3x the Crunch

CRUNCHY NUGGETS:  I have a mental post-it pad that I keep track of crunchy tid bits that I hear about, read about, see, etc. that I’d like to share with you.  This week I collected three items and decided to go all crazy and give them to you in one post.  That’s right peeps, today’s post is a triple-decker, three-ply, trio, trifecta of crunchy marketing nuggets.  They’re going to be fast and bite-sized, so let’s go, go, GO (I type 3x)!

eBook eSigning – Best known for her cute animal illustrations (ever see the birthday card “Hippo Birdie Two Ewes”? that’s her) and her series of children’s books, Sandra Boynton recently held a book signing with Barnes & Noble.  What was unique about this particular event was that it was for an eBook.  Um, OK…so how the hippo DO ewe sign an eBook?  (I crack myself up.) Using a stylus, of course. B&N was offering “The Going to Bed” book written by Boynton as an eBook for the new color Nook e-reader.  And the Nook featured an app that enabled her to autograph pages.  It was the very first eBook signing ever, cool!  OK, moving on…

Blushing Bargain-Seeking Brides – When you think of Costco, you typically think of buying in bulk or at a discount.  And you may or may not be familiar with their less traditional offerings — from travel to, indeed, coffins.  But Costco has added a new type of  merchandise:  wedding dresses.  At select warehouses, Costco has been conducting trunk shows, featuring a collection of six bridal gowns in sizes 2 to 24. A makeshift boutique and fitting room are set up at these shows to enable brides-to-be to try them on. And the dresses can be fitted and delivered within two to three weeks. In terms of the bargain: the wedding dresses are being offered between $699 and $1,399 — which is 40% less than what they are being offered at full boutique retail.  The shows began in February and will run through the end of 2011.  Something old, something new — at a significantly reduced price?  It’s true love for bargainistas!  OK, zipping onto the last nugget….

“Yarn Bombing” or “Grandma Graffiti” – The New York Times just ran an article, with a worth-clicking slide show, about the phenom of “yarn bombing” aka “grandma graffiti.”  Crafty types are are taking, as the NYT explains the “most matronly craft (knitting), and that most maternal of gestures (wrapping something cold in a warm blanket) and transfer(ing) it to the concrete and steel wilds of the urban streetscape.”  It’s being done to statues, fire hydrants, lampposts, mailboxes, bicycles, cars, as well as sides of buildings, buses and bridges. Again, you need to see the examples in the slide show.  They’ll make you smile.  Go here to read and click on the slides on the lefthand side: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/fashion/creating-graffiti-with-yarn.html  How great of a PR stunt would that be to sponsor this sort of an effort for a brand that sells crafty stuff?!

So this post covers technology, retail, and self-expression.  Wowza yowza!  That was a jam session of interesting tid bits and new finds, right?!  (Of course you agree, you’re the best.)  My brain feels cleansed!  Hey, hope your weekend is a trifecta of good weather, good times, and good (fill-in your wishes).  TASTY TREND:  Express Yourself; Getting Crafty; Retailers Rule; Tech Today; Experiential Traditional

Food Truck New School

FRESH IDEA:  So my post earlier this week was about different vending machines — bringing convenience to consumers in various, interesting forms.  Along the same lines, I wanted to share a new concept in food trucks:  the World Fare Bustaurant.

Now available on the streets of Southern California (LA, Santa Monica, El Segundo, e.g.), the World Fare Bustaurant is double-decker bus that’s been converted into a higher-end food truck.  They cook their food and you purchase your food on the lower deck.  And you enjoy it on the open upper deck of the bus.  According to their site, their founders were tired of food truck food (tacos and the like).  And so from shrimp lettuce cups, to truffle mac and cheese balls, to “house made” drinks and desserts — they are striving to make amazing food accessible to everyone. By the way, their website shares their Twitter feed, as well as a “we’re here now” map locator.

As I said about my vending post, for marketing peeps, this is an interesting means of sampling and creating a brand experience.  Obviously for food and beverage CPGs.  But also for anyone involved in food prep — or a brand that wants to deliver an interesting experience (e.g., only XYZ credit card holders get to come up top and eat with us…so be sure to sign up now).

I’ll take my food to go…on the bus!  Cool concept.  TASTY TREND:  Traditional Experiential; New Convenience

Simple Scoop

FRESH IDEA:  In the spirit of a holiday weekend, I’m keeping today’s blog post super duper simple.  It should almost be labeled as a “No Duh” idea.  But not in a bad way…More like an obvious thing that’s so easy to overlook.  In any case, it comes from Ben & Jerry’s.  I just got an email from them, letting me know that they’re celebrating NY Super Fudge Chunk ice cream in…yes…NYC with a scoop truck hitting the streets May 24 to July 4.  OK, so to quickly recap:  mobile tour, push email to regional database, PR event/sampling.  They also have a Twitter account (social outreach).  And every Wednesday during the tour, this scoop truck will show up at your desired location — just tweet where you’d like to have a “block party.”  Yes peeps….that’s the cool, new twist that’s so darned obvious:  not just dictating the tour stops and yackity yacking about what’s happening at these stops, but instead, engaging loyals and creating a true branded experience.  LOVE IT!

Told ‘ya it was simple yet really good.  NY Super Fudge Chunk for me?  Nah…I’m a Chocolate Fudge Brownie girl.  Hey but no matter what your flavor, hope your holiday weekend is super tasty and a real treat!  TASTY TREND:  Experiential Traditional

Powered Up PR

CRUNCHY NUGGETS:  A terrific former colleague posted a crunchy nugget to my Facebook wall on Friday (thank you, Danielle P-M!).  It was an article about Duracell’s experiential event being held in Times Square, NYC:  the SmartPower Lab.

Duracell seems to have expanded last year’s pedaling opportunity — where consumers in Times Square could hop on bikes to help power up the New Year’s Eve numbers that light up once the ball drops.  Here’s what new for this year’s version:

  • Six bikes await visitors to pedal and help power up the “2010” that will light up at midnight for the ball drop in Times Square.  Apparently, the numbers need 32,000 watt hours to glow.  Pedal, people, pedal!
  • There’s a photo opp to get your picture taken with the 2010 lights (“Do these numbers make me look fat?!”)
  • To show Duracell’s “versatility with today’s electronics,” there are stations to recharge personal electronic devices such as Blackberries, iPhones, and gaming devices.
  • And speaking of games, there’s a Power Play area with XBox 360 games.
  • To drive PR attention, celebs will be stopping by to help pedal and help generate power hours.
  • The tour has a blog and links to social networks.  Although, the blog isn’t updated frequently — so sad, not good for a short term event.
  • And interestingly, as a means of extending reach, the event has a dedicated web site that strives to showcase the event.  In other words, if can’t make it to NYC, you can still take a “tour” online and get a peek at the different demos.  Which is cool and smart — but pretty basic.  You can’t interact with the online version.  And too bad the online experience doesn’t interact with the NYC experience.  In other words, you can’t post a message online for visitors to see at the event, or view an on-site cam, or interact with the event at some level.  Oh well — missed opportunity to go beyond a PR stunt.

For marketing types who keep an eye on P&G, note that this experiential happening is located just above the Charmin restroom event.  Cha cha cha!

Thanks again to Danielle P-M. for sharing the crunchiness.  It’s so very nice to have peeps to power up this blog!  And no pedaling required!  TASTY TREND:  Emotional Experiential; Socially Acceptable

Hands-On Experience

CRUNCHY NUGGETS:  I have a fabulous friend and former colleague from Chicago who emailed me this past weekend.  She said that her daughter-in-law had found this fun, new place to take her kids in a Chicago suburb.  And requested admissions gift certificates as a holiday present for her kids.  So being the wonderful grandma, my friend looked into and found no gift certificates.  But also being the wonderful marketer, found a really crunchy find, and passed it along to me.

The fun place is called Make-A-Messterpiece in Glen View, Illinois.  And it’s sponsored by Bounty.  It offers kids the opportunity to get creative — through making artwork, cooking, playing, gardening, making bubbles, drumming on drums of paint ala Blue Man Group, and doing science experiments.  All hands-on, all with a feel-free-to-get-messy attitude.  With lots of Bounty product and ambassadors available to clean-up.  And for parents, there is a cozy “Club M” lounge, with books, wifi, magazines, and refreshments.

OK, so this sounds kind of pop-up, experiential, sampling-ish, right?!  Well…yes, very much so.  But there’s an admission cost of $10.  So it’s not all free free free.  There’s no end date noted.  And it’s being executed in conjunction with Rush Philanthropic and the Bounty-ful Bridges Project.  This is a P&G cause that provides opportunities for kids to tap into their creativity, while giving back the community.

What struck me most about this one-off effort was the true connection it’s making with my friend’s daughter-in-law and kids.  She (daughter-in-law) didn’t mention Bounty, when, as you can see in the image, it’s very prominent in the experience.  But she loves this venue so much that she fully intends on returning and mentioned it with gift ideas.  And I’d be willing to bet that if asked (e.g., follow-up research), visitors would state a more positive view of Bounty, given the level of fun, creativity, and well-thought-out activities for kids and parents alike.  It’s P&G, once again, able to fund a unique, meaningful consumer experience thanks to one of its strongest brands.  Nicely done.  As a side note, this would have been a great partnership opportunity for many a’kid’s product, e.g., snacks and food for cooking supplied by X brand; art supplies provided by Y brand, etc.  But that’s just me adding in a partnership bias.

Hey, a quick shout out of thanks from me to Betsy B. for sharing today’s tasty goodness.  Here’s the URL if you wish to check out the event’s features and photos:  http://www.quickerpickerupper.com/messterpiece/index.shtml#  Now go on and get messy!  TASTY TREND:  Emotional Experiential

Fashion Find Friday

wmCRUNCHY NUGGETS:  Every savvy marketer knows to keep an eye on Walmart.  As a retail giant, the paths Walmart follows are always good to know, as they can affect brands, as well as other retailers where your brand or service is sold.  So what’s new at Walmart?  Well, they’ve been down this road before, so it’s interesting to see where they’re taking it now…Fashion.  From George, to Mylie Cyrus, to now Norma Kamali, Walmart has tried to keep up with Target and other, mass department stores in the fashion forum.  And sure enough, just in time for Fashion Week, Walmart is unveiling the Spring 2010 Norma Kamali line, with a kickoff in NYC at the Apple Store in Soho.  (Huh?!  Apple?!)

But wait!  Here’s where things get nuggety…Walmart is also showcasing her line on Roiworld.com.  “What is this world of which you speak?” is what you’re saying in a fashion-sophisticated accent of choice.  It’s a site that gets 8+ million visitors and 126 million page views each month.  Users can play dress up games, creating different looks, and then submit them for voting in a challenge.  Ensembles with the most votes win prizes.  So not only has Walmart brought their unique line to a site with highly fashion conscious types, and lots and lots of these style seekers.  But they’re letting the users “play” with the clothes, and then — ah ha!  Buy them.  No other designer/retailer is currently linking to an e-commerce capability.  Excellent approach, using an existing site with lots of active users to “interact” with a product, give them an online experience of sorts, and ideally drive purchase.

So again – Walmart and fashion, been there, seen it, haven’t seen it grow or change much.  But good strategy using a digital equity.  Hope your week felt fashionable.  And wishing an equally stylish weekend!  TASTY TREND:  Socially Acceptable; Emotional Experiential

Good Call

callcaptFRESH IDEAS:  I thought I’d give the nuggets a little kick today,  with a full shot of good humor and an excellent execution.  As part of its “Calling All Captains” campaign, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum has introduced a create-a-prank-call site.  Choose one of three callers — the bartender, the cutie (female), and the boyfriend.  Fill-in about seven different customizable options, all with drop down boxes and lots of close fits for your needs. Preview it.  And then send it to a friend’s cell phone as a prank message thanks to you and Captain Morgan.

Now, this is certainly not a new tactic.  Goodness, the Samuel L. “Snakes on a Plane” phone call message seems like ages ago!  But I’m sharing this with you because:  a)  The execution is really well done.  So very seamless.  b)  With the bright shiny object that is social media in your vision, it’s easy to overlook seemingly “done” tactics — when really, they’re very strong and have the potential to do nice, viral, WOM things for a brand.  According to MarketingDaily, this particular execution is part of a larger campaign, involving on and offline, on and off premise support.  I did have a bit of a giggle, though, when I read that results are pleasing, particularly as the Captain’s FB page has over 110,000 fans.  Because if you take a look at it, that Captain is lucky enough to be one of those brands where status and badge value of being a fan is high among consumers.  The FB page itself is drier than an empty rum bottle in content.

But my two dubloons aside, again, great execution, well done, branded phone call.  And worth pranking someone to check it out at callingallcaptains.com.  TASTY TREND:  Custom made;  Experiential traditional