Friday, April 8, 2011

My last bacon post

Bacon Sundae, bacon popcorn, bacon chocolate I can understand. Bacon cologne? Not so much.

Actually, I'm pretty sure this is a hoax, but it's a good one because as hot as bacon is right now, I can see someone actually making this. Their website is pretty convincing, but the video leads me to believe someone is just having fun here.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Out there up there

From the "be remarkable" file.

You're a small airline from a small country flying into major markets like San Francisco and Los Angeles and competing with industry behemoths including United, Delta, British Air and JAL. How do you get noticed?

What Air New Zealand did was take the most boring, repetitive, and unmemorable part of the flying experience and hired Richard Simmons to make it interesting.

Being different has its benefits. In the week and a half since this video appeared onboard and on Youtube, nearly two million people have viewed it. And this isn't a one off.

Air New Zealand has a history of creating videos that stand out from the typical smiling airline personnel videos. Recent efforts have featured a muppet named Rico rapping with Snoop Dogg to demonstrate the easy connections between New Zealand and Los Angeles, and an older flight safety video where employees are wearing nothing but body paint.

It just goes to show what can happen when you're not afraid to be different.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

If it talks like a duck

Aflac should thank Gilbert Gottfried for being an insensitive jerk.

Due to his tasteless twitter posts about the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami, Aflac was forced to fire him (75% of Aflac's business is in Japan) and begin looking for a new voice for the Aflac duck.

Being the smart marketers they are, rather than just hire a talented, veteran voice actor and move on, Aflac decided to hold open auditions. The result has been a wealth of free media that would make even Lindsay Lohan jealous.

CBS, CNN, and just about every major broadcast news outlet has covered the story. It's in the New York Times today and been featured in newspapers and websites across the country. And based on the hundreds of videos posted on Youtube, you'd think this nation has gone Aflac crazy.

While there is such a thing as bad publicity (Charlie Sheen) Aflac proves that you can turn bad publicity into good fortune if you know what you're doing.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yesterday's news

In the 1950s designer Brooks Stevens coined the term "Planned Obsolescence" to describe the fundamental underpinning of our burgeoning consumer economy. Companies were deliberately designing their products in such a way that within a few years – thanks to ephemeral style, technology or performance – people would be forced to buy new stuff on a regular basis.

My, how things have changed.

We've gone from a time when companies felt they had to design obsolescence into their products in order to guarantee future sales, to one where global competition is so intense that people are afraid to buy the latest computer, cell phone, car or fashion item for fear that it will be out of date by the time they get it home.

We're living in the era of "Forced Obsolescence." No one has the luxury of allowing products to become obsolete on their own timetable. The competition will do that for you.

If this had been the '50s, Apple would have launched the iPad and milked that platform for a few years before making significant investments in changing it. Instead they knew that competitors would quickly enter the marketplace and the iPad 2 was launched with more features, more functionality and an improved design for the same price less than a year later.

Apple knows, and hopefully your company does too, that today you have to eat your own young before the competition does it for you.

Monday, April 4, 2011

BMW follows the money

If you don't think the world has changed, consider this.

BMW will unveil the new M5 concept in a few weeks not in Geneva, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo or any of the other traditional auto shows. According to, the M5 will make its public debut at the Shanghai Auto Show later this month.

I shouldn't be surprised. With huge piles of disposable income, China is fast becoming the most important market on the global automotive landscape.

BMW has already established its place in the West as the leading performance luxury brand (although Audi coming up fast). BMW M enthusiasts in Europe and the US know what the M means in terms of performance, handling and exclusivity, and will line up accordingly.

In China, however, BMW is still fighting to establish its image and credentials. Using the Shanghai show as a platform to launch the concept globally demonstrates an elevated level of commitment to a market that swallowed more than 500,000 luxury cars last year. 

That's is pretty incredible when you consider there were fewer than one million privately-owned cars on Chinese roads just 15 years ago.