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The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”                                                                                – Henry David Thoreau

I have spent too much of my life waiting at the Kroger deli counter.  A fortnight of quiet desperation and longing for my Private Selection Honey Turkey to be sliced at 1.5 thickness. It has always been a dreaded task, especially during peak shopping hours.  A necessary sacrifice of time to get the good stuff. Prepackaged meat never tastes the same.

My wait is over. Kroger’s self-service, touch-screen deli ordering system. Kroger must have taken a took a cue from the queueless – the Fastpass® system that’s made visits to Disney theme parks so much more efficient and enjoyable.

fastpass roger r

Kroger’s process is very similar to getting a place in line at a Disney World ride.  You enter your order in detail, you get a ticket, you come back fifteen minutes later, and wham-bam there it is, sitting in a wicker basket with your number on it. The greatest thing since sliced pastrami.

deli ticket

Kroger Deli Order station 2013-12-05
Cross Sell Cheese2

Kroger has smartly included a cross-selling function. When I ordered turkey, Kroger pitched me some Swiss cheese. I almost took them up on it. Maybe next time. And there will be a next time. This is how I roll now.

On the busy, pre-ice-storm day I was at Kroger, I seemed to be the only one taking advantage of this automated ordering system. Other shoppers stacked themselves two-deep, ignoring the new process and loudly repeating their desires for meat and cheese across the glass case to the deli staff. Good service includes self-service. It takes time for customers to catch on to that.

My order was there on time and Kroger even attached a $1-off coupon.  Who said you can't have "Good, Fast and Cheap" all at the same time?  Oh yeah, I did.

My order was there on time and Kroger even attached a $1-off coupon. Who said you can’t have “Good, Fast and Cheap” all at the same time? Oh yeah, I did.

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With the college national championship behind us and only eight teams remaining in the NFL playoffs, followers of American football are now fixing their eyes on February 3rd, Super Bowl Sunday. 

CBS has already sold out its inventory at an average price of around $3.7 million per 30-second spot (is that net or gross, might I ask?).   That’s right – over $7 million a minute.

http://adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/cbs-sells-super-bowl-inventory/239064/

Is it worth it?  In an era of retweeting, rehashing and reality imitating art ad nauseam, perhaps it is worth it now more than ever.  As long as the advertiser gives us something to tweet or Facebook or LinkIn about.  When done right, a Super Bowl ad can generate endless “free” repetition, replay on cable news, podcast chatter and social media buzz.

Remember the irreverent, unleashed wildness of the 2000 Super Bowl ads at the height of the dot-com boom, when E-Trade’s spot with a cha-cha-ing chimp boasted “We just wasted two million dollars.  What are you doing with your money?”

E-Trade chimp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Crq3FJ_vE2Q

Thirteen years later the price of a Super Bowl spot has nearly doubled and the opportunities for exposure through social media have gone from zero to everybody.   I’m expecting some killer work from big brands on February 3rd.  If you’re like me, you’ll get up to get your favorite food and beverage only at certain moments of the game – when they’re actually playing football.

NM Target

Neiman Marcus and Target?   Denny’s and “The Hobbit” movie?   And here in my hunting-crazy state,  a local jeweler and Benelli shotguns.  We’re seeing brands paired up that don’t seem to go together at first blush, but maybe that’s the point.  Maybe this is a way to stretch the public perception of a brand by knocking down old mental fences and letting new associations develop.  

Diamond and Shotgun