Alcone Marketing Group – Consumer Lab

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

UFC Signs Major Sponsorship Deal | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Hard punches and bad ass bikes – what else do guys need? The UFC and Harley-Davidson are betting that their brands will work extremely well together. The deal exposes Harley-Davidson to younger consumers who are very likely to admire the “wind in your face” lifestyle, while at the same time adding some prestige to UFC with a well established name.
C.

UFC Signs Major Sponsorship Deal | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

NEW YORK — On its way to becoming a mainstream sport, Ultimate Fighting Championship has long courted a sponsor that could bolster its image.

The fast-growing UFC is finally getting one. The Las Vegas-based company that specializes in mixed martial arts is teaming up with Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Motor Co.

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Filed under: advertising, Men, positioning, sports, Young Adults

Thinking Twice About That $400 Handbag

The phenomenon earned many nicknames — mass affluence, new luxury,
masstige — and posited that Americans with household
incomes of $50,000 and above tend to “trade up” to high-end products in
categories like kitchen appliances or bedding that are emotionally
important to them, while perhaps pinching pennies elsewhere to
compensate.

But trading up was always a fragile phenomenon. It rested, in large
part, on consumer psychology — a feeling of wealth derived from soaring
home values and the steady growth of real income, that is, income
adjusted for inflation.

Today, any growth in real income is all
but canceled out in consumers’ minds by falling home prices and rising
energy costs. Michael J. Kowalski, the chief executive of Tiffany,
calls this “the wealth affect.”

~A

Thinking Twice About That $400 Handbag – New York Times
IT was a retail juggernaut that swept through America’s shopping malls and bedroom closets, rewriting the rules of class and consumption.

But affordable luxury is not looking so affordable — or sustainable — anymore.

During
the 2007 holiday shopping season, the middle-class consumers who spent
the last decade splurging on $300 saucepans and $600 scarves, tightened
their purse strings in the face of slipping home prices and rising
energy costs.

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Filed under: advertising, Consumer, fashion, living target, positioning, trends

Tailoring Messages to a New Audience: Wrinkled Baby Boomers

After decades of ardor for young consumers, marketers are looking for
ways to reach older audiences as the baby boomers reach the upper age
brackets.

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Tailoring Messages to a New Audience: Wrinkled Baby Boomers – New York Times
YOUNG LOVE,” the longtime siren song of Madison Avenue, is being remixed as marketers increasingly turn their attention to consumers born when “45” meant music rather than the number after 44 and “Apple” meant fruit.

The ardor for younger consumers has lasted for decades, fueled by
perceptions of them as being more likely to try new products and change
brands and to spend almost every penny they make. Older consumers, by
contrast, were less desirable because they were deemed to be shoppers
with entrenched habits who lived sedentary, frugal lives.

The
arrival of the baby boomers — the 76 million Americans born from 1946
to 1964 — into the upper age brackets is the leading reason for the
shift in opinions about older consumers. Free-spending boomers think
young, to quote from a Pepsi-Cola slogan of their era, regardless of how old they actually are.

Filed under: Baby Boomers, Consumer, CPG, empty nesters, living target, positioning

Given Fewer Coupons, Shoppers Snub Macy’s

Macy’s has learned the hard way, that ultimately for shoppers, it’s all about the bargain.

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Given Fewer Coupons, Shoppers Snub Macy’s – New York Times
It was the boldest stroke in American retailing in decades. The Macy’s chain completed its takeover of 410 department stores around the country a year ago and renamed them all Macy’s, vowing to lure shoppers with innovations like price scanners in the aisles and exclusive fashions from the likes of Oscar de la Renta.

So far, the grand plan is not working.

A big reason? Macy’s forgot a basic law of human nature: Shoppers love a deal.

For
years, the department stores that Macy’s acquired, like Marshall
Field’s and Filene’s, had relied on 15- and 20-percent-off coupons to
alert people, like a Pavlovian bell, that it was time to shop. As part
of its reinvention, Macy’s tried to wean shoppers off them.

Filed under: advertising, clothing, Consumer, coupons, positioning

Marketer Betting That For Women, Tequila Is The New Vodka

Black Beverage Corp. recently found that 49% of tequila drinkers are women. They will begin marketing their tequila more like an upscale fashion brand or fragrance to appeal to women.

~A

MediaPost Publications – Marketer Betting That For Women, Tequila Is The New Vodka – 08/07/2007
IN THE BLACK BEVERAGE CORP. (ITBBC) is betting it can help young women shake off all the unfortunate tequila moments of their past and embrace the agave-based beverage as the other white liquor. With the $3 million launch of inocente, the company plans to position tequila as an upscale alternative to vodka for women ages 21 to 34.

“Tequila has always been marketed as this bastion of maleness,” says Bruce Rekant, president of ITBBC. “But our research found that 49% of tequila drinkers are women, who are totally ignored by tequila marketers.” So inocente, sold in a “sexy bottle that looks like a vase,” will be marketed like an upscale fashion or fragrance brand, he says, using out-of-home ads located outside strategic stores, such as Dolce & Gabbana.

Filed under: advertising, Consumer, positioning, spirits, trends, Women, Young Adults

Consumers Eat Up Meat Marketers’ Gourmet Branding

Consumers may not know what Angus is exactly, but diners and shoppers are willing to pay for higher quality.
~A

Advertising Age – Consumers Eat Up Meat Marketers’ Gourmet Branding
CHICAGO (AdAge.com) — Quick: what’s Angus — a cut of beef or a bovine breed?

When Hardee’s asked the question four years ago, many respondents didn’t know. “They weren’t really sure, but they did know it was better quality,” said Brad Haley exec VP-marketing for parent CKE Restaurants.

Filed under: advertising, Consumer, gourmet, luxury, positioning

Wal-Mart, Tesco Vie For King Of The Solar Power Initiatives

The U.S. retail giant will install solar energy at 22 stores. Tesco’s
distribution center will feature a solar roof. Such “greener than thou” efforts
are becoming increasingly important to corporate marketing strategies,
particularly among food retailers.

~A

MediaPost Publications – Wal-Mart, Tesco Vie For King Of The Solar Power Initiatives – 05/08/2007 WAL-MART, WHICH HAS SET A public goal of relying on 100% renewable energy, says it has made a solar-energy purchase that may be among the top-10 largest solar-power initiatives in the world.

Filed under: eco-friendly, environment, In Store, positioning

Sunsweet Rides The Healthy, Portable, Convenient Snack Trend

The healthy snacking trend is definately taking off in 2007. Take, for instance, prunes trying to get in on the healthy snacking action by touting the nutritional benefits of dried plums, as they are also called, which
the company says are highest in antioxidants.

~A

MediaPost Publications – Sunsweet Rides The Healthy, Portable, Convenient Snack Trend – 03/28/2007
RIDING HIGH ON THE COATTAILS of the healthy snacking trend, Sunsweet Growers is set to launch its largest marketing campaign and only its second national TV campaign for its new Sunsweet Ones, individually wrapped prunes.

Touting the nutritional profile of prunes as “bite for bite, even better than fruit,” the ads were shot at a farmer’s market in Walnut Creek, Calif., using a mix of actors and non-actors. One person asks the others, “When’s the last time you had a prune?” Not surprisingly, they say it’s been a long time. “If you think a prune is a prune, you haven’t tried new Sunsweet Ones,” the spokesperson says. One woman opines that kids will think it’s candy.

Filed under: advertising, CPG, health, positioning

Remember the Teletubbies? The Brand Owner Hopes So

A new campaign aims to revive the popularity of the Teletubbies, positioning them as retro chic.

Personally, I didn’t see what the big deal was the first time around.

~A

Remember the Teletubbies? The Brand Owner Hopes So – New York Times
IF nostalgia isn’t what it used to be, a major reason may be efforts by marketers to encourage consumers to look back sooner rather than later.

Once, at least a couple of decades had to pass before the popular
culture would commemorate the past. The 1950s revival took place in the
1970s, for instance, and interest in the ’60s came in the ’80s.

Filed under: Consumer, In Store, Pop Up, positioning, Young Adults

Saturn Goes Back to Warm and Fuzzy

Hoping to revive the warmth the brand once evoked, Saturn is lending owners of its Aura model a Car of the Year trophy.

~A

Saturn Goes Back to Warm and Fuzzy – New York Times
GENERAL MOTORS is borrowing a tradition from an unlikely source — the National Hockey League — to help recreate the warm and fuzzy feelings consumers had for its Saturn division more than a decade ago.

Saturn is inviting owners of its new Aura midsize sedan to “share” the
North American Car of the Year award it won in January at the North
American International Auto Show in Detroit. G.M. bought from Tiffany
five replicas of the five-pound leaded-crystal trophy, and is inviting
people who purchased Auras before it won the honor to borrow an award
for a day or two.

Filed under: advertising, auto, Consumer, experiential, Media, positioning, Promotions, TV, UGM, WOM

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