• Giving You What "They" Want

    Have you ever wondered what drives the some of the suggestions that music and movie sites make for their users? Of course, some of it is based on past preferences, but the Wall Street Journal published a fascinating article several weeks ago about streaming...
  • Fighting Ad Fraud

    The Internet has provided marketers with unprecedented opportunities to engage with consumers one-to-one, but an increasing level of advertising fraud is vexing the industry. For years, marketers have been paying for ads that consumers do not see, but...
  • United in Anger

    So much has already been written on the negative publicity issues facing United Airlines, that the latest problems bear mentioning here in this column. It all began several weeks ago when employees refused to allow two teenage girls traveling on company...
  • Selling Through the Schools

    Colorado's cash-strapped Thompson School District is willing to entertain some rather creative solutions to funding issues. Many marketers would love to have more access to students in their captive school environments, but generally speaking educators...
  • Making Slow Change at McDonald's

    McDonald's is a lot like Wal-Mart in that as market leader, it takes a lot of flak for the industry, and even the positive changes it makes are scrutinized to a degree not experienced by smaller competitors. Recently the company has made socially...
  • Chipotle: Lost At Sea?

    Chipotle is a company that doesn't do much traditional advertising, but that doesn't mean that they don't develop and implement marketing communications programs. They do. But the company doesn't seem to spend very much money on marketing...
  • Panera Versus "Not Food"

    The consumer attitudinal shift towards preferring "cleaner" food products has been in full swing for at least four decades now. Changing attitudes have spawned the now massive Natural and Organic Products Industry, and even mainstream marketers...
  • "Guilt-Free" Snacking?

    Pepsi is a brand known for carbonated soda and snack foods, but not necessarily for anything that a reasonable person would consider to be "healthy". And a previous effort to divide the company's products into "good for you" and...
  • Alibaba's Many Thieves

    Few young adults are familiar with the classic book , Arabian Nights , but one of the more familiar tales concerns Alibaba and his Forty Thieves. I always found it amusing that the Chinese "eBay-like" giant chose such a name for its business...
  • Talking Toys Also Listen

    The talking toy category emerged about half century ago with the introduction of a handful of very basic products that often involved pulling a string, as parents sought new ways of encouraging their kids to entertain themselves in an emerging age of...
  • Millennials Prefer Marlboro

    Nicotine is not yet dead, yet the number of smokers/vapers/chewers of tobacco products continues to drop year after year. In fact, only 15% of young adults use these kinds of products, and, to the vast majority of society, this is certainly a very good...
  • Third-Party Intervention at Facebook

    These days the average consumer is not really all that gullible, but rather is a much more cynical creature than in years past. By the time we reach adulthood we have received and filtered hundreds of thousands if not millions of marketing messages, which...
  • Meat Without The Slaughter

    There are some vegans, vegetarians, and animal activists out there who are salivating at the opportunity to enjoy the flavor (and nutritional value) of meat without killing any actual animals. And if marketers at companies like Impossible Foods have their...
  • An Incentive to Cheat

    The world of professional selling is rife with incentives. Without such inducements to sell it would be quite difficult to encourage employees to expend the effort necessary to succeed in this difficult, but potentially lucrative, profession. But the...
  • Tesla: All Hat and No Cattle

    Tesla is viewed by many in the general public as an innovative company and its founder and CEO Elon Musk as a genius of the first order. In the eyes of many, he is a pioneer bent on saving the world from the ravages of global warming and other environmental...
  • Fighting Fish Fraud

    On the heels of the rather shocking results of a study conducted several months ago that revealed the "not-so-farm-to-table" nature of misrepresented foods served in many restaurants and small stores (a previous post), an even larger study conducted...
  • GMO Scare Tactics Likely To Continue

    Genetically-modified organisms (GMO's) are scary to many people. The Certified Organic category, which is non-GMO by definition, has grown dramatically over the past two decades as GMO's have become more prevalent in the overall food supply. The...
  • Still More Trouble With Naturals

    As if all of the lawsuits involving misleading "natural" claims weren't bad enough, a recent article by a Tampa Bay Times food critic has revealed that some of the "farm-to-table" fare we think we are eating isn't what we think...
  • Unclean Marketing?

    At least that is what the Federal Trade Commission is alleging with its recent complaint against the troubled German car-maker that its advertising has falsely promoted its diesel vehicles as environmentally-friendly. This wonderful news comes on the...
  • A "Kitchen" By Any Other Name...

    What does a brand name really mean to marketers? Plenty. The brand name is not only the first thing that consumers learn about the product, it is also often the first line of defense against competitors. As such, marketers rightly view the brand name...
  • Manning, Beyonce Boost Brands

    Sometimes a celebrity need only utter a few words, and he or she can move an entire market. We all know about the power of celebrity endorsers, but what happens when a famous person makes a casual mention of a brand as Peyton Manning did during this past...
  • DeVry Caught In Lie?

    Over the past several years, for-profit colleges have been under quite a bit of intense federal scrutiny. Some companies, such as Corinthian, have had to close their doors, while others remain on what could be described as a form of academic probation...
  • Barbie's New Look

    Faced with flagging sales over the past several years, the makers of Barbie are truly facing the reality of changing attitudes among young girls. Every generation is a little more "progressive" than the previous one, as social and environmental...
  • The Electric Auto Test

    The electric car, often marketed as a far greener, more progressive alternative to vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines (and subsidized by Uncle Sam to make it more competitive in the marketplace) has still failed to gain traction in...
  • Beating Up A Burrito Brand

    In a previous post, I postulated that Chipotle marketers have two choices, apologize profusely, take affirmative action and carry on; or make dramatic changes to the brand. We have just seen the beginning of the former strategy (most recently perfected...