My little piece of the Fiesta Movement

As an initial caveat, I’d like to start off by saying that I am not an “Agent” of Ford’s Fiesta Movement, I’m just someone who has seen the promotion/activation/campaign and been pretty impressed by the use of social media.

Here’s the second caveat: I’m an avowed Mimobot nut. Check the archives. Ever since I got my first Mimobot at SXSW earlier this year I’ve been obsessed with amassing a larger collection.

So when I saw that Mimoco had created a Mimobot specifically for the Fiesta Movement, I knew I had to own one.

Wanna see how it was designed/developed? There’s a video for that!

Enter eBay and the very nice (and prompt) Rigel Celeste. She runs a tight ship: courteous, friendly and quick to mail items once the PayPal went through. I gave her five-star feedback for the sale and a follow on Twitter, since she seems so cool.

Of course, I was helped out in the process by clusterflock. Great eBay buying advice.

Here’s what I got for my efforts:

Ford Fiesta Mimobot

Cute, isn’t it?

It came loaded with four pictures of the Ford Fiesta but was otherwise empty. I believe it was given to Rigel at a Fiesta Movement event, but she already had one.

Still, as a giveaway it’s pretty clever, especially since the Fiesta has a USB port. You should check out Stammy’s extensive Fiesta coverage, from an agent’s perspective if that’s your bag. He’s a local Atlantan and technology blogger.

I promise not to get all gushy and weird about any future eBay conquests (no, I don’t actually) but if you know of a source for any of the HBO promotional Mimobots, I’m all ears.

Until next time!

Newtons Aren’t Fruit and Cake (anymore)

While packing Raelyn’s lunch last night (she’s at YMCA day camp most of the Summer) I noticed a not-so-subtle branding change on the Fig Newtons packaging. Below is an artistic photo of the new wording, which reads: “Fruity Chewy Cookies”

Fig Newtons by turnthecity
Fig Newtons by turnthecity

Above: Fig Newtons by turnthecity

If you did any of your TV viewing during the 90’s, you’ll likely remember that Fig Newtons were being hocked thusly:

“A cookie is just a cookie, but a Newton is fruit and cake.”

Here’s an ad to refresh your memory. 4:48 mark:

Now I’m no nutritional anthropologist (thank you, Deb Duchon, Alton Brown and Good Eats) but I don’t think fig jam counts as fruit, nor that a baked crust counts as cake. More like pie.

Other, more learned scholars have made the point that Newtons are likely “squares” or “bars”, but I’ll leave that to you, gentle reader, to decide.

Whether or not the Newton is, in fact, “fruit and cake” or some kind of cookie or something else entirely shouldn’t actually matter. What matters is how quickly Nabisco has reversed course in their marketing and promotion.

Of course, I seem to be a couple of years late to both the new positioning AND mockery of the same. Still, I feel it’s my duty to point out the idiocy of changing course so dramatically.

But what do I know, right? Fig Newtons are still the only cookie/fruit-cake combo/bar/square on the market that either called Newton OR made of Fig. Their uniqueness of form, function and name seems to trump whatever marketing their laboring under currently.

I can’t help but draw the comparison to another food-stuff marketing catchphrase of the same era: Polaner All Fruit.

For those of you who don’t recall, much was made of the fact that as, you shouldn’t call Polaner All Fruit “Jelly” since it was better than all of that. It was, after all, “spreadable fruit” and not at all like lowly, common jelly.

Here’s the money shot of the spot:

So imagine if Polaner all of sudden relaunched calling themselves “Jelly” despite keeping the name All Fruit; wouldn’t make much sense, would it?

Granted, Newton is a nebulous descriptor not at all as recognizable or finite as “jelly” “fruit” or, more directly, “cookie” or “cake”‘. Still, the whole thing seems like a bait and switch to my younger, sweet-toothed mind.

A cookie, for all its benefits and joys, is just a cookie. A Newton – unique in all the snacking world – is fruit and cake.

Or at least it used to be.

Bonus linkage: Fruit and Cake (Fig Newton Song)

And, in the end, the Fig Newton you take, will always be fruit and cake (with apologies to The Beatles).

My affinity health care plan

I’m fairly certain that one of the issues President-elect Obama will tackle during his tenure in the White House will be health care. It was a centerpiece of his campaigning, an issue that swayed voters whose main concern was health care towards him, and it’s a very disjointed system.

So why don’t insurers and underwriters – the companies big and small and the individuals involved – work towards something better? If capitalism and competition can cure all ills (pun intended) why do we see so little innovation within health care and so much new thinking about therapies, drugs and procedures.

It just doesn’t seem like the business side of health care is moving at the same pace as the technologies to affect such care.

That’s why I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest a proactive approach that any HMO, PPO, Hospital, Doctor or Nurse can take to the bank: a loyalty/affinity program.

I know it sounds strange, but hear me out. Consumer goods and services companies have been all over this trend for the past 20 years, so why not graft some of the same critical thinking and business acumen – if not the exact implementation – on to health care.

Let’s use Starbucks as an example:

  1. If you’re Starbucks, you want people to drink more coffee, so you start selling gift cards and then you move on (recently) to a new type of affinity card intended (as I understand it) for your highest users, your brand evangelists, your top 1% of 1%.
  2. You give them discounts, sure, but you also give them access to cool, exclusive products and services that only they can enjoy. You make it feel exclusive. Membership has its rewards.
  3. On top of all the pampering you give them gifts that are meant, in the parlance of Seinfeld, to be gifted or re-gifted. You invite these people to widen your circle of influence by helping you find like-minded consumers who may not love Starbucks right now, but could be swayed through word-of-mouth or incentivized to Drink. More. Coffee.

All standard-issue business school stuff, right. It’s a loss-leader, but what you lose in incremental revenue via the discounts you gain back in increased consumption and broadened influence. In my TV background, we’d say this is a use of a Low Reach/High Frequency marketing message.

Or something like that.

Anyhow, what does this have to do with health care? Glad you asked.

Sick people cost more to insure and more to care for than do healthy people. I’m way over-generalizing, but I think you get my point.

So what should we do about people getting sick? We all get colds or have accidents or, loathe though I am to admit it, AGE!

I’m proposing that someone, everyone – maybe Kaiser Permanente or United Healthcare – start issuing a “frequently healthy” card and reward people who take all those preventive steps that we all love imagining for ourselves but so rarely do.

I’m talking:

  • A discount/reduced co-pay for well visits if you bring in an Honor Roll slip from your Gym/Athletic Club that says you worked out 15 (or more) out of 30 days in the month.
  • Prescription drug or over-the-counter coupons if you get a Flu shot at the start of Fall/Winter.
  • Access to specialist like Nutritionist and Stress or Work/Life classes and coaches if you maintain a certain BMI or you lower your body age through V02 monitoring or body composition.

Look, I’m no expert here and I surely get great health coverage (though costs are rising) from my employer, but it strikes me as odd that Kaiser will go to all that trouble to get Allison Janey to say “Live Well” and “Thrive” for their ads, but that no one has thought about putting together a solid “healthy person retention” program.

Or maybe I’m wrong and all kinds of these things exist. But I don’t think I am.

I think that if insurers really cared about optimizing their business, they’d realize they need to help people optimize themselves. Healthy people with healthy habits tend to stay healthier.

I’m going to be anti-blogger and not even attempt to link to any facts or figures because I’m both too lazy and too in-love with my own idea.

What say you? Am I way off base or have I stumbled upon something?

Also, is the system – and I’m including both for-profit companies and their access to government-funded initiatives such as Medicare and Medicaid (which I’m not so up-to-speed on, but my mother-in-law the Hospice Nurse is) – too complex to allow for such a simple idea? That is, are insurers actually better served by healthier people or do they enjoy charging more and making more money from progressively sicker and sicker people.

Who knows. Maybe this entire post is a boondoggle.

Let me have it.

Mapping creatively

For a long while, I’ve had this crazy idea about private spaces – theme parks and sports arenas, mostly – utilizing Google’s mapping technology to provide people with rich, interactive experiences whether in the planning stages, at an event or just re-living an experience.

Well today the Official Google Blog revealed cool new features of their Maps & Transit products, namely metro transit information for the New York City metro area. Google Maps Mania has more info, including a video:

All of this is well and good until you start thinking of all the ways it could be so much cooler.

Like mobile access via your iPhone or Android phone.
Or combined with photos and videos pertinent to your location(s).
And to think about how you’d aggregate those kinds of things (I don’t want to say “assets” or “content”) from both individuals and corporations.

My head is going all fuzzy just thinking about these implementations (present AND future) as being the more natural outgrowth of those creepy eyeball-targeted ads in Minority Report. There you were targeted based on what you’d made public; here you target for yourself based on your needs.

Subtle, to be sure, but isn’t the evolution of Facebook’s Beacon typical of the differentiation I’m making here?

Anyhow, I just think it’s a cool day for the data. I say we ought to let it co-mingle and play more often.

Here’s hoping I dream up some fun way to engage fans in ways they’ll *want* to use in the flow of their lives. We should be so lucky and so humble of our successes.

Happy Mappy (unrelated) Tuesday!

Beer Marketing and You (meaning Me)

Before I ramble on with my rant, I’d like to announce that I’ve finally (after 15 months of effort) made the grade as a “Pledge” in Taco Mac’s passport club. Two points, to be fair:

  1. I actually became a pledge on May 3 of this year, but didn’t get the tee
  2. We’ve only been to Taco Mac sparingly since Owen was born, which is more like an excuse

Here’s a rundown of the beers that carried me over the threshold, newlywed-style:

  • Abita Purple Haze
  • Blue Moon
  • Boddington’s Pub Ale
  • Beck’s Light
  • Bud Light
  • Coors Light
  • Erdinger Weissbeer
  • Hoegaarden
  • Kira Wit
  • Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat
  • Paulaner Hefeweizen
  • Samuel Adams Octoberfest
  • Woodpecker Cider

I’d argue that I didn’t drink half of these beers, but Taco Mac’s database has always been a bit sketchy. I once ordered a Sweetwater 420 and the bill showed a Dogwood Pale Ale so draw your own conclusions about my memory and their bookkeeping.

Here’s what I drank tonight and how they were charged to the bill:

  • Flying Dog Old Scratch
  • Billed as Flying Dog Special

  • Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale
  • Billed as Tommyknocker Imperial. Tommyknocker makes an Imperial Nut Brown Ale so who knows what I drank.

But I digress. The real reason I’m blogging tonight, save a slight buzz, are three pieces of bad beer news:

  1. The first, Anheiser-Busch is making a nationally-distributed “American Ale”.
  2. Pardon me if I just threw up a bit in my mouth.

  3. Jessica Simpson is the new spokesperson for Stampede Light Beer
  4. See previous pithy commentary.

  5. Molson Coors are idiots for not letting the U.K.’s Carling brand promote their iPint application here in the States.
  6. I supposed they’re waiting to roll out a Golden version (Molson for Canada, Coors/Banquet Beer [Golden, Colorado] for the U.S.) but I’m not buying it.

    I want my free beer emulator for the iPhone! Who would pay for iBeer?

Here’s their email to me, complete with my message and the LENGTHY Molson Coors boilerplate masthead for shits and giggles.

Free the iPint!

Oh, and have a happy, safe and reproductive weekend (beer included).


Apologies for any disappointment, but Carling marketing is only intended for the UK and European markets.

The Carling Team
– Show quoted text –

——– Original Message ——–
From: “Seth Miller”
Date: 19:45 Wed, 6th Aug 2008

I don’t live in the UK but I do enjoy Carling.

Is there any way for me to get iPint on my iPhone?



Molson Coors is the fifth largest brewer in the world, formed by the merger of equals in 2005 of Molson and Coors. With executive offices in Denver and Montreal, its major markets are the UK, Canada and the USA. Coors Brewers Limited is the UK’s 2nd largest brewer with a 20%+ market share. Brands include Carling, the UK’s biggest selling lager, Grolsch one of the UK’s leading premium lagers and Coors, an American style premium lager.

This e-mail is confidential and may be privileged.
This document is intended for, and should only be read by, those persons to whom it is addressed. Its contents are confidential and if you have received this message in error, please notify us immediately by telephone and delete all records of the message from your computer.
Any form of reproduction, dissemination, copying, disclosure, modification, distribution and / or publication of this message without our prior written consent is strictly prohibited. Neither the author of this message nor their employers accept legal responsibility for the contents of the message. Any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author.

We do not warrant that this email or any attachments are virus-free and do not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage resulting from any virus infection.

Coors Brewers Limited, 137 High Street, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 1JZ.
Registered in England Number 26018
Tel: +44 1283 511000
Copyright 2006 Coors Brewers Limited

So, to recap:

Blondes with big boobs, region encoding and big breweries taking microbrewery tactics are no ways to market beer.

Thank you!