• Battling Bad Buzz

    One of the great things about technology is that, while it may be destroying entire product categories and the jobs that come with them, it is often at the same time creating other product categories and the jobs that come with them. The trick for employees, marketers, and consumers is to keep up with the times, and this can be a very neat trick indeed.

    Social media, for example, is in the process of rapidly shifting advertising dollars away from traditional media, which is proving to be rather disruptive all around. The jobs in one category are shifting to another, and those without digital savvy will surely be looking for different kind of work. So too it is in the concentric worlds of marketing research and public relations, wherein the solar system of public opinion now revolves around social media. Focus groups and surveys? Who needs these costly and imperfect metrics when you can immediately see whether you are "trending on Twitter" and affect/monitor your brand reputation via a growing host of new tools. Talk about innovation!

    Yet managing brand reputation is now a much greater challenge than it used to be, and full service PR agencies as well as marketing research firms, must now offer an online component with the commensurate expertise and menu of marketing services. It can be seen as both a threat and an opportunity if we wish look at things in terms of the SWOT analysis (never a bad idea!), and both the scale and the pace of change is a challenge marketers must meet head on..

  • Movies Both Up and Down

    When was the last time you saw a movie in a theater? How many movies have you seen in the past year? Is that number up or down from the previous year?

    We know for a fact that fewer Americans are going to the movies these days, actually down 11% over the past decade, but that overall revenues are still up. How is that? Fewer attendees with a rise in theater revenue usually means one thing...higher movie ticket prices. It seems that the core movie-goer is somewhat insensitive to price, and marketers have largely looked to foreign markets for audience growth. But it appears that ultimately lower prices might be in order to attract the increasingly-price conscious consumer with an ever expanding array of alternative entertainment choices.

    The average movie ticket price is now over eight bucks, and we won't even begin to discuss what passes for "concessions". Let's just say that there are lucrative margins in addressing a captive audience (a fact that may also help to explain the increse in revenues), and more attendees maeans selling more stuff. Further, increasing the number of attendees means more eyeballs on the ads shown before the show, which at least theoretically should result in more expensive advertising placements. Yet, crowds do keep folks away so there may be a point of diminishing returns here.

    Regardless, all forms of group-oriented spectator entertainment should be on notice. Prices for almost all spectator sports have steadily increased for decades, and these sport properties are also beginning to struggle a bit. Who will be the first to effectively address the proverbial "elephant in the living room"? Time will tell.

  • Half Bike Is Half-Baked

    Yet another strange innovation has come to my attention, and every time this happens, I begin to think about the "marketing concept". This maxim reminds marketers to assess market needs first and then tailor a 4 P Marketing Mix to meet those needs. As a rule, one should not expend resources to develop and then commercialize something for which there is no real need in the marketplace. Enter the "Halfbike".

    There is no seat, no handlebars, and only one wheel. The contraption seems to be operated by a steerable shaft and a handbrake, and appears to have no practical use whatsoever. It has none of the benefits of a bike or a scooter, and seems to have only the purpose of propelling a person from one place to another, however inefficiently. Of course the owners are selling this contraption online (for $799 per), since it would be difficult to imagine any retailer carrying this product for any discernable reason, and naturally they are looking to "crowdsource" funding through the popular portal, Kickstarter. Just who is this product intended for and for what purpose? What is the product positioning strategy if any?

    Well good luck with all that! At least the Segway is a somewhat useful product, even if only to those in parking enforcement and a handful other industries where workers must stop and go frequently, but do not have to carry anything substantial around with them. And as a toy, the product has been a miserable disaster. Are there lessons to be learned here? For certain. Could this be the new vehicle of choice for bike messengers everywhere? Fat chance of this product ever moving from a few hipster Innovators (the first few to adopt a product) toward attracting the Early Adopters (a must-reach category for product success).

  • Tesla Fights Supply Chain Rules

    By now you have heard of the pricey electric sports car manufacturer and its' high profile line of battery-powered automobiles. The company is barely profitable, and probably wouldn't be at all without government subsidies, but no matter. It's a cool-looking car, and rich folks love how it makes them feel. But the major problem at present isn't getting people to fork over the money for the prestige-priced product, although that is indeed a problem that Tesla must overcome in the long-term. The current problem lies with the state regulation of car dealerships.

    Most states have laws that forbid direct selling of automobiles to consumers, instead opting for a "middleman" model involving dealerships. We are all familiar with how this works, and it seems that the laws might be somewhat antiquated. In other words, consumers can't buy new vehicles directly from the Tesla website after visiting Tesla showrooms, which are often found in shopping malls. Tesla wants to sell direct to consumer and the states won't let them. Why? Dealers say that allowing direct sales would "harm consumers, limiting their ability to shop around for the best price, trade in vehicles, or obtain financing for a new car". Is this true?

    Perhaps for regular consumers, but high-income Tesla purchasers might not be interested in any of the above "protections".  And the company is small enough to operate without large facilities, for the time being. As Tesla grows, it will probably be forced to adopt a more traditional, full-service dealership model. The existence of value-adding intermediaries would surely boost the purchase price by 25% or more, and Tesla can ill-afford to raise its already prohibitive prices. What will happen?

    Tesla should be able to do what it wants to do as long as it doesn't harm competition or the consumer, so the antiquated laws, which seem to favor large companies with deep pockets, should probably be changed. But don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen on the state level. Any real change would have top be enacted on a federal level, which would take years plan and execute. So what about Tesla? Don't worry. The Zeitgeist certainly favors "green" goods and services, and this adminstration in particular has demonstrated a propensity to forward the cause with taxpayer subsidies. Perhaps an exception will be made for those companies deemed "green" enough. Who knows? What is clear, however, is that Tesla's non-traditional business model is under a very serious legal and regulatory threat. Can the company affect that landscape politically? Time will tell.

  • Strahan's The Man

    It seems that Michael Strahan is everywhere these days. Ever since his retirement from the NFL a few years ago after an outstanding career with the NY Giants, he has since accepted full time jobs with both Fox NFL Sunday and the popular daily morning show, Live! With Kelly and Michael. The NFL gig certainly makes sense, but Strahan replacing Regis Philbin on a morning show largely watched by middle-aged women? Believe it. This is much bigger than Drew Carey replacing Bob Barker on The Price is Right, and it clearly demonstrates that some athletes have staying power, or what we call "continuity" in sports marketing, after they retire from the game.

    Strahan also has a handful of endorsement deals, and he has apparently signed on to be the host of a game show to be aired in the near future. But, wait. That's not all. He is also producing an undisclosed motion picture with Marky Mark Wahlberg, another celebrity who has reinvented himself. This is all truly fascinating. Not everyone has this sort of appeal, but Strahan's is truly wide. The only issue here is overexposure, as people may grow tired of seeing Michael gap-toothed grin every time they turn on the television. But if that does happen, it will take a while, and "Brand Strahan" will undoubtedly achieve vast success in the meantime.

  • Variable Ticket Pricing Catches On

    First the Buffalo Bills announced that the franchise would take the league lead and begin to price some tickets based on anticipated demand. At least the Lions led the league in something...Nevertheless, this announcement referred to low-demand, pre-season games only, but now other teams have concluded that since variable ticket pricing has worked in other professional leagues, it is bound to work in the NFL.

    And it will work, since most fans believe that not all matchups are created equal. And what's with charging full price for pre-season "games", a tradition that has irked season ticket holders for time immemorial? But don't get too excited about lower prices just yet. Variable pricing has been used in other leagues as an excuse to charge marquee prices for marquee match-ups, and to discount the occasional low-demand stinker (think Nuggets versus Raptors). But these leagues are beginning to struggle with attendance. And since the NFL has fewer games, it is a much scarcer product and thus the pressure to fill stadiums is not as great as it is for other leagues where there are many more home games. Yet, variable pricing has arrived. Why?

    Remember that some teams had trouble selling out playoff games this past season, so no sport is immune to the substitutive power of the HDTV and home surround sound systems. Personally, I too would rather stay at home rather than brave the weather, concessions, traffic, brutish fans, and endless breaks in the action at the stadium. And the digitalization of the secondary market for ticket sales has made prices for the events more in line with what the market desires. This is a good thing. It is highly likely that prices for spectator sports in every major league will eventually have to fall in the future, and variable pricing might be the first step in that direction.

  • Exxon's Disclosure

    In an unprecedented move by a large fossil fuel company, Exxon Mobil Corp. has voluntarily agreed to disclose how the regulation of carbon emissions could affect the value of its oil and gas assets. The report will be published later this month and could shed some light into how industry and regulators could work together to reduce emissions that might contribute to climate change (formerly "global warming").

    Whether or not fossil fuels contribute to climate change, and they probably do to some degree, it remains to be seen whether or not there is any way to make any dent in reversing the trend, considering the vast increases in both population and consumption over the past 200 years. So why should Exxon care?

    Certainly future regulations are a concern, and the company would rather be on the forefront of developing these regulations with government rather than pouting on the sidelines waiting for a mandate. And shareholder relations is a big part it too. Indeed most stakeholders are concerned about carbon, hydraulic fracturing, and any negative environmental impact that may stem from these activities. So the act of being transparent and forthright about such matters is simply good publicity for the brand.

  • Ram Tough

    After years of playing third violin behind Ford and General Motors, Chrysler has shown some indications that it might move up in the hierarchy of truck sales. Ford and GM each sell about $650,000 pickup trucks per year, and the Ram remains a distant third at just over 350,000 units, but sales for the latter grew by 21% last year, much faster than the former two brands.

    And it looks like so far this year is no different. Ram is up 24%, and GM is down from last year. Chrysler, in a partnership with Italian auto maker Fiat, has vastly improved the look and performance of the vehicle and over the past few years has used aggressive pricing and intensive marketing to make a run at the two leaders. If Ram can continue the momentum, it won't be long before there is a Big Three in the world of pickup trucks.

  • New Slogan For Diet Coke

    We have established in previous columns that the product is certainly in the decline stage of the product life cycle, but that reality is not stopping Coca-Cola from investing in its flagship diet soda. And as such, marketers have embarked on a new advertising campaign featuring billboards and other outdoor signage with variations of the slogan, "Your On. Diet Coke".


    The messaging has been tailored to the geographic area in which it has been placed, so San Francisco ads mention apps and New York ads mention fashion. The messaging also focuses on the stimulating properties of the soft drink, a harbringer back to the days when the formula actually included cocaine, which has long since been removed and replaced with caffeine. There is even some criticism that Coke has crossed a line with this messaging, but I just don't see the drug references alleged by some, however subtle. And lots of beverages, with names like "Liquid Crack", highlight energy as key benefit, so why should Coke have to play by different rules?

    But as far as spending money on the brand goes, remember that billboards aren't very expensive, relatively speaking, in the world of advertising. And they tend to be rather effective for the money invested. So I think it's a rather nice campaign that will hopefully help reverse the declining sales and profits that the brand has been experiencing over the past decade. But advertising can only do so much. Consumer tastes are shifting, and substitutes threaten to relegate the soft drink to something everyone used to drink when there was nothing available except beer and water.

  • Food Prices and the Weather

    With all of the East Coast-centric news coverage we are exposed to on a daily basis, you'd think the entire nation was enveloped in Ice Age-like conditions. But the reality is that the western half of the U.S. is experiencing a severe drought, and this is not good for things that come from the ground and require water in order to thrive.

    Prices for crops rise because yields are lower during drought conditions, and the same goes for cattle since herds must be pared down during dry years. And when prices for these raw materials rise, companies must lower profit expectations, pass the cost increases along the supply chain, or combine the two, ultimately resulting in a higher price for the consumer.

    One of the nice things about competition is that it forces companies to become more efficient rather than raise prices, as higher prices tend to make a product less competitive in the market. But there is only so much a competitive environment can offer, and ultimately we are all beholden to Mother Nature. With food prices rising an expected 3.5% this year, consumers can expect to have less left over for the fun stuff. And so it goes...

  • Marketing Madness

    It isn't the Super Bowl or the Olympics, but nevertheless marketers are lining up this year to be a part of the madness that is the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. The average 30 second spot for the championship game this year is $1.4 million, which far below the $4 million the spots were fetching at this year's Super Bowl, but still represents a hefty chunk of change for most marketers. And it's about the same amount marketers spend as for the AFC and NFC Championship games.

    The NCAA tournament has a very wide appeal, and this is partly why it is so attractive to marketers. The audience spans many age groups, and most viewers will be watching the game live so "zipping" and "zapping" aren't a problem. And of course the Twitter hashtag tie-ins will be very important for marketers as they endeavor to incorporate direct response into their advertisments, practice that is fast becoming an imperative. New ad campaigns, new apps, rebranding efforts, and clever sales promotions should provide plenty of entertainment for viewers this year as the bar continues to be raised ever higher.

  • Hasbro Bets on Girl Power

    The idea for the strategy was developed almost 10 years ago after a Hasbro senior executive took his 5 year-old daughter on a tour of the company and she remarked that there weren't any toys for girls. The executive soon realized that her assertion on that day was essentialy true! Shame on Hasbro for having neglected a full 50% of the market for children's toys for absolutely no good marketing reason, but that's all water under the bridge since that senior executive is now running the show. And for the company that brought you Transformers, girls are what's happening these days. 

    Hasbro engaged in a great deal of market research in an attempt to better understand the attitudes and behaviors of this young demographic, and has since reaped great rewards from the implementation of a sound, well-founded marketing strategy. The revitalization of My Little Pony with its mega-universe of characters and their requisite products has helped bring sales in the "girls division" to over $1 billion for the first time, which is triple what it was back when that astute little girl discovered the missed market opportunity. And don't forget Furby, another brand reintroduced after a decade-long absence, a line that has recently surpassed Pony in revenue generation.

    The sky seems to be the limit for Hasbro now that marketers have addressed the market issue, but we all know that kids are prone to fads, finicky, and that toys don't always translate from one generation to another. Yet, good "psychographic" targeting within the young female demographic in the future should allow the company to innovate and introduce new products at a healthy pace. Some will win and some will lose, as the song goes, but basing product development on good market research is a tough approach to beat.

  • The Internet Versus Television

    "TV? Who watches that anymore?" asks the Millennial college student who has neither the money nor the time for an expensive television media package. But it would be naive to ask something like that, as it is important for any student or practitioner of marketing to avoid making broad generalizations without the presence of some factual data. In fact, the internet lags far behind television in two crucial categories--viewership and advertising dollars.

    Let's start with viewership. Television has about 283 million viewers who watch an average of 146 hours per month, per person. That's a lot of TV. And the internet? 155 million people watching an average of 12 hours of online video per month, per person. The comparison is not even close. And as for advertising dollars? What a marketer charges for an ad is based almost entirely on viewership, so one might expect that the internet is lagging behind TV. It turns out that TV generates $7.4 billion in annual revenue and the internet $3.5 billion. Again. Not even close.

    Does this mean that TV is here to stay? Yes, it does. Television (both cable and broadcast) and the internet will continue to converge towards one another and will eventually meet up in a seamless offering that encompasses both mediums. The idea of "Internet TV" is becoming a reality and much about the industry will change. But the changes that do happen will be fairly gradual, as they have been for the past decade or so.

  • Korean "Food Porn"

    Different cultures value different things. What may seem perfectly normal in one culture might be taboo in another, and marketers must understand every nuance when it comes to international marketing. It seems pretty obvious, but I am always surprised at how many marketers fail to fully understand whom they are marketing to. This is an important point to remember, but it isn't really what this particular post is all about.

    Broadcast TV is a fairly limiting medium, especially in countries that only have a few channels and limited to zero access to satellite TV, but the internet is virtually unlimited. And it is through this latter medium that people from different cultures can truly connect with one another. And it is through this latter medium that we can all now enjoy watching Korean TV personalities host "eating shows". Yep. Talking and eating, usually hosted by an attractive female. And lots of people in Korea tune in to view this sort of thing. 

    In Korean it is known as "mokbang" (eating broadcast), but some Western observers are calling it "food porn". Just tune in and you will see what they mean. This trend began a year or so ago, so it's not entirely new, but it is important enough that some programming is becoming so popular that it has migrated onto broadcast TV in Australia. Why do people watch? I'm certain that many non-Americans are routinely appalled at the nature of some of our programming, whether it be Real Housewives, the Kardashians, Honey Boo Boo, or other blatantly voyueristic stuff that doesn't play well in other countries and reflects very poorly on our culture. "One man's trash is another man's treasure" is an old saying that marketers should remember, and we know that different cultures may indeed have wildly different attitudes and behaviors. Specialty food producers all over the world might want to take note of how Koreans in particular approach food. The "mokbang" may never become popular here in the U.S., but there are certainly international opportunities for the astute marketer.

  • Advertising's Deceptive Tactics

    Security service provider ADT didn't used to stand for that, but the recent settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over deceptive advertising practices certainly casts a shadow over a brand that positions itself on the idea of trust and security. Charges that the company paid people to endorse its home security products as "experts" in media outlets (without disclosing the individuals' connection to the organization) were enough to cause ADT to settle for a yet undisclosed amount. Deceptive advertising is not "puffery" wherein an advertisement merely exaggerates the greatness of a product in a manner that the truth cannot really be proven either way, and no one is really hurt. "World's Greatest Hamburger" is an example. But as far as misleading consumers goes, ADT appears to be guilty as charged.

    But what about the brand? Will there be any long-term effects? Americans have notoriously short memories, so a solid marketing campaign without "experts" can negate much of the negativity among the general population if planned and executed properly by ADT marketers. The major take-away here is the message that the action by the FTC, which is one of many recent such actions, sends to other companies. The agency is watching. Competitors are watching. NGO's and the media are watching. And there will be consequences.

  • McPastries?

    The battle for the quick breakfast continues. After Taco Bell very recently announced the introduction of a rather ambitious morning menu in an attempt to challenge long-time market leader, McDonald's, the latter chain has announced the possible addition of an assortment of pastries to its own venerable breakfast menu. The company is test-marketing the concept, and the new products might soon be ready for a bigger rollout.

    The anticipated move by McDonald's is not so much a response to Taco Bell as it is part of a longer-term "McCafe" strategy to combat Dunkin' Donuts' and Starbucks' aggressive seizure of market share over the past several years, But Taco Bell is now on the breakfast radar, and it remains to be seen whether or not the Mexican food-inspired chain can truly compete in this sector.

    And as for McDonald's? The brand has equity and the stores have traffic, although its reputation for service has taken a pretty big hit in recent years. Adding another group of products to its menu can only help matters. And we know from the success of the Starbucks model that some consumers love to pay for specialty coffee and pastries all day long. The question is, "Will McDonald's consumers want to pay for these products?"

  • Jeter's Afterlife

    The retirement announcement was sudden, but I wouldn't say it was unexpected. At the end of this season, Derek Jeter, longtime Yankees star, will hang up his cleats after 20 years in Major League Baseball. But don't expect his endorsement deals to stop anytime soon. Mr. Jeter seems to have everything a brand is looking for in an endorser--success, attractiveness, likeability, style, and a clean image. He currently brings in about $10 million a year working for companies like Movado, Avon, Rawlings, Pepsi, Nike and many others, but there is little doubt that his earning potential as a retired player could be just as lucrative.

    Not only will he continue to be active with current and also some new endorsement deals, but he has also taken an ownership stake in several companies, moving beyond a "pitchman" role. And it is fairly certain that the way he will be portrayed in future ads will probably change some, with less emphasis on his athletic prowess and more emphasis on portraying him as a successful dude whom many people would like to emulate. Such a shift in presentation certainly makes sense in light of his retirement.

    Undoubtedly, one more season of Mr. Jeter in the spotlight will almost certainly result in more endorsement money down the line. Look for sectors such as financial services to bid for Mr. Jeter's image, as his appeal will largely be to the 40 and up crowd, and look for him to become a part of the fabric of American business culture. There is money to be made for both the endorser and the endorsee.


  • What Ever Happened to Wheaties?

    Everyone knows the iconic brand with its tradition of featuring athletes on its packaging. In fact, Wheaties boxes have displayed nearly 500 athletes since Lou Gehrig graced the box in 1934, but despite this excellent marketing strategy, the brand has languished for many years. Wheaties has gone from double-digit market share to about 1% over the last 10 years and currently ranks 17th among cereals.

    It appears that having hip, recently-successful athletes on packaging (celebrities who are essentially "endorsing" the product) isn't enough to keep consumers coming back. The cereal is rather bland-tasting and is made of wheat, a grain under fire recently for its gluten content and fat-inducing qualities. Cheerios and Special K are better positioned. But is this an excuse to have fallen so far so fast?

    It is clear that General Mills, the parent company, has essentially given up on the brand. The act of removing resources from managing the brand as sales fall, while still reaping whatever profits are left, is known as "harvesting", and it is exactly what marketers are supposed to do when a product reaches the decline stage of the product life cycle. Is it worth investing resources into the brand to revive it? The company also owns Cheerios, which is doing quite well at 12% of the U.S. market, and a number of other successful brands so I would expect the continued decline of Wheaties followed by product deletion when the product reaches the point where it is no longer profitable. That's just the way it goes.

  • Oscar and the Product Placement

    Every once in a while a marketer really puts something over on me. I should know better, but I get fooled anyway, perhaps because deep down I want to be fooled. This year's Academy Awards featured a "selfie" taken by host, Ellen DeGeneres, of herself and several "A list" actors. It was so popular that it "broke" Twitter with 2 million or so retweets, overloading the system. I thought it was a cool, spur-of-the-moment thing that really humanized these Hollywood celebrities for a minute. Oh how wrong I was...

    It turns out that this spontaneous bit of entertainment was nothing more than a very subtle and clever product placement, also known as brand/product integration, perpetrated by market leader Samsung. I personally didn't notice that it was a Samsung phone at the time, but a review of the footage revealed that indeed the phone and its logo was prominently displayed. And the host played with the phone pretty much all night. It's pretty sneaky marketing, but I like it! The tactic was not intrusive, nor irritating, and it was part of the content of the show and so cannot be zipped or zapped by impatient viewers as commercials are.

    The show brought in an estimated 43 million viewers, the most since 2004, and was also the most popular non-sports entertainment event since the "Friends" finale also airing a decade ago. This means that Samsung received a lot of bang for its buck. Samsung gave the network (ABC) free phones in exchange for a promise that they would get airtime, and that was that. This was an excellent example of why Samsung has surpassed Apple as the market leader for smartphones. Let's just call it "smartmarketing".

  • OJ In Decline

    In this column, we have spoken much about the decline of the carbonated soda category, both the sugary and the diet varieties, and have outlined the many reasons why such a well-entrenched product category could finally pass out of the maturit stage of the product life cycle, and into decline. So now soda, cassette tapes, DVD players, music stores, sports collectibles, and so many other categories have a new product to keep them company. Orange Juice.

    There are several reasons for the fact that sales of this once ubiquitous beverage have been declining every year for the past decade. The availability of substitute beverages is a primary reason why the category is highly unlikely to achieve its former level of glory. There are simply too many choices out there, and consumers like it!  High sugar content in the product is another reason that an increasing number of consumers eschew OJ. It's very high in sugar, many consumers are reducing their sugar-intake overall, and the reduced-sugar versions are downright nasty-tasting. A third reason involves price, as raw material costs for oranges have skyrocketed in recent years due to insect-bourne diseases. Add the usual mix of droughts, floods, and hurricanes, and it is unlikely that the natural environment will be very kind to orange crops in the future, so prices are likely to remain high. And as production volumes decrease due to decreasing demand, prices will probably further increase. The days of the $4 dollar, 4 oz. glass of fresh-squeezed OJ might be back, as the product retreats into serving a much smaller market segment.

  • Multi-Use Smokes

    Well we know that traditional cigarette use is declining, while e-cigrarette use is on the rise. Well, of course it is, the latter product is a healthier substitute for the former and will eventually eat its market share. This is why I am not terribly upset to hear that teens are using e-cigs. I would postulate that these kids would be smoking the regular, stinky variety were it still a socially-acceptable activity. Mom can't smell the e-cig vapor so it's a stealthier (and probably much safer) way to be a delinquent. Nevertheless, the FDA will soon release a set of regulations regarding the marketing of this product category (with special attention given to taregting the younger crowd), but this hasn't stopped one manufacturer from getting creative with this growing product category.

    Introducing the Supersmoker Bluetooth. Yep. An e-cigarette that doubles as a phone, one that can both receive calls and play music, is finally on the market, so if you've been looking for that sort of multi-functionality out of a smoking device, then you are now in luck. The question is, "Does anyone really need this sort of product?" Probably not, but it is an interesting innovation from the Dutch company that invented the entire e-cigarette category. It comes in multiple colors and retails for just over $100. Will it sell? Despite, the publicity it has received don't expect it to break any records or even be around at all in a few years. Most of the e-smoking products are similar to one another, and it probably didn't take a technological wizard to attach an audio device to a piece of metal, so I wouldn't say that too much time was expended in the product development process. So why not introduce a product that reminds both the market and the industry that the company is still innovative and relevant? It generates publicity, and who knows, it just might work.