Capitalist Pig-gy Bank

Check out the Capitalist Pig, a piggy bank for evil, money-hoarding capitalists to stay focused by listing or drawing object(s) of desire on the blackboard surface of the bank. And the value for money doesn't stop there, this piece of wonder comes with four sticks of chalk.

It's £13 from Giftlab.

From Cool Hunting

Brand Heaven and Brand Hell - Where is your brand?

David Armano's nifty depiction of the ladder up to Brand Heaven and the ladder down to Brand Hell.

From Brand Autopsy


Skydivers spell Honda as part of campaign

I wonder if this worked?

19 skydivers spelled out the word Honda in three minutes and 20 seconds for UK’s first live tv promo, inspired by the car manufacturer’s new advertising strapline: “Difficult is worth doing”

From NOTCOT.org


How to Pickup a VC

From Guy Kawasaki's Sun column:

Many entrepreneurs ask me what is the best way to open a pitch to potential investors. I'll answer that question at the end of this posting, but first let me tell you the ten worst opening lines that you can use:
  1. You say: "I'm bright and ambitious." Investor thinks: "That's a relief because I usually invest in stupid and lazy people."

  2. You say: "I'm a blue sky thinker." Investor thinks: "You have no business model, and you don't know how to ship."

  3. You say: "I don't know much about your firm, but I thought I'd contact you anyway." Investor thinks: "You're a lazy idiot--why are you wasting my time?"

  4. You say: "I love to think of new ways to solve problems." Investor thinks: "Is this a high-school science fair?"

  5. You say: "I have lots of great ideas, but I have trouble figuring out which one to try. Let me tell you about a couple." Investor thinks: "I want to know which idea you're going to kill yourself trying to make successful, not which ideas have crossed your idle mind."

  6. You say: "I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur." Investor thinks: "I've always wanted to be a professional golfer. So what if you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?"

  7. You say: "I'm sure you are aware of the growing need for security. Web 2.0, Open Source, whatever." Investor thinks: "If you're sure I'm aware, why are you telling me you're sure I'm aware."

  8. You say: "If you sign an NDA, I'll tell you my idea." Investor thinks: "You are clueless. How can you not know that venture capitalists don't sign NDAs?"

  9. You say: "The last time I contacted you, I..." Investor thinks: "I'm going to fire my secretary for putting this clown on my calendar again."

  10. You say: "My goal is to build a world-class company." Investor thinks: "How about you ship and sell the first copy before we talk about world-class anything?"

Now you know what not to say. Here's what you should say:

"This is what my company does..."

It's that simple. What you're trying to do is get potential investors to fantasize about how your product or service will make a boatload of money. They can't fantasize if they don't know what you do. And they don't want to be your friend, mother, or psychiatrist until they understand what you do, so cut the crap and explain what you do.


The Made To Stick authors need to wake up and grow up

If you haven't read Chip & Dan Heath's column in this month's Fast Company yet, read it here.

I liked Made to Stick a lot. I thought it was informative and practical. But the stock of the authors of the book just dropped through the floor. They are a policy consultant and a professor - and this academic view of the world came shining through in their column.

Basically, they call out a tactic they're calling "Stigma Marketing" - using embarrassment and/or shame to sell a product. They use Visa (when using cash stops a free-flowing checkout line) and Wisk Laundry Detergent (Ring Around the Collar) among others. And they call for "marketers" to stop tolerating such "icky" behavior.

This is a ridiculous, elitist and naive point of view. This is marketing - the job of marketing is to sell something to someone. In most cases, the customer doesn't really NEED the product, so you have to convince them they need it. What they call "stigma" is another man's "defining the pain in the marketplace."

Funny, they didn't put Apple in the "badly behaved" bucket, even though they employ "icky" marketing to put a stigma on PC users. I guess they must believe PC users ARE, in fact, dorky, suit-wearing, pudgy, clueless people? Their article only looks at the less sexy CPG and credit card industries? "Creams and detergents" solve a problem that is, frankly, unpleasant. Bringing up unpleasant realities to market a solution to those realities is not "icky" its marketing.

And by the way...when people discuss the latest pop business tomes, and Made To Stick (or Tipping Point, et al) comes up, and you hear a resounding "What! You haven't read Made To Stick?!?!?" - isn't that too a stigma?

If you still want to, check out Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, it does have a lot of good concepts.

Branding is a part of marketing but it is also the other way around.

Interesting post today about branding.

Key takeaway:
Company branding is not just a logo. It’s all about perceptions, how your customers or clients view your company and the products and services you provide.
I think this is true, and I BIG TIME believe branding is more than a logo, here here! But I also think the definition is incomplete. The real reason for branding, more specifically having a strong brand, is future sales. I hadn't thought about it in this way until I read Think Two Products Ahead - the book makes a very clear case for this reality (yes, I said reality). Bottom line, brands are important, they are the emotional tie to the customer, they are the perceptions, etc. All of the above are true. But the reason brands exist is to drive future sales.

Thanks to Beyond Madison Avenue


Ladies may love Cool James, but they don't love Sears.

You just know this isn't going to work out well...

While its bad for Sears, because I don't think it will work and it seems completely off base from their, well, base. But what are Benetton and LL Cool J thinking? I understand they may not be at their peak either, but Sears?

More at Marketing Daily


Car Brands That Don't Deserve to Live


Harsh but interesting thoughts on which of the big auto brands should stop wasting their time and pack it in. I have to say, they have a point. Check out the article and interactive bar chart at one of my favorite business magazines, Conde Nast Portfolio.

Hershey's House Parties - A Lesson in Tapping an Offline/Online Groundswell

When experiential marketing, or WOM, or buzz, or whatever you want to call it works...it can work big time. Take Hershey's who has been having Bliss house parties. According to PROMO, looks like they're working - more than 129,000 people have attended the parties, plus 22,000 digital photos and 15,000 blog entries. Yowsers.

I'm just finishing up Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Good book for the most part, but they don't talk about the offline component that much - how an offline event like Hershey's Bliss parties can drive blog posts galore and social network buzz.

Check out the stories at CandySnob here and here.


Prominent Turkish Businessman "Rethinks Capitalism"

"Adam Smith is probably dead. Maybe it's time to revisit Karl Marx."

These words were uttered by a Turkish businessman named Ishak Alaton, who is the chairman of $800 million conglomerate, Alarko Holding.

Why is it that some businesspeople decide to turn against the very ideals that helped them build their fortunes? Is it guilt? Is it an attempt to limit what others have now that they have theirs? I'm curious why Mr. Alaton didn't come to this Marxist revelation while he was less wealthy? Nothing like someone building their fortune one way, then telling the world how they should live their lives.

Regardless, I think people would be well served to read (or re-read) Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. It seems to me there are some universal business truths that still ring true today.

From BusinessWeek Turkey
- Subscribe to BusinessWeek

Top 10 YouTube Brands


1. Nike - "Ronaldinho: Touch of Gold" - Viewed 22.6 million times

2. Pepsi - "PEPSI (Britney Spears, Beyonce, Pink - We Will Rock You)" - Viewed 14 million times

3. McDonald's - "Fast Food Freestyle" - Viewed 11.8 million times

4. Coca-Cola - "Diet Coke+Mentos=Human experiment: EXTREME GRAPHIC CONTENT" - Viewed 8.5 million times

5. Unilever - "Dove Evolution" - Viewed 6.7 million times

6. Disney - "Internet is for Porn" - Viewed 3.3 million times

7. Budweiser - "Banned Super Bowl 2007 Bud commercial" - Viewed 2.1 million times

8. Microsoft - "Microsoft Surface Parody" - Viewed 2 million times

9. Ikea - "Banned Commercial - Swedish Midsummer" - Viewed 1.5 million times

10. Toyota - "Top Gear: Killing a Toyota Part 1" - Viewed 1.1 million times

Source: Custom Communications


Apple to add 2D barcodes to iPhone

More on the future of 2D barcodes...


Packaging - Costco vs. Whole Foods


Costco...bigger bag, brighter colors, disregard for "natural" looking packaging, photos of product, and the Lucky Country kangaroo is considerably different.

Whole Foods...brown bag (to make it feel more natural), drawings instead of photos, a more traditional looking kangaroo, and play up the "gourmet" and "soft."

Both have the star-shaped violator to make sure we know its "all natural."

Interesting, if you ask me. Not that Costco makes vendors change packaging to meet the warehouse store requirements, but that Whole Foods does the same. Let us not forget that while it may be natural, organic, whatever...you still need to market it properly.

From CandySnob

Candy Snob Launches

Candy Snob gets picked up in the BlogHerald!


Hugh MacLeod's WOM Wisdom

"Word of Mouth isn't created by marketers, it is co-created with consumers. People only spread your virus if there's something in it for them."

From Hugh MacLeod's twitter missives via Brand Autopsy

Candy Snob Helps Feed Your Candy Obsession with News, Reviews and More

Candy Snob is the place to go to indulge your sweet tooth. Whether you're crazy for gourmet chocolate or a sucker for hard candies, we've got all the news, reviews, and information you can cram down your gullet.

(PRWEB) May 13, 2008 -- As more and more novelty and gourmet candy hits the market, it can be increasingly difficult to decide which confections will tickle your fancy, and which are sugar-coated duds. Candy Snob understands that candy can be more than a foil-wrapped treat to boost your blood sugar -- it can be a sensuous experience, the nougaty highlight of your day, the caramel apple of your eye. The blog will help readers rekindle their love affair with sugary treats, with an eye toward the confections of the past as well as a nod toward the future.

Candy Snob - CandySnob.com

Blogpire Productions has the sweet pleasure of introducing Candy Snob to its growing list of consumer-oriented weblogs. Candy Snob was started to help bring the joy back into candy, offering candy reviews to help readers make decisions based on more than total grams of sugar.

"Most people think of candy as what they see in the grocery store," said Bob Wallace, an editor of Candy Snob. "Those are great, but there is a whole universe of chocolate and candy out there beyond the check-out aisle."

For the health conscious, Candy Snob will tell you about healthy candy products packed with natural ingredients. The blog will keep readers posted on the new treats about to hit the market, and will be reviewing new and upcoming candy treats.

"Chocolate is not unlike wine in that each piece comes with its own distinct tastes," added Noel Wallace, Candy Snob editor. "We're hoping to explain these nuances in a way that is understandable so you can get the best candy experience possible."

So whether readers are looking for unique gifts, new treats to sample, or simply interesting news and views about their favorite sweet indulgence, Candy Snob is the place to visit.

About CandySnob.com:
Started in 2007, Candy Snob is helmed by a capable staff keenly interested in all things confectionery. They come from a long line of sweet teeth and candy buffs, with tastes ranging from the nuanced flavors of bitter dark chocolate to the retro gooiness of Mallo Cups. Along the way, they also picked up a taste for jelly beans, hard candies, gummies, and anything else in the candy family.

About Blogpire Productions:
Blogpire Productions is a set of blogs bringing an influential audience to brand advertisers focused on product and category niches. Founded in 2004, Blogpire Productions continues to expand each month and build new and interesting web log titles for readers around the world. Many Blogpire Productions weblogs have received Yahoo! Pick of the day along with being featured in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, FHM Magazine, and other magazines and Web site features.

Other Blogpire Productions weblogs include: SingleServeCoffee.com; KitchenContraptions.com; JustTheChips.com; TVSnob.com; ShavingStuff.com; FastFoodFever.com; GPSLodge.com; ShirtSnob.com; TheCookingNews.com; LiquorSnob.com; ReallyNatural.com; CheapFunWines.com; CriticalGamers.com; SingleServeEspresso.com; SuperCoolPets.com; ToolSnob.com; SuperCoolBaby.com; CasinoSnob.com.


State of the Social Media Union

Very interesting article on the state of the union for social media on The Viral Garden.

Social Media pic via Flickr user Jeff Milner


3M again proves the best innovations are simple and useful

How do you make one of the most storied innovative products in history better you ask? Leave it to the originators. 3M now has transparent Post-it Notes, so you can highlight things, etc. They call them Sheer Colors, we call them brilliant. Simple innovations make a big difference.

From Cool Hunting


Nike Head Tshirts - Logo abuse taken too far?

Hey...I'm not one to get too bent out of shape when someone knocks off a logo. I understand there is equity in the logos, but in my opinion its usually not that big a deal - usually its free advertising.

Which is the case here as well...but I think this may be too much. Interesting to see how Nike reacts, if at all.

From SneakerFiles

How NOT to pick a slogan for your new business

I'm going to list just 5 of the lame, uninspired taglines/slogans that Team Forty came up with. There are a ton more, click here to see them.

Create. Organize. Share. Connect. (blist)
Experience. Share. Connect. (geotract)
Connect. Share. Live. (KIJIG)
Create. Share. Connect. (Factory Joe)
Discover. Share. Connect. Discuss. (InfoAddict)

Why You Need to Read the Team Forty Blog

Because if you don't you might miss things like this:



Flip Video Camera - Great for Marketers

Just bought a Flip Video camera a couple days ago. Light, small, and painfully simple to use. Sure, you can't do all the fancy stuff, but it works, you can download right into your USB port with no cords.

As I was playing around with it, I thought about all the cool things you could do with this from a marketing perspective. I was not alone, Community Guy covered the same topic, and here is what Marketing Profs writer Mark said about them:
  • Media outlets: Can give readers/viewers Flips to record events from their perspective and submit their own reports
  • Jeep: Use Flips to help feed the Jeep Experience site
  • Sports teams: Allow fans to cover their team and set up a site to “air” the reports
  • Travel-related businesses: Give them away so people can document and share their experiences
  • Packaged goods brands: Ask people to create their own testimonial of their product experience
From MarketingProfs Daily Fix via Community Guy


99 Designs: Crowdsourcing that Works

So says the headline today from Web Worker Daily, and we agree. Having used 99Designs a few times, its efficient and typically can get pretty good results. We've used it for logo design and general icon and graphic design.

The Wisdom of Crowds, blah, blah, blah, crowdsourcing, blah, blah, blah...we know...but said another way, 99Designs works by simple economic and capitalism. Opening up a problem to a large group of providers allows supply and demand, and survival of the fittest to thrive. And in a lot of cases, you the buyer get pretty good work.


Predicting 2000 in 1900

Ladies Home Journal, circa 1900, and their predictions as to where we'd be by 2000.

Crazy - read on

The Physics of Marketing - Newton’s Law of Gravitation

If big brands - Coke, FedEx, Nike, etc. - are large enough entities that they have consumer "gravity"...how do little brands stand a chance of getting some of that “pull” with customers. According to davidebowman.com, proximity - the other part of Newton’s Theory.

Small companies must get close to the customer in order to stand any chance of survival. They can actually use this to thrive and exert considerable influence if properly executed.
Read more

From davidebowman.com

Nintendo Won't Cut Prices On The Wii

So you mean, if a product is truly innovative and good, it might be able to hold price? Fascinating...

Kudos Nintendo...read more.

Who risks more - entrepreneur or VC?

Who takes more risk? The venture capitalist who funds a start-up, or the entrepreneur who founds it?

Answer? The entrepreneur.

Intrigued? Read more at Hank Williams' article on Silicon Alley Insider


Still not taking social media seriously??

Can't believe that would be true...or at least I hope not...

According to a new study from the Society for New Communications Research, 72% of consumers use social media resources to research a company's reputation before making a purchase decision. Seventy-four percent of consumers report basing their decisions to do business with a company on their social media research. The study also found that 59% of those surveyed say they use social media as a place to vent their customer service frustrations. - WOMMA Word via ClickZ

And there are plenty of companies tracking online buzz...like Crawdad Technologies and new beta service Trendpedia.


Anti-Advertising Agency Participating in What It Condemns

From The Consumerist

Homeowners rejoice, a new way to better manage contractors

Ever been watching 20/20, 60 Minutes, or the local news for that matter, and you see a segment about some poor people who got royally screwed by their home contractor? Best case the contractor is incompetent, worst case its outright fraud. Either way the homeowners are out of a lot of money.

Well, now there is an answer - Buildproof - which launched today.
From their press release:

The system provides a simple-to-use solution to the financial risks and anxieties long-associated with home remodeling. Arizona is the first target market for Buildproof and the company plans to expand nationwide in the coming months.
  • Arizona homeowners experience up to $25 million in annual losses due to contractor fraud. Buildproof protects these homeowners, but also provides contractors with the ability to secure payments before, during and upon completion of the home improvement project.
  • Buildproof brings safety and stability to the $300 billion home improvement and remodeling industry by providing a “Safe House” money system. Project funds are held by an independent third-party financial institution to ensure safe handling and timely payment processing. There is no cost for homeowners to use the Buildproof system and contractors are only required to pay a small percentage of the total project cost.
  • According to the most recent study by the NACAA, home improvement is the number one most complained about industry in the U.S. Buildproof’s project management system enables homeowners and contractors to streamline communication and track project milestones.

Read their launch press release, or visit Buildproof.com.

Top 10 Most Powerful Brands

1 Google

2 General Electric

3 Microsoft

4 Coca-Cola

5 China Mobile


7 Apple

8 McDonald's

9 Nokia

10 Marlboro

Source: Millward Brown Optimor's 2008 BrandZ Rankings


Starbucks goes retro

Starbucks is using a special brown logo to evoke the chain's beginnings and restore some goodwill for the brand.

A "nostalgia" effort by Howard Schultz and the Starbucks team - what do you think?

Get Starbucks stuff

Article & image from BusinessWeek


Is there an entrepreneur gene?

VC Fred Wilson was interviewed by a reporter on Monday, on the topic of what makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur. Thanks to Found/Read, here are three Q&A:

Q: What is entrepreneurship?
A: It’s the art of turning an idea into a business.

Q: Can entrepreneurship be taught/learned?
A: I don’t think so. It’s like a personality disorder. You are born with it.

Q: What do you look for in entrepreneurs?
A: First and foremost, they need to be magnets. For talent. For money. For attention. And for much more.

When someone strikes out in an entrepreneurial endeavor without really being an entrepreneur, Michael Gerber (of E-Myth fame) calls it an "entrepreneurial seizure." What do you think?

Let the airlines go out of business

Delta will start charging passengers $25 for checking a second piece of luggage starting in May, joining United and US Airways in instituting the new fee.

U.S. Airways (or as we Pittsburghers like to call it, U.S. Scare), is going to start charging people an extra $5 for an aisle or window seat. I have a question, what happens if there are no other open seats but I wanted a middle seat, do I get punished?


How f-ing stupid. So we're in a bad economy, times are tight for everyone, fuel costs are through the roof. I got it. But these guys are doing the exact OPPOSITE of what they should be doing. They should be giving consumers a break on price, not making the flying experience that much more shitty. Will this impact short-term revenues? Yes. But will it possibly increase people flying and maybe (God forbid) build some goodwill for the airline's brand and the industry? Definitely. And can they honestly say that an extra $5 on the already overpriced ticket is going to offset the hatred that will be caused? I am (make that was) a Delta fan. It costs me, my wife and 2-yr old almost $1000 to fly somewhere together. Now, because we're a traveling family (isn't that what they f-ing want?), we're going to get dinged another $50-75 at least? Idiots.

The government needs to stop bailing these airlines out. Let capitalism and the market work. Let the airlines go out of business. That is the only way to make them start listening to the consumers...hey, isn't that what the businesses and the government are supposed to do?

Delta info from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution via Consumerist

Common Craft - Taking the UPS Whiteboard to the masses

We first learned about these cats from Community Guy (so thank you!) - they take the UPS whiteboard idea and have made it a business. They make short videos to explain complex ideas and products, from twitter to Redfin, RSS to wikis. I'm working with several clients who could use this service. They also resell the videos, another good idea and free advertising for those whom they have made videos. This whole idea of simple drawings as a medium to effectively communicate complicated ideas is also featured in this month's Fast Company (article not online yet).

Check out Common Craft

Photo from Community Guy


If you ever wished you could have Peter Parker as a MySpace friend

Now you have your chance...
"To get the word out about its crossover event "Secret Invasion," Marvel Comics is tapping a variety of social media outlets. Efforts include a fictional MySpace profile featuring video blog posts from a teenage girl whose brother is involved in events that unfold in "Secret Invasion." Thus far, the videos have generated nearly a quarter of a million views, and the profile has attracted "friends" from demographics that Marvel rarely penetrates -- specifically 18- to 22-year-old girls."
From WOMMA Word


When to listen to your agency's crazy ideas

Interesting article today in Marketing Daily by Phyllis Dealy titled "You Say Your Agency's Annoying Like It's A Bad Thing" We've all been there, I know I have, when an agency comes up with a crazy idea that at first glance seems both insane and probably expensive, so its dismissed. But sometimes there are times when you need to trust your vendors/partners, especially if they are persistently pitching these ideas. Those times, according to the article, are:

1. Testing a mobile marketing program - OK, I can bite on this one, especially if I'm a consumer goods company, and maybe if I sell B2B depending on the situtation. It has lagged to date, but at some point US mobile use will catch up to Asia and Europe and it will become a major media vehicle.

2. Brandcasting - "The ultimate multi-channel play" according to the article, the idea is brand as channel. I think this can only work in two cases. One, you truly have an iconic brand (Apple, Harley, Nike, etc.). Two, you are completely a new company with no brand recognition and you're in effect branding the channel and then using the exhaust on this to brand your product. Both cases are rare, and everyone thinks they can be a YouTube success story which often makes you look lame, so wade into these waters carefully.

3. Pushing a creative or media idea that's 'too big' 'too expensive' or has 'nothing to do with your brand' - - Again, I agree with this. Within reason, you have to let your agency do what they do best, trust them, and measure the results as best you can.

Weekly Top 10 Bestselling Entrepreneurship Books

According to Amazon.com as of 04.11.08

  1. The 4-Hour work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich - by Timothy Ferris and Ray Porter
  2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - by Steven Covey
  3. Earth: The Sequel: The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming - by Fred Krupp and Miriam Horn
  4. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It - by Michael E. Gerber
  5. First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently - by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
  6. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth - by T. Harv Eker
  7. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box - by Arbinger Institute and The Arbinger Institute
  8. The Leadership Challenge - by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
  9. The One Minute Manager - by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
  10. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies - by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras