Here's what happens when a man eats nothing but food made for women. When I began my exploration of gendered food items, I was hoping for a dramatic payoff.... Instead, I got a pile of cardboard packaging and confirmation of my thesis: marketing something as “for women” -- the pinks and purples, the low-calorie labels, the suggestions that life is just sooooo crazy and women need to take a break with a thumbnail-sized brownie -- is the dumbest gimmick in food marketing.
Sales Pitches at the Fair (1985) Product pitches - a form of performance art, a secular evangelism (1979), and a time-honored fair tradition. You won't believe your eyes when you see the Micro Steamer, Grill Mat, EZMop, ShopSmith, Salsa Maker, Squirmles, Shu Nu, Ultimate Hose, Steam Mop Plus, VitaMix, Slushy Magic...
The Magnum ice cream company has launched the Be True To Your Pleasure campaign, featuring gender-nonconforming individuals (referred to in marketing materials as "drag queens") as glamorous spokesmodels. [more inside]
In this NPR story on diversity in publishing, one of the things that leaped out at me was a quote from an editor citing a PEW study that revealed that African-American women “are the largest group of readers in the country.” (Which you’d never know from the lack of diversity in protagonists, cover models, and so on.) Why did publishers have to rely on PEW for that data? Because they have very little research into the habits of individual readers. They’ve never needed it; they’ve always done business with chain sales reps.Stephanie Leary: How publishers could get more of my money (and make me happy to give it).
Starbucks announced a new campaign to start conversations about racial issues by inviting baristas to pen the words Race Together on the sides of their ubiquitous cups. Unsure how to talk to your baristas about race? Jezebel has you covered. Of course, some people are less than thrilled with the campaign.
The Kreyos Meteor Smartwatch has an extremely impressive feature set: Voice and gesture controls. Full integration with iOS, Android, and WP8. Shockproof, waterproof, accelerometer and activity tracker built in. Not a hard product to sell; In fact, it's a marketing person's dream. But after an extremely successful Indiegogo ($100,000 goal, $1.5 million raised) it was time to build the things, and they had no clue how to do it. [more inside]
Last month, Nintendo announced that Club Nintendo, their customer loyalty program which involves registering purchased games and hardware, then filling out surveys about them in exchange for coins or stars (depending on your region) which can be spent on downloadable games and physical swag, is coming to a close in order to be replaced at a later date with a new program. Today, Nintendo has posted a huge list of physical goods and downloadable games (for Wii U, Wii, and 3DS) which members can spend the rest of their coins on before the system is shut down completely on June 30th, with download codes for complimentary copies of Flipnote Studio 3D for the 3DS being released to all members later this week.
We Know How You Feel Computers are learning to read emotion, and the business world can’t wait.
Pantone has announced that 18-1438 aka Marsala, is the color of the year for 2015. Here's how they decided, although not everyone approves. Fast Company offers some alternate names.
Pantone Color of the year, previously – 2014: Radiant Orchid, Pantone Color Forecasting
Pantone Color of the year, previously – 2014: Radiant Orchid, Pantone Color Forecasting
“The home runs have really been anything we can do to target our actual users,” Budman reflects. “You want to get as narrow as possible. If we can find Mac software developers in the Mission or in Brooklyn, it’s awesome.” Fast-growing online backup company Backblaze tried all kinds of marketing ploys to get new customers, from Adwords to an appearance on Ellen Degeneres: here's what worked and what didn't. (Previously)
Alex from Target is very important. His ride to meme-dom was seemingly instantaneous and has mystified us all. Even Alex is confused by his rise to fame. So who just is "Alex from Target?" [more inside]
Bijin&Co. are a modeling agency with a unique solution to the two-pronged need of attracting new models and figuring out which ones are the most popular with the public: put a pretty lady clock on the Internet. [more inside]
In an essay for the Wharton School of Business' blog, confessed 'social media evangelist' and marketer Curtis Houghland argues that the advent of twitter and other social media heralds the destruction of the nation state over the coming century. Literally.
Formal nationhood as the basis for a social contract with its citizens dates only to the 17th century. It is a relatively new phenomenon. As Pankaj Mishra points out in Bloomberg View, 'Few people in 1900 expected centuries-old empires — Qing, Hapsburg, Ottoman — to collapse by 1918.' The belief in the centralized nation as the default political organization is grossly misplaced. And we are seeing the de-evolution of nationhood before our eyes in our daily newsfeeds....As there are now more than 30 brands of Mountain Dew, there will be more nations in Europe.
"The beginning of my interest in fragrance coincided more or less with a momentous year in perfumery: 1981. It was in that first year of what would later be called the Big Eighties that a Beverly Hills boutique released an eponymous scent housed in a box with yellow stripes that evoked the store’s awning. Giorgio was an immediate and a ubiquitous smash, a powerhouse floral so outsized that restaurants were said to refuse seating to Giorgio-wearing patrons." The '80s ushered in a new era in perfumery. [more inside]
The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious: How the worst apple took over the United States, and continues to spread.
"The new Energy Elixir and “sparkling future pop sensation” QT has finally debuted its new jingle “Hey QT” in full. It’s as if the drink’s creators, SOPHIE and A. G. Cook, harnessed the most cloying earworms and pop tropes of the 21st century, shaped them into slightly grotesque manifestations, and then teamed up with the best marketers in the business to optimize it for mass consumption. The result? A song that provides its listeners with crisp focus, pure energy, and razor-sharp reaction." [more inside]
In the 1951, impressed by the amount of Tupperware she was selling (especially compared to other outlets), Earl Tupper hired Brownie Wise to run his sales organization. As a VP of the company, she revolutionized Tupperware with her Tupperware parties, her salesforce management, and other sales and marketing techniques, thus allowing him to stay in the background, creating new designs. Sales skyrocketed and Tupperware became popular throughout the United States. [more inside]
Producer Michael Shamberg Wants to 'Invent the Future' With BuzzFeed Motion Pictures - "I don't think there's ever been a Hollywood R&D model like we have here." (previously 1,2,3) [more inside]
LEGO does something good! (Sets revolving around female scientists sold out in one day; previously.) LEGO does something bad! (Sets with major petro-company branding.) [more inside]
Declaring 2014 the European Year against Food Waste, the European Parliament has adopted a non-legislative resolution that called for action to halve food waste by 2025 and improve access to food by the needy. French grocery store Intermarche got on board with a delightful campaign aimed at convincing people that appearances don't matter when it comes to great tasting foods and increasing awareness of food waste. The video is particularly charming.
Kiel James Patrick and his fiancée Sarah Vickers spend much of their time meticulously photographing the many splendors of a certain strain of New England life - the world of "prep". But are the people who appear in Sarah and Kiel's photos really their friends? Do Sarah and Kiel own these incredible homes? Or are they just taking social media marketing to a whole new level?
Nathan Fielder's Ingenious Dumb Humor - "How the star of Comedy Central's 'Nathan for You' makes the most of uncomfortable moments." (via; previously 1,2,3)
Jared Rosen offers a postmortem of GAME_JAM, a failed reality show about game development produced by Maker Studios and sponsored by Pepsi. Contestants Adriel Wallick, Robin Arnott, and Zoe Quinn also offer their perspectives.
Filmmaker IQ offers an extensive variety of free online courses, articles and tutorial videos for aspiring filmmakers. Their image gallery is also fun to browse through. [more inside]
A/B testing has become a familiar term for most people running web sites, especially e-commerce sites. Unfortunately, most A/B test results are illusory (PDF, 312 kB). Here's how not to run an A/B test. Do use this sample size calculator or this weird trick.
"Life-long Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has suggested changing his country's name to make it friendlier to investors and tourists. It's obviously a little silly to change your country's name for marketing purposes. But there may be more meaningful reasons for the country to change its name..." An interesting perspective from Max Fisher at the Washington Post.
NFL holds Super Bowl in NYC; NYC unimpressed. While the stadium is technically in New Jersey, it is considered equally if not primarily a New York stadium, and the NFL turned Times Square and Broadway into Super Bowl Boulevard Engineered By GMC. Visitors can kick a football, watch television, ride a toboggan, shop, enjoy a free slice of Papa John's pizza, play XBox, take a photo with the oversized Roman numerals 'XLVIII', use relevant Twitter hashtags, and more. It is not decadent and depraved, though Vice and Gothamist would tend to disagree. The Times discusses less vehement disapproval and disappointment, while Business Insider wishes ill upon the city. Ticket sales are faltering relative to recent years, with the new mayor among those skipping out.
Booth Babes Don't Work
It’s a pretty indefensible practice. The hiring of young, college-aged females to dress as provocatively as possible to help promote…um, Ultra HD TV sets, Android tablets and Internet-enabled toothbrushes. It’s a relic of old enterprises, but that’s just the way they like their world. But what nearly every critic has failed to mention is a real concrete business reason to end the practice. Well, I do: Booth babes do NOT convert.
Drop Kicker is a blog that investigates products on Kickstarter and Indiegogo that look scientifically implausible, outright impossible, or completely scammy
Despite a customer base that crosses many demographics, a large part of the video game industry has remained resolutely focused on appealing and marketing to male players in the 18-24 age group. It wasn't always this way. Although early coin-op and console game development was male-dominated, titles in the 1970s were either marketed for entire families or for adults in bars and later arcades. What changed? Polygon investigates.
Why Did 9,000 Porny Spambots Descend on This San Diego High Schooler? A voyage into the strange underworld of spambots, shady marketing, and non-human intelligence.
Ill conceived ad campaigns seem to be par for the course these days (I personally threw up my hands twenty years ago when Janis Joplin was first used to sell Mercedes Benz), but you have to marvel at the thinking behind Covergirl's recent marketing tie-in with the film "Catching Fire" that assumes people would enjoy looking like the air-headed, blood-thirsty residents of the Capital. The Guardian weighs in.
Does Satan worship lower a Las Vegas mansion's value? [latimes.com] How do you determine a price people might pay for such “stigmatized properties?” It’s simple, really. You call Randall Bell.
SensorPrint is a proposal to exploit subtle imperfections in accelerometers as a unique fingerprint for smartphones [pdf]. It's easy to demonstrate the idea: Generate a unique ID for your own device. SensorPrint joins other hardware-based tracking concepts in the pursuit of non-configurable, location-aware, un-deletable "cookies" on your mobile device. [via]
The data analysis group that used Facebook and set top TV data to help Barack Obama win the latest election is taking its talents to the private sector. (SL NYTimes)
As previously discussed on MetaFilter, the countdown has now reached one day. Halo? Battlestar Galactica? A new album by Bros? Or something more sinister, as hinted at (perhaps) by the spectograph of the end-video silences?
Nostalgia isn't always pretty: The 24 Worst-Dressed Members of G.I. Joe and Cobra along with The 10 Most Useless Members of G.I. Joe and finally, The 20 Stupidest GI Joe Vehicles Ever.
"I was curious to see how many of these books there actually are, so I did a search for books with 'The' and 'Daughter' in their titles on Goodreads. Afterward I spent some time copying and pasting all instances of The ___’s Daughter into an Excel spreadsheet. How much time? A lot..." [more inside]
Matthowie hates him! Mefite's shocking discovery of how to get 100 favorites in 10 minutes. Up your favorite ratio in 10 days with one weird trick, take your mefi performance to the next level. Click here [more inside]
I came to Twitter because I had a book to sell, and my misgivings about the whole enterprise meant that I would never be any good at it. A phrase comes to mind: I was “pissing into the void.” For 1 year, 4 months and 22 days—or 508 days total—Twitter became part of my daily thinking ritual. Writer Benjamin Anastas says Goodbye to Twitter Village. VQR editor Jane Friedman comments.
Although the new Superman movie by Zack Snyder (previously) has put off critics with its appropriation of 9/11 imagery and riled fans with its revision of the superhero's moral code, Warner Bros. Studios is hoping Man of Steel will win over the Christian market. In interviews, Snyder is talking up "Christ-like parallels" in his reboot of the character created by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel. For those who'd like something more theologically grounded, the studio's marketing department is offering sermon notes entitled "JESUS - THE ORIGINAL SUPERHERO" [PDF] by Dr. Craig Detweiler, M. Div., and organizing free pastor screenings through faith-based PR firm Grace Hill Media. They aren't the first, however, to notice similarities between Jesus and Superman (among other popular cultural figures).
In Reluctant Defense of the Curmudgeon Malcontents. A Baltimore-area attorney explains how online marketing is hurting the legal profession: There is for the conscientious ethical attorney a balance between eremitic life in a Byzantine-era monastery and nonsense online carney barking, but none of these non-attorney folks deserve a seat at the table in that discussion. And the more you see of the online marketing nonsense that's out there, the more sympathetic you become to people with poor home training who reject that nonsense in language you wouldn't want uttered aloud in your grandmother’s house of worship.
Back in the day, Ken Segall helped create Apple's Think Different campaign and helped name the iMac. More recently he worked on JC Penney's Yours Truly, commercial, before JCP ousted Ron Johnson as its CEO. He writes a sharp, entertaining blog called Ken Segall's Observatory, where he offers opinions on advertising and design geekery. His take on Ron Johnson's failure is interesting, as is this post on what it takes for an advertisement to stand out in a crowd. He calls attention to surprisingly decent ads from Microsoft and Dell, critiques terrible ads (from Microsoft and JC Penney and even Apple, and comments on whether skeuomorphism has its advantages. He's also fond of discussing product names. Give this one a skip if advertising gives you hives, but for those of you who're interested in things like this Segall's blog is especially choice stuff.