Category Archives: Strategy

Trading Doritos for Carrots

A change in seasons, an earlier sunset, and a new school year always signals the kind of late night snacking and all-too-typical junk food consumption that leaves inbound college freshmen unable to button their jeans by Christmas.

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Facebook: The Ugly Girl at the Dance?

What’s happening to Facebook? And when did it become the prom queen that woke up one morning with a giant, runaway zit?

Everybody’s social media darling — still every bit as stunning and formidable with 900 million mostly immensely dedicated users — seems to be taking a beating lately.

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Consumer patriotism gains popularity

In the wake of the economic recession, there has been a renewed emphasis on buying American-made products to support the U.S. economy. Last year, Diane Sawyer pledged to buy only U.S. made products, citing that if every American spent an extra $3.33 on U.S.-made goods, it would create almost 10,000 new jobs in the country. She urged viewers to join her pledge, and the campaign is one of the many sources bringing attention to a growing trend of consumer patriotism. With that, consumers are embracing the ‘Buy American’ trend because it overlaps with several other trends and touches on numerous values.

Job outsourcing is still an issue on Americans’ mind, and with the jobs market struggling to regain ground, this issue is an even bigger problem. When asked why more Apple products aren’t made in the United States, Apple responded by saying that ‘Made in the USA’ is no longer a viable option for most Apple products. Consumers realize that buying local to supports the local economy and keeps jobs in the country for themselves and their neighbors. Continue reading

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Sleep will be this decade’s big health movement

Living a more healthy and balanced life is nothing new. In the ‘90s healthy-minded Americans became obsessed with fitness. Jogging and exercise became a national pastime, and joining a gym was almost a family necessity. In ‘00s it was all about diet when we saw a national movement to sidestep artificial and processed foods, avoid fatty fast food fare, and focus on following more natural and wholesome diets. Continue reading

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The #HungerGames dominates the box office fueled by a strong social campaign

Friday, March 23, was the theatrical release of The Hunger Games. In August 2011, Lionsgate released a teaser trailer during the MTV Video Music Awards with the hashtag #WhatsMyDistrict. The hashtag on the teaser trailer led curious twitter users to TheCapitol.pn , a hidden website that over time began to reveal its contents. The website allows users to log in using their Twitter or Facebook accounts, which then assigns every person to a ‘district.’ Continue reading

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Americans are rethinking meat

 After failed attempts at fad diets or reeling from information overload – consumers are looking for a comprehensive approach to healthy living – even if that means eating less meat. While the U.S. vegetarian population is small, more consumers are rethinking their meat consumption and opting for a “flexitarian” lifestyle. They consciously reduce their meat intake, while still occasionally enjoy protein. According to an Allrecipies.com user study, more than 1/3 of home cooks reported eating less meat compared to a year ago. While most people report that they are cutting back on protein for health reasons, saving money, environmental protection, and animal cruelty are also listed as top concerns. Continue reading

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How do I love thee? Let me count the healthy ways

While romance is alive and well in 2012, die-hard romantics are finding healthier ways than ever before to express their love this Valentine’s Day. Among the top three expected trends this Valentine’s Day among consumers pursuing a healthy lifestyle are:

The Couple that Cooks Together … Stays Together.

As part of the trend toward giving shared, memorable experiences over material gifts, couples cooking classes continue to surge in popularity. Williams-Sonoma, Sur la Table and other retailers continue to increase their complementary and paid class offerings, as do mobile culinary event companies like Parties That Cook®, which is increasingly targeting couples. Classes that stress organic and all-natural ingredients, aphrodisiacs and other niche foods or preparations are especially popular. A bigger trend is also at play this year: the recession-generated desire to bestow something lasting, in this case health and knowledge, versus just giving a fleeting thrill. Continue reading

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Top CSR campaigns of 2011

Earlier this year, Mattel endured a synchronized attack from Facebook users and activists when Greenpeace USA coordinated efforts to inform consumers about the rainforest deforestation that Mattel’s packaging supplier, Asia Pulp and Paper - contributes to. As part of the theatrics, Greenpeace created a video that had Ken breaking up with barbie over her use of paper sourced from rainforests. The video went viral and the story went global. The attack, including videos, theatrical window dressings, and an assault on Barbie’s Facebook page, Mattel was forced to reevaluate their sustainability standards. Social media gives consumers and organizations the platform  to openly support their favorite brands, but with that they are also given the power to openly protest against brands. Companies taking conscious steps to be transparent give back are rewarded with accolades and new business, while companies behaving badly are scorned in online communities like Facebook and Twitter.

While the Mattel incident is an extreme example, companies are still looking for ways to proactively evaluate their triple bottom line, by making changes to both their internal operations and through corporate social responsibility campaigns. For the first time in 23 years, Pepsi skipped advertising during the Super Bowl and opted for a CSR campaign in 2010. We recently launched Toshiba’s Helping the Helpers contest to help non-profit organizations, and realized that not all Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) campaigns are created equally. Here’s our take on some notable CSR campaigns of 2011. Continue reading

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Holiday season bringing cell phone tracking privacy concerns

Two shopping malls in the United States have suspended plans to use FootPath, a new technology system that tracks consumer movements through their personal cell phones, after questions of privacy issues were raised by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.

Photo courtesy CIO.com

This new technology was planned to run in two Forest City malls, one in California (The Promenade in Temecula) and the other in Virginia during this holiday season. Signs posted at each location reported that the mall was conducting an “anonymous mobile phone survey,” which began on Black Friday. Concerns for privacy issues were then raised and both malls temporarily suspended plans for the run. Continue reading

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Man-centric shopping: Coming to a store near you

Photo courtesy of Micahel Quintanilla, San Antonio Express-News

If you’ve gone grocery shopping lately you might have noticed a change in the grooming aisles; gray and black packaging, clearly labeled sections and easy-to-find items, or maybe a whole new aisle altogether. These cosmetic changes are due to more men becoming responsible for the shopping list—and smart marketers are noticing.

About one-third of primary shoppers in households are men, up from 14% two decades ago (Nielsen). Yet, 40% of men feel unwelcomed in retail stores, and only 22-24% of men felt advertising in packaged goods, pet supplies or clothing spoke to them (Yahoo!). This increase in men taking on the shopping responsibilities is due to the Great Recession affecting male-dominated industries, more unmarried men needing to do their own shopping, and changing gender roles within households. According to a Wharton study, a good shopping trip for men is centered around convenience—the product location and display, how fast they can complete a purchase, and how quickly they can move onto the next task. Continue reading

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