Dollar General goes after higher earners – Nashville Business Journal


Dollar General goes after higher earners – Nashville Business Journal.

Targeting those making $75,000 a year and who want consumables…

The question is, will this be a brilliant move to expand market share or will it lead to a diluting of Dollar General’s brand by moving away from its core mission of selling cheap goods to super-discount shoppers?

via Dollar General goes after higher earners – Nashville Business Journal.

Mountain Dew: From hillbillies to hip-hop


Here’s a fascinating read from Business Week about Mountain Dew.

PepsiCo understandably wants to create a thirst for its Mountain Dew brand in a greater market. The sugary drink has roots in the hillbilly culture of the Southeast and moonshine liquor, which was nicknamed Mountain Dew. Now, PepsiCo has enlisted hip-hop artist Lil Wayne and street skateboarder Paul Rodriguez to entice potential customers age 18 to 24 to pop the top on their product.

I won’t go into the whole story here, since you can read it on Business Week’s site, but this is a smart move for several reasons. Why not try to broaden your product’s appeal? The target age audience is increasingly diverse and is often located in urban areas outside the Southeast. Coca-Cola’s Sprite and Fanta have gained market share in that age bracket.

I love Mountain Dew and Sprite both, but in a nod to PepsiCo’s brilliant marketing move, I’ll choose a Mountain Dew the next time I need a refreshing drink, and I’ll think of hillbillies and hip-hop while I do so.

Vote for your favorite Super Bowl ad


Finding the right bookshelf for the Nook


What will the Nook’s future be?

Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-readers face fierce competition from the Kindle and iPad. B&N has tripled its advertising since 2009, adding to the huge development costs of the Nook, The Wall Street Journal reports. B&N’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) have fallen to $163 million in the year ending April 2011 from $281 million the previous year.

One of the leaders of a minority shareholder firm recently said competing with Amazon and Apple is a “big-boy game” and that B&N may need partners to play that game. B&N, meanwhile, said it is seeking partners for overseas ventures.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the bookseller could possibly either sell a minority stake in the Nook line, setting up a separate management team, or sell the Nook brand outright.

I believe it would be short-sighted to sell the Nook brand outright. Barnes & Noble could very effectively use its brick and mortar stores – the ones that survive in the years ahead – to promote the Nook e-reader and its accessories. Bookstore customers are good candidates to buy e-readers. And Barnes & Noble and Nook can be co-promoted together if the corporation continues to own both brands. You lose that cohesiveness if Nook gets sold; even if a tech behemoth like Microsoft or Google buys the Nook, the new owner has lost that connection to a traditional bookstore and its customers.

Use a tissue to clean up


I noticed an interesting ad recently in Columbia Journalism Review. It showed an eraser and a partially erased, hand-written registered trademark symbol, with a caption of “do not erase,” as well as the Kleenex logo and a photo of a box of Kleenexes.

The copy in the ad made the case for not using the registered trademark brand name Kleenex name in place of the word “tissue.” The ad compares this to erasing the Kleenex Brand Tissue name and instructs the use of the registered trademark symbol and the words “Brand Tissue.”

It was a clever ad concept with a simple design – the color was limited to the eraser, the Kleenex Brand Tissue logo and the photo of the product. The copy and the trademark symbol were in black ink, and the background was white. The ad was an attention-getter.

Journalists are trained in school to use generic words in place of a brand name in most cases. The AP Stylebook lists a number of brand names and suggests generic words that can be used. Exceptions are made when the name of the brand is integral to the story.

Barbie and Ken – the couple that accessorizes together, stays together


It’s official – Barbie and Ken are back together!

(Cue: Falling balloons and champagne corks popping).

I had no idea America’s favorite plastic couple had previously split. But this report on CNN/Money says the pair went their separate ways in 2004. Maybe I was too caught up in life back then to have caught the news. Or maybe Ken and Barbie’s PR firm worked diligently to keep the news under wrap then.

All kidding aside, this “announcement” today, on Valentine’s Day, is a brilliant move by Mattel. Barbie Inc. has been battling Bratz dolls for some time, and Barbie had been on the decline until recently. So, while this announcement is a gimmick, it also could build great buzz for the brand. Certainly, a couple that has had a rocky relationship reflects reality more readily than a picture-perfect relationship like Barbie and Ken previously had.

As the saying goes, “Any publicity is good publicity.” That’s not always true, but in this case, it works.

By the way: Happy birthday to Jason’s Marketing Primer! I launched this blog one year ago today. I plan for 2011 to be an even more prolific year than 2010!

Is Apple all that?


This report by Douglas A. McIntyre with 24/7 Wall St makes a case for Apple (AAPL) as the second-most valuable corporation in America, after Exxon Mobil, in terms of market value.

Apple posted record revenue of $20.34 billion in the third quarter of 2009. Revenue was up 66 percent from the same quarter a year ago. The total value of Exxon Mobil’s shares creates a market cap of $362 billion, while Apple’s is $284 billion. That’s ahead of such giants as Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer.

McIntyre cites analysts, who point to Apple’s rapid growth, which he says is unmatched by any other major American corporation. With hot-selling iPhones, iPads and Mac computers, the analysts may be right.

 

But I can’t help thinking of the changing taste of consumers. Exxon deals with oil, perhaps the world’s most valuable commodity, while Wal-Mart of course sells such a large diversity of products and has a reputation of selling for less. Apple has done well to move beyond simply selling computers. Yes, Apple’s products are fashionable. But they are only into one segment of the economy: consumer electronics. Changing consumer preferences or bad publicity (such as the iPhone antenna problem) or the eventual loss of magnate Steve Jobs could upset the Apple cart. So I would urge caution when looking at Apple as an investment. What goes up can — and often will — go down.

 

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