chuy’s yet. Maybe dinner is $5, and I could be saving $110 on my auto glass.

The fine print on the TV commercial says I can have one free dinner per month for 24 months. That’s like a dinner payment plan. I think that they should stick with a small amount of dinners OR $150 off your windshield replacement. I don’t want to be on the dinner payment plan.


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