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Dirty Market Segment: Charmaine Quoted on Britney Spears by FoxNews

January 4, 2007 | By | No Comments


Britney Spears AP Britney Spears did it again. Making headlines with her antics. She followed up a round of headlines about her under-bare partying a few months back with a New Year’s eve round of parties that culminated in her handlers physically carrying her out.

Some marketers and commentators believe the dirty stunts will hurt Britney’s brands.

New Auction Sites Alternative & General News writes in The Business of Britney: Spears’ Latest Oops May Cost Her

Photos of a pantyless, glassy-eyed Britney Spears may prove “Toxic” to sales of her perfumes, albums and DVDs … or they could make her business even “Stronger.”

Family values advocates, business experts and Hollywood gossip gurus alike have been speculating on the impact, if any, that the bare-under-there shots will have on the Britney empire, especially among her younger fans.


FoxNewsFoxNews quoted Charmaine,

Charmaine Yoest, [Ph.D.] communications vice president for the conservative Family Research Council think tank and the mother of five children, said that if her kids asked for Spears’ fragrances, Curious and Fantasy, or a Britney album or DVD, she’d tell them, “You’ve got to be kidding!”

“We’re not going to buy products from people who have such a flagrant disregard for moral values and who show no concern for their role as models for young people,” Yoest said. “It’s absolutely going to hurt her sales. She’s really gone too far over the boundaries of good taste.”

Yoest said her 13-year-old daughter “is not interested in Britney anymore, or Lindsay Lohan either.”

Lohan has also been photographed in the past wearing nothing underneath.

“My daughter just looks at Britney and Lindsay and goes ‘Ick,'” said Yoest. “I think these pop stars underestimate how smart young girls are.”

Your Business Blogger disagrees. (No, not with Charmaine. Nope. Never.) I would suggest that the Britney goods will sell and sell well. As awful as Spears behaves, she appeals and is appealing to her clearly defined market segment: Sullen little girls.


Britney Spears

National Ledger

This is not judgmental. This is life. This is real. This is marketing.

Except that young girls can pick their own market segment. They can pick their own peer group.


Thank you (foot)notes:

And marketers should monitor the Roe Effect.

TimeCheese has pictures. Yes, those pictures. Not safe for work or families. Available only for scientific marketing analysis.

Kevin Federline has had little input.

30 Nov



Army Marketing: Army Strong — But Will It Make a Difference?

November 30, 2006 | By | 3 Comments

The Army has a new slogan: Army Strong.


Army StrongThis replaces the Army of One nonsense we have endured for the last 5 years. Your Business Blogger/Old Soldier is delighted with the new verbiage.

Robert Burns, the AP Military Writer reports,

Army officials said the switch did not mean the “Army of One” slogan was a loser, but many have criticized it.

Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute research group, said the previous slogan seemed to promote the notion that you could join the Army and preserve your individuality.

“If you want to be an ‘Army of One’ you probably want to join the Hell’s Angels, not the U.S. Army,” he said.

The new war chant is a better descriptor; more authentic as the academics say. And is guaranteed to win advertising awards as it should.

The Washington Post reports on the $200 million a year ad campaign where the,

New York advertising firm McCann Erickson designed the campaign after winning the two-year Army contract, which can be renewed for three additional years.

The ads were tested on hundreds of soldiers, although studies show that it is difficult for the military to gain an accurate measure of the effectiveness of advertising, which is relatively expensive compared with other recruiting tools such as educational benefits and bonuses.

All of marketing, including military, should be measured against a matrix of benchmarks for grading a return on investment.

[Goodness, look-it all those buzz phrases strung together. How impressive!…I’ll have to raise my fees.]

The measure of success in this marketing campaign with the new catch-phrase is in the number of recruits as compared to a like-time frame with the old slogan.

I am not persuaded that the Army Strong campaign will increase the recruiting numbers of the Army.


Heartbeat of AmericaThe Army Strong marketing mirrors the marketing done by Chevrolet with the Heart Beat of America branding from 1987 to 1994.

The genius of Sean K. Fitzpatrick was recognized by a number of awards for Chevrolet’s Heartbeat of America advertising effort.

Interestly, singer songwriter Robin Batteau wrote and sang both Chevrolet’s “Heartbeat of America” and “Be All You Can Be” for the US Army.

Steve Coomes, writes in Pizza Marketplace Image isn’t everything,

The Heartbeat of America, Chevrolet.

It’s not only one of the most memorable ad slogans of the 1980s, it was an advertising industry award winner.

And yet it failed miserably….

“That’s a perfect example of image advertising,” said Cavalloro, whose company, Performance Marketing, is based in Algonac, Mich. “Image advertising is the type of advertising that focuses more on the aesthetics and the artistic quality of an ad. It doesn’t get the reader to take action.”

(Marketing: Pizza, Chevy, Army. Ain’t America great or what.)

As it happens, I drove a Chevy Celebrity during the Heartbeat heyday. Not by choice. It was a company car. It was not, shall I say, reliable transportation.

So, Heartbeat of America won awards and cost millions of dollars. But Chevrolet sales dropped 17 percent in Heartbeat’s first year.

Great slogan. Crappy cars.

My concern is that advertising history will be repeated: The Pentagon will have terrific, award winning eye-wash. But that the results of the slogan’s effectiveness will be poor. Recruitment will remain a challenge.

Not because of a poor product. The Army output is outstanding. No. Recruitment will remain problematic — not because the Army is a difficult lifestyle. Or there is a war and you might die. Not because the Army is too hard.

No. Recruitment will falter because the Army is now seen as being too easy. Too soft.

Even girls can do it.


Women Loving WeaponsRecruitment will be troublesome because the Army is using double standards — different standards for men and women. For example,

Army men must do 75 push-ups…and run two miles in 13 minutes. Women soldiers must do 46 push-ups…and run two miles in 15:35.

The Army has soft, gentle, kinder standards for females. Double standards. New slogans will not fix this policy.


Thank you (foot)notes:

Management Training Tip: When recruiting new talent, don’t make the job sound easy. Make the job a challenge.

See the Chevy icon in…China.

Antonin Scalia, Seth Godin and Smooth Fitness

September 7, 2006 | By | One Comment


Antonin Scalia I lean over to Charmaine and say, “Hey, that guy looks like Scalia.”

Antonin Scalia was sitting in the seminar like any other nobody at a American Political Science Association convention a few years ago in Your Nation’s Capital. He even asked questions, deferring, as befitting an academic setting, to the august panel of experts. The room hushed as he spoke: We were in the presence of a gentleman.

We chatted him up after the panel. He had a firm handshake, direct eye contact, direct language. We love him.

Not everyone does.


Seth Godin Seth, the Master Marketing Guru doesn’t care for Scalia. Him being all that is wrong with America. Scalia or Godin, your pick depending on your world view of politics.

But this is not a problem for Your Business Blogger: I am on all three sides of the debate. The country has no better Supreme Court justice than Antonin, no better marketer than Seth. And now no better elliptical trainer than Smooth Fitness.

On this, Seth and I would agree, I think.


Smooth Fitness I bought a Smooth Fitness piece of hardware last month. Recently, I received a follow-up phone call from the Smooth Fitness Director of Customer Experience, Keith Menear. We talk about the terrific Smooth Fitness CE 3.2 Elliptical Trainer machinery, my smooth on-line purchasing experience, the constant follow-up and Smooth Fitness touches. Actually, Keith let me do all the talking, which is how I prefer to do business anyway. I subtly let on how I am a world famous, very influential blogger.

Keith brightens audibly, I could see the light coming through the cell phone, “Are you the Purple Cow guy?”

I tense up, “What?”

“You know,” says Keith, smiling. “The blogger who wrote Purple Cow?”


Keith is excited, “Yes, the staff let me know this author…”

“–Never heard of him–”

“…who just bought one of our ellipticals.”

Time to surrender. “Oh, I guess you mean that struggling marketer, Seth Godin.”

“Yes, that’s him! The staff is psyched — Seth Godin just placed an order.”

“Well, I suppose he has some name recognition…would be great for your business, huh?”

Keith is floating off his Aeron, “Right, I hear he’s quite a superstar.”

“I suppose…well, this is nice Keith. Now, what can I do for you?”

“What was your name again…?”



Smooth Fitness

Some Assembly Required In any event, customer service was outstanding. The Dude, a pre-teen in my Penta-Posse, read the directions (something I’ve never done before), followed the directions (something I’ve never asked for) and completed the assembly and had me working out in an hour. Silent and smooth as silk.


Smooth Fitness

Under Construction by

The Diva & The Dude Your Business Blogger has very simple tastes — the best in everything. I have noticed, however, a near fatal flaw in the Smooth Fitness product. Shared unfortunately, with my old Mercedes: no place for my coffee cup. (The only thing that ever had a cupholder was my computer…)

And please understand that Smooth Fitness products are frightfully expensive. And worth every dime.

And that’s no lie.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

This is an unpaid endorsement. So far. Smooth Fitness has a referral program — drop my name (if you can remember it) (no one else does) when you order and I get a few bucks from Smooth Fitness. To buy a coffee cup holder for my ellipitcal trainer.

19 Aug



Great Brands: High Love; High Respect

August 19, 2006 | By | 3 Comments


Tom McMahon’s 4-Block World is proof that truth is simple as salt and sells.

Tom points us to the block to be in for us marketing guys positioning a brand: Love and Respect.

Love and Respect. Ying and Yang. Nuts and Bolts. Male and Female. Like Sex.

It has ancient Biblical proportions. Where each gender has a different directive from that Good Book: Men are commanded to Love their wives. Wives are commanded to Respect their husbands.

Together, the two become one. Eternal. Brand.

With children as dividends.

As a Lovemark.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Be sure to bookmark Tom McMahon for your daily reading enjoyment. You’ll love it; I guarantee it. 4-Bock World. 4-Ever.

George Mason Means Business and now Basketball

March 31, 2006 | By | No Comments


George Mason University A dozen years ago Your Business Blogger went school shopping.

To buy an MBA. Living in Northern Virginia, we were considering one of the three local Georges — Washington, ‘Town, Mason.

We were budgeting north of 40K. Self pay. So I was really, really interested in the cost.

So I ask GW, “How much?”

“Around $42,000 or so.”

“Or so? So what does that mean?” I wondered.

“It might be a bit more.” Said the major university big time recruiter smarty pants.

I was a sales manager at the time. I turned on the huffy sales manager voice, “Can you tell me the number it will cost me. The number I need to budget.”

“We don’t have the exact number,” says the GWU MBA seat seller.

I pause. Why would I buy an MBA from a business school that can’t even forecast their own costs? And they’re supposed to teach me this stuff?

I would have thought this unusual. But Georgetown said the same thing.

So I go visit Peggy at George Mason. She had the exact cost. No hidden charges. I like her. I bought a seat. Two years later, another consultant is set loose on the world.

George Mason had long been known for two things.

1) Favorable mentions by Tom Clancy in his books. And,

2) A university with a conservative flavor. Walter Williams et. al.

Now GMU is in the NCAA final four. Set to beat Florida Saturday nite.

Which creates a business opportunity. Alan Merten, the GMU president is scrambling to take advantage in the serge of applications that follow winning basketball teams.

“A target rich opportunity,” says Merten.

You can bet Mason will get the business branding of higher education right.

Mason can do the numbers. George Mason knows how to do business. Now basketball scores. Increased enrollment numbers are next.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

We should be hearing from Professor Starling Hunter, at The Business of America is Business. He teaches in the United Arab Emirates. George Mason has 31 students in an extension campus there. The UAE has Patriot fever, I understand.

My church pastor, David Wayne, the JollyBlogger, is a Gator guy. Can’t wait for Sunday’s sermon.

The Happy Booker has more.

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

Jollyblogger is on the other side.

Read More

Aslan's On The Move

March 29, 2006 | By | No Comments


Chinese Snacks in Chengdu Your Business Blogger was looking for a bit to eat. Maybe some local flavor. In Chengdu, in the middle of China.

A traditional snack. I dropped into a small grocer and loaded up. Pringles, Oreos, washed down with a Coke. And Cheetos chaser.

Then I noticed something. As I looked down into my feed bag, I saw international brand names.

(Nothing escapes Your Business Blogger.)

Peter Drucker said that innovation and marketing were the only competitive advantages the USA needed.

The raw ingredients in Coke and Cheetos are commodities. Available anywhere. Cheap.

The real added value is in the marketing. From America.

china yoest pepsi ad

Pepsi ad at The Temple of Heaven, Beijing

china wyeth beijing yoest 06

Wyeth formula ad in the Beijing subway

china starbucks beijing airport yoest 06

Starbucks at Beijing Airport

china coke chongdu yoest 06

Coke bench ad in Chengdu, China

china aslan streetside poster chengdu yoest 06

Narnia sidewalk poster, Chengdu Narnia? In the Middle Kingdom?

china aslan theater poster chongqing yoest 06

Narnia at a theater near you, Chongqing, China American marketing on the move.

Aslan’s on the move.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Interested in Narnia? If you are near Glen Burnie, Maryland, be sure to come to the C S Lewis lecture Thursday nite.

More pics at The Travel Bug

See Snacking Across China.

Visit Basil’s Blog for his pick of good posts.

Faked Out in East Asia

March 21, 2006 | By | No Comments

“It’s all fake,” said the young man who lived in town.

We were looking at acres of a bazaar, that was, well, bazaar bizarre. Rolex, North Face, Mont Blanc, DVDs as far as the eye could see.

None of it was real.

There was a ‘new’ word that swept thru elite American campuses a few years ago: Authentic. Professors liked the word because it had three syllables instead of the single syllable ‘real.’

Inauthentic for the academy was even better — it has four syllables instead of single syllable ‘fake.’


In this (new) age of exploring our feelings, few ask any questions about the emotion of fake goods; stolen brand names.

How does the fake North Face make you feel?

Your Business Blogger owns a real Armani suit, purchased some time ago from a reputable establishment. (Yes, only one.) Every time I slip the coat on, I stand a bit taller.

Tragically, few people have ever recognized or identified the brand name suit on its smug owner. No one knows it’s an Armani.

But I do.

And that is the difference. The suit is real. The emotion is real. Ergo I am real.

The feeling is authentic.

Not everyone is as shallow as Yours Truly. A fake brand, a fake suit would make me feel like… a fake.

And feelings are the only things that count.


Full Disclosure: Your Business Blogger did a little shopping in East Asia. And bought a North Face duffle bag to haul all the loot home. I was assured that it was real. A sign, in English!, said so.

The Carnival of the Capitalists is up at CaseySoftware.

Sponge Bob Square Pants and the US Army…

March 12, 2006 | By | No Comments

…in the same sentence? Your Business Blogger is a-travelling in East Asia.

So I’m on a subway and studying local people.

And notice a two year-old little boy held safely by his mum and dad. I smile: The little guy has a US Army patch on his shoulder. As a brand name decoration.

And back in my hotel room, Spong Bob is on. In English.

It’s just like being home.


10 Feb



Capitalism, Culture and Google

February 10, 2006 | By | 2 Comments


GoogleIn Chinese there is no word for “privacy.”

Google’s business practices in China are under question. In having a different product for different counties. I am not so sure Google is departing from a sound business theory. I think Google’s strategy deserves a case study. On doing business in different cultures.


Yoest, Faisal Alam in

New Delhi, IndiaYour Business Blogger was in India working with North American and Indian managers. Having thrown off our British rulers, we still shared a common English language.

But cultural communication was another matter.

American managers were frustrated that Indian executives and staff were not always truthful.

Or so it seemed.

If a supervisor (of any nationality) would ask an Indian subordinate a closed question such as “Does the report include the budget from Bangalore?” The Indian subordinate reply always would be ‘yes.’ Even if the answer was ‘no.’ Accompanied by a side-to-side movement of the head — which corresponds to the up and down affirmative head nod in America.

Was the Indian employee lying to his superior?

It depends on cultural perspective.

(Yes, yes I know — Alert Readers know well that Your Business Blogger subscribes to Timeless Truth: Truth is not relative.)

But the Indian culture is one of deference and respect for authority. It is not within the languages or culture to say “no” to the boss. Immediate compliance — obedience — is something every boss, in every culture really wants — but American’s seldom openly admit.

The culture is different. Where change to USA standards should not be forced.

Supervisors working with Indian subordinates should only ask open ended questions. A question allowing something other than ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ “Show me the line item for employee taxi expenses for Bangalore.”

The USA manager should understand also that the Indian manager will seldom say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ to a subordinate.

Additional questions are time consuming. But necessary to do business across cultures. And to respect differences in culture and tradition.

I think we should ask more questions. And take the first step.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” says China’s Confucius.

A single step from a single person. Countries don’t do business. People do business.


President Nixon meets with

China’s Community Party Leader,

Mao Tse-Tung on

February 29, 1972

Nixon went to China. Google went to China.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

In Chinese, in The Common Language (Mandarin) there are no words for “private” or “privacy” as we understand in English.


Nixon at the 2,000 year old Great Wall of China, 24 February 1972

Mark at Mark My Words has commentary.

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