Thursday, May 31

Ambien's Response to Roseanne

By now we've all read about Roseanne Barr's tweet and resulting cancellation of her show. I'm not going to comment on any of that. But I would like to post how the maker of Ambien responded to Roseanne's product mention.

Say no more...what's your experience? JIM

Coca-Cola's First Alcoholic Beverage

Coca-Cola is making its first attempt to enter the alcoholic drink business with a new line that's currently only available in Japan.

They are described as "fizzy lemon drinks" and are meant to compete against the popular Chu-Hi drinks which combine alcohol with fruit flavors. Many of those drinks are targeted against younger women as an alternative to beer.

This reminds me a little of Starbucks who starting serving wine and beer as a test as well. Testing the waters, if you will, of the brand's ability to expand against its core beverage heritage.

It'll be interesting to see if the brand takes the concept global, or another alcoholic version instead. Rum and Coke anyone?

What's your experience? JIM.

Tuesday, May 29

Lourdes Leon for Converse x MadeMe

She had me at "Everybody." Yes, I "got into the groove" when it was fun to "Get Into the Groove." Madonna's "Get Into the Groove," that is. Madonna made the charts and made the news year over year over year.

Well now, evidently it's time for the next generation to make some waves.

Madonna's daughter, Lourdes Leon, is the new face of a collaboration between Converse and MadeMe and their new line of clothing and footwear. Converse x MadeMe. But I'm afraid that Lourdes overshadowed the new line right out of the gate with can see for yourself.

This isn't the first time Lourdes has worked with MadeMe and it's also not the first time she's gone with this "look" either. The brand says it's an homage to '90's subculture.

Given Madonna's dominance in the '80's and '90's, perhaps the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

What's your experience? JIM.

Friday, May 25

Audi #FutureFamilies

I'm a regular contributor to the community Gays with Kids, where I comment on positive portraits of gay fathers in marketing.

Here's the latest from Audi...a bit of a gift in my opinion.

Click here to check it out.

What's your experience? JIM.

Thursday, May 24

Schweppes and The Dress for Respect

Schweppes in Brazil ran a little social experiment to shed a little light on sexual inappropriateness. Social sexual inappropriateness. Social sexual inappropriateness in night clubs. Social sexual inappropriateness in night clubs where Schweppes is often served.

Fact: 86% of women in Brazil say that they have been sexually harassed in nightclubs. Not good.

So Schweppes outfitted three women one night with dresses that would record every time they were touched and sent them out into the clubs. They were touched an average of 40 times per hour!

It's called "The Dress for Respect."

The brand then turned the data into a video, as a not-so-subtle reminder to respect. Respect. Good.

Here's the video, and even if you don't speak the language you can still figure out what's going on. Universal.

Clearly not enough to turn around a cultural situation that's been going on for decades, but certainly a small step forward in building awareness and a good example of a brand stepping up to the plate in its own way.

What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, May 23

Uber is Moving Forward

Much like Facebook's recent video play "Here Together," Uber recently launched a new video message talking about how the company (and brand) is moving forward from the issues that has plagued the car service.

Unlike the Facebook video, however, here we see and hear the new Uber CEO up close and personal. Which I personally feel is much more effective.

He talks about how he's been on a listening tour with drivers and riders, and about how he's making changes in what is now "Uber's next chapter." He's committing to "always do the right thing" and to fixing what ever has been done that hasn't been done right.

Smart move from a new CEO who is in a turn-around situation. Transparency, consciousness, responsibility. And it appears that he's also taking action, Traits you want in an organization's leadership. A great "voice" for the brand IMHO.

Now the actions just have to take effect, which is no small feat for sure.

What's your experience? JIM.

Monday, May 21

A Keg of Rose Wine!

Yes, you read that right...a KEG of rose wine. From Bridge Lane Wineries out on Long Island, New York.

Now I have been drinking rose all year long, long before it was ever in vogue to do "rose all day." But we never had this...first it was a box of rose, then a can or rose, and now a keg of rose. One keg contains 26 bottles of rose.

That's a lot of rose, even for me! Imagine the reduced recycling!

"Hip, Hip, Rose," as Bridge Lane says.

Probably not for your average frat party, but then again who knows!

What's your experience? JIM

Sunday, May 20

A Royal Turning Point

My Favorite Pic from the Wedding - Just Look at that Kid!
I honestly had no intention of watching The Royal Wedding. For sure, I watched when William and Kate got married, and I will admit that I was glued to the television when Princess Diana got married back in the day. And I sadly watched her funeral after she got into her fatal car accident. That was a tough one, as a dad.

But I haven't really been following Harry and be honest I didn't even know her ethnic background or her work on social issues. I just hadn't tuned into this couple quite yet. I knew The Royal Wedding was happening but just didn't think that I would care.

On Saturday morning, on an incredible gray and rainy day in New York City, I accidentally clicked onto The Royal Wedding coverage on E! E! is one of my go-to's on a rainy day when I'm feeling lazy!

I got hooked in a New York Minute and I got hooked into a surprise that I wasn't expecting.

Despite my naivete about the Royal Couple, I am a big follower of pop culture. And I am a big believer in pop culture turning points...moments in our collective society that change who we are and how we think about things, collectively.

The Royal Wedding is a pop culture turning point for us.

Meghan and Harry broke so many conventional traditions purposefully and respectfully...changing how we think about who we are. Like a bride-to-be walking down the aisle by herself. Like a father welcoming what could be considered an "outsider" into the family. Like musical arrangements that make a social statement and modernize our ceremonies.

Meghan and Harry also established new traditions purposefully and respectfully...changing how we think about who we are. Like not just talking about diversity, but living it and being a change agent for it.

I was also blown away by the sermon. I'm not a religious person, but I am spiritual in how I think about our lives. This man's talk about love summed it all up for me. The power of love in changing our society. Not in a religious way, but in a cultural way.

In a way that we need right now.

The Royal Wedding was a moment that we'll reflect on as a shift in our way of life. A visual shift. A permanent shift. An inspirational shift. The Royal Wedding was a moment of hope and inclusiveness and individuality that I personally haven't seen in quite some time. I am moved by it.

I'm inspired...I feel a bit different about how our world will take shape after this converging of forces.

Here's a recap video from The New York Times:

What are your thoughts? What's your experience? JIM

PS ... here's a little lift (or should I say "gift") from Bishop Michael Curry's sermon that I not only relate to as a husband, father, and member of society, but I also embrace for anyone in our world because the power of love will change our world...

The late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, and I quote: “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.” 

There’s power in love. Do not underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalize it. There’s power, power in love. 

If you don’t believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love. The whole world seemed to center around you and your beloved. There’s power, power in love, not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love. There’s a certain sense in which when you are loved and you know it, when someone cares for you and you know it, when you love and you show it. 

It actually feels right. There’s something right about it. There’s a reason for it. 

Thursday, May 17

Facebook...Here Together...Reminding Us

Looks like Facebook is working on a little damage control for its brand, given the recent (let's call it) "noise" about its data/user privacy protection and its own behaviors towards these sensitive policies.

In a new video, the "brand" works to ensure users that the company is indeed working towards being better...working hard at being better.

The brand is working hard to remind us why we gravitated toward Facebook in the first place, using its heritage to reignite our emotional connection. Reminding us how Facebook has changed our lives, and brought us closer together though multi-level, multi-generational, multi-faceted connections. Smart.


What's your experience? JIM.

Wednesday, May 16

Boxed Water on the Rise

Plastic pollution in our oceans is hitting critical mass, shall we say, and the awareness to do something about it is finally rising to critical mass as well.

Plastic straws are a big source of the problem, as are plastic bottles. In the US alone, 60 million plastic water bottles are discarded a day. That's a lot of plastic feeding into the ocean.

Raised awareness has flattened out sales of plastic water bottles, and doubled the sales of an emerging alternative...boxed water.

The brand Just Water is one example...the bottle is made mostly from paper and the cap is from sugarcane. The water itself is 100% spring water.

Most predict that we'll see more and more options of this more sustainable sort, which I applaud. Will we see other beverages move away from plastics too? I bet.

What's your experience? JIM.

Sunday, May 13

Reese Witherspoon for Crate & Barrel

I happened to catch the latest video installment with Reese Witherspoon as spokesperson for Crate & Barrel. This particular was about her obsession with pillows...summer pillows to be exact.

While I don't think this is necessarily breakthrough marketing, it is highly targeted and highly relateable for the Crate & Barrel shopper. Reese is being Reese, as charming and self-depricating as ever. Probably makes those who relate to her want to go buy new pillows. Which is exactly the point of content marketing, after all. Right?!?

Turns out that "pillows" wasn't Reese's first run with Crate & Barrel. Here's one where she talks about "The Equinox" (the day when the day is just as long as the night and vice versa)...

And before that, holiday entertaining...

Well done, and I'm sure watchable and exciting for the target audience. Borrowing from Reese's fan base to drive buying occassions online and off.

What's your experience? JIM

Friday, May 11

Does the "Be Best" Logo Deliver?

I do not comment on political commentary. At least not here.

But I do want to showcase the logo for Melania Trump's new initiative for our country's youth.

As a marketer, logos are important for establishing what a "brand" is all about and they serve to help consumers immediately recognize and relate to a brand.

Logos should be strong and powerful, and convey a message unto themselves.

I'm not sure that "Be Best" hit the mark on its logo. But I'll let you all decide.

What's your experience?  JIM.

Wednesday, May 9

The New York Times "Television"

(all the news that's fit to watch)
The New York Times with "All the news that's fit to print," is among the most recognized brand taglines of all time. Particularly for a news outlet. Particularly when you realize that not many "news brands" have memorable taglines.

Long a leader in print newspaper, The New York Times has certainly had to change with the times, adopting the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach.

First, of course, The New York Times went digital. It had to, in order to hang on to any kind of leadership in our digital/mobile world. It's hard now to even use the words digital or mobile to describe our world because, well, it's all digital and mobile.

Now the news outlet is changing again and going to television.

"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

But it's not really broadcast television either, because "television" is no longer just that bring screen that hangs in our homes. It's gone digital/mobile as well. It had to, in order to hang on to any kind of viewership.

So I guess now "All the news that's fit to print" is also "fit to watch" as well.


What's your experience? JIM.


The Oreo brand recently ran a consumer-generated promotion where fans could create new versions of the classic cookie. The brand then posted their picks for the public to vote and choose.


Not a new concept, by any means. Haagen-Dazs has done it. Lays has done it. Now Oreo is doing it, but it's still fun if it isn't original.

Some of the winners? Kettle corn. Cherry Cola. And Pina Colada, submitted by a school teacher in New Jersey.

Fun! From fun brand! Whether they're not the first to do it or not.

What's your experience? JIM.

Monday, May 7

Roman, For a "Friend"

There's a new website out there called "Roman" that offers men who suffer from erectile dysfunction ("ED") the ability to get their meds online and in privacy. Roman isn't a pharmaceutical, it's access to pharmaceuticals. Privately. And with a bit of style that doesn't make the recipients feel like there's something wrong with them. Which is such a great emotional benefit.

Roman just launched a very clever campaign to gain more subscribers. In the campaign, the brand speaks directly to men about giving this access to drugs for "their friend." Yes, for a "friend!" ;)

Marketing in the ED category got its start in 1998 when Viagra infamously hired then presidential candidate Bob Dole to be its brand spokesperson. On camera and for a broadcast advertisement, Bob Dole publicly admitted that he suffered from ED. It was a breakthrough moment in the category, in men's health, and in pharmaceutical marketing.

Perhaps Roman is the next breakthrough as well.

What's your experience? JIM.

Starbucks x Nestle

Two giants and competitors in coffee just joined forces to help each other out...Starbucks and Nestle.

Nestle will distribute retail versions of Starbucks coffee products and Starbucks will supply coffee for  Nestle's coffee machines. Will we see Coffee-Mate at Starbucks stores? Maybe. Starbucks branded creamers? Perhaps. Starbucks water? Could be.

My first job out of college was at Nestle, where I sold Coffee-Mate among other things. I've always been a fan.

It's interesting to see two large, well-resourced companies come together to utilize each other's strengths and to join their competitive forces to be even more competitive against their joint competition.

I think it's a trend we'll see more of as companies look to build their competitive advantage in creative ways that are cost effective and highly efficient.

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

Friday, May 4

Bye Bye Hotel Shampoo Bottles

You know those little sample sizes of shampoo and conditioner that come in every single hotel room around the world? And cruise ship? You know, the ones we barely all use up and who knows where they end up going.

Well since they're plastic, we know where they end pollution. In the oceans. Can you imagine how many of them are used (or not used) every day around the world? Not very sustainable.

Which is why most hotels are moving to installing bulk dispensers of these products in an effort to reduce waste, cost, and pollution. I salute it!

And honestly, from a brand experience standpoint, I actually prefer using the bulk dispensers in the showers. Easier to use. And generally very high-end quality products even in the more affordable hotels.

Marriott and IHG both just made commitments to install bulk dispensers across their networks. I'm betting any brand that hasn't done so yet will do so now.

What say you? Agree? What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, May 1

Drinks and Snacks in Uber and Lyft

It was only a matter of time for the rideshare business to turn into an even greater experience...with in car amenities. Like in this case drinks and snacks.

A company called Cargo has started installing displays that dispense snack bars, bottles of water, and even Sour Patch kids via the consoles of Uber and Lyft vehicles. When you download the Cargo app, you can pay with your mobile device. It even has a nice safety feature...the driver has to stop and pull over to dispense the snack items.

In some cases there are even free samples.

Cargo is infiltrating all the major markets, and in fact just added Coca-Colas home town of Atlanta with its new relationship with that brand too.

So now you can play your own music, sip a we just need manicures and pedicures...oh wait, there are some brands that have been doing makeovers on special occasions already! Soon we’ll be seeing samples of hair care and skin care products sitting on our Uber and Lyft seats when we get in the car!

Ridesharing with the full experience. As my mother used to say, “What will they think of next!”

What’s your experience? JIM