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October 2008, Week 4 Marketing Archives

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pepsi Tests New 8-pack to See if Smaller is Better

During your last trip to the grocery store, you may have noticed a few changes in the soft drink aisle. If you're a fan of Pepsi, Mug Root Beer, Sierra Mistor Mountain Dew, you probably already know what I'm talking about.
Pepsi Bottling Group has officially applied the "smaller is better" philosophy to its packaging. The 12-pack we've all become accustomed to has been temporarily phased-out and replaced by an 8-pack in 20% of America's stores, including the state of Florida, my home state.

Pepsi claims higher prices for energy and food combined to raise expenses by 11%/ They're betting the 8-pack will appear as a better value to consumers. Who does Pepsi think they're fooling?
The 8-pack might be easier to carry around, but that's where the "value" ends for me. I'm used to paying about $3.50 to $4.50 for a 12-pack, $10 for three 12-packs during specials. I just paid $3.50 for the new 8-pack at Publix, which shows that Pepsi is out of touch with the average shopper.

A 6-pack is convenient if you're heading to the beach or having a grill-out with a couple friends, and the 12-pack was perfect to throw in the fridge for a week's supply. Unless I stock-up, buying an 8-pack means I'll be heading back to the grocery store within a couple days. Evidently, I'm not the only consumer who hates the new packaging.
Pepsi spokesmen Jeff Dahncke claims the 12-pack is a thing of the past. He told the St. Petersburg Times.

Pepsi 8 Pack

Want proof the 12-pack-which accounts for half of all soft drink sales - outlived its appeal? Even when Pepsi cut prices, sales volume was only half what it used to be.

Dahncke overlooked many possible contributing factors for the sales slump-including health. An obesity epidemic and an increase in juvenile diabetes cases have combined to raise the public's concern for healthier lifestyles. I'm sure you have a few friends or family members who removed soda from their diet or drastically reduced their daily intake of carbonated beverages.

John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest, said the industry "overused" the 12-pack, and that Pepsi's latest move is just the first of many transition tests that consumers will see.

So what can we expect to see next? According to the St. Petersburg Times, Pepsi will phase- out 2-liter bottles in favor 1.5. It will also replace those 20-ounce bottles we often buy at the gas station with 12-ounce plastic bottles and 16-ouncecans.

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised. After all, the notion of "change" has become quite popular this year.

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***UPDATE: Tell Pepsi your thoughts at bringbackthe12pack.com.

**UPDATE: READ PEPSI'S  RESPONSE TO THIS POST.

Pepsi Tests New 8-pack to See if Smaller is Better By Matt O'Hern at 05:11 PM
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Local Gourmet Store Hayes Meats Offers Patrons Free Beer

After a rough day at work, many guys seek out the nearest tavern to down a few drinks or a convenience store to pick up a 6-pack. If the day was really brutal, a nice steak may also be on order At Hayes' Meats in Merritt Island, you can chug a cold beer and scope out your favorite slab of meat in one place.(By the way, they also give you a free steak on your birthday, not too shabby huh?!)

Hayes Meats

I wasn't aware of their special offer until a few days ago, while I was running errands passed their sign "that read: Have a free beer while you shop."
I had to do a double-take to reassure myself i wasn't hallucinating.The store was already closed, so I didn't have the chance to capitalize on the offer.Hayes' unique gimmick is one of many reasons I prefer local stores to the chains, because it's only in those places where you can find such a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere.

I know the average small business is struggling, but I didn't realize they were pressed to the point that they had to offer a free mug to lure customers through the front doors. Hayes may have tapped into a great model. Guys don't like to waste time driving from store to store. Imagine of all the other possible tandems that macho men would enjoy. Hunting shops could offer free chew, bait shops could offer free cigars and camping stores could offer free beef jerky.

Hayes ,which opened in 1957, is practically a landmark in Merritt Island, so if they're resorting to these types of stunts, it just illustrates how desperate times call for desperate measures. Of course, Hayes could be offsetting the cost for each beer through a special deal with nearest policeman, where Hayes gets 10% cut of the the fine for each local DUI.

Local Gourmet Store Hayes Meats Offers Patrons Free Beer By Matt O'Hern at 10:22 AM
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Sirius NASCAR Driver2Crew Channel Gives Listeners a Vote

Sirius NASCAR Driver2CrewIf there's one sports league that can call itself the ultimate fan’s league, it's NASCAR. The key difference between NASCAR fans and the followers of other major spectator sports, such as the MLB and NFL, is the fan’s loyalty to one driver instead of a team composed of a dozen players. Chevy and Ford have several Despite the large field of competitors, there's no lack of heated rivalries in NASCAR. In the 90s, it was Gordon vs. Earnhardt Sr. Gordon is still a major star, but new stars such as Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have emerged as the new faces of the league. To cater to the fans of those popular drivers, Sirius Radio and NASCAR developed DRIVER2CREW CHATTER- five channels synced to the dialogue between the drivers and their pit crew. There’s also an open channel called Fans Choice, which lets fans vote for the driver who will be broadcast on Fan’s Choice. It’s too early to tell if the Sirius/XM merger was a good plan, but Fan's Choice is a great concept that could be expanded to other sports . The NBA stations could open up a “coach of the week” that would let fans listen to a head coach before, during and after each game. Fox and TBS have a similar feature to their broadcasts, where the commentators will interview one of the team managers for an inning. I believe I speak for most sports fans when I say that the more access, the better. The only trick will be to keep XM radio out of the opponent’s locker room.

Sirius NASCAR Driver2Crew Channel Gives Listeners a Vote By Matt O'Hern at 08:27 AM
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Britney Spears' Song Womanizer Proves We Love Celebrity Comebacks

mike tyson britney spears and tom cruise

Our celebrity-enamored culture loves a celebrity meltdown, and a good comeback story.

When you combine the two, you get what I call the: Mike Tyson Effect: Past outbursts and tantrums raise your star power because AmerIcans are quick to forgive,and they're also eagerly anticipating your next meltdown. Look at Britney Spears, who topped Billboard sales this week for the first time since 1999.

The four prominent examples of the Mike Tyson Effect.

1.Mike Tyson: The original:  No other figure in sports history has the rap sheet of this former heavy. A rape conviction sent him to prison for three years and when he returned for his first fight against Peter McNeeley, the fight broke Pay Per View records and grossed $96 million. He went on to challenge Evander Holyfield for the heavyweight title, but was disqualified for biting off a piece of Holyfield's ear.

Since his loss to Holyfield, Tyson has endured a series of failures, including a loss to Lennox Lewis . His out of ring escapades include throwing glass at a cameraman, filing for bankruptcy, covering his face with tatoos,and who could forget when he warned Lennox Lewis"I want your heart and I want to eat your children."

2.Britney Spears:The most recent example of the Mike Tyson effect is Spears, who spent the past three years in the headlines for all the wrong reasons: visiting rehab, suffering through a messy divorce, shaving her head and attacking cars with umbrellas. Now, she's back on top of the music charts with her hit single "Womanizer." 

3. Paris Hilton: Considered an "overnight" celebrity, Hliton's checkered past includes a sex-tape scandal and a prison sentence that was reduced because of her celebrity status. She returned to the spotlight with a video on funnyordie.com,  where she offered a sarcastic response to John McCain's comparison of her celebrity status to Barack Obama's.

4.Tom Cruise: Tom lost his marbles about four years ago, during an appearance on Oprah. He made a complete fool of himself by jumping on her couch and screaming about his love for Katy Holmes. During an interview on the Today Show, Cruise lectured Matt Lauer about the dangers of prescription drugs and criticized Brooke Shields for using anti-depressants for postpartum depression. His odd marriage with Katy Holmes and his lectures about Scientology have turned some fans away, but he's still one of the top-paid actors in Hollywood.

What's odd about our culture is that we're much more willing to forgive strangers such as sports figures and movie stars and give them second and and even third chances to regain our approval.However, in many cases, we're unwilling to forgive a restaurant for a bad meal or a business that disappoints us with sub par service or a friend who lets us down. That's why every business should protect their reputation online and in other media, because customers won't be as forgiving.

Here is one of Tyson's classic interview moments.

Britney Spears' Song Womanizer Proves We Love Celebrity Comebacks By Matt O'Hern at 02:53 PM
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New Google Earth Satellite Images Should Arrive by January

After we received the  first public image from  the GeoEye 1 , the new satellite image provider for Google Earth and Google Maps, many of us were left wondering when we'll get more of the sharply-detailed pics. Google claims it will be a few months before it receives the first images for use, so if we're lucky, Google Earth and Google Maps may get a serious upgrade in January. 

 The $500 million-dollar satellite, which is primarily used for the U.S. government, can zero-in on images as small as 16 inches. According  to informationweek.com, Geo Eye 1 will downlink data to stations in Virginia, Alaska, Norway, and Antarctica. A fifth location, near Denver, Colo. has been readied to act as a backup.

Once Google receives and uploads the new images, the upgraded version of Google Earth and Google Maps should provide unprecendeted capabilities to find vital and captivating views of our amazing world.

In the meantime, you can track the GeoEye 1 as it travels at 17,000 miles-per-hour, with a pan area of 270,000 square miles per day and a monoscopic pan-sharpened area of 135,135 square miles per day.  (about the size of New Mexico).

New Google Earth Satellite Images Should Arrive by January By Matt O'Hern at 11:47 AM
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Dollar Menu Rescues McDonald's 3rd Quarter

double cheeseburger

McDonald's executives are thankful they didn't follow their plans to scrap the Dollar Menu from its food lineup. Providing another indication of American penny-pinching, McDonald's credited the Dollar Menu for aiding its 3rd quarter sales figures, which were 6.2 percent higher than last year. The popular section, which includes double cheeseburgers, sweet tea, the McChicken sandwich and ice cream sundaes.

Rumors circulated that the fast  food leader was pressured to remove the menu last summer,due to soaring food costs, but they appeased customers and made a savvy move by keeping it . According to the Chicago Tribune, 14% of McDonald's total sales (up to May 2008) were from Double Cheeseburger, which has gained popularity with families struggling to pay the monthly bills and make their monthly mortgage payments.

Today's New York Times article quotes McDonald's Chief Executive James Skinner, who told investors

Value, which has always been important, is mission critical today. In the United States, there’s no doubt that today’s environment is challenging for consumers and restaurants.

 

McDonald's leaders showed smart foresight when they decided to ignore the rising food costs and keep the customer's demand as the top priority.

Dollar Menu Rescues McDonald's 3rd Quarter By Matt O'Hern at 09:24 AM
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Feds May Block Google's Future Expansion Efforts

google versus the department of justice

Established leaders  usually survive the economic storms that wipe out smaller competitors, and as every business struggles through the rough economy, leading corporations, such as Google, can become easy targets for criticism.

Through the eyes of Google's enemies, the fat cat is getting fatter due to everyone else's misfortune. Dwindling profits in offices across the country have led many advertising executives to opt for Google's search ads rather than banner ads. To some small business, that marketing shift  to Googleequals an unfair advantage.(71% of search advertising revenue according to Emarketer.com)

In simple terms, as Google's dominance expands, their public reputation decreases.

Greg Sterling, a search market analyst with Sterling Market Research,explained Google's growth dilemma to Forbes.

Google's biggest barrier may become government intervention.The dilemma for Google now is how it will continue to grow. It may benefit from the weakness of its competitors, but it will have to avoid incurring the wrath of the Justice Department.

Remember when Microsoft faced U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson in the 1998 case, United States v. Microsoft? Bill Gates' company was labeled a monopoly and accused of "anti-competitive business practices" because it bundled Internet Explorer (and other software) with Windows' operating systems. A settlement was eventually reached and in 2002, when Microsoft started to share its API (Application Programming interfaces) with third-party companies.

Following the landmark case, Simpsons' producer Matt Groening poked fun at Gates and his reputation for "eliminating" competition.

 

The U.S. vs. Microsoft case was initiated by a group of civil actions filed from the Dept. of Justice and 20 different states. Imagine the number of states that could pile on the anti-Google bandwagon. I believe it's only a matter of years before we see Google facing similar accusations that Microsoft fought ten years ago.

Feds May Block Google's Future Expansion Efforts By Matt O'Hern at 03:50 PM
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Luxury and Comfort Products May Face Bleak Future

sharper image closing

 

As middle-class consumers face more obstacles to make ends meet, they'll eventually gain a new perspective on their daily,weekly and monthly purchases. They'll be forced to make difficult choices regarding the personal items within their budgets, and as a result, various items they once valued as essentials will be reclassified as "comfort" items.

The Consumer Confidence Index conducts monthly surveys of 5,000 U.S. households to measure confidence in the status of the U.S.'s economy, and the September report revealed a slight confidence increase, but the summary included this warning:

Consumers' short-term outlook improved again, but overall remains grim.

If you combine the CCI's warning with certain stock trends, I believe there's a dark future ahead for any corporation that produces luxury or comfort items.

Remember Sharper Image, the chain of fancy stores that sold all of those over-priced toys,high-tech gadgets and gifts you loved to fiddle with? It filed for bankruptcy closed half of its stores a few months ago.Satellite Radio is also feeling the negative effects of the economy.  Look at XM-Sirius Radio's stock during the past three months. When the FCC approved the XM and Sirius Merger, shares sold at $2.42, but as of 11:45 today, it was at .35 cents.

Conversely, the bargain retailer Family Dollar has flourished during the past three months and Standard & Poor's Equity Research raised its rating of Family Dollar to a "Strong buy."

 What's the lesson we can learn? If you're an average American, consider the stores and brands you favor during hard times, and apply that same logic to your short-term stock investments.

(Top image is from joemustknow.com)

Luxury and Comfort Products May Face Bleak Future By Matt O'Hern at 12:28 PM
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Magic of Macy's is Revealed in Word Association

macy's magic logo

A new ad caught my attention yesterday. It was a 60 second compilation of pop culture references to Macy's, with clips of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade interwoven through the ad in chronological order. It ended with a short but powerful quote:

Only one store has been a part of your life for 150 years-Macy's.

 

Shortly after I saw the ad,I realized Macy's may have an incredible asset that no other store can claim.  While I don't have any survey results or hard facts to back my theory.  I believe that, through the power of word association, Macy's has developed a deep-seated word association with a major holiday (Thanksgiving). And that association has withstood the test of time.

Certain holidays, such as Halloween and Christmas, have general word associations. When we hear "Christmas" we think of presents,bows,Santa,reindeer, the nativity scene,etc. Halloween has pumpkins,candy and ghosts When you hear "July 4th" you think of fireworks, barbecue, picnics and parades.  When you hear "Thanksgiving", you think of turkey,gravy,family,football, and, of course, the most popular Thanksgiving Day parade in America- Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which marches down the cold and crowded streets of New York City.

When I hear the simple phrase "Thanksgiving parade", the word Macy's eventually comes to mind, unlike July 4th, when I think of a  "parade", but don't attach a company or brand name. Maybe it's just me, but I firmly believe Macy's name has been settled  into our subconscious from watching the parade every morning since our childhood.

You may consider our word association as a disturbing sign of overexposure to branding, or the commercialization of yet another holiday,but perhaps it's simply one of many innocent connotations that we develop over time.

Magic of Macy's is Revealed in Word Association By Matt O'Hern at 07:18 AM
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Netflix Lowers Expectations for Subscriber Growth

netflix affordable

Investors retreated from Netflix today, after the movie-rental company reduced its expectations for subscriber growth for the final quarter.

 Netflix , which rents movies through mail, projected a total of 8.85 million to 9.15 subscribers by  the end of the fourth quarter, but that projection is 100,000 lower than its Oct. 6 estimate. Forbes attributed Netflix's downgraded forecast to a reduction in consumers' discretionary spending and other factors, such as "Rising food and gas costs". The article also quoted Youssef Squali of Jefferies & Co. who said:

The weakening economy is taking a toll on Netflix as consumer spending on this discretionary service is cut

When you consider Forbes' and Squali's reasons, there are flaws in their logic. Think of their reasons and compare it to your own budget. If you don't want to waste gas, wouldn't you much rather watch a movie that was delivered to you, than drive to the theater or rental store?As food costs rise, families are more likely to stay rather than spending $150 for a trip to Outback Steakhouse and six tickets to the latest flick at the local theater. Instead, a "family night in" seems like much more frugal option. You can save all of that money with a home-cooked meal capped by a movie rental that's already paid for.

I'm a Netflix subscriber and on Tuesday's I've searched Netflix's collection for a new release DVD to watch with friends during the next weekend. Apparently, Netflix's alliance with Starz ,which added 2,500 new titles to stream in "Watch Instantly" mode, didn't  attract the amount of new subscribers they desired.

Netflix Lowers Expectations for Subscriber Growth By Matt O'Hern at 04:19 PM
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International Ecomonic Tension Raises Demand for Bomb Shelters

bomb shelter kitchen
When the international markets crashed a few weeks ago, we predicted that many distraught citizens may  go into a "Survivalist" mindset, resulting in a surge in demand for personal protection and security products, such as portable safes, handguns, etc.

Today, Utah Shelter Systems was among the top phrases in Google Trends. utah shelter system ranking in google trends Utah Shelters are buried to a "suitable" depth ,with a deck, electrical system, ventilation system and two sets of double bunks and two sets of single sitting bunks. Complete shelter prices range from  $41,950 for a cozy 8 x 32  to the family-sized 10 x 50 shelter for $54,600.

Disastershelters.net elaborates on the specs of the Utah Shelter System:

Citizens can be so effectively protected to within 1/2 mile of a large yield nuclear explosion. Protection from gamma radiation can be achieved with as little as 4 feet of dirt cover or 3 feet of concrete cover. Every 4 inches of dirt (and 3 inches of concrete) gives a halving thickness, or protection factor (PF) of 2.  Ten halving thickness is required to diminish (attenuate) medium to high levels of radiation to an acceptable level.  Six to 8 feet of dirt cover is required to attenuate initial radiation to acceptable levels.  Initial radiation occurs within the first minute of the blast and within a 1-½ mile radius of ground zero.

Installation costs range between $4,000 and $6,000, (not including the cost for instillation supervisors). Also, the shelters are wired for both a 12-volt DC and a 110-volt AC system, but, like most of your favorite childhood toys, batteries are not included.

I must admit, that I was impressed by the details in the  USS safety designs, I'm surprised that MSNBC's story today gained so much attention.  Unless you're in the upper class, most families don't have $40-50 thousand slated for their home-security budget, and that doesn't even include the extra costs of supplies such as food,generators,a year's supply of water (55 gallons of water per person).

Perhaps USS' surge in Google Trends is an indication the mainstream media attention will sharpen its focus on "survivalist" families and stories .

International Ecomonic Tension Raises Demand for Bomb Shelters By Matt O'Hern at 02:27 PM
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Microsoft Puts XBox Live Primetime on Back Burner

xbox primetime

 

Microsoft'sand XBox 360 announced that the highly-anticipated gameshow, XBOX Live Primetime , won't be debuting this month,  instead, it will be launched in spring 2009.

Primetime  is a game show channel on XBox that will feature live video game contests where XBox users login and battle in head-to-head competitions for prizes.It was developed with ,Endemol, the same team that produces Big Brother. In his column Microsoft Xbox: Not Ready For Primetime, Chris Morris said Primetime is a unique concept that could represent the gaming industrie's first venture into the turf dominated by TV. He also said:

Microsoft managers say the delay is necessary in order to ensure a smooth launch of the system's new user interface ...By waiting until the spring, Microsoft's offering will likely go up against a more compelling lineup of television shows--and put its chances of instant success at risk.

The postponement could prove to be strike three to the average consumer. Xbox already has two strikes against it:

  • There were early reports that many of the XBox 360 consoles were returned due to defective cooling systems.
  • Some XBox owners purchased the HD DVD add on, only to learn that HD DVD lost to the Blu Ray player (included in Sony's PS3) for licensing rights with the major film production companies. As a result, HD DVD players will be obsolete within the next few years, and Blu-Ray should become the mainstream home theater player.

Microsoft's postponement deflates the excitement about XBox's new dashboard, which is set to debut Nov.19. Microsoft's poor planning is yet another testimony to the truth behind the old saying "Timing is everything." Imagine all of the Christmas shoppers Microsoft may have lured from Sony's Playstation 3, X Box's rival platform, with commercials boasting the new game show.

Microsoft Puts XBox Live Primetime on Back Burner By Matt O'Hern at 10:05 AM
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Monday, October 20, 2008

Latest Gmail Outage Raises Concerns for Small Business

gmail logo

Sometimes, your greatest assets can become costly liabilities. Google's remarkable success and rapid growth over the past few years may have set the bar too high for customer expectations of their applications, particularly Gmail.

A recent outage on the popular email server, which is in a SAAS format (Software as  a Service), caused thousands of headaches when users went an entire day without functional Gmail. Google's credibility took a hit from the damaging reports.
Messaging expert Michael Osterman told CIO.com that email outages aren't uncommon, regardless of the format, and Google simply receives more of the media's negative spotlight when it fails to deliver quailty service to its users.
 

The Google Mail outages are given more attention, and it will give SaaS a black eye. But if you look at Google's records, Gmail is still well over 99 percent available.

Google's unique predicament reminds me of a coach or an executive who surpasses expectations earlier than expected, and as a result, they receive unfair criticism when adversity arrives. A specific example who comes to mind is former New YorK City mayor, Rudy Giuliani. In his book, Leadership, he elaborated on the the daunting challenges for maintaining approval and appeasing 14 million people with different pleas.

To control the chaos during his eight years is mayor, he followed a simple but profound principle: "Under-promise and over-deliver", and he urged his supporting staff to do the same.The logic behind Rudy's mindset was: You can't be all things to all people, all of the time, so don't make any promises you can't keep.

In an ironic twist of fate, Rudy failed to adhere to his own principle during his run in the Republican Presidential Primary. He over-promised and didn't deliver Florida, a state where he devoted the majority of his energy and attention.
The bottom line: Once you've established star power, whether it's in business,politics,sports or entertainment, you'll be held to a higher, and sometimes unrealistic standard.

Latest Gmail Outage Raises Concerns for Small Business By Matt O'Hern at 04:56 PM
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Circuit City May Close 150 Stores Due to Slow Sales

circuit city mock logo You may remember Circuit City's old motto: "Where service is state of the art".

Judging from the rumors that Circuit City will be closing up to 150 stores, the state of the art service wasn't impressive enough to survive against rival competitors such as Best Buy, Wal-Mart , H.H. Gregg and online stores such as Amazon.

Only six months ago, Circuit City's stock sold for $5.75 per-share, and as of 2:00 p.m. today, it was at 39 cents per share, compared to Best Buy at $25.00. How did it fall so fast for the former giant of electronics retailers? In my opinion, there was a tri-fecta of damaging factors.

  1. Recent changes in leadership
  2. Best Buys' foresight to capitalize on mobile media market
  3. Failure to converge with other media

 CEO James A. Marcum was left holding the bag when Former CEO Phillip Schoonover stepped down. Marcum inherited a mess that included two-straight years of slumping sales and a questionable foundation after Blockbusters' Billion-dollar buyout offer was refused. Meanwhile, Best Buy was making bold moves, including an alliance with Apple to sell the iPhone.

circuit city stockAccording to Marketwatch.com, Circuit City hasn't confirmed their plans to close the 150 stores, but , they're developing a turnaround plan with  FTI Consulting, Inc and they've have hired Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP which oversaw Kmart's Chapter 11 reorganization. Spokesman Jim Babb wouldn't offer any further details when he replied to Marketwatch.

*Update Nov. 10

Wall Street Journal reports :Troubled electronics retailer Circuit City Stores Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday in an effort to stay ahead of lenders owed $898 million.

Circuit City May Close 150 Stores Due to Slow Sales By Matt O'Hern at 02:19 PM
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Joe Maddon 9=8 Math is Tampa Rays Winning Idea

joe maddon and pitcher

The Tampa Bay Rays' inspiring run to the World Series is a good metaphor for effective branding.

How? Well, sometimes a simple saying or idea can translate into the right formula for success.

Just ask  Rays' manager Joe Maddon. At the beginning of Spring Training, he told his players "9=8". His point was that nine players, playing smart and hard every nine innings, would make the Rays one of eight teams in the 2008 playoffs.
Maddon told the Lakeland Ledger:

I was very convinced about my message at the time. But I also knew the trepidations and scoffing that it would be met with. You've got to lean forward with those things.You could see some guys nodding.The guys who weren't nodding, you had no idea if they were thinking about where they were going to dinner that night. You just didn't know. With a group like this, and you try to get a little academic, sometimes it's met with more resistance. But I'm used to it
 

Since the Rays spent the past nine seasons as perpetual cellar dwellers of the American League and the joke of pro baseball, most baseball fans and analysts probably wrote-off Maddon's idea as unfounded optimism. However, the players bought into the concept, scrapped and fought to the top of the American League, and completed one of the most improbable and remarkable turnarounds in baseball history. Now, the saying is scripted across t-shirts in south Florida and there's even a Rays' blog named after it.

Maddon and his players are enjoying the last laugh as they head to the 2008 World Series. Maddon's "math" illustrates the importance of a single idea, and the potential power behind it.
As Alan Adamson mentioned in his book, BrandDigital, Many companies,such as Burger King, built their brand on a single idea. Like a business, most teams begin their season or their year with a new motto, but only a select few adhere to the principle behind the saying. The teams and companies that are fully committed to the effort behind the idea are the ones that elevate performance and ultimately succeed.

Joe Maddon 9=8 Math is Tampa Rays Winning Idea By Matt O'Hern at 11:04 AM
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Taco Bell Steal a Base Ad Aims for More World Series Fans

taco bell promo

Everybody loves an underdog story, but when the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS and advanced to the 2008 World Series, the producers at Fox probably cringed at the thought of the likely ratings for a  Philadelphia vs. Tampa Bay matchup.

The Red Sox are one of the most popular teams in professional sports and draw large numbers wherever they play. Compared to the Red Sox, Philly and Tampa are middle of the pack.Taco Bell's new version of  Steal a Base, Steal a Taco may help  prevent those TV numbers from fading.The rules were relaxed for this year's promo, and on the MLB's site, Taco Bell promises:

If any player steals a base during this year's Fall Classic, we're giving America a free taste of Taco Bell. That's any base by any player during any game.

Fans should keep an eye on Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford, who were among the league's best thieves in 2008. For the Phillies,Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino are the biggest threats to steal one.

According to the promo, if and when a base is stolen, Taco Bell will make an announcement through selected media channels, including a press release and its web site (www.tacobell.com), that eligible consumers can obtain their free Crunchy Seasoned Beef Taco on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 (if base is stolen in Games 1-4 on October 22, 23, 25 or 26) OR Monday, November 3, 3008 (if base is stolen in Games 5-7, October 27, 29 or 30) ("Redemption Date") only.

I found one of the disclaimers interesting, it said that the promotional parties won't be held responsible for natural disasters.That disclaimer would have cancelled  a ton of orders in 1989, when an earthquake delayed the Oakland A's and the San Francisco Giants series by 10-days .As a result, the World Series dubbed "The Battle of the Bay" was unofficially renamed the "Earthquake Series".

Taco Bell's promotion with MLB is a savvy way to attract more viewers who may have tuned otherwise, but I wonder how many casual fans are already aware of the promo. Either way, the promo should make fans pay more attention to the smaller aspects of the game, instead of the highlight plays such as the home run and the strikeout.

Taco Bell Steal a Base Ad Aims for More World Series Fans By Matt O'Hern at 09:10 AM
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« October 2008 Week 3 October 2008 Week 5 »

  • Week 1 (10 entries) October 1-4
  • Week 2 (16 entries) October 5-11
  • Week 3 (16 entries) October 12-18
  • Week 4 (17 entries) October 19-25
  • Week 5 (12 entries) October 26-31

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