Archive for the ‘MARKETING’ Category

Gotcha: Using your own genes against you …

May 2, 2018

 NPR says …

“Getting the results of a genetic test can be a bit like opening Pandora’s box … you might learn that you’re likely to develop an incurable disease later on in life.”

There’s a federal law that’s supposed to protect people from having their own genes used against them, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA.

Under GINA, it’s illegal for health insurers to raise rates or to deny coverage because of someone’s genetic code.

image

But the law has a loophole: It only applies to health insurance.

Some insurance can be denied or priced high because of a person’s DNA.

Here’s an example … and a prediction.

(more…)

Gotcha: “I paid more, so it must be better …”

April 26, 2016

One of my favorite sports’ movie scenes is from “Major League”

Newly hired manager Lou Brown is chatting with the Indians’ general manager.

One of the team’s players –Roger Dorn – pulls up in a fancy ride, hops out and unloads his golf clubs.

Brown says to the GM: “I thought you didn’t have any high-priced talent.”

The GM shoots back: “Forget about Dorn, he’s just high priced.”

image

Lou Brown almost fell for a common trap …

Sometimes people do perceive that higher priced products are better – even when they’re not.

They’re subconsciously using price as a “quality cue”.

Here’s some research that supports the dynamic …

(more…)

Big Question: Will an iPhone blend?

July 24, 2015

All the hoopla surrounding  Trump’s announcing Sen. Graham’s cell phone number …. and Graham’s humorous video of ways he tried to remediate the situation by destroying his cell phone … reminded me of an ad campaign run by a company called  Blendtec.

According to George Parker of  AdScam ….

At a conference a couple of years ago. GE and their agency, BBDO, made a presentation of their new “Imagination” campaign.

After showing some nice TV spots and explaining that they’d spent $300 million on media over the last year, they proudly declared that brand awareness had increased substantially.

This generated polite applause.

image

Next up was the Marketing Director of blender manufacturer Blendtec who proceeded to blend:

  • a brick
  • some ball bearings
  • an 8 ft garden rake
  • an iPhone

He then put up a single slide showing that every time they posted a self-produced, ten dollar video on YouTube in their long-running “Will It Blend” campaign (which to-date has had more than 220 million views,) sales went up by an accurately measurable percentage.

Understandably, the crowd went nuts.  

The point being, GE spent hundreds of millions and couldn’t quantify with any certainty what they had achieved for all that money.

Blendtec spent pennies and achieved consistently significant and measurable results.

Below are the links to the Blendtec iPhone videos…  worth watching.

(more…)

How soon can I get some of those ‘next day‘ blinds?

June 11, 2015

Of course, it’s a trick question.

I started thinking about this a couple of weeks ago.

Heard a commercial for ‘3-Day Blinds’.

My thought: not a very compelling selling proposition when you’re up against NextDay Blinds

image

Then, we had a  set of mini-blinds break.

Of course, being instant gratification folks, we called NextDay Blinds.

What an eye-opener …

(more…)

Air fares: Public weighs in …

May 28, 2015

According to a YouGov.com survey reported by  NBC News  …

Survey says: 4 in 10 Americans  wouldn’t mind being publicly weighed at the airport.

image
Source

The results suggest that a once-unthinkable concept of differential fares based on size could become a fact of life for fliers.

Here are some verbatims:

(more…)

Norwegian economics professor jumps on the scale … endorses “pay what you weigh”

May 27, 2015

Over the weekend, a  friend got squeezed on a flight from BWI to LAX.

Not “bumped” … “squeezed” … by a plump plus-sizer overflowing the adjacent seat.

My trim, yoga-inclined friend suggested that I reprise my posts about airlines’ pricing … hoping that the airlines would get the message this time around.

=====

It started awhile back when I posted  Why don’t airlines charge more for these bags?

Specifically, I suggested that airlines charge passengers by weight: a base ticket price for the first 175 pounds and then $75 for each 50 pounds (or portion thereof) over the limit.

I  thought I was on safe ground since a  survey done for the travel website Skyscanner reported that 76% of travelers said airlines should charge overweight passengers more if they didn’t fit in a seat.

But, the idea went over like a lead-butted balloon.

Turns out that, as usual,  we were just a bit ahead of the times.

Later, we reported that Samoa Air became the first airline to start charging by the pound.

For details, see Samoa Air: Pricing by weight is the ‘concept of the future’

image

Now, even politically correcct academicians are hopping on the scale.  A Norwegian economist has suggested — in a prestigious academic journal —  a “pay what you weigh” pricing plan that “would bring health, financial and environmental dividends.”

Here’s the skinny on his program …

(more…)

Big Question Will the Apple Watch blend?

May 4, 2015

All the hoopla surrounding the Apple Watch launch reminded me of an ad campaign run by a company called  Blendtec.

According to George Parker of  AdScam ….

At a conference a couple of years ago. GE and their agency, BBDO, made a presentation of their new “Imagination” campaign.

After showing some nice TV spots and explaining that they’d spent $300 million on media over the last year, they proudly declared that brand awareness had increased substantially.

This generated polite applause.

image

Next up was the Marketing Director of blender manufacturer Blendtec who proceeded to blend:

  • a brick
  • some ball bearings
  • an 8 ft garden rake
  • an iPhone

He then put up a single slide showing that every time they posted a self-produced, ten dollar video on YouTube in their long-running “Will It Blend” campaign (which to-date has had more than 220 million views,) sales went up by an accurately measurable percentage.

Understandably, the crowd went nuts.  

The point being, GE spent hundreds of millions and couldn’t quantify with any certainty what they had achieved for all that money.

Blendtec spent pennies and achieved consistently significant and measurable results.

Below is the links to the Blendtec iPhone videos…  worth watching.

(more…)

Gotcha: Using your own genes against you …

April 24, 2015

 NPR says …

“Getting the results of a genetic test can be a bit like opening Pandora’s box … you might learn that you’re likely to develop an incurable disease later on in life.”

There’s a federal law that’s supposed to protect people from having their own genes used against them, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA.

Under GINA, it’s illegal for health insurers to raise rates or to deny coverage because of someone’s genetic code.

image

But the law has a loophole: It only applies to health insurance.

Some insurance can be denied or priced high because of a person’s DNA.

Here’s an example … and a prediction.

(more…)

Gotcha: Your willingness-to-pay is showing …

December 18, 2014

Punch line: Major retailers are customizing online prices for each user, using users’ information (such as location) to determine different prices for identical items. The goal: higher price realization and higher profits. 

BLOG

Here's the scoop ...
 (more...)

Odds: Are casinos really that smart?

December 4, 2014

Harrah’s is a poster child for “predictive analytics” … using hard numbers to make good decisions.

image

Why then – asks the IO Creative Group of tiny York, PA – did the Las Vegas big boy casinos lose over one billion dollars? (more…)

Gotcha: Using your own genes against you …

September 23, 2014

 NPR says …

“Getting the results of a genetic test can be a bit like opening Pandora’s box … you might learn that you’re likely to develop an incurable disease later on in life.”

There’s a federal law that’s supposed to protect people from having their own genes used against them, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA.

Under GINA, it’s illegal for health insurers to raise rates or to deny coverage because of someone’s genetic code.

image

But the law has a loophole: It only applies to health insurance.

Some insurance can be denied or priced high because of a person’s DNA.

Here’s an example … and a prediction.

(more…)

Marketing ROI: What you get for $300 million … and for $10.

September 2, 2014

According to George Parker of  AdScam ….

At a conference a couple of years ago. GE and their agency, BBDO, made a presentation of their new “Imagination” campaign.

After showing some nice TV spots and explaining that they’d spent $300 million on media over the last year, they proudly declared that brand awareness had increased substantially.

This generated polite applause.

image

Next up was the Marketing Director of blender manufacturer Blendtec who proceeded to blend:

  • a brick
  • some ball bearings
  • an 8 ft garden rake
  • a Blackberry donated by a member of the audience

He then put up a single slide showing that every time they posted a self-produced, ten dollar video on YouTube in their long-running “Will It Blend” campaign (which to-date has had more than 220 million views,) sales went up by an accurately measurable percentage.

Understandably, the crowd went nuts.  

The point of the story …

(more…)

Gotcha: “I paid more, so it must be better …”

March 19, 2014

One of my favorite sports’ movie scenes is from “Major League”

Newly hired manager Lou Brown is chatting with the Indians’ general manager.

One of the team’s players –Roger Dorn – pulls up in a fancy ride, hops out and unloads his golf clubs.

Brown says to the GM: “I thought you didn’t have any high-priced talent.”

The GM shoots back: “Forget about Dorn, he’s just high priced.”

image

Lou Brown almost fell for a common trap …

Sometimes people do perceive that higher priced products are better – even when they’re not.

They’re subconsciously using price as a “quality cue”.

Here’s some research that supports the dynamic …

(more…)

Air fares: Public weighs in …

February 24, 2014

According to a YouGov.com survey reported by  NBC News  …

Survey says: 4 in 10 Americans  wouldn’t mind being publicly weighed at the airport.

image
Source

The results suggest that a once-unthinkable concept of differential fares based on size could become a fact of life for fliers.

Here are some verbatims:

(more…)

Odds: Are casinos really that smart?

February 21, 2014

Harrah’s is a poster child for “predictive analytics” … using hard numbers to make good decisions.

image

Why then – asks the IO Creative Group of tiny York, PA – did the Las Vegas big boy casinos lose over one billion dollars.

According to IOCG, casinos attendance is up, their hotel stays are up, their night club business is up, restaurant and bar sales are up.

How could their profits be down by one billion dollars???

It is because of their belief that new customers were in order – which attracted a lot more customers who are completely NOT PROFITABLE.

These new Vegas fans sleep all day, party all night and do not gamble. They don’t shop nor do they utilize the services and amenities of the buildings.

Vegas became married to the idea that their money should be invested in attracting new younger, hipper, sexier customers and they achieved that.

What they failed to do was to invest in their current very profitable customers who were actually making them money.

Casinos got caught up in the “shiny object syndrome” —  the need to go after something new when their most profitable market was already right in front of them.

When they were going after completely new markets, they should have been further investing in the one they already had.

* * * * * *

IOCG offers up a couple of ways to increase current customer “monetization”:

(more…)

Gotcha: Using your own genes against you …

February 12, 2014

 NPR says …

“Getting the results of a genetic test can be a bit like opening Pandora’s box … you might learn that you’re likely to develop an incurable disease later on in life.”

There’s a federal law that’s supposed to protect people from having their own genes used against them, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA.

Under GINA, it’s illegal for health insurers to raise rates or to deny coverage because of someone’s genetic code.

image

But the law has a loophole: It only applies to health insurance.

Some insurance can be denied or priced high because of a person’s DNA.

Here’s an example … and a prediction.

(more…)

Want to sell more to men? Just follow these 5 steps

January 30, 2014

No secret, men are shopping more than ever.

Around one-third of primary shoppers for groceries reportedly are now men.

Yet 40% of men feel unwelcome in retail stores …

Man shopping in grocery store

 

As men shop more and more,retailers need to make them feel comfortable in their stores,  Here’s how …

(more…)

Gotcha: Your willingness-to-pay is showing …

December 18, 2013

Punch line: Major retailers are customizing online prices for each user, using users’ information (such as location) to determine different prices for identical items. The goal”higher price realization and higher profits.

* * * * *
Excerpted from WSJ’s, “Websites Vary Prices, Deals Based On Users’ Information”

BLOG

It was the same Swingline stapler, on the same Staples.com website.

But for Kim Wamble, the price was $15.79, while the price on Trude Frizzell’s screen, just a few miles away, was $14.29. 

(more…)

Big Question Will the iPhone 5 blend?

September 26, 2013

All the hoopla surrounding the iPhone 5 launch reminded me of an ad campaign run by a company called  Blendtec.

According to George Parker of  AdScam ….

At a conference a couple of years ago. GE and their agency, BBDO, made a presentation of their new “Imagination” campaign.

After showing some nice TV spots and explaining that they’d spent $300 million on media over the last year, they proudly declared that brand awareness had increased substantially.

This generated polite applause.

image

Next up was the Marketing Director of blender manufacturer Blendtec who proceeded to blend:

  • a brick
  • some ball bearings
  • an 8 ft garden rake
  • an iPhone

He then put up a single slide showing that every time they posted a self-produced, ten dollar video on YouTube in their long-running “Will It Blend” campaign (which to-date has had more than 220 million views,) sales went up by an accurately measurable percentage.

Understandably, the crowd went nuts.  

The point being, GE spent hundreds of millions and couldn’t quantify with any certainty what they had achieved for all that money.

Blendtec spent pennies and achieved consistently significant and measurable results.

Below is the links to the Blendtec iPhone videos…  worth watching.

(more…)

Turning around the turnaround: JC Penney goes back to the future …

May 15, 2013

In one svelte move, JC Penney launched near-total, point-by-point repudiation of ex-CEO Ron Johnson’s attempt to turn the retailer into a chain of Apple stores. 

 

image

Let’s dissect this one …

(more…)

Air fares: Public weighs in …

April 30, 2013

According to a YouGov.com survey reported by  NBC News  …

Survey says: 4 in 10 Americans  wouldn’t mind being publicly weighed at the airport.

image
Source

The results suggest that a once-unthinkable concept of differential fares based on size could become a fact of life for fliers.

Here are some verbatims:

(more…)

Huh: Home Depot using a cat to up its likability …

April 25, 2013

According to BrandChannei

“Richard the Cat, a.k.a., Pundit of People, remains Home Depot’s meme of choice as the brand welcomes spring some out-of-character humor.

The orange feline follows a human family as they pursue scores of DIY projects with questionable results and predictable mishaps.”

image

“Everyone has elves, reindeer, Santa, but one of the biggest things followed in the social space is cats”

HD is taking a chance on the cat meme since the two are an odd pairing.

The Home Depot brand is authentic, innovative and attainable, while Richard’s cat-sona is sarcastic, superior and refined.

HD’s CMO says: “When I shared this with our leadership team, our CEO got it immediately.

We’re very lucky we have one of the hippest CEOs out there.”

Hmmm.

Here may be the rub for Home Depot …

(more…)

Pssst: Facebook is stalking you in stores ….

April 16, 2013

Why?

Ostensibly to see if its sponsors’ ads are working.

But, some skeptics (e.g. me) think that there may be other motives, too.

Here’s the scoop.

Last year, Facebook entered into a partnership with a company called Datalogix.

image

Everybody knows what Facebook does.

Datalogix, not so much.

Datalogix is a firm that records the purchasing patterns of more than 100 million American households.

When you stop by the supermarket … you probably hand the cashier a loyalty card to get a discount on your items.

That card ties your identity to your purchases.

Your sales data is sent over to a server maintained by Datalogix, which has agreements with hundreds of major retailers to procure such data.

Source: Slate

Hmmm.

Facebook and Datalogix … why the hook-up?

(more…)

Nums: What percentage of Facebook users click on the ads?

April 15, 2013

According to an AP-CNBC poll

User clicks are a critical part of an advertiser’s calculus when gauging the effectiveness of those ads and how much they’re willing to pay for them.

So, how does Facebook do?

image

Here are some survey results …

(more…)

Norwegian economics professor jumps on the scale … endorses “pay what you weigh”

April 5, 2013

OK, I think this case is now officially done.

It started a couple of weeks ago when Iposted  Why don’t airlines charge more for these bags?

Specifically, I suggested that airlines charge passengers by weight: a base ticket price for the first 175 pounds and then $75 for each 50 pounds (or portion thereof) over the limit.

I  thought I was on safe ground since a  survey done for the travel website Skyscanner reported that 76% of travelers said airlines should charge overweight passengers more if they didn’t fit in a seat.

But, the idea went over like a lead-butted balloon.

Turns out that, as usual,  we were just a bit ahead of the times.

Yesterday, we reported that Samoa Air became the first airline to start charging by the pound.

For details, see Samoa Air: Pricing by weight is the ‘concept of the future’

image

Now, even politically correcct academicians are hopping on the scale.  A Norwegian economist has suggested — in a prestigious academic journal —  a “pay what you weigh” pricing plan that “would bring health, financial and environmental dividends.”

Here’s the skinny on his program …

(more…)

Pizza ! Pizza! … Little Caesar’s "biggest product introduction in the company’s 54-year history."

April 5, 2013

Once again, coincidence strikes.

This week in class we’re doing a a case about a company trying to launch an innovative refrigerated pizza.

Guess this is innovative pizza week.

Leading the charge: Little Caesars

image

According to the Huffington Post, Little Caesars — “more known for value than taste” — is launching a big new “higher end” product called the DEEP! DEEP! Dish pizza.

The new pizza is “Detroit-style” — a thick, square-panned pie that’s crispy on the edges, but has a soft, chewy middle.

No kidding, the company is calling it “the biggest product introduction in the company’s 54-year history.”

Hmmm.

I can remember sucking down Uno’s deep dish in Chicago 40 years ago … and, I was a late-adopter.

image

I guess that some innovations diffuse through the market at a slower rate than others …

P.S. “Detroit-style pizza” … you gotta be kidding me.

* * * * *
Follow on Twitter @KenHoma           >> Latest Posts

Gotcha: Schools copying airlines’ nickel & diming …

April 3, 2013

In recent years, airlines nave become masters at “unbundled pricing” … offering a low base fare and then charging more for bags, heavy bags, priority boarding,window seats, bad sandwiches, soft drinks, blankets and, of course, reservation changes.

According to CNN: Baggage fees alone generate more than $3.3 billion each year, and fees for reservation changes add almost $2.5 billion.

Annoying, for sure … but also a good source of revenue.

According to watchdog group ProPublica, colleges are starting to adopt the airlines’ pricing playbook.

image

Specifically, ProPublica says that student fees have become a kind of “stealth, second tuition imposed on unsuspecting families.”

And though their names can border on the comical — i.e., the “student success fee” — there’s nothing funny about how they can add up.

Such fees are on the rise on many campuses.

Here are some specifics:

(more…)

Samoa Air: Pricing by weight is the ‘concept of the future’

April 3, 2013

A couple of weeks ago – reacting to SWA charging for an overweight bag – I asked the question:

If airlines charge for overweight bags, why don’t they charge fore for overweight passengers?  After all, a pound is a pound is a pound.

See: Why don’t airlines charge more for these bags?

Specifically, I opined:

There’s a societal cost to somebody’s ample butt hanging over onto somebody else’s seat.

Here’s a novel plan: how about a base ticket price for the first 175 pounds and then $75 for each 50 pounds (or portion thereof) over the limit.

Price the human  heavyweights,well, just like the overweight bags.

Then, rent the seat belt extenders for say $20.

Profit improvement for the airlines and major step forward in the war on obesity.

As President Obama likes to say: “It’s common sense.”

I took some heat for the idea but at least one airline thinks we’re onto something.

image

According to The Guardian, Samoa Airlines the first-mover to tilt the scales in favor of fit & trim passengers.

Here’s the skinny on the Samoa Air plan …

(more…)

For Sale: Best-seller books … Price: $8 per kilo, hardcovers extra.

April 2, 2013

In one of my classes we study how books are priced.

One team suggested that page count was a relevant criteria … that books with more pages should be priced higher than shorter books.

I summarily rejected the idea and joked at the team’s expense.

Well, the page has turned.

The team went to China and sent me me this picture.

image

Lo and behold, in China, they encountered book stores that sold books based on their weight.

A counterfeit version of the Steve Jobs biography (above) weighed in at 360 grams, and was priced by weight at 18 RMB ($2.85). Roughly 50 RMB ($8) per kilo.

The team tells me that all paperback books in that particular shop (located on Nanjing road, main street Shanghai) are sold at this rate; hardcovers are also priced by the kilo but at a higher rate.

OK guys, you get the last laugh.

Thanks to Ash Kaluarachchi & Greg Berguig for feeding the lead

>> Latest Posts

News Flash: Sex doesn’t sell any more … say what?

March 29, 2013

T-Mobile has ditched Carly Foulkes – the pink clad hottie that’s been the star of their ads for the past couple of years.

You’re probably wondering: why the heck would T-Mobile do that?

 

image

Blame it on the market research geeks …

(more…)

Odds: Are casinos really that smart?

March 25, 2013

Harrah’s is a poster child for “predictive analytics” … using hard numbers to make good decisions.

image

Why then – asks the IO Creative Group of tiny York, PA – did the Las Vegas big boy casinos lose over one billion dollars.

According to IOCG, casinos attendance is up, their hotel stays are up, their night club business is up, restaurant and bar sales are up.

How could their profits be down by one billion dollars???

It is because of their belief that new customers were in order – which attracted a lot more customers who are completely NOT PROFITABLE.

These new Vegas fans sleep all day, party all night and do not gamble. They don’t shop nor do they utilize the services and amenities of the buildings.

Vegas became married to the idea that their money should be invested in attracting new younger, hipper, sexier customers and they achieved that.

What they failed to do was to invest in their current very profitable customers who were actually making them money.

Casinos got caught up in the “shiny object syndrome” —  the need to go after something new when their most profitable market was already right in front of them.

When they were going after completely new markets, they should have been further investing in the one they already had.

* * * * * *

IOCG offers up a couple of ways to increase current customer “monetization”:

(more…)

Forbes: “Prof. Ken Homa says …”

March 20, 2013

Interesting piece on Forbes.com

Punch line: There’s added pressure for the Hoyas in the Tourney this year.

They have to avoid the unfortunate early losses of past years and go deep into Tournament in order to protect the image of the New Big East (aka. Catholic 7)

image

Of course, my favorite parts of the article:

(more…)

What do Hangover and Duck Dynasty stars have in common?

March 19, 2013

What do actor Zach Galifianakis and the cast of “Duck Dynasty” have in common?

They could be the new pitchmen for Twinkies and other beloved Hostess snack brands.

6a00d8341bf67c53ef017d3dd9dfb2970c-800wi

And, there’s more to the marketing plan …

(more…)

Warning: Could be contagious !

March 19, 2013

Malcolm Gladwell gave us Tipping Point.

Now, Prof. Jonah Berger from Wharton hopes to catch a wave with a new book: Contagious: Why Things Catch On.

Berger says you need 6-elements – or STEPPS – to boost your odds of going viral:

  • Social currency:, It’s all about people talking about things to make themselves look good, rather than bad
  • Triggers, which is all about the idea of “top of mind, tip of tongue.” We talk about things that are on the top of our heads.
  • Ease for emotion: When we care, we share. The more we care about a piece of information or the more we’re feeling physiologically aroused, the more likely we pass something on.
  • Public: When we can see other people doing something, we’re more likely to imitate it.
  • Practical value: Basically, it’s the idea of news you can use. We share information to help others, to make them better off.
  • Stories, or how we share things that are often wrapped up in stories or narratives

One of the book’s examples is BlendTec – a blender company that we posted a couple weeks ago in an article worth reading (again): Marketing ROI: What you get for $300 million … and for $10.

For more, click to see a 15 minute interview with Prof. Berger.

Pretty interesting.

image

* * * * *
Follow on Twitter @KenHoma              >> Latest Posts

Nothing sacred: Wanna buy a (counterfeit) Pope Francis t-shirt?

March 18, 2013

According to brandchannel.com, “New Pope Means New Brand for Catholic Church”  …

While the white smoke billowed out into St. Peter’s Square and Pope Francis was introduced to the world

…  the Catholic Church’s legal team was busy behind the scenes protecting its intellectual property.

image

 

The Catholic Church is as much a business as it is a religious beacon, and like any smart business, the Church protects its intellectual property.

Here’s how …

(more…)

Prices: Why don’t airlines charge more for these bags?

March 11, 2013

On the road this week …  savoring the joys of air travel.

Stop #1: Southwest’s curbside check-in.

Guy in front of us had one of those “c’mon man” moments.

His bag weighed in at a couple of pounds over the 50# limit.

The skycap – a very nice guy – explained that he’d have to take a few things out of his bag to sneak under the weight limit or shell out 75 bucks – roughly $25 per pound – for the excess.

The guy started rifling through his bag and made weight.

image

Of course, the incident got me thinking …

(more…)

Rapid response marketing: A snow day deal ….

March 6, 2013

Here’s an interesting play ….

Northern Virginia schools are closed today because of the threat of a snow storm.

So, Pizzeria Uno sent an email announcing a special “Snow Day Deal” … free meals for the school-cancelled kids … (with a matching adult paying full fare, of course).

 

image

Question: Wonder if Uno’s will get sued if some jabrone drives off a slippery road coming to score some free chow for his kid?

* * * * *
Follow on Twitter @KenHoma          >> Latest Posts

Super-sized: World Cup to offer double-wide seats to double-wide fans … say, what?

March 5, 2013

According to several sources

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is set to be the first to offer special seats for obese fans.

image

It will be the “first time tickets for obese people are offered at a FIFA event.”

FIFA said that to qualify for a ticket, people are required to submit a medical certificate that proves they have a body mass index of 30 or more.

Here’s the kicker …

(more…)

Ken on NPR … about JC Penney (again)

March 4, 2013

JCP reported a loss of more than $500 million … ouch.

NPR asked for my POV…

click to listen

image

Here’s the transcript …

(more…)

Bang for the buck … err, make that $1.6 million bucks.

March 1, 2013

$1.6 million  … that’s what advertisers shelled out to be on the Oscars.

Wasf it worth it?

Here’s the AdAge recap of what some major marketers did with their time during the broadcast.

  • Chobani was a first-time Oscar advertiser with “Real is Original.” Hard to believe this was once a small Greek company.

Who else did AdAge highlight?

(more…)

Name game: Just call me Oscar …

February 27, 2013

The Academy Awards show hit a ratings high of 55 million in 1998, the year of Titanic, but have been on a decline ever since.

To attract younger viewers and to reverse the trend,  the Academy made two bold moves.

blog

OK, what was different this year?

(more…)

Symptoms & causes: Why diabetes strips are $18 on a hospital bill and less than a buck on Amazon.

February 25, 2013

On Sunday, Business Insider ran a piece called The Most Infuriating Paragraph You Might Ever Read About The Healthcare System

It referenced rants on “Steven Brill’s epic cover story for Time on why healthcare costs so much.”

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The paragraph that set them off from the Brill article should – according to Business Insider — “legitimately get anyone’s blood boiling.”

By the time Steven D. died at his home in Northern California the following November, he had lived for an additional 11 months. And Alice had collected bills totaling $902,452. The family’s first bill — for $348,000 — which arrived when Steven got home from the Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., was full of all the usual chargemaster profit grabs: $18 each for 88 diabetes-test strips that Amazon sells in boxes of 50 for $27.85; $24 each for 19 niacin pills that are sold in drugstores for about a nickel apiece.

There were also four boxes of sterile gauze pads for $77 each. None of that was considered part of what was provided in return for Seton’s facility charge for the intensive-care unit for two days at $13,225 a day, 12 days in the critical unit at $7,315 a day and one day in a standard room (all of which totaled $120,116 over 15 days). There was also $20,886 for CT scans and $24,251 for lab work.

As for why we can have a system where diabetes-test strips are sold for $18/each in one place, while Amazon sells a box of 50 for $27.85, see this, great piece by Sarah Kliff on the lack of price controls in the US.

My opinion: Apparently these guys have never heard of “absorption costing” or bothered to really ask “why is healthcare so costly?”

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Brand dilution: Did Chris Rock inspire Maker’s Mark?

February 19, 2013

Marker’s Mark Bourbon may have made the single dumbest marketing decision ever.

They decided to stretch short supplies of Maker’s Mark by diluting it … by  literally adding water.

The company must have been inspired by either:

(a) millions of teenage boys who replenished  their dad’s whiskey bottle by adding water after taking a swig, or

(b) Chris Rock’s hilarious minute-long bit on ‘Tussin … which is guaranteed to make you chuckle.

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If you run out of ‘Tussin, no problem.

Just put some water in the bottle and shake it up.

Just like that … mo’ ‘Tussin  …  mo’ ‘Tussin

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OK, back to the Maker’s Mark story …

By now everybody has probably heard that Maker’s Mark bourbon got themselves into a bit of a mess.

The primary cause: runaway sales.

Why’s that a problem?

Well, bourbon whiskey takes a few years to age … and a couple of years ago, Maker’s Mark management bet the under on future demand and didn’t start enough MM flowing through the distilling process.

So, Maker’s Mark can’t meet the market demand.

They can ramp up production, but the new brew won’t be ready for 6 years.

So, what did the jabrones decide to do … and why is it a problem?

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Reinventing the world’s most efficient distribution system …

February 13, 2013

In the old days, I didn’t know that the Girl Scouts mission was building “courage, confidence, and character”.

I thought that they were just a highly efficient cookie distribution outfit … good marketing, highly effective sales force, and low cost delivery system.

Well, the Girl Scouts aren’t resting on the laurels.

 

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Girl Scouts of the USA has revamped its business approach, taking innovative measures to broaden customer access and overall appeal.

These girls will stop at nothing to make their sale.

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Gotcha: “I paid more, so it must be better …”

February 13, 2013

One of my favorite sports’ movie scenes is from “Major League”

Newly hired manager Lou Brown is chatting with the Indians’ general manager.

One of the team’s players –Roger Dorn – pulls up in a fancy ride, hops out and unloads his golf clubs.

Brown says to the GM: “I thought you didn’t have any high-priced talent.”

The GM shoots back: “Forget about Dorn, he’s just high priced.”

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Lou Brown almost fell for a common trap …

Sometimes people do perceive that higher priced products are better – even when they’re not.

They’re subconsciously using price as a “quality cue”.

Here’s some research that supports the dynamic …

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Gotcha: Shrouding prices in mystery …

February 12, 2013
A couple of years ago, behavioral economists Xavier Gabaix and David Laibson wrote a seminal paper on the concept of “price shrouding,” and “information suppression”.

In other words, techniques that make it practically impossible fo a buyer to ascertain the real economic cost of a product.

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Here are some of the ways that sellers shroud their prices to flatten your wallet … 

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Jobs: Now, MBAs are competing against Justin Timberlake, too.

February 12, 2013

Well, not really … but it sure sounds like that..

Working with celebrities used to be a simple matter.

Marketers would write a big check for a star to perform a specific purpose — for Olympian Mary Lou Retton to grace boxes of Wheaties, or for model Cindy Crawford to don short-shorts and sip Pepsi.

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Now, according to AdAge, brands aren’t just featuring celebs in marketing campaigns — they’re giving stars a place in the marketing suite. 

Big brand names are going beyond celebrity endorsements and hiring celebs for actual marketing jobs, giving them titles like Brand Manager, Creative Director, and even CMO.

Here’s what’s happening … (more…)

Coincidence: The characters drive their Geico-insured Fusion to Red Lobster where they plan their Virgin Air flight …

February 11, 2013

No it’s not a coincidence.

It’s called “product placement”.

Back about 25 years ago, I was at Black & Decker and my marketing team was on the leading edge of product placements – paying to get our stuff into TV shows and movies.

Our big score was getting Marty to ogle over a Dustbuster in Back to the Future – Part 2.

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Now, is iit just me, or is product placement out of control?

ABC, NBC and IFC are taking product placements up a notch in their prime time network shows.

Here are some examples …

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Prices: Get a Big Mac cheap …

February 9, 2013

OK, so you have to go to India …  it’s technically a Maharaja Mac, not a Big Mac … and, the cheap price is driven by relative currency values.

Still, one of my favorite price indices is the Big Mac Index … it compares the currency adjusted price of the burger across the globe.

According to Ryan Avent, chief economist at The Economist

The Big Mac index is based on an economic theory called purchasing-power parity (PPP), which indicates that over a long enough time exchange rates should adjust so similar goods cost the same across countries.

The index reveals that, at market exchange rates, the price of the same McDonald’s  burger can vary vastly from country to country.

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I’m lovin’ it ….

Source

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Gotcha: You probably paid too much … especially if you’re bad at math.

February 6, 2013

Awhile ago, we reported a study that consumers almost invariably pick 33% more stuff than a 33% price discount.

Ouch.

Consumers are notoriously bad at spotting real values. Why?

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According to the Atlantic ….

  • First: Consumers don’t know what the heck anything should cost, so we rely on parts of our brains that aren’t strictly quantitative.
  • Second: Although humans spend in numbered dollars, we make decisions based on clues and half-thinking that amount to innumeracy.

More specifically, here are some more ways consumers end up paying too much …

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