Alcone Marketing Group – Consumer Lab

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

NASCAR pulling in younger TV viewers

NASCAR is quickly rising to become one of the most watched sports events in the US. First people were talking about the increasing popularity of NASCAR with the US Hispanic population – now people are looking at the growth of younger viewers.
C. – NASCAR – NASCAR pulling in younger TV viewers

NASCAR’s television ratings have continued to decline this year despite the promotional push of ESPN and a news-filled four-plus months of racing, but network executives are encouraged by gains in the younger demographics.

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Filed under: Gen Y, sports

More People Give This Game a Toss, Corny as It May Be

Baggs, on of the greatest backyard pasttimes I have ever played… I’d like to give a shotout to Emmett here for building me a set a couple of years back.

But seriously, this game has been gaining momentum over the past few years – so much so that there are now associations and local tournaments.

More People Give This Game a Toss, Corny as It May Be –

In the game, typically played two-on-two, players score three points each time they toss a 1-pound bag — traditionally filled with corn kernels — into a round hole cut into a slanted board about 30 feet away. A shot that misses the hole but stays on the board scores one point. Foes can knock each other’s bags off the board to negate a point. The first team to reach 21 wins.

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Filed under: Beer, Consumer, Games

Starbucks to Promote Climate Change Flick

Starbucks wants to tell people about global warming with a movie promotion around “Arctic Tale”. Starbucks stores will hold discussions with environmental experts in about 10 of their stores. Starbucks is trying to position itself as a leader in the race to green business. You can learn more about their commitment to the environment at – I also want to note that Planet Green is also the name of the soon to be launched new Discovery network.

Starbucks to Promote Climate Change Flick

Starbucks Corp. is out with a summer movie promotion designed to raise awareness about climate change and build on its commitment to environmental causes.

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Filed under: eco-friendly, environment, In Store, movies, Promotions

Online Retail Sector Fastest Growing in Women’s Beauty Biz

More than ever, women are going online to purchase beauty products. Surprisingly, baby boomer women are more liekey than the 18-34 year old group. So, why are these women going online to beauty products? For many, it is easier and more convenient, not to mention that its probably easier to find discounted products. Or, maybe since these are clearly women that know what they want – they would prefer to quickly place their oder online instead of wasting time in stores.

Study: Online Retail Sector Fastest Growing in Women’s Beauty Biz

NEW YORK — Don’t be surprised to find mom going online for her favorite powder-room goods.

According to study released today from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group, online beauty sales now comprise 4%, or $1.7 billion, of the $42 billion beauty industry, making it the market’s fastest growing shopping channel.

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Filed under: Consumer, Internet, online retail, Women

Cherry Coke ‘Invades’ MySpace

Cherry Coke will be owning myspace – at least for a day. They are also offering a page design contest that gives visitor tools to integrate ‘cherry” into their own profile page. The winner will be determined by votes from MySpace users. The winning page design becomes the MySpace homepage for a day.

MediaPost Publications – Cherry Coke ‘Invades’ MySpace – 06/29/2007

ON BEHALF OF CHERRY COKE, JUXT Interactive, the creative boutique based in Newport Beach, Calif., this week launched what it terms the biggest-ever brand integration in social media.

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Filed under: Consumer, Internet, social networking, UGM

Study identifies the four mindsets of grocery shoppers

The following article highlights key findings from Ths Shopper Modality Study. It looks at the 4 modes of shopping and how those modes affect what the consumer will purchase.

News: Study identifies the four mindsets of grocery shoppers – Customer loyalty, customer retention, and customer relationship marketing daily news and information – free, unbiased news for the marketing executive or researcher.

The four mental modes
Depending on what kind of item or category they are purchasing, shoppers might be in one of four modes:

1. Auto-pilot – in which they simply grab the desired product and go;

2. Seeking variety – in which they are seeking new tastes and formats;

3. Susceptible to Buzz – which involves being open to engaging advertising;

4. Bargain hunting – in which they are simply looking for price discounts and promotions.

According to Lennart Bengtsson, president for Nielsen EEMEA, shoppers don’t waste energy on everyday decisions. To simplify their lives, they often shop in grab-and-go mode, reaching for the brands they usually buy without reading the label or checking the price. At these times, they are on auto-pilot, brand choice is highly habitual, and they are not in the mood to try anything new. Items such as coffee, cereal, cheese, margarine and mayonnaise usually fall into a shopper’s auto-pilot mode.

Turning off the auto-pilot
But, Nielsen suggests, the key to breaking through to shoppers on auto-pilot lies in knowing when and how the auto-pilot can be disrupted by external stimuli. When this happens, shoppers re-evaluate their decisions, look at alternatives, and consider new offers. Nielsen calls these disruptions “Delta Moments”, and it is in these moments that marketers have a brief window of opportunity.

“Certain categories are all about auto-pilot shopping behaviour,” Bengtsson explained. “People are quite particular about their coffee, for example, yet our research showed that brand choice actually becomes highly habitual. Consumers are reassured they will get the same caffeine fix, the same flavour and the same coffee experience. Why upset that by experimenting with a different brand? The implication for marketers in auto-pilot categories is that, if you are already a leader, you should avoid radical repositioning or packaging changes: You may risk disrupting habitual behaviour that drives brand choice in your favour.”

Buzz mode decisions
However the same rules don’t apply in Buzz-activated categories. Buzz-activated categories include energy and sports drinks, chocolate, ready-to-drink tea, and yoghurt drinks.

Customers aren’t on auto-pilot when they shop for these products. Instead, their radar is fully turned on as they actively explore alternatives. Marketers of buzz categories need to generate buzz through exciting advertising, new introductions and innovative packaging that leaps off the shelves to grab the consumer’s interest and attention.

While new product beverages such as energy drinks are highly activated by buzz, driven through excitement generated both in-store and pre-store, the study also found that chocolates (with a high rate of brand extensions and new flavours) also resonated with the dynamics of buzz-activated strategies.

A taste for variety
But with Variety-activated categories, auto-pilot is also often switched off when shoppers look for frozen foods and in the cold cereal aisles. Consumers get bored with the same choices, or they are seeking internal affirmation as the household’s “head chef” that they can deliver enough variety and surprise.

In this context, exciting and informative packaging plays a major role in purchase decision as consumers are browsing actively, on the lookout for interesting and new product innovations. Biscuits, chewing gum and salad dressings also fall into the variety seeking shopper mode.

Bargain hunters and cherry pickers
On the other hand, Bargain hunt-activated categories are driven purely by price comparison and promotions. These include canned tuna, canned tomatoes, cheese, canned fruit and even pasta sauce.

According to Bengtsson, “It all comes down to marketers knowing what mode shoppers tend to be in when they shop for specific products and categories.”

Interestingly, when promotional activity and product launch information was analysed against the survey’s results, it became obvious to Nielsen’s analysts which categories and products were being over-promoted (a waste of the marketing budget) and which new products had successfully engaged consumers (and would therefore gain market share).

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Filed under: Consumer, shopping

For Education and Fun, its never too early to give a preschool child a starter computer

A new product for parents who want to get their kids ready for the world of technology.

Product information on My First Computer from Leapfrog – New York Times

ClickStart: My First Computer, from Leapfrog, is intended to transform your TV into a computing center for preschoolers. It consists of a wireless keyboard with mouse that can sit in a child’s lap, and an infrared receiving base that plugs into your TV’s audio-video jacks.

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Filed under: kids, Toys

Mommy Is Truly Dearest

The mother-daughter relationship has always been a close one – but as children remain dependant on their parents into adulthood – the dynamic has changed. Mothers and daughters are experiencing a closer friendship as daughters get older that continues to grow past the college years. This is a very interesting article.

Mommy Is Truly Dearest – New York Times

There have always been close-knit mother-daughter relationships. But social, demographic and technological changes have made it more common for adult daughters to keep their mothers’ apron strings tied tighter — and for longer, say researchers who study the transition into young adulthood.

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Filed under: Moms, Women, Young Adults

Dinner and a PowerPoint?-

American work long hours – we’ve know that for a long time – but now people are so used to this fact that spending time getting to know someone is done while working… at home. To some degree it makes sense that both people in a relationship should have the same type of work load – that way one person does not feel neglected because the understand the work load.

Dinner and a PowerPoint?-

You’ve heard of working vacations. Now comes “the working date.” Many single people are so busy with careers that they don’t have time for a social life. So they’re increasingly blending work and romance. For some, the practice has provided a path to lasting love. For others, working dates are one more way to avoid intimacy, or just a major turn-off.

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Filed under: Consumer, Men, Women

A quick take on widgets

Our pal Randy sent us this great breakdown on Web widgets (Thanks Randy!). He also passed along this report from Forrester. Check it out: forrester-quick-take-web-widgets.pdf

“Lots of discussion and articles about engaging consumers, activating them and supplying the “core influencers” ….

….with tools (Widgets) to create, post and share content (their experiences) across all variety of social networking sites turning them into brand “broadcasters”.

Also referred to as online guerilla, “buzz” marketing, viral or organic branding.

Widgets are available for all forms of content (AVT, Audio Video Text) media and increasing popular with brand marketers “seeding” branded content on (MySpace, YouTube, Facebook)

There are 2 types of Widgets (Desktop and Web):

  1. Web Widgets

(Tools to author, edit, share with no special software or no download required)

  1. Desktop OS Widgets (ie. Mac or Vista) or Yahoo Widgets/Google desktop

(Need to download)

Bottom Line (Strategic+Revenue Opportunity):

Super opportunity and great DIY tools; but “dead in the water” without an account coordinator/project manager.


  • Manage & Filter content created as part of promotion uses of widgets
  • Keep the content updated (brand visuals on flickr, photobucket, youtube etc etc that these widgets “pull” from….
  • Interface with brand teams to insure updated content is available
  • Monitor “buzz” (good and bad); report “finger on the pulse” insights, brand perceptions & product usage
  • Metrics Reporting & Analysis”

For more information on widgets, Randy suggests looking here:

or here:



Filed under: digital, Internet, Media, websites, widgets

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