Archive for June, 2004



June 17, 2004

Yahoo! News – Sun weans workers from healthy perk

Now that Sun has had a long, $2B drink at Microsoft’s teat, the workers down in the Valley are the ones who suffer.

It is not so much that Sun shoots itself in the foot with a decision like this (will they really be net positive after all the negative press and bad feelings?), but that they can’t even come up with a good explanation for why it makes sense. Happy employees are productive employees, and when you are a company just one more workstation away from complete irrelevance, you need all the help you can get.



June 17, 2004 EBay Makes A Savvy Marketing Platform For HP

Thinking about this made me realize how deeply eBay as lodged itself into the collective unconscious. Long time ago eBay was a simple place for simple folks to sell their Pez collections. Now it is a vast “shadow” economy that runs in parallel to the real economy. Unlike Google, which is a powerful tool, eBay is now a powerful “place”. A virtual place, but a place nonetheless.

Whenever I interview job candidates there are always a few standard questions I use. One of them is to tell me about the “best” and the “worst” marketing they have every personally experienced. I allow them to define marketing as they see fit. Most people equate marketing with branding or advertising, though some are able to see through to the deeper levels of marketing available. Interviewing a person recently she responded “Vespa” to the best marketing question.

Well, Vespa is not at the top of my cultural hot list, but she was a different demographic than me. Having just bought a Vespa she was eager to go on about the experience, how the company differentiated itself in the market, and what the brand meant. It was a pretty good answer to the question. But, have I gotten so out of touch with the market that Vespa scooters are hot and I don’t know it?



June 10, 2004

Castles Made of Ampersands – AT&T’s misguided new campaign. By Seth´┐ŻStevenson

This is one of those great little commentaries that makes me laugh and cry. Well, more laugh than cry.

Having lived through both the @ craze and the e- excitement, I know how mind numbingly idiotic reliance on a symbol or “hot” letter can be. These things, of course, come in waves, as Mr. Stevenson points out. Much like the infamous “swirl” logos of the late 90s, we may be entering the age of reductio ad absurdum in naming and everyday conversation.

Meet me @ KFC
McD 4 lunch?
C2 and a ­čÖé
Did u c AI last nite?




June 3, 2004

UPDATE – Burger King sales surge, turnaround taking hold

Well, guess my earlier blog on the King has spurred them to action!



June 3, 2004

McDonald’s(R) Brings Music to Millions of Customers With New Sony Connect Restaurant Promotion

From the death of Burger King to the resurrection of McDonald’s. This makes strong marketing sense, especially following on the heels of the Pepsi/Apple promo earlier this year (McD has long been a Coke customer/partner). It must also be a loss for Apple to see this go with Sony. However, amongst all that the text that jumped out at me was this:

“…Music continues to be at the forefront of our leadership marketing strategy. As the first to take a program like this across borders to six countries, we are achieving our goal of creating ideas that are ‘first, big, best’ in music, fashion, entertainment and sports, areas of high interest to our customers.” (emphasis added)

Does it seem like a stretch to say that McD customers are highly interested in music, fashion, etc.? On the one hand, pretty much everyone on the planet is a McD customer. On the other, Justin Timberlake might be a spokesperson, but I doubt his dinner after a big concert is a Big Mac.

Marketing makes even true statements doubtful sometimes.