Friday, September 22

GE Puts STEM into Grand Central Station



Ok, there are marketing stunts and then there are marketing stunts. This is a good one.

Grand Central Station in Manhattan has been home to its constellation ceiling since 1913. It's quite a New York scene if you've ever seen it. Go see it.

Well this week GE gave it a new twist by re-arranging the constellations to celebrate pioneering women in STEM fields as a way to encourage today's young women to pursue such careers.

BTW - STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. I can never remember the "M!"

The "stunt" has a limited engagement, but hopefully unlimited impact in inspiring young folks (men and women) today.

I know it did me. What's your experience? JIM.

Thursday, September 21

Target Goes Private with its Labels



For quite some time, we've known Target to be the place for affordable fashion. In fact, the brand kinda sorta invented the notion of designer labels at affordable prices with exclusive collaborative lines.

Think Isaac Mizrahi, Missoni, Calypso. To name a few from back in the day. Infamous and very successful.

It seems that this fashion season Target is going back to being a bit more private...as in launching their own lines of private label fashions for the whole family. They're bringing in house, so to speak, with new brands exclusive to the retailer.

They are all "new and only at Target:"
- A New Day for Women
- Goodfellow & Co for the Guys
- Project 62  for Home
- Cat & Jack for Kids

All brought to life in this little ditty:


I must say, well done. And yes of course I love the theme song as any child of the '70's would, not that this is targeted to children of the '70's. Maybe the children of the children of the '70's. But I digress.

Brilliant move, really, when you think about how millennials think about brands and fashion. It's less about the brand and more about the fashion. Disposable fashion that might only last a season but leaves room to go out with friends and family.

Good move, Target! What's your experience? JIM

Home Depot Company's Coming


I received this catalog in the mail, snail mail that is, and couldn't believe it was from Home Depot.

Home Depot! As in the racks of lumber and the rows of lightbulbs! These are the kinds of images I've come to expect from the Home Depot that I know and remember:


Not these kinds of images:


Entertaining? Table top? Home accessories? Looks more like Martha Stewart or Williams-Sonoma has come to town, rather than Home Depot!

Upon further digging in, I noted that most of these items, if not virtually all of them, are available really only via the catalog or online presumably (definitely presumably) through partner brands/sites, etc. Not necessarily in the store. Not a bad business model, though, as there are certainly others who have found success in this model :)

Amazon effect?

And of course, as with many online retail models these days, you can always order online and pickup at store.

Just in time for company! Just in time for holiday and holiday spending. Exactly the point. What's your experience? JIM


Wednesday, September 20

The Death of the Toy Store?


(this article also appears on HuffPost - click here to read there)

The news of Toys 'R Us going into bankruptcy brought back so many memories for me. While it's not the first time we've heard the business was in trouble, it did make me realize that the toy store of lore is no longer alive.

And that's a little sad.

When I was a kid growing up in Syracuse, NY, we went to THE toy store. It was in a round building and it was chock full of toys and bikes. No electronics back in my day. Then when I started my career in marketing on Johnson's Baby Products, Toys 'R Us was one of our biggest clients. I was marketing baby wipes at the time (can you imagine me kid-less at 26 marketing baby wipes) and the retailer had a big section of diapers and wipes. I was there all the time.

Then when I had kids of my own, my credit card was constantly swiping out at Toys 'R Us as a weekend destination and also at FAO Schwarz for holiday and summer road trips into New York City. Toy stores were magical and mystical, and it was such a treat to take the kids there. I was hoping to go back again with the next generation of my family some day.

But then along came Walmart and Target and other retailers offline and then on that simply ate the toy stores' lunch. Clearly the small business owners couldn't keep up but evidently the big toy guys struggled too.They evidently couldn't survive the pricing and convenience of the likes of these giant retailers and then of course the Amazon effect.

It's a bit sad, if I am to tell the truth. But it's a good lesson learned not only in proper financial management but also in staying relevant to your consumer and to the times. Keeping up not only with the competition but also keeping one step ahead of the needs in the market. Creating an in store experience, and online for that matter, that matters to shoppers. And experience that they can't live without rather than simply a toy that's a click and a ship away. The toy store brands needed to be better destinations than that.

There's the miss. And a watch out for all of us marketers.

What's your experience? JIM