Thursday, March 29, 2007

From Fashion Week Daily:

"Think you know it all when it comes to sipping in style? Sure, you're savvy, but Cointreau could teach you a thing or two. Lesson one: just as important as the drink itself is what you pick to pour it. Case in point? Their new collection of celebrity-designed bottles. The luxe liqueurist tapped boldfacers like Molly Sims, Carmen Electra, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Mena Suvari, Shannon Elizabeth and Chris Evans—all of whom helped host its events throughout the past year—to co-design Cointreau bottles with NYC artist Mike Sagato, which are now being auctioned off to benefit charities like Friends of El Faro, Head to Hollywood, Save Darfur, National Resource Defense Council, Animal Avengers, and the Concord Youth Theater. The bidding ends March 27, so log on soon, do some good, and sip like a star!"

To see more of the Cointreau stuff click here.

Thanks to Bryan Mattox for this.

Monday, March 26, 2007

From Coroflot:

"TwentyFour Wine uses rubber bands as its label. In doing so an everyday item is transformed into something beautiful. This reflects a good wine's ability to transform a normal meal or occasion into something more meaningful and unique."

Oozey bottle design. It's playful, tactile and something to talk about. I wonder if this popped up on the Stormhoek project.

From Think Geek:

"The Ultimate in Cool Style

Your tasty beverage is warm, so what do you do? Reach into the freezer and grab an ice-cube or three. Plonk. Swirl. Cold again. But, as you circulate through the crowd, body-heat warms your drink. The ice melts, and you're left again with a warm, and now watered-down, beverage. This is neither stylish nor efficient.

Sleek, shiny and way way coolAt ThinkGeek Labs, we're all about science, so we experimented. We gave Timmy, the ThinkGeek lab monkey, a highball of a tasty amber colored beverage. Instead of ice, we gave him the Piet Hein Drink cooler, a hunk of highly polished super-ellipsoid stainless steel, stuck it in the freezer for an hour, and dropped it into Timmy's drink. Plonk. Swirl. Cold again. We watched as he mingled through the party.

The drink remained cold - colder than a similar volume of ice could make it. It stayed cold longer... MUCH longer, and didn't dilute the drink. The magic behind this is a liquid core of a top-secret substance that freezes solid and releases its cooling mojo slowly. And talk about style! The shiny metal egg in his drink turned lots of heads and instantly made him the center of attention."

Great piece of ooze. Really premium. Something to get talked about.

Who fancies having a personalised barware set as recommened by This Next members:

To buy any of the items click here.

The wider point of all this is that This Next is a brilliant site: it is a user generated, discovery social network where users share cool things they find. Whenever we make stuff/ooze to support our brands our aim should be to get it on this site.

From Life Moves Pretty Fast:

"If found, please do not return. My Next Generation Nissan Altima has Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition and I no longer need these."

"Of course Nissan Altima owners don't care if they lose their car keys, the new Nissan Altima has the technology to allow owners to start up their car by pressing a button rather than using a key.

The other Gas Tag on the key fob offers finders a chance to enter into a sweepstake by texting into a shortcode or going online.

It's a simple and imaginative idea, but I'm not sure how much impact only 20,000 keys will really have. If I were the Altima Brand Manager I think that I might have put a bit more faith into a smart idea and launched with more than 20,000."

Great example of a brand using alternative media as an effective way of bringing their innovative product development to life. New news.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Via Blogging Stocks and Agenda Inc.

"Can Heineken become the beer drinkers version of Starbucks? That is exactly what the beer company is hoping to accomplish by starting to create a chain of Heineken bars in airports around the globe.

The European beer maker has decided that airports would be the perfect choice for testing out the concept of Heineken bars. On this point I would probably have to agree.

For whatever reason, when people wind up getting stuck in an Airport on a long layover chances are they decide to go kill time in the nearest bar they can find. I am not suggesting that this is the best way to kill a couple of hours, but statistically this is the reality of it. Beer is the second most popular drink in airports, second only to coffee."

This is amazing. It's basically subservient hatchback. Simply ask the Rabbit to do something a real rabbit might do and it does it... VW Rabbit-ly!

This shows how web advertising has come. Gone are the days of boring, static ad banners and in are interactive, engaging pieces of what occassionally can be gold-dust.

Have a play and see what you think.

Via Organic.

Mingle Now was chosen as a partner by Anheiser Busch as their social network alternative to Facebook and MySpace owing to underage considerations. This is from Organic:

"Anheuser-Busch chose MingleNow, with a mere 300,000 members, as a partner to develop Clink, an unbranded photo-sharing site showcasing the bar scene. Why MingleNow? For one thing, there are too many underage members on MySpace and FaceBook."

Here's the email I got when I signed up:

"Welcome to minglenow! The social network that connects your online and offline life. MingleNow connects you to the bars, clubs, and events you go to and the people who go there. Take a look at your favorite places and see who else hangs out there. Find new places you didn't know about that match your vibe. Come see where your friends will be this weekend!

Below find your login and password. Look for another email with information on what's happening on minglenow and the things you can do!"

Here's my fairly limited profile below:

The idea with Clink seems to be that you are encouraged to upload images of you clinking your beer with a friend. For more on clinking, visit the Here's to Beer site.

Bespoke, niche social networks offer brands a chance to develop campaigns with a more focused approach that appeals to individuals. What Mingle Now seems to deliver is a link between advertising idea, the on trade and consumers.

To see some in depth commentary on Mingle Now... and there's a lot of it... click here.

From "Enter To Win" - The Marketers Blog about contests and sweepstakes

Contests We Like - Canadian Club C To C
CC was my grandfather’s drink. CC is my drink. We’re Canadian, so it’s natural that we love a contest that has anything to do with Canadian Club.
I had a meeting at the Manulife Centre in downtown Toronto the other day and was looking for an excuse spend some money to see that at least I got my parking validated. The Manulife Centre has the best parking garage in Toronto, in my opinion. It’s always the right temperature, classical music plays throughout the garage and they have a fantastic window washing station, along with complimentary windshield washer refills.

Anyway, I dropped by the liquor store to pick up something that was going to be consumed regardless and they had their whiskey promotion feature in store. I couldn’t miss the bottle of Canadian Club with the contest and freebie 50 ml on the neck.

The Canadian Club C To C Contest offers two grand prize winners a choice of three adventure trips. How perfect is that theme?

This contest is a straightforward fixed-odds structure, using a peel-and-reveal card. Odds are clearly stated in the (brief) contest rules. We haven’t seen one of these used for a brand promotion in quite a long time and it was cool to see the ol’ peel-and-reveal in action.
Sadly, we didn’t win a prize, but we still like the contest, since it’s all about Canadian Club.

The Innocent Pinboard from Where's the Sausage:

"God these guys are good. They do help me keep the faith in branding on my darker days.

Despite becoming seriously big (100 million Euros+ in turnover), innocent manage to stay, well, innnocent. One really nice feature is there brand pinboard.

Rather than this being a static and brand-created piece of content, it updates daily using a feed from the brand's flicker albums, which are populated mainly with user-generated photos. My favourite is the "supergran" album, full of photos of the woolly hats they put on the bottles at Xmas to raise money for charity. Why Supergran? Becuase the little hats are made by an army of little old ladies who live in old peoples' homes!

Any other brands making good use of user-generated content like this?"

This is fantastic - a cracking example of how a brand can successfully embrace web 2.0 and encourage brand enthusiasm. I couldn't like this a lot more!

Below is the Flickr group that powers the Sueprgran part of the pinboard:

This model could be a great way of facilitating the DisCCover campaign.

Click here for the complete Innocent Flcikr account.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The glasses above are very subtle but very cool: SAKURASAKU Glass

"It is the glass where the flower of the cherry tree blooms in the desk top with the phenomenon of the dew condensation which it occurs in temperature difference inside the air and the glass. By the fact that also the phenomenon which it occurs by the fact that you use not only shape and function is shown beautifully, in even the disturbance perhaps it becomes the important existence where the waterdrop which can be thought brings the small pleasure to usual life."

Inspired by finding some cool glasses, I've set up a glassware set on Flickr here.

The plan is to collect all the cool glassware that we all come across and add it to the photo set. It strikes me, as it probably struck Bombay Sapphire, that cool glassware can work wonders for brand experience. If we could run a competition to design the ultimate glass for Canadian Club and Ginger, or the ultimate Sauza shot glass we would get some great ideas and hopefully generate a lot of buzz.

Please send in links to cool glasses you find as comments on this post.

From Anamorphic Series

"The Anamorphic Cup is the first product to employ the centuries old visual play of the anamorphic cylinder.

The stainless steel cup has a polished mirror finish. The porcelain saucer is printed with distorted images or words. These graphics can only be viewed correctly though the curved, reflective surface of the cup. The image is indecipherable when the cup and saucer are separate.

The initial launch of the Anamorphic Series was in the form of a prototype salt and pepper shaker. It was first shown in 2000 by designer, Ross McBride, at the 100% Design show in London. The Anamorphic Cups were first shown as prototypes during Tokyo Designers Block 2003, and consequently became a retail product the following year.

The Anamorphic Cups are the first in the Anamorphic Series range of products. Future items will include a creamer and sugar dispenser, and drinking glasses."

As we've noticed before there's a Guinness version of this... Wouldn't it be fun if we could make some really cool branded glassed like this. It would make for a great piece of Ooze and would definitely be talked about!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

Jameson's have launched their own radio channel on Pandora.

From Organic:

"I like the way Jameson has tailored a call-to-action with the publisher site in mind. Pandora is one of my favorite things on the web, and Jameson's is one of my favorite whiskies, so I admit I'm curious about what "Radio Jameson" has to offer. Unfortunately it changed to a Chase Freedom ad a few minutes later when I went back to look, so I guess I'll never know."

Misha Cornes"

It's a great example of a brand not shouting, but acting as a verb: making people's lives more dynamic.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Evidence, if any more were needed of brand enthusiasts talking about spirits brands using social medai.

This tequila group on Facebook has 1500 active members who adore tequila... so much so that they all get togehter on facebook to talk about it.

"One Tequila,
Two Tequila,
Three Tequila,

For those of you who just can't get enough of the lick, shot, bite routine and who regularly browse the tequila section of the liquor store... and those who just like the name Tequila caz it sounds cool... this group's for you... you crazy drunks.

Tequila, made from the fermented juice of the agave cactus, is the national drink of Mexico. It is double distilled and then aged in wood casks.
Just like a fine cognac, tequila gets better with aging. Popular brands include Jose Cuervo, Patron and Sauza."

Other tequila groups include this much smaller one demanding that top end tequilas should launch specifically in Montreal.

We should be engaged with this burgeoning form of media. This is a rich area for insights and is an invaluable tool for us and our brands from a research, executional, strategic and tactical point of view.

These groups exist in one shape or another for all our brands. Canadian Club has at least 5, Sauza has 2 or 3 and there is a very knowledgeable group of cognac fans too.

From Starbucks Gossip:

"Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz wrote this to CEO Jim Donald earlier this month. The memo's authenticity has been confirmed by Starbucks.

From: Howard Schultz
Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2007 10:39 AM Pacific Standard Time
To: Jim Donald
Cc: Anne Saunders; Dave Pace; Dorothy Kim; Gerry Lopez; Jim Alling; Ken Lombard; Martin Coles; Michael Casey; Michelle Gass; Paula Boggs; Sandra Taylor

Subject: The Commoditization of the Starbucks Experience

As you prepare for the FY 08 strategic planning process, I want to share some of my thoughts with you.

Over the past ten years, in order to achieve the growth, development, and scale necessary to go from less than 1,000 stores to 13,000 stores and beyond, we have had to make a series of decisions that, in retrospect, have lead to the watering down of the Starbucks experience, and, what some might call the commoditization of our brand.

Many of these decisions were probably right at the time, and on their own merit would not have created the dilution of the experience; but in this case, the sum is much greater and, unfortunately, much more damaging than the individual pieces. For example, when we went to automatic espresso machines, we solved a major problem in terms of speed of service and efficiency. At the same time, we overlooked the fact that we would remove much of the romance and theatre that was in play with the use of the La Marzocca machines. This specific decision became even more damaging when the height of the machines, which are now in thousands of stores, blocked the visual sight line the customer previously had to watch the drink being made, and for the intimate experience with the barista. This, coupled with the need for fresh roasted coffee in every North America city and every international market, moved us toward the decision and the need for flavor locked packaging. Again, the right decision at the right time, and once again I believe we overlooked the cause and the affect of flavor lock in our stores. We achieved fresh roasted bagged coffee, but at what cost? The loss of aroma -- perhaps the most powerful non-verbal signal we had in our stores; the loss of our people scooping fresh coffee from the bins and grinding it fresh in front of the customer, and once again stripping the store of tradition and our heritage? Then we moved to store design. Clearly we have had to streamline store design to gain efficiencies of scale and to make sure we had the ROI on sales to investment ratios that would satisfy the financial side of our business. However, one of the results has been stores that no longer have the soul of the past and reflect a chain of stores vs. the warm feeling of a neighborhood store. Some people even call our stores sterile, cookie cutter, no longer reflecting the passion our partners feel about our coffee. In fact, I am not sure people today even know we are roasting coffee. You certainly can't get the message from being in our stores. The merchandise, more art than science, is far removed from being the merchant that I believe we can be and certainly at a minimum should support the foundation of our coffee heritage. Some stores don't have coffee grinders, French presses from Bodum, or even coffee filters.

Now that I have provided you with a list of some of the underlying issues that I believe we need to solve, let me say at the outset that we have all been part of these decisions. I take full responsibility myself, but we desperately need to look into the mirror and realize it's time to get back to the core and make the changes necessary to evoke the heritage, the tradition, and the passion that we all have for the true Starbucks experience. While the current state of affairs for the most part is self induced, that has lead to competitors of all kinds, small and large coffee companies, fast food operators, and mom and pops, to position themselves in a way that creates awareness, trial and loyalty of people who previously have been Starbucks customers. This must be eradicated.

I have said for 20 years that our success is not an entitlement and now it's proving to be a reality. Let's be smarter about how we are spending our time, money and resources. Let's get back to the core. Push for innovation and do the things necessary to once again differentiate Starbucks from all others. We source and buy the highest quality coffee. We have built the most trusted brand in coffee in the world, and we have an enormous responsibility to both the people who have come before us and the 150,000 partners and their families who are relying on our stewardship.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge all that you do for Starbucks. Without your passion and commitment, we would not be where we are today.


To read more on the debate that's ignited click here.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ketel One Vodka's advertising campaign has come under attack by a very vocal and very well read blogger. He silently waits for a new execution then attacks it to the happienss of his readers world wide.

This is what can happen if your advertising strikes the worng chord with the wrong person.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Pimms used a pimped out London Bus to deliver their message at selected events in London last summer. The bus served Pimms to thirsty punters who were drinking in the sun and music. There are loads of photos of this on Flickr. This is a good example of a brand incorporating experiential marketing in their media mix. This element provides vital brand engagement.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

To recognize the growing use of podcasts as walking or museum tours, Apple has a new page up devoted just to that topic, with a few such podcasts from SFMOMA,The Met, and other museums.

As seen above Virgin also offers guided tours of cities they service.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Very weird post from BoingBoing:

"Chop open the humanoid piƱata corpse, rip away her skin, then nosh out on what's inside. The wounds you create "bleed" edible blood."

Great article from the New York Times about local currency in Germany. Apparently, certain areas of Germany have reacted against the all consuming Euro and have set up their own currency. It is designed to be used to purchase local goods and has inflation built in meaning that people are encouraged to spend it quickly.

I think this is interesting as it highlights the fact that people do like to live localised lives which ties into sites such as and our previous post on hyper-localisation.

As extreme targeting gets more and more sophisticated we are going to see more of these symptoms and examples cropping up.

"A bad case of Southern discomfort"

Nascar used to be uniquely American, but now the Japanese are coming and they are causing trouble...

The countdown to today's 'Great American Race', the Daytona 500, which kicks off the 36-event Nascar season, has been dominated by talk of what the Japanese invasion means for the future of the US's most popular form of motorsport. Here are some (verbatim) views from Nascar messageboards:

'Toyota in Nascar... its just aint right! It's like putting a turd in a bowl of M&M's, it just dont fit and stinks the whole thing up.'

'I just read Toyotas are the No1 choice among gays and lesbians. And im not gay bashing either, my cousin is a lesbo. but i am saying anyone who favors Toyotas over the big three is gay.'

'I wish I had a billion dollars to give Nascar to keep all the race cars American, screw any and all Japcrap cars, drivers and fans. I'm done after this year, no more races on tv or at the track.'

The reply to that view, posted by Joey, was, 'Japcrap cars? You have a lot to learn, Joey! Toyota employs over 386,000 Americans. Bingo!'"

Seems Nascar is so all American that it might be detrimental to US brands' image abroad.

The Innocent story from the Observer:

"These men are Innocent... and, with their pure fruit smoothies, an object lesson in how to go from scratch to a £100m turnover, writes John Simmons

They are the fastest-growing business in the food and drink sector, but they talk about being a little juice company. They are an inexperienced start-up whose biggest competitor in the smoothies market is owned by PepsiCo, and they say they're not worried. Why should they be? They're outselling their rivals by three to one.

The reality is that, though the founders of Innocent Drinks flirt with the image of naivety, they are completely focused on expanding a business whose products are intended to do you good.... (for more click here or read the click on the article)"

Guinness are the first brand to advertise on le cool London's weekly newsletter. It's OK, but isn't contextual and only links through to their brand site. There's a much bigger opportunity to create ads that mean something given their context and that tie into events that are listed.

It shows that Guinness are on the front foot and have strong forward momentum.

The clever chaps at Guinness have got a blog to support their work in the UK. It's a great way for them to support their brand activity and generate buzz and build a community.

It's from here for instance that they launched Guinness Red in selected bars around the country - giving the participating bars publicity and extra footfall.

It's a great piece of communication and should be an important component of any brand's activity.

Here's what they have to say Guinness Red:

"For more than 2 years we have beavering away on our newest baby - Guinness Red and it is fantastic to be able to finally set it loose on you all!

As you may have seen over the last week we have started to install Guinness Red in pubs all over the country and we will be continuing more of the same for the next week or so until we are in over 140 pubs from Bournemouth to Aberdeen and Cardiff to Newcastle.

Because it is only a test at this stage (we are keen to see what everyone thinks of it first before launching it fully) we are in a small number of outlets - 141. So far, it is available in all 71 O'Neill's"

Guinness have continued their brand innovation policy by launching a "Guinness Chair". The chair is designed to offer London Irish supporters the ultimate rugby watching chair at their ground. They've timed it perfectly to conincide with the 6 Nations using England captain Phil Vickery to promote it in London's Metro newspaper.

This is hot on the heals of the Guinness Marmite launch last week and maintains Guinness's momentum and enforces their brand energy. Apparently Guinness Red is about to be launched too. People are talking about Guinness and thanks to the strenght of their partnerships and the fact that they are constantly fresh and in beta.


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