Monday, July 31

LifeGem

So this one is interesting...on a few levels.


LifeGem. You can literally turn the ashes of a loved one into a diamond. Yup, you read that right.

Evidently the act of cremation creates ashes that are full of carbon...which can then be processed into a certified diamond. Even a lock of hair can produce a diamond.


LifeGem says it's an incredible way to carry the love of a loved one with you. "Ashes to Diamonds," as the brand says.

Interesting business. Would you partake? What's your experience? JIM

Ben & Jerry's Pint Slices

"It's Ben & Jerry's, any way you slice it!"

No truer words were ever said in marketing.

I first saw them on a NYC subway ad, and then in my little convenience store across the street from my apartment. Then on my social feed. That's when a smile filled my entire being.

File this under simple yet brilliant, controlled yet out of control. Pint Slices from Ben & Jerry's.

Really just a chocolate-coated bar of ice cream, not unlike what other brands offer. But this is a slice of the infamous Ben & Jerry's pint, you know the one you like to eat in its entirety while binge-watching tv!
Nothing hugely innovative here...really just another way to serve a classic. But so dead-on in terms of consumer behavior and mindset when it comes to this iconic brand.

I bet it somehow just tastes better, too! What's your experience? JIM

Friday, July 28

Girl Scout Cookie Go DIY from Pillsbury



Maybe these have been around for awhile, but they've just hit my radar and I do say I just may indulge. Just for the experience.

Baking mixes featuring Girl Scout Cookie flavors, from Pillsbury. Like Thin Mints, my personal fav.

But all the classics are there...in DIY style, as they say, to make brownies (ha!), blondies, or cupcakes. Pillsbury Doughboy approved, given his prominence on the packaging.

Nothing more to say than bake away in your very own Girl Scout bake sale! Smart.

Good partnership? What's your experience?


Thursday, July 27

Coke Zero Sugar

Coke Zero is changing its name, perhaps to give a little more clarity to the ingredients. It will now be called Coke Zero Sugar.


For those on the hunt to reduce sugar intake, it does indeed provide clarity. Just like Diet Pepsi Max changed its name to Pepsi No Sugar recently.

Of note as well is the dominant use of red on Coke Zero Sugar, a franchise move to make red a red thread through all the Coke option. 

Certainly reads quickly. I'm personally a believer that packaging should in fact be a part of your marketing mix that constantly evolves and refreshes to keep current and top of mind.

Does this move do that? What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, July 25

The Delta Dating Wall


Yesterday I wrote about the big Amazon installation in Times Square...the tallest ever for that location (maybe for any location).

Keeping in the spirit of cool stunts, I thought it would be fun to give a shoutout to Delta Airlines and their partnership with Tinder that included a cool installation in Brooklyn.

It's called the Delta Dating Wall, and it featured iconic visuals from Delta destinations that singles could take selfies in front of...making it look like they've traveled to this great spot...and posting on Tinder to get a good swipe.


Fun! And a great way to make Delta a relevant brand to singles...perhaps singles looking to do a little travel.

My favorite "selfie wall," if you will remain the one from Paul Smith who partnered with Instagram for Pride Month with a reinvention of their infamous pink wall, which happens to be the most "selfied" spot in LA.


What's not to love? What's your experience? JIM

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 same 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 ever created in Times Square.

While it wasn't interactive and we didn't hear from Alexa, 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.

And I love the culturally-relevant messaging.

"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