Tag Archives: experiental marketing

Rogue One: May the Force Still Be with You

1 Dec

Last December, we wrote about the smash holiday sales of Star Wars toys, tied in to Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

This year, on December 16, 2016, the latest Star Wars (Rogue One) installment will hit theaters. So, this post takes a look at some of the milestones the series has achieved — and at the new movie.

Here are some pre-Rogue One cumulative data for Star Wars, compiled by Statistics Brain:

  • More than $30 billion of revenue has been generated.
  • The global movie box office has reached $6.25 billion.
  • VHS/DVD/Digital revenues have hit $5.5 billion.
  • TWELVE billion Star Wars toys have been sold.
  • Book sales have exceeded $1.8 billion.
  • $3.5 billion worth of videogames have been sold.

Here are some interesting tidbits about the tie-in blitz (yes, these items are ready for you to buy!) for the upcoming Rogue One, reported by Erik Kain for Forbes [Note: This list is NOT a commercial; that’s why there are no product links. The list is only intended to show the mania surrounding any new Star Wars release.]:

  • LEGO Sets — “LEGO has been at the forefront of all things Star Wars for ages. This year is no different. LEGO has released some truly awesome sets to celebrate the new film.”
  • Rebel U-Wing Fighter — “If you’re looking for something a bit more heroic, look no further than the Rebel U-Wing Fighter. This is a nice twist for Star Wars fans, since we’re all pretty used to X-Wings by now. The set is a bit less complicated than the previous one, with an 8-14 age rating and just 659 pieces.The U-Wing may be the main attraction, but the characters it comes with are awesome.”
  • Video Games — “Star Wars: Battlefront is an online multiplayer shooter that pits the Rebels vs the Empire in maps on planets from across a galaxy far, far away. There’s content from Episode VII like Jakku, and there’s content from the original trilogy, including the moon of Endor. On December 6th, the final DLC pack drops, and it includes content from Rogue One. The Rogue One: Scarif pack will let gamers experience battles on the film’s planet Scarif a full ten days before they can on the big screen.”
  • Books — “Most of the books coming out about Rogue One won’t release until after the movie (because of obvious things like spoilers). Still, here are some options for die-hard Star Wars fans looking for some art and literature tie-ins to Rogue One.
  • Action Figures — “The larger ‘Black’ series figurines are especially great both for kids and collectors. You can get the 6″ Jyn Erso figurine for $12.50, Rogue One pilot Cassian Andor for $15.49; and the sleek Imperial Death Trooper for $15.99.”
  • Figurines — “An alternative to action figures, Funko’s POP figurines are as cute as they are addictive. Be careful when you start buying POP characters, because there always seems to be another one that’s even cuter. In any case, there’s tons of characters from Rogue One to choose from, ranging from a little over $5 to a little over $8.”
  • Razors — “A little off the beaten path of toys, books, and video games, we come to very sharp blades. Razors, to be precise.Gillette has some pretty cool razors available with some Rogue One branding. The boxes are cool because they have some great artwork, but the insides are also pretty neat.”

 

 

PLEASE Be a Smart Customer This Holiday Shopping Season

21 Nov

Yes, Black Friday WEEK is finally here — after weeks of being bombarded by holiday shopping ads. This post has two goals: (1) To alert you to the possible deceptions this week and (2) to again present our THIRTY-FIVE holiday shopping tips.

Our first topic is this: Is Black Friday week really a good time to shop? Are there bargains that won’t be available after Friday? Let’s turn to Brian Chen, writing for the New York Times (1, 2), for an assessment of Black Friday deals:

“The overwhelming majority of Black Friday deals are duds. Retailers’ sales promotions begin weeks before Thanksgiving, with a smattering of modest deals that eventually build up to the shopping bonanza that is Black Friday. That is followed by Cyber Monday, a so-called online shopping extravaganza after Thanksgiving weekend.”

“It has become fashionable for online retailers to build up anticipation for Black Friday with so-called flash deals. These last only a few hours, putting pressure on consumers to buy with little or no research. Yet, however you shop, chances of snatching a great deal for a quality item are slim, because Black Friday is mainly for retailers to clear out unwanted goods and best-sellers rarely drop much in price.”

“Year round, The Wirecutter tracks prices across the Web to unearth true deals on high-quality items. Less than 1 percent of the tens of thousands of Black Friday deals online last year were good deals — that is, discounts on high-quality, well-reviewed, and durable products. This year, the situation is likely to be the same.

“A quick search on Camel Camel Camel, which looks up price histories on Amazon, [can be quite enlightening]. Some mediocre deals can be tricky to catch. Toward the end of October, Amazon listed a deal for its Kindle Paperwhite E-reader for $100. This may seem like a good deal because the retail price is $120. But at the beginning of October, the Paperwhite was discounted to $90 — a price drop that Camel Camel Camel could not detect because the discount was applied at the end of the checkout.”

 

Take a look at the following New York Times video for further insights.

 

 

Our second topic is this: How can you be a better shopper for the 2016 holiday season? Here are 35 tips (originally posted two weeks ago).

2016-shopping-tips
 

Be a Smart Customer: 2016 Holiday Shopping Tips

9 Nov

Every year, Evans on Marketing offers a list of holiday shopping tips intended to help shoppers avoid overspending their budgets. Since the holiday season starts earlier and earlier each year, this post keeps getting moved up. In 2012, when the holiday shopping tips were first presented, they are were published on December 10. This year, the post is on November 9. Why? Many retailers have launched their holiday shopping campaigns. Virtually no large retailer is actually waiting for Thanksgiving or Black Friday to begin their marketing campaigns.

So, here are the 2016 shopping tips as a checklist [Click the list to see a larger version.]:
 
2016-shopping-tips
 

Social Media and Selfies

2 Nov

The “selfie” phenomenon has gone global and viral in a flash. Millions and millions of people have posted their selfies all over the Web. Surely, you know at least a few people who are selfie fanatics on their social media pages.

One of the most well-known celebrity selfies was taken at the Academy Awards when Ellen DeGeneres hosted. The clip shown below has been viewed more than 4.4 million times at just one YouTube page. It’s pretty funny.
 

 
Marketers are also looking to capitalize on selfies in their advertising. Sometimes, though we have to say, will this really sell the product — while we’re laughing? Here’s one example, involving the “Cinnamon Toast Crunch Selfie Spoon.” And yes, it is a real product, that is sold out (yes, really!); but General Mills still maintains a humorous Web page for the product.
 

 

Can You Start a Business in Your Garage?

1 Nov

Forty years ago, Apple was founded by 20-something young guys– some say, in a garage (Steve Wozniack disagrees with that depiction 🙂 ). Despite a number of ups and downs over the years, we know that Apple has emerged as the most valuable company in the world. Here is a video on the history of Apple.

 

In today’s post, we want to show that other small startups have also been very successful and remain so today. So, the answer to this question — Can you start a business in your garage? — is a resounding yes. And this remains true today.

As Matthew Anderson recently observed for TheSelfEmployed.com:

“For many people, the idea of just starting their own business lies somewhere in the realm of fantasy. It’s something for someone else to do, something that requires investors and business know-how, or something an average person could never think of doing. The truth, however, is that starting your own business requires only one thing – determination. Well, if history is any indicator, a garage might help as well.”

  • Amazon — “At one time, Amazon was simply an online bookstore; and founder Jeff Bezos ran the company out of his garage in Bellevue, Washington. Needless to say, the Amazon of today is just a bit bigger – the world’s largest online retailer. In keeping with its bookstore beginnings, the Amazon Kindle is widely regarded as the best E-reader on the market.”
  • Disney — “Walt Disney and his brother Roy moved to California and set up the first Disney studio in a one- car garage behind their uncle Robert’s house in Los Angeles in 1923 to film and sell his Alice Comedies, which combined a live-action actress with an animated cat. Nearly a century later, Disney is one of the largest media corporations in the world.”
  • Harley Davidson — “William Harley and his friend Arthur Davidson worked in a shed to make the motorized bicycle a reality. In 1903, Harley-Davidson was founded. Today, it is one of the most well-known motorcycle brands in the world; and you can buy  anything from aprons to clocks and outdoor oil-can-shaped lights with the Harley-Davidson logo.”
  • Maglite — “In 1955, Tony Maglica  bought a lathe and set up a tool shop in his garage. After operating his business for 25 years, the innovative Mag-Lite was released in 1979. It is now the standard-issue flashlight for U.S. police officers and was referred to by the Wall Street Journal as the ‘Cadillac of flashlights.’”
  • Yankee Candle Co. — “Sixteen-year-old Michael Kittredge created his first scented candles out of melted crayons for his mother in the family’s garage in 1969. When neighbors showed interest, he began producing the candles in larger quantities. With help from two high school friends, Yankee Candle Company was founded. Fast forward to 1998, Kittredge sells the firm that began with a gift for his mom to a private equity company for $500 million dollars.”

 

Click the image to read more from Anderson.

 

Monotasking Vs. Multitasking

18 Oct

In today’s high-tech, immersive society, “multitasking” has become B-I-G.  And many people frown on “monotasking.” But is this good? Can you really text and pay attention to your professor simultaneously? (LOL 🙂 )

According to study after study, no we can’t really multitask well. Here are four examples:

12 Reasons to Stop Multitasking Now!

Multitasking Is Killing Your Brain

Neuroscientists Say Multitasking Literally Drains the Energy Reserves of Your Brain

Why Humans Are Bad at Multitasking

 

Now consider these observations by Verena von Pfetten (a freelance writer, editor, and consultant with 10 years of digital publishing experience) for the New York Times:

“Stop what you’re doing. Well, keep reading. Just stop everything else that you’re doing. Mute your music. Turn off your television. Put down your sandwich and ignore that text message. While you’re at it, put your phone away entirely. (Unless you’re reading this on your phone. In which case, don’t. But the other rules still apply.) Just read. You are now monotasking.”

“Maybe this doesn’t feel like a big deal. Doing one thing at a time isn’t a new idea. Indeed, multitasking, that bulwark of anemic résumés everywhere, has come under fire in recent years. A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that interruptions as brief as two to three seconds — which is to say, less than the amount of time it would take you to toggle from this article to your E-mail and back again — were enough to double the number of errors participants made in an assigned task.”

“Monotasking is a 21st-century term for what your high school English teacher probably just called ‘paying attention.’ As much as people would like to believe otherwise, humans have finite neural resources that are depleted every time we switch between tasks, which, especially for those who work online, can happen upward of 400 times a day, according to a 2016 University of California, Irvine study.”

“The term ‘brain dead’ suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.”

 

Click the image to read more from von Pfetten.

Art by Andy Rash

Art by Andy Rash

 

Here Yesterday, Gone (OR Declining Today)

11 Oct

In the early 2000s, a number of new Web and social sites emerged. Despite a lot of hype, many of them did no hit expectations and/or are not as popular today. Here are some examples of the latter.

As reported by Clinton Nguyen for Business Insider:

“Much of the internet in the early 2000s was defined by Web sites that ushered people into a new age of social media and online entertainment. Take Friendster for example — the massively popular site became a household name before MySpace, and then Facebook overtook both of them as the most popular social network. Friendster is no longer in service, but plenty of the sites that defined the early 2000s are still around, albeit in somewhat different forms. Here’s what they’re doing now.”

  • “MySpace was massively popular in the mid-2000s, before Facebook came out. [It is now a shell of its former self in terms of popularity.] Like Facebook, every user had their own wall, where strangers and friends could post comments. The draw was customization.  MySpace has completely changed since then. The company rebranded and relaunched in 2013, with an emphasis on hitting catering to musicians and record labels. Unlike Facebook, users make “connections,” not friends, and radio stations and music videos are given the spotlight on the site.”
  •  

  • Live Journal was a haven for adolescent blogging in the late 2000s. The site became popular for having both personal blogs (which could be private or public) and “communities” where users could congregate to discuss their fandoms and pop culture obsessions. Today, the site retains much of the same look, including its popular discussion sections and blog layout. The front page now has a spots for promoted posts, which users can purchase by buying tokens with real money. Most of those spots are now occupied by gossip blogs, like ohnotheydidnt.”
  •  

  • “For a while, Xanga was also used as a blogging platform, mostly by high school students, though it faced competition from similar blogging services like LiveJournal and Blogger. It had many of the same features as its competitors: a blogging space, comments section, and a “props” feature (the 2000’s equivalent of a like). Today, user accounts don’t seem to exist on the site, and the homepage displays the development team’s last note, announcing server on Xanga 2.0, though that was posted in February 2015.”
  •  

  • “eBaum’s World became popular for posting viral videos, cartoon animations, and celebrity soundboards. People essentially visited the site for the same reason they’d visit other humor/game sites — to watch crudely animated Flash videos and to play with humorous soundbites cut from interviews. Today, the site publishes user-shared photo galleries and posts with embedded YouTube videos to garner traffic. Most of the videos come with one-sentence descriptions and slightly modified headlines, and photo galleries feature images and captions lifted from unattributed sources.”
  •  

  • “Ask Jeeves was a popular search engine before Google rose to the top. The site provided basic Web searches, but its real selling point was that users could pose questions in natural language (like, “What’s the weather today?” or “Has MSFT stock risen today?” etc). The service was notable for its butler mascot, Jeeves, but he was phased out in 2006 when the service became Ask.com. Jeeves was brought back to Ask.com’s UK site for a brief moment in 2009. But today, he’s absent from all of Ask’s search engine sites.”
  •  

  • “Before Google became the world’s most popular search engine, AltaVista was a leading search engine of choice. The site featured many of the services Google offers now — Web, image, and video search options. It also featured channels with news about entertainment, travel, and more. But when you visit AltaVista today, you’re redirected to Yahoo Search. The site went through a number of hands before it was consolidated into Yahoo Search.”

 
Click on the image to read more from Nguyen.


 

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