Friday, October 31, 2008

Technorati's State of the Blogosphere 2008

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OK, you obviously know something about the blogosphere because here you are, reading my blog (thank you!). But did you know that most US bloggers are 35 and older, whereas most Asian bloggers are 18-34? This is only one of the fascinating findings of Technorati's State of the Blogosphere 2008.

The section titled "Brands Enter the Blogosphere" is especially relevant to marketers. Here's a small excerpt:

"More than four in five bloggers post product or brand reviews, and blog about brands they love or hate. Even day-to-day experiences with customer care or in a retail store are fodder for blog posts."

Marketers are taking notice and responding to consumers' blog comments/complaints, initiating conversations on corporate blogs, and generally thinking beyond PR to encourage interaction with customers and employees through blogging. Anything that gets businesses listening instead of just talking at the public is a good thing.

Blogs are a wonderful reminder that corporations are made up of human beings, just as consumers are real people rather than just a "market" for products.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rain-X Wiper Blades - Thank You Consumer Reports

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The November issue of Consumer Reports included a report on windshield wiper blades, something I know nothing about. It was time for new blades, however, so I took the magazine with me to the local auto parts store.

The second-best rated blade was Rain-X Latitude, a blade that's curved to fit the shape of the windshield. Even though it costs more than ordinary blades, I decided to go for it because Consumer Reports singled out its consistently good performance over time.

The friendly store staff installed them for me and now that I've tested them during a couple of rainstorms, I recommend Rain-X highly! And now the local store has been alerted to carry extra inventory in case customers like me show up with Consumer Reports in hand.

There's a promo special on the web site and don't click away without watching the commercial, which shows the blade's main benefits. Thanks, Consumer Reports!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Coupons and Savings in Your Neighborhood" - NOT

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Blue Envelope

Coupons and Savings
in Your Neighborhood

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Do you get Valpak in your mail box? I do, and often the envelope is filled with offers from restaurants, stores, and businesses that are nowhere near my neighborhood.

That's one of the pitfalls of segmenting by ZIP code -- it sometimes wastes the money of businesses that pay for Valpak to deliver their ads to "local" households. It also discourages consumers (like me) from tearing the envelope open to page through the offers.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Personalize Your Flip - Mass Customization Strikes Again!

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Flip Mino

Design Your Flip Mino FAQ

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A few years ago, mass customization was a major marketing (and manufacturing) buzzword. The idea is to tailor mass-produced products to the preferences of individual buyers.

Take the Flip Mino camcorder, which buyers can personalize by choosing a case design from hundreds on the Flip site or designing their own. Pure Digital Technologies, which makes the Flip, even invites consumers to create and sell their own designs.

This puts the Flip into an entirely different category of self-expression. Not only can buyers (like myself) take videos when and where we want with a click or two, we can customize the camcorder to reflect a very individual style.

Read USA Today's article about this here. Even in a bad holiday selling season, I suspect the Flip will stand out because it's not expensive and it offers so many benefits. Do you agree?

Monday, October 20, 2008

To Be or Not To Be Shakespeare?

Slings & Arrows is a Canadian television series set in the world of a fictional southern Ontario Shakespeare festival. On February 5th, 2006 members of the Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project (CASP) coordinated with Rhombus Media to document the forty-fifth day on set at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille. Documentation of this visit makes for a large part of the multimedia material we have collected here. We begin with a series of video clips from seasons One and Two of Slings & Arrows.

Slings & Arrows Press Kit Season Two
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The Canadian TV series "Slings & Arrows" was not just a wry, literate comedy about a fictional Shakespearean festival--it was also the centerpiece of an educational program about Shakespeare. Who better to "teach" Shakespeare than actors and directors who are supposedly trying to discover and convey the meaning of his Hamlet as the series goes on? The series (available on DVD) is backstage fun with the twist that we learn a lot about the plays as we follow the characters through all kinds of plot twists. Now that's an interesting way to market Shakespeare to the masses.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Soup's on: Stirring Up MSG Worries

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Campbell Soup and Progresso are having an ad war over MSG. According to BrandWeek, Campbell started the spat with an ad saying that Progresso's soups have MSG. Progresso fired back with an ad saying it was removing MSG from some soups and that MSG is an ingredient in many Campbell's soups.

The fight's not over yet: Both sides are busy reformulating soups to drop MSG--and telling the world that the other has more soups with MSG.

Fighting over MSG in the ad pages of the NY Times is costly. Does it work? Or will it confuse consumers and send them into the arms of other soup alternatives?

IMHO, this fight will prompt health-conscious buyers to read soup labels much more carefully. That's a good thing. How many Campbell's or Progresso soups have or don't have MSG isn't the real point. Which of those soups do buyers usually buy? What are their alternatives in the marketplace? Competition is M-M-M good and this actually puts the focus on choice and competition. Soup's on!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

OfficeMax DiVoga - stylish spelling?

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Newsweek has an ad for the new OfficeMax DiVoga line of fashion office accessories, not so different from the Staples M line I blogged about on June 1st.

With the ad in hand, I searched the OfficeMax site for some of the pictured accessories and found only three items (two of which are not in the ad).

This "Manger's Chair" caught my eye. Is this a new, more stylish way to spell? Don't details count online <wink>? Or are we using our thumbs to text these items in?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Farewell, Paul Newman

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The Newman's Own web site is saluting the life and legacy of its founder, who raised more than $250 million for charity. Paul Newman was a very classy guy, a wonderful actor, and a thoughtful philanthropist.

I'm a long-time fan of Newman's Own. Its labels are sometimes corny, but they're always fun and distinctive--and the foods taste great, a real marketing plus <grin>.

Farewell, Paul Newman. Your movies will live on and your brand will keep raising millions for charity. Farewell and thank you.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Who Owns Your Bank Today?

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Welcome WaMu customers
to the number one U.S. Bank in deposits. Learn more
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Welcome to JPMorgan Chase
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Chase and WaMu are busy telling people about that merger. Wachovia's story is a bit more complicated. Wish I'd seen its home page when Citigroup was the apparent buyer. Today Wells Fargo is mentioned on Wachovia's home page. What will happen over this weekend (when so many deals are being done these days)?

Why isn't some smart bedding manufacturer marketing its "home banking package" mattress with extra space for stuffing dollars or gold bars inside for safekeeping?