Sunday, October 29, 2006

Season Creep

The back-to-school marketing season starts right after July 4th and Halloween marketing gears up immediately after Labor day. Christmas marketing pops up in mid-summer but really gets going during October, more than a month earlier than even a decade ago.

Do consumers buy more if the selling season is longer? I suspect we string out our purchases but spend about the same as we would if retailers didn't display merchandise earlier and earlier.

More about the season: The National Retail Federation estimates that Halloween is a $5 billion business. Those temporary Halloween stores (like Spirit Halloween) are just the thing for serious costume/decoration shopping, because they have such deep assortments.

My sister bought her grandson a skeleton costume in a Halloween specialty store, just days before the big event. Why a skeleton, rather than Spiderman or Superman? "It was the scariest costume in the store," Michael told me. Happy Halloween.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

C2C Barter Meets Technology

A recent New York Times piece mentions sites where consumers can arrange to trade used DVDs, books, CDs, etc. for a very small fee. Although I usually donate my books and DVDs to the local Friends of the Library group (which holds a gigantic book sale every year), online swaps are a good use of the technology for consumer-to-consumer transactions.

Here are three of the sites--check them out:

Peerflix (DVDs)
La La (CDs)
Paperback Swap (books)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

New Life For Chuckles?

Nostalgia marketing at work: Remember those pocket-size packs of Chuckles with 5 different flavored jellies? Staples of my childhood, Chuckles have been hard to find of late. But now Farley's and Sathers Candy Co. of Round Lake, Minnesota is making them under license. I rediscovered Chuckles in a Manhattan candy store just two weeks ago and hope this nostalgic brand gets wider distribution (meaning shelf space in supermarkets near me).

Farley's and Sathers has other familiar brands, including Jujyfruits and Super Bubble, that candy-lovers of a certain age enjoyed back then and might still enjoy today. Here's the URL:

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Everlast Fragrance?

On p. 38 of this month's Fast Company magazine is a fun feature titled "When Brand Extensions Go Bad." Everlast cologne, Sylvestor Stallone high-protein pudding, Harley-Davidson cake decorating kit--who could make this stuff up? These are not brand extensions that I'd buy or, as a marketer, would recommend.