Tuesday, July 25

Amazon - The Tallest in Times Square

While yesterday I wrote about Amazon deepening its food business, today I want to mention a record-breaking stunt completed by the brand this past June.

Amazon built a seven story (yes seven!) Echo in Times Square, breaking a record held by Pepsi for the largest stunt even created in Times Square.

While it wasn't interactive, it was huge. Hard to miss, one could say. Just like Amazon's expanding business. This time promoting its music service, which I have to say as a user is pretty awesome. Just one more way that Amazon is infiltrating our lives.

"Love is all you need." Or is it "Alexa is all you need?"

Too much? Want more? What's your experience? JIM

Sunday, July 23

Amazon Goes Foodie

It certainly looks as if Amazon has had its eye on the food business for quite some time.

My first experience was Amazon Prime Restaurants...food delivery from local restaurants fueled by Amazon Prime. While there are quite a few of these kinds of services (particularly locally), it does make sense for Amazon to jump in and help facilitate. As an Amazon Prime member, any kind of delivery works for me.

Then came Whole Foods...Amazon's mass entry and aquisition into the food business. It was a bit of a gasp heard 'round the world but then again not so surprising then you think about it.

Well now, Amazon is evidently upping its food game again with an intent to start selling meal kits, ala Blue Apron.

Amazon registered a US trademark for a service the company described as "We do the prep. You be the chef."

Love the message!

Smart move? What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, July 19

Pop Up Employee

The rise of the pop-up employee is a real trend. Here's how you can create the right environment at work to capture that spirit with your teams. Click here to get to Entrepreneur.com.

What's your experience? JIM

Fiber One She Shed

You've heard of the man cave. Surely, you've heard of the man cave. Can't tell you how many brands did marketing programs around the man cave.

Well Fiber One is now giving it back to the ladies, with the She Shed. Yes, the She Shed.

"Of course it's ok, this is my world."

Gotts love it. What's your experience? JIM

Monday, July 17

Brands Respond to Trump

We are starting to see more and more brands not only get involved in socio-political issues (something that's been trending for awhile now), but also comment on "issues" that are popping up in the political arena...mostly with our new President.

Manhattan Storage has a long history of making such comments, here's just one example from the election last year:

I think a lot of people simply explain it away as "this is New York," but truthfully this kind of activity is invading the national scene now too.

About a month or so ago, Smirnoff jumped into the action surrounding the topic of Russia and captured people's attention for at least one news cycle:

This isn't a CEO supporting a candidate or making a bold statement, these are marketing communications meant to engage the brands' consumers.

Just this week Reebok "spoke" about Trump's recent trip (and dialogue) in France, again capturing people's attention:

These examples, and some others too, have a lot of marketers (and consumers too) asking if this kind of "advertising" is cool. They're asking if it's ok for brands to join conversations about "politics."

That my friends, is all about being consistent with the brands' values and positioning and of course being consistent with the brand's target audience and how they think, believe, and behave.

Is it right or wrong? All of that is best left in the eyes of the consumer. Just like everything in marketing.

I will say that no matter what, timing is everything.

What's your experience?

Sunday, July 16

Sweatiest City in America

You don't have to show me a survey to tell me that NYC is pretty sweaty these days. Ten seconds on a subway platform in July gives me all the proof that this NYer needs.

But it is interesting to see that the Honeywell Fan company did a systematic study of the country's "sweatiest" cities and NYC comes out on top. Surprise, surprise.

This is the third year in a row for said study, but NYC didn't even make the list last year. Surprise, surprise.

I guess it's gotten worse? Makes sense for a fan company to do the study, given the fact that they sell fans to make sweaty people, well, less sweaty. Surprise, surprise.

To read more about it, click here.

What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, July 13

Lessons Learned from "The Young Pope"

This article appears on HuffPost - click here to read it there.

Where did you come from? What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, July 12

Hotel Tonight

Creating a successful business is often about fulfilling an unmet need in the category. Great marketing is getting people to want your brand to fulfill that need.

That appears to be the case with the newly minted Hotel Tonight...an online app that helps you find a last minute hotel room.

The unmet need here is that sometimes you decide at the last minute that you need a hotel room. Perhaps a night out with friends that you don't want to end, or a flip in a business meeting that requires another day. Hotel Tonight helps you find that quick hotel room without paying the price of an exhaustive search and last-minute high prices.

As someone who's business travel needs have generally been very fluid, this is a great service because it cuts out of lot of the worry and hassle that you might get stranded. I can also remember back in the day when those late-night train rides back home cut the night short and it would have been fun to continue on with friends.

Hotel Tonight. It's a new flip to the traditional (and newly non-traditional) hospitality model.

What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, July 11

Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day is giving Black Friday a run for its money.

Black Friday and its "cousin" Cyber Monday have become the biggest shopping days of the year...at brick and mortar retailers and then online venues as well. As we all know, the two shopping days fall immediately following Thanksgiving and straddle the holiday weekend. They are huge, and literally every retailer gets into the game somehow.

Well now Amazon is challenging convention once again by upping the game on Prime Day, an all day/night online shopping extravaganza exclusively on Amazon exclusively for its Prime Members. Thirty hours of online shopping "deals" with a new deal listed every five minutes. And then "Lightening Deals" that get randomly announced at super low prices in finite quantities.

It's enough to make your head spin. And of course everyone is getting in the game with advice and tips on how to max out.

I think the key is how fast can you click. Online retailing leadership at its best. What's your experience? JIM

Monday, July 10

Weiner Mobiles

Believe it or not, the Weinermobile - as in the Oscar Mayer hotdog car - has been around since 1936. Delivering goodness all these years.

Well this year the fleet is expanding to include a drone and a cycle. They were unveiled in Weiner, Arkansas on July 4th...to coincide with the brand's new nitrate-free hotdog formula.

Distinctive, fun, iconic, and certainly a big part of the Oscar Mayer heritage.

Hotdog! What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, July 6

Assisted Shaving from Gillette

Now THIS is doing something that a leader should be doing. A leader in men's grooming, in this particular case.

Sure, the brand has been selling razors for men to shave themselves for decades...but now they've created a special razor/blade for those caregivers who have to shave others. It's specially designed for one to shave another, realizing that the reach and the angles are very different.

This AMAZING video showcases it all....

Leadership indeed! What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, July 5

Flexibility is the Key

I've always been decisive...I grew up that way. But I'm learning that there's a new component that is the key to current success. So I wrote about it on Entrepreneur.

Click here to give it a read.  What's your experience? JIM

Sunday, July 2

Snickers Packaging

The "Not Yourself" campaign from Snickers is now hit legendary status, built on a universal insight that when you're hungry you're just not yourself. Think about it...when you're hungry it's much harder to be patient, creative, loving, analytical...whatever qualities make up who you are.

The campaign started with this classic with Betty White:

And then went on to feature some divas:

And some historical figures too:

Any good marketing campaign must also be fully integrated. So while it's great to have great advertising and social content, a comprehensive campaign should hit other touchpoints too. Like what Snickers has now so brilliantly done with its packaging:

Bringing it to life full circle, right at the point of purchase and as you consume it to alleviate your hunger. Essentially solving "Not Yourself" right in the moment.

Not only a universal insight but also great integration!

What's your experience? JIM

Friday, June 30


"Socks are the #1 requested item in homeless shelters."

This mostly unknown fact became the inspiration behind the company Bombas. Two friends/colleagues started a sock company with a simple formula: for every pair of socks bought they would donate a specially-created, highly-functional pair of socks to homeless shelters. Their goal: donate one million pairs of socks within 10 years. It only took 2.5, and they're already over 3.5 million pairs.

They called the company Bombas, the Latin word for bees. Bees live in hives and work as a team. Bees are unbelievably productive and they give back to the community. Bees are good for planet earth.

The name is a perfect fit. Just like the socks.

I always say that a brand should deliver an emotional benefit, and Bombas clearly delivers on that front. But when it comes to function, there's no stopping the products either.

Here's a video that explains the entire concept:

So inspiring. The perfect formula...function, emotion, purpose, community, sharing, giving back. Bombas.

What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, June 29

Special K Own It

Perfectly imperfect.

A brand new campaign from Special K gets right at how we are living our lives "these days." It's built from the kind of thoughtful insights I try to teach my students at NYU.

We live our lives "perfectly imperfect." We can't possibly do everything perfect all at once all of the time, but we do a pretty good job of trying. And we should be proud of that!

Take a look:

And then n this 30 second video, the brand addresses the role of food in the mix:

I've long been a fan of Special K and even worked on it at one point in my career. I always thought the brand did a breakthrough job of talking about "dieting" in the context of health and wellness and at the same time indulgence. No small feat.

There are of course social elements to this as well, so that women can "join the conversation."

And some great visual representations of the campaign and the insight.

This campaign continues that original attempt from the brand, IMHO, and it has owned it for quite some time.

What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, June 28

Adidas Originals

This is a follow up post to yesterdays Adidas Odds, a fabulous idea to support para-athletes.
Upon seeing the film, a friend reminded me of another Adidas campaign that stole some of the limelight at this year's Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity awards...Adidas Originals.

Original is never finished.

I love the film technique, the use of a vintage song, and most importantly the message that we should continually be creating and striving to be original. Something I try to aspire to personally. And when you are in marketing and creativity, your work is certainly never finished.

Not to mention the iconic, classic original Adidas sneaker.

What about you? What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, June 27

Adidas Odds

Coming out of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity awards last week, we're seeing loads and loads of inspiring creative work. I don't want to duplicate what others have written, there are many a recap post highlighting the big winners.

So here's a campaign that hasn't gotten much wordage, but I think is so incredibly inspiring and smart. I saw it first when I was judging The One Show, and it hit my radar again this week. Just have to write about it.

Adidas Odds. Two odds...two matching left or right foot sneakers for "those who run against the odds" in honor and in support of para-athletes who have to do with one foot what most of us can't even attempt with two.

Simple: these folks don't need a matching left and right foot sneaker, they need two odds.

Wow. Take a look:

Leadership. Community. Support. What's your experience? JIM.

Friday, June 23

The Most Interesting Tequila?

We know him as "The Most Interesting Man in the World," the recently retired spokesperson for Dos Equis beer.

"I don't always drink beer, but when I do it's Dos Equis." Pretty legendary at this point.

Well now he's back...drinking...tequila. Astral Tequila to be specific.

Pretty interesting take on using another's spokesperson, and altering their copy/messaging...taking a page from Sprint, when their current and once iconic spokesperson Paul switched from Verizon.

I guess the question is if it's effective (and cool) to take another brand's spokesperson and make it your own?!? That, my friends, is in the eyes of the consumer.

So what's your take? What's your experience? JIM.

Thursday, June 22

Cheetos Online Museum

A student from my NYU class this week shared something very cool...The Cheetos Museum.

You gotta love the dinosaur on the home page.

It's an entire online gallery of all the interesting, funky, and random shapes that come out of a Cheetos bag. Consumers can upload their "finds" and become a part of the museum. Each submission gets a chance to win a big prize.

There are different galleries depending on the type of Cheetos...

...and there's even a gift shop!

The photos are hysterical! And of course the social engagement is off the charts!

Really smart marketing to engage your audience with a behavior that they're already doing...by just making it more fun and more shareable and more rewarding!

What's your experience? JIM

UPDATE: A friend just told me that this campaign won a Cannes Lion this year at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity! I can see why!

Wednesday, June 21

Ken Joins the Party

This is a perfect follow up to many a post that I've written about brand Barbie, including her take on diversity, body types, and fashion. The brand generates fanfare with every move.

Well now her boyfriend Ken is joining the party with an expanded line that shows much more diversity in terms of ethnic background, body types, and yes also fashion. Including a man bun.

There are now fifteen different adaptations of Ken including seven skin tones (with hair styles to boot), three body types (slim, broad, original), and styles that range from business casual to street

I've always been a big fan of the brand...and it's wonderful to see it expand its diversity voice to men too.

What's your experience? JIM

Seven Million Nutella Bottles ...

... not no two are alike!

What say what?!?

This is probably the coolest, most colorful, over-the-top packaging promotion ever...from Nutella.

I'll let the video speak for itself. Bravo!

Makes me want to buy several...which I'm sure is the point!

What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, June 20

The Art of @BarbieStyle

Barbie has long been a fashion icon...right up there with the biggest of the brightest fashionistas.

Well now she's going to finally get the credit she deserves with a new Instagram feed, a coffee table book, and a partnership with another high-style brand.

@BarbieStyle  on Instagram will feature Barbie's many looks and collaborations with designers. She's already got 1.8million followers.

And now there's a coffee table book from Assouline that also captures her classic looks.

Evidently she's been on a book tour to promote the Instagram feed and the book.

To round out the big launch, Barbie also partnered with famed French macaroon brand Laduree for a special edition box of macaroons that resembles the new book. Pink and all. I happened to see a huge display at the Laduree in Manhattan this past weekend. Fab.

Pretty amazing. Pretty in pink.

Truly iconic and such a smart move to continue to propel brand Barbie.

What's your experience? JIM

Friday, June 16

Equinox Adds an A to Pride

June is Pride Month so of course we are seeing all sorts of celebrations as each major city holds its festivities weekend after weekend. And of course we are seeing brands jump in and show their support and their, well, pride.

There's been much discussion of late on the addition of "Q" in LGBTQ. And while this brand, Equinox, isn't necessarily addressing that discussion they are adding another element of inclusion that I kinda like. The brand has long been known for taking an edge, and this time they are doing it with the ultimate in pride.

See for yourself in this short film:

Very bold, very inclusive, very "A."

What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, June 14

Take Me Out to the Ballpark - For Father's Day

File this under...creative.

A baseball team in Florida (The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp) is running an interesting promotion for Father's Day. At Thursday night's game (the Thursday before Father's Day), the stadium is "giving away" free pregnancy tests so that the guys in attendance can see if they'll be a father on Sunday's Father's Day.

Oh, that and $1.00 beers. Evidently Thursday is normally "Thirsty Thursday," but this week they've added in "You Might Be The Father's Day."

Certainly creative, that's for sure.

If you want to hear the inside baseball on this one, click here for more information.

What's your experience? JIM

Dove Men + Care is "There to Care"

Here's a post I wrote for HuffPost about the latest from Dove Men + Care. You'll see how much I was inspired by the brand's work. Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, June 13

Functional Benefits at Work

I just started teaching a new semester at NYU again this summer...always a joy to spend time with the next generation.

One of the early topics in each semester is functional benefits, with the premise that a product is rarely differentiated by its functional benefits alone. Typically most brands in a given category offer very similar if not exact functions. Take a look at laundry detergent, pain relievers, or beverages and you'll see what I mean.

It's generally the emotional benefits that make a brand and that build brand loyalty. Take a look at Tide, Tylenol, or Coca-Cola and you'll see what I mean.

There are of course exceptions when a product has a truly distinct functional benefit that brings innovation to a category or truly solves a problem before anyone else has.

Sometimes we see this in unusual places. Like t-shirts.

The Duluth Trading Company has a few things up its sleeves, providing functional benefits that solve age-old problems.

Like the Men's Long Sleeve Longtail T-Shirt Crack Spackle designed with a longer back to help cover up plumber's crack.

Or the Women's No-Yank Tank designed with a longer body to stay in place and not crawl up the tummy exposing, well, the tummy.

Sure, these are functional benefits that probably any other product could match. But this brand is doing it first, with a little emotional sense of humor added in.

Function that attracts for sure.  What's your experience? JIM

Sunday, June 11

Predictions for This Year's Cannes Lions

The Cannes Lions are just 'round the corner. I wrote my predictions on HuffPost. Click here to find out what mine are.

I was also recently quoted in an article in PRWeek where a few of us gave our thoughts as well.

What's your experience? JIM

Friday, June 9

212, Not! #332

File this under frivolous, but sometimes we need a little levity. Especially these days.

For those of us who live in NYC, you know how coveted the 212 area code is. And for mobile, 917. I remember the day when new numbers were getting thrown into 646. The drama! Then 347.

"Where's my 212? Why can't I have 917? I'm a New Yorker!"

Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City was devastated when she moved and got stuck with 347. "The haarrar!"

Well now there's a new area code getting established because again the city is running out of options.


"#332?!? No Way!!"

I'm sure people are freaking out. It's a New York thing!

What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, June 7

A Review of "Rich20Something"

I recently read this amazing business book that really taught me a lot. So I took to HuffPost to share it.

Click here to give it a read. What's your experience?  JIM

Cayuga's Watchers

This is a pretty brilliant idea.

I remember fondly my days "on the hill" at Cornell University which was "far above Cayuga's waters." Cayuga being one of the Finger Lakes. And of course I remember fondly the fraternity parties we hosted and also attended weekend after weekend. It was the stuff of college memories.

This is a pretty brilliant idea spreading across college campuses, including Cornell, to help keep students safe at these college parties. Designated "watchers" attend parties just to watch over people and make sure they stay safe.

At Cornell, they're called "Cayuga Watchers" as in "far above..." There is also a very popular glee club on campus called "Cayuga's Waiters." Just gotta love the branding. Brilliant. Makes it all so sincere and integrated into campus life.

But they're not spies. They are actually hired by the party host and in known attendance, just merely watching over the festivities and safely calling out behaviors that could lead to trouble. I can tell you that if we had this kind of "service" when I was in college then I would have not have minded at all. And as a father now, I wish the schools that my two kids attended had put this in place.

This is a pretty brilliant idea. Click here to read more about it.

What do you think? What's your experience? JIM

Sunday, June 4

Graduation: Relief!

Both of my kids graduated this year...my son from college and my daughter from graduate school.

Such relief!

Here's a post I wrote for Gays with Kids to describe the experience.

Congratulations to all the grads!  JIM.