Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

The Oval Neon Open Sign

March 8, 2009

A new craze has swept the retail community.  It’s the oval neon open sign  and it looks like this:

Even in my quaint neighborhood of Noe Valley in San Francisco, we are inundated with this ubiquitous symbol of openness.  When I see this sign the following thoughts go through my head in this order:

  1. Shock  – Wow, another one of these signs (?!)
  2. Enlightenment – This business is probably low quality / unoriginal / not trying hard.
  3. Confusion – Why would the proprietor want to convey these connotations?
  4. Trivia – I guess this establishment is open / closed.

In just a few blocks along 24th street in Noe Valley I counted six of these eyesores.  It is a perfect example of horrible design and poor marketing.  A hand painted open sign is friendlier, unique, conveys personality, and is only a fraction of the cost.  Here is my favorite sign on 24th Street for a shop called ladybug ladybug:


Biodynamic Marketing

November 30, 2008

Marketing is not only a good way to sell a product, but, it is also a remarkable way to make the product  “better” than other products which are actually equivalent.  If you read, Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, you might remember the research of Louis Cheskin.  He was one of the first researchers to apply scientific principles to marketing.  In several studies, by modifying only the packaging, the consumers would say one brand tasted better than another which was actually identically except for the packaging!

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and there is nothing quite like the wine market in this area.  Literally thousands of different wines, which probably only experts could discern between, are fighting for consumers dollars.  One variety of wine which is doing quite well in the Bay Area marketplace, is labeled as “Biodynamic”.  I’ve had biodyanic wine in the past, I just assumed it meant “organic” and/or grown properly with the local ecology (whatever that means).  I was never sure what it meant really, except it was obvious the name was marketing gold.  I didn’t think much about it though, until I read a remarkable article in a local free paper, SF Weekly, about the phenomenom.

It turns out, Biodyanic wine is based on the occult, astrology, and bullshit (yes, both meanings).  There are ritualistic preparations involving burying animal parts stuffed with various substances where they can ferment for a season.  All of this is done in “correspondence” with the stars and planets.

For example preparation 502:

Yarrow flowers are buried sheathed in a stag’s bladder. This is hung in the summer sun, buried over winter, then dug up the following spring. The bladder’s contents are removed and inserted in the compost (the used bladder is discarded).




This leads to an interesting marketing challenge: focus on the term “biodynamic” and other hot marketing buzzwords such as “organic”, “green”, and “eco-friendly”, but hide the underlying occult rituals.  We must wait and see how the marketing proceeds, but I know one thing: I will stay away from these wacky wines!