Alcone Marketing Group – Consumer Lab

The Consumer Lab is the consumer insights and brand strategy group at Alcone Marketing Group, a consumer activation company.

Second Life Loses Luster

Marketers need a new approach in Second Life. 42% of Second Lifers are disappointed with the marketing effots targeting them in the virtual world.

Second Life Loses Luster
March 27, 2007
By Constantine von Hoffman/Brandweek

Are companies approaching the virtual world like a traditional marketing channel?
BOSTON Marketers continue to rush to the virtual world of Second Life despite increasing evidence they dont really know what to do when they get there.


Filed under: advertising, Virtual Worlds

Nissan’s Pitch For Mini-Car: Accesorize It

In order to make its new Pino minicar appeal to young female consumers in Japan,
Nissan Motor has purposely avoided focusing too much attention on the car
itself. Instead, television and print ads portray the Pino as just one
item–such as plushy animals, furry seat cushions and heart-shaped decals–in a
collage of accessories.


Nissan’s Pitch For Mini-Car: Accessorize It –
TOKYO — Nissan Motor Co. had a tough challenge in launching its Pino minicar: Make it appeal to young female consumers who couldn’t care less about cars.

While these deep-pocketed shoppers spend lavishly on clothes and accessories, cars are optional for many. Instead, they rely on bicycles, motorbikes or public transport. So Nissan Motor purposely avoided focusing too much attention on the car itself. Instead, television and print ads portray the Pino as just one item in a collage of accessories, such as plushy animals, furry seat cushions and heart-shaped decals. The Pino pamphlet, designed to read like a comic book, shows a group of fashionable youths eating cupcakes and showing off manicured nails that match the Pino’s star upholstery pattern.

Filed under: advertising, auto, Women, Young Adults

Honda Wants to Be Known for Safety

Honda wants to join Volvo as an automaker best known for safety, so it’s
promoting it as an essential part of its public image.


Honda Wants to Be Known for Safety – New York Times
MARYSVILLE, Ohio — From the time it started selling cars in the United States 35 years ago, Honda has fostered a reputation for building fuel-efficient vehicles.

Now it is taking a new tack: it wants to join Volvo as an automaker best known for safety.

get there, Honda is promoting safety as an essential part of its public
image. It is offering front and side-curtain air bags and antilock
brakes on most of its offerings, from the smallest cars to trucks,
emphasizing that buyers need not pay top dollar for such protection.

Filed under: advertising, auto, Consumer

Chocolatiers jump onto gourmet bandwagon

Chocolate lovers are snubbing typical childhood favorites in favor of premium
products that carry pedigrees, such as a high cacao content, a lack of
preservatives and, in some cases, even a specific country of origin. And exotic
bonbons and truffles now boast ingredients like olive oil, fig, chili pepper and
even wasabe.


Chocolatiers on gourmet bandwagon – Food Inc. –
This Easter, don’t be surprised if even the kids aren’t satisfied by those waxy milk chocolate eggs that have long been the mainstay of Easter egg hunts.

These days, more Americans are snubbing typical childhood favorites in
favor of premium chocolates that carry pedigrees such as a high cacao
content, a lack of preservatives and, in some cases, even a specific
country of origin.

Filed under: Chocolate, Consumer, health, luxury, organics, trends

Uncle Ben, Board Chairman

Uncle Ben – the timeless and iconic man who is the face of Uncle Ben’s rice – is getting a proverbial makeover. He’s being promoted to chairman of the company as part of a new campaign.


Uncle Ben, Board Chairman – New York Times
A racially charged advertising character, who for decades has been relegated to a minor role in the marketing of the products that still carry his name, is taking center stage in a campaign that gives him a makeover — Madison Avenue style — by promoting him to chairman of the company.

The character is Uncle Ben, the symbol for more than 60 years of the
Uncle Ben’s line of rices and side dishes now sold by the food giant
Mars. The challenges confronting Mars in reviving a character as
racially fraught as Uncle Ben were evidenced in the reactions of
experts to a redesigned Web site (, which went live this week.

Filed under: advertising, African American, CPG, Internet, Media

No Pet Left Behind

Vacation packages designed for you and your pet. Yes, seriously. Taking your pet on vacation with you is becoming a trend more and more marketers and hotels alike are capitalizing on.


No Pet Left Behind – New York Times
ONE brisk afternoon this past winter, the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch in Beaver Creek, Colo., could have been mistaken for the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

There sat Biscuit, a white-haired West Highland terrier from Denver, waiting diligently at the foot of her owner, a stylishly trim woman drinking a glass of wine in the lounge with a friend. And Bambi, a skittish border collie from Texas, wore a red Willie Nelson-style bandanna around her neck. Then there was the tan and petite cocker spaniel, prancing up and down the sunny courtyard alongside her equally tan and petite owner.

Filed under: dogs, empty nesters, experiential, luxury, pets, travel, trends, websites

Doh! Looks Like 7-Eleven Stores May Get Homered

As part of a promotion for The Simpsons Movie, select 7-Eleven stores will be turned into Kwik-E-Marts (the convenience store in The Simpsons). The stores will carry products such as KrustyO’s and will have Simpsons characters promoting the 7-Eleven’s fresh food offerings.

What a fun way to let consumers take part in the upcoming movie release!


MediaPost Publications – Doh! Looks Like 7-Eleven Stores May Get Homered – 03/30/2007
7-ELEVEN, THE WORLD’S LARGEST CONVENIENCE store, is in talks with Fox Home Entertainment about a deal that would turn nearly a dozen 7-Elevens into Kwik-E-Marts, the convenience store patronized by Homer Simpson and others in the classic cartoon series.

Customers also would be able to buy KrustyO’s cereal, Buzz Cola and ice Squishees, products from the show. 7-Eleven would be able to use Simpson characters to promote its line of fresh foods, such as Homer’s face and “Mmmm … sandwich” line on sandwich wrappers.

Filed under: advertising, Consumer, experiential, film, In Store, Promotions

Average US Household Watches 15.7 TV Channels a Week

So the average American household is at a record high – 104.2 channels – but it turns out households only watch 15.7 of them a week, according to a new study.


Center for Media Research – Daily Brief
Average US Household Watches 15.7 TV Channels a Week

According to a new report from NeilsenMedia, The number of television channels that the average U.S. home receives has reached a record high of 104.2 TV channels, an increase of almost eight channels since 2005. In 2006, the average household tuned to 15.7, or 15.1% of the 104.2 channels available for at least 10 minutes per week.

Filed under: Consumer, entertainment, TV

Spotting the Next Hoodie

Fashion brands are relying more and more on trendspotters to find the hottest trends from the streets.


Fashion Journal –
Standing near a cluster of bars at the corner of Red River and East 6th streets in Austin, Texas, earlier this month, Helen Job grew anxious about denim. She had spent four days in the hip college town, trying to determine whether a new look was catching on.

After seeing mostly skinny jeans, which she believes are on their way out, Ms. Job finally spotted a young woman in a T-shirt and high-waisted, straight-legged jeans. The sighting was further confirmation of a trend her colleagues at Worth Global Style Network had already documented on the streets of Scandinavia, Europe and Japan and in stores in Paris and London. “Give it about six weeks,” she said, “and all the New York stores will have them in the windows.”

Filed under: clothing, fashion, Gen Y, trends, Young Adults

Wal-Mart TV sells marketers flexibility

Wal-Mart TV is an example of a way to reach consumers at the right place – where they can find your product, even down to the specific aisle, and at the right time – when perhaps a concert sponsored by a brand becomes top of mind.


Wal-Mart TV sells marketers flexibility –
In mid-March, about three dozen people recruited from New York City sidewalks were treated to a private concert by country crooner Tim McGraw at a Times Square studio. While the audience was impromptu, the performance was part of a carefully planned production by Frito-Lay with McGraw and Wal-Mart Stores (WMT).

Frito-Lay paid for the show (which included Lay’s signs behind the
stage) and created video for Wal-Mart to air on its in-store TV network
for a one-day promotion this Saturday.

Filed under: advertising, Consumer, entertainment, In Store, Promotions, shopping, TV

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