Tuesday, December 18

Vitamin Water - No Smart Phones

Vitamin Water is running a smart (!) contest where it's challenging consumers to live without their smart phones.

Yes, one lucky winner will get $100,000 if he/she can live without a smart phone for 12 months. To apply, you simply enter via Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #nophoneforayear #contest and you just might get a chance to win.

If selected, you can still use laptops and desktops and you'll get supplied an old school cell phone ... but no smart phones or tablets.

The brand says it likes to "break monotony," and there's nothing more monotonous that keeping your eyes glued to a smart phone (apparently).

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

Saturday, December 15

"Rang Tan" from Iceland with Greenpeace

Believe it or not, this video from the country of Iceland along with Greenpeace was banned from some media channels for being too "political." Oh my, not sure I understand that but ok ... which of course, probably turned out to be a blessing because more people viewed it as a result. 30 million people. Me included. And here I am writing about it! Take a look:

I'm going to let it speak for itself, it's that good IMHO.

What's your experience? JIM.

Friday, December 14

Patagonia Donates Its Tax Savings

Patagonia has had a long held a firm commitment to saving public lands, to environmentalism, and to conservationism. And the brand has long put its money where its mouth is, including joining a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for its policies concerning public lands.

And it's doing it again.

Patagonia's CEO, Rose Marcario, recently pledged that the money that the company is saving from President Trump's tax cuts will go directly to nonprofit groups that support conservation and climate control. To the tune of $10million.

Whether you agree with the position or not, this is a brand staying true to its values, commitments, and equity. Over and over again. And, by the way, staying true to its consumers as well.

What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, December 13

Bonobos Holiday Catalog 2018

Bonobos (as in the men's fashion brand) released their 2018 Holiday Catalog featuring men in all kinds of relationships from husbands to fathers to team mates to brothers.

"Celebrate Every Kind of Family." Here's the concept, from the brand:

"For many of us, the notion of family and being a family man has grown into something more. There’s the conventional idea, of course, but there’s also the family you choose. It could be made up of anybody — friends, colleagues, teammates, drinking buddies, or bridge partners, as long as they’ve got your back. There are many ways to be a family man, and each of them fit."

The best part for me? Aside from the amazing shot of a dad with his daughter ... the cover shows a couple in a same-sex relationship, thank you very much, presumably representing the "husband" aspect of relationships. But there's more.

This same-sex couple is later featured in the catalog with the full story of their relationship, as are other men as well. And this gay couple is positioned as "Long Haulers" because they've been together for 14 years. Amazing. Not sure we've ever seen gay men positioned as "Long Haulers," so it's nice to see that the old stereotypes are not represented here.

As a "Long Hauler" myself, I take great inspiration from their story and this catalog. And I'd like to thank Bonobos for resisting the cliches and truly representing real men in all kinds of relationships.

What's your experience? JIM.

Wednesday, December 12

Twitter #NotARetailStore

UK retailer John Lewis has made famous its annual holiday advertising. UK folks and folks all around the world look forward to the debut every holiday season.

But not John Lewis, a not-as-famous US citizen. Every year his social media feed fills up with comments about the advertising, obviously directed to the wrong John Lewis.

In a very funny twist of story, Twitter (in the UK) decided to make a holiday story out of THAT John Lewis with #NotARetailStore, paying homage to his bio on his Twitter handle.

Quite brilliant. A bit of an inside joke, but that makes it all the better.

Happy Holidays! What's your experience? JIM.

Tuesday, December 11

Virgin Voyages for Adults Only

Virgin is set to set sail in the cruising market with three new ships, slated to be in operation by 2020. The service will go from Miami through the Caribbean, and will be for adults only. Here's a video capturing the full ship experience:

The cruising industry is huge, as I'm sure you know, as all the major players try to outdo themselves with new ships and new features being launched with great fanfare. There hasn't been a new brand in quite some time, so this is a big one ... sure to be off to a great start when the ship is ready to sail.

I'm sure that the "adults only" feature will draw a big crowd. Smart.

Virgin is also planning to have the happiest crew on the seas, promising a cruising experience better than any other. We shall see.

What's your experience? JIM.

Saturday, December 8

TOMS, Again

TOMS (as in the shoes) is a pioneer in the giving space. Sure, now it seems almost automatic, but when TOMS first hit the scenes twelve years ago their concept was breakthrough.

TOMS essentially turned the Buy One Get One Free (BOGO) promotional offer on its head ... Buy One Give One. For every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS gave another pair to an under served person in the world ... a free pair of shoes to someone who can't afford it. They've now given 86 million people a pair of shoes. Wow!

And now, TOMS is doing it again with a new form of giving. The CEO, Blake Mycoskie, was so alarmed by the recent gun violence near his home in California that he went into immediate action. He's giving $5million dollars to organizations that promote gun control policies and procedures. It's yet again his way of having his brand give back.

Blake says that it's incumbent on businesses to act where lawmakers cannot. Here he is on Jimmy Fallon talking about it (where he also explains where the name TOMS came from!):

He faced backlash of course, which I am sure he was prepared for. But he also received great accolades from those who agree with his thinking, and whom I am sure will now think even more favorably about the brand. Perhaps they'll even purchase a pair of shoes, for whom another pair will be donated.

Circular giving. What's your experience?  JIM

Thursday, December 6


I was on a flight just recently (so what else is new!), and viewed this little ditty of a spot before launching into a RomCom movie. It's from Booking.com ... the online travel agency. I thought it was really clever in its use of the company's employees.

You don't often see brands use their employees in such an unusual way. It's generally just talking heads. Not here. There's such a sense of adventure, freedom, and ease. So authentic. Makes you want to dive in too. I guess that's the point. I'm sure that the employees love being featured too. Makes it all so real.

Here's what the company itself says about the spot:

"We asked our employees to venture out into the unknown & discover fantastic new worlds, step out of their comfort zones in search of new adventures, make new friends & reconnect with the old ones, embrace the thrill of living and find music wherever they go. These are our stories. What will yours be?"

What will your be? Indeed!

Can be talk about that tagline? Booking.yeah! Brilliant. Perfectly captures that feeling when you're planning a trip to go out and about exploring. Booking.yeah! Great way to differentiate against the many competitors, with real emotion. Booking.yeah!

What's your experience? JIM.

Monday, December 3

CEO as Brand Ambassador via Brand Z

Every year, my parent company releases a report called BrandZ ... it's a listing of the 100 most valuable brands in the world. You can click here to read this year's list (no spoilers here!).

The year the report included several thought leadership positions, and the group was kind enough to ask me to write one! WooHoo!

My topic? CEO as Brand Ambassador. Click here to give it a read.

Let me know what you think! What's your experience? JIM.

Dunkin' Launches New Espressos

Dunkin' (sans the Donuts) has just announced a new line of espresso drinks, for a "new and more authentic experience." A "handcrafted espresso experience." Evidently espresso drinks are now officially outpacing drip coffees in sales, so it's time to up the game. So they say.

Now granted, the brand already had espresso drinks. But they've now improved them, and they're offering new iced versions as well. And all of them positioned at a much lower price point then at Starbucks. The brand is quick to make that point too.

In the meantime, Starbucks released a holiday video that I happened to catch during a football game on Sunday. It's not often that you see Starbucks advertise, so perhaps the brand is asserting a competitive position?

I always say that "marketing is a spectator sport," and there's no better category to watch than this one!

What's your experience? JIM