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Archive for December, 2007

Life Is Too Short

Friday, December 28th, 2007

I guess I always knew this but as I get older I seem to realize it more and more. When we are all younger we seem to put things off until — as they say — "one of these days." Every day when I walk into my office I see a framed picture of my favorite professional football player of all-time. His name is Walter Payton and he played for the Chicago Bears. The picture is a good one although meaningless. The caption under it is everything to me. It reads:

That was so true for Walter who passed away at a very young age of a rare disease.

Because life is too short, if there is a hobby you wanted to start, you should. If there is a marathon you want to run, (congrads KHL) do it! If there is a mountain you always wanted to climb, (congrads SH) plan on doing it in 2008. If there is an organization you wanted to join or donate some of your time to — 2008 is the year. I believe if you set your mind to it anything is possible.

As 2007 comes to a close and 2008 starts, please remember life is too short and if you want to accomplish something, I for one say do it now.

What am I going to do you ask? I always wanted to play professional baseball. Well clearly that time has passed. However, I could easily relive my childhood and go to a baseball fantasy camp for a week. Get ready KW, RH, JB and others, because I will probably be asking you to join me. I am going to start to looking into it and plan on doing that in the next few years.

What are you going to do?

I look forward to your comments.

Don’t Fans Have Rights?…What Are They?

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

As most of the readers know I am a sports fan. That’s not exactly true. I am a HUGE sports fan. That feels better and is probably more appropriate. I have literally gone to hundreds and probably thousands of events and have the ticket stubs to prove it. Something recently happened that I wanted to share.

I was at the recent NBA game between the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns. The game was played in Dallas and was the featured game between two of the top teams in the western conference. At halftime I was walking around the arena for a while. I returned to our company seats which are five rows off the court. As the third quarter started, I began hearing this loud voice a few rows behind me yelling, screaming and rooting for the Phoenix Suns. This fan had a beer in his left hand and his girlfriend on his right and was wearing a Suns shirt showing off his muscles. As the game went on this guy kept yelling at fans and some people started to yell back while others couldn’t be bothered. Lots of people were yelling at this guy to sit down. I didn’t notice but apparently he was standing the entire game and was taunting the Mavericks fans. A number of ushers came over to this fan (at least twice) and politely asked him to relax a little bit and sit down. His quick response was "I PAID $600 FOR THESE SEATS AND I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT". First of all let me clarify he must have purchased them through a scalper because the seats aren’t close to that price. As the game continued I saw two older ladies seated behind him calmly ask him to sit down so they could enjoy the game. What followed was additional yelling, swearing and lots of other meaningless dialogue from this fan.

I turned to one of the guys I was with and said this is going to turn ugly and he has no shot of leaving here before a fight starts or he will get tossed out of the arena. We now have about seven minutes to go in the game and his girlfriend is trying to calm him down when all of a sudden I see an usher call for assistance. I lean over and say here we go. Two gentlemen wearing nice suits arrive on the scene and basically say, "Sir please come with me." He quickly waves them off and says "These are my seats and I can do whatever I want and did nothing wrong". They get out the walkie talkies and lo and behold, three police officers arrive on the scene to help. Frankly they didn’t help – they needed to call in three more. The six officers proceeded to handcuff this fan and drag him up the stairs as he was swearing, kicking and yelling.

Let me say that I love the American Airline Center (AAC) and really enjoy the creativity of the marketing team from the funny videos, drum line and of course the Mav Maniacs (which are heavy set gentlemen–all who have big bellies–dancing around) Mark Cuban and his team do a great job with this. This situation never should have escalated and should have been dealt with forty-five minutes earlier. Mark, your ushers and security staff missed on this one. There were ladies and elderly people around this fan — all season tickets holders. Your season tickets holders and the security staff waited way too long.

I know that they make announcements prior to games that say you can’t throw things or go on the field/court. But what else aren’t you allowed to do?

  • What are the rights of this unruly fan?
  • What are the rights of the fans around him?
  • Has this happened to you?

I really look forward to hearing your comments and will be asking my friends AL and KT to respond since they work for sports teams.

Advertising – Where? Who Owns That Space? Help!

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Media LifeFor those of you who know me very well, you are well aware that I get antsy after an hour let alone three hours. So there I am sitting in my window seat in row 21 waiting for 100 people in front of me get off the plane in some kind of orderly fashion. Ok I am probably pushing that a little bit — you are right it is never orderly. Finally I get up, grab my stuff, stretch my legs a little bit after the 1389 mile trip to New York. As I get off, I thank the pilot/co-pilot as I ALWAYS do, and then I suddenly see something and stop — yes the person in back of me almost slammed into my back. I try to move to one side but clearly I am in the way. Normal people would clearly notice this but not yours truly! I see something of interest and want to look at it a little further — so there I am staring at the walls of the jet bridge while the plane empties.

The flight attendants finally leave the plane and sort of give me a strange look so it is time to leave. What I was looking at is actually advertising and lots of it on the jet bridge. I try and pride myself at noticing everything and I can’t think of another airport that has advertising on the jet bridge. I actually called a few friends of mine who are frequent travelers and they confirmed my thoughts as well.

As I was looking at the advertising, a number of questions came to mind:

  1. Who owns the walls on the jet bridge?
  2. Is this a good idea?
  3. Why don’t all airports do it?
  4. Do I like it?

In my mind I tried to answer the questions, but I will admit I had trouble and might be wrong with my thoughts.

I would think since American Airlines rents the gates from the airport, I assume they would rent the jet bridge. That is a guess! I would like to know if I am right. Not sure why other airports don’t do it. The simple answer would be that they do and I haven’t noticed it but I am thinking that isn’t the case. Maybe LaGuardia is very creative — it wouldn’t surprise me since some of the best and brightest advertising executives work eight miles away. Do I like it — I say yes. The jet bridge is usually cold and filled with white walls so if I can see some advertising on the walls that would be ok with me. The difference is I would like it to be VERY, VERY creative advertising, maybe even cutting edge and the advertising that I was looking at was ordinary.

JCDecaux NorthAmerica

  • Have you noticed advertising on jet bridges in other airports?
  • Do you like this concept or are you on advertising overload?
  • What ads would you like to see?

I look forward to hearing from you and educating me on who does own the jet bridge.

Attention, Football Fans: Do You Love ‘Em Or Hate ‘Em?

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

I thought that title might grab your attention. As I am writing this, history is in the making in the National Football League. The question is how do you feel about it?

When I travel around, people can tell where I’m from fairly quickly. If my accent doesn’t give it away they sometimes look down and see my red elastic bracelet that is always on my right wrist. The bracelet is for The Jimmy Fund (children’s cancer) and the Boston Red Sox. Shortly after they find out I am from Boston they give me their opinion on something. Typically it isn’t always about the Red Sox or even the sport of baseball. They switch gears and move to football.

They give me their opinion on the New England Patriots, and most times it’s a very strong opinion that isn’t positive.

Why is that?

  • Is it because they have won three super Bowls this decade?
  • Is it because they dislike the all-American look of Tom Brady
  • Is it because Bill Belichick shows little to no emotion
  • Is it because they have never liked Randy Moss?
  • Is it because they hate the city of Boston?

Or is it really because of SPYGATE?

When you review the history of this franchise:

  • They only have three people in the hall of fame
  • They have only seven retired numbers
  • They have never had the NFL defensive or offensive player of the year
  • They have never had the NFL MVP

I am a fan of the Patriots – you could say it is because I am from Boston. That is certainly part of it but not all of it. They have won recently because they have been over-achievers. They clearly NEVER have the best individual talent. They are able to mold players and make the team a winner. They have won in an era that it is very hard to keep players. They have been able to lose star players and coaches year after year and replace them quickly and continue to have success.

This team is 14-0 and quite possibly could have the first undefeated team in over 35 years.

  • How do you feel about them?
  • Aren’t they loveable?
  • Don’t you want to cheer them on?
  • Don’t you want the record to fall?

I do. What about you?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Texas Is Our Home And We LOVE IT!

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Over three years ago Omnicom, Michael Birkin, Tom Harrison and Dale Adams came calling. At first when they described the position and location, I think I was taken aback a little bit…Where? Dallas, Texas? I had never thought about living there. We gave it some thought, explored the idea a little bit and lo and behold, here we are and loving it.

At first friends would say, "Your next door neighbors are going to love you guys. They will have their cowboy boots, cowboy hat, shotgun, F-150 and you have your accent! Should be fun."

They were right – partly right… It has been all FUN! The people are great, the restaurants are fantastic and we love the weather.

TEXAS HAS IT ALL!

As you know Texas is big, very big and has something for everyone.

If you need to be cheered up there is:

  • Happy, Texas 79042
  • Smiley, Texas 78159
  • Paradise, Texas 76073
  • Rainbow, Texas 76077
  • Sweet Home, Texas 77987

No need to travel to any other US cities we have them also:

  • Detroit, Texas 75436
  • Colorado City, Texas 79512
  • Denver City, Texas 79323
  • Nevada, Texas 75173
  • Memphis, Texas 79245
  • Miami, Texas 79059
  • New Boston, Texas 75570
  • Santa Fe, Texas 77517
  • Tennessee Colony, Texas 75861

And no need to go overseas we have them all right here:

  • Athens, Texas 75751
  • Canadian, Texas 79014
  • China, Texas 77613
  • Egypt, Texas 77436
  • Turkey, Texas 79261
  • London, Texas 76854
  • New London, Texas 75682
  • Paris, Texas 75460

What’s also amazing to me is Texas finishes sentences:

Men are from Mars, women are from

  • Venus, Texas 76084

And Texas is GREAT for the kids:

  • Kermit, Texas 79745
  • Elmo, Texas 75118
  • Nemo, Texas 76070
  • Tarzan, Texas 79783
  • Winnie, Texas 77665

I hope you agree that Texas has it all.

I look forward to hearing your comments about your state and if you are ready to move to the great state of Texas.

What Does Brand Loyal Really Mean? I Guess To Me, It’s A Little Bit Of Everything.

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Brand loyalty!

Philip Kotler defines whether the customer is committed to the brand with four patterns of behavior:

  • Hard Core Loyals – who buy the brand all the time.
  • Soft Core Loyals – loyal to two or three brands.
  • Shifting Loyals – moving from one brand to another.
  • Switchers – with no loyalty (possibly ‘deal-prone’, constantly looking for bargains or ‘vanity prone’, looking for something different).

Mr. Kotler has very nice definitions of the four patterns of behavior. As you read on, I have named my definitions a little different.

When I started to think about this topic, I really thought I am brand loyal but as I think about it more and more it really depends on what I am buying.

For instance I am very brand loyal with hotel choices. I love the Marriott properties and will go out of my way to stay in one. Let me expand on what that means. I will probably travel an extra 10 miles to stay in one of the Marriott properties.

Call me crazy or brand loyal. I love Coke — not Pepsi…. But Coke. Pepsi is a little too sweet for my taste. I will go way out of my way to buy a coke and I am so brand loyal that I know which airports sell Coke or Pepsi and yes usually it is one or the other. DFW — which I fly out of the most only sells Pepsi not Coke out of bottles which I only drink. My definition is brand loyal and a little nuts.

I am brand loyal to airlines when it is convenient to me. Right now I am very brand loyal to American Airlines (which I do love) because I live in a hub city, but when I lived in Philadelphia it was US Airways. If I was in a city that wasn’t a hub I do prefer American Airlines. I like their service and typically they have solid flight schedules. Brand loyal based on geography.

I am brand loyal sort of — please stop laughing with Budget Rental. I will typically use them because of their rates. My preferred choice is Hertz but they are usually 25% more expensive than Budget so I use Budget instead. Brand loyal — based on price.

With consumer products I do like Cape Cod potato chips, Funyons and Doritos regardless of price — brand loyal for sure!

With regard to gas — I couldn’t care less. It is always about brand loyal — convenience.

The problem with not really being brand loyal, is companies like American Airlines and Budget Rental will eventually lose my business. While Marriott hotel, Coca Cola and others will have my business for the next 50 years.

I never really stopped and thought about it before but it is very interesting.

  • When are you brand loyal?
  • When doesn’t it really matter to you?

I look forward to your comments.

Goodbye Dallas – Hello NY…

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

I have a feeling that title may have gotten your attention. Perhaps you were thinking that the Bostonian turned Texan was going to be a New Yorker. No, I am not moving. But a friend of mine did.

My friend is a single female in her 40’s who doesn’t know much about New York. She lives with her little dog in the 30’s on the east side and is LOOKING FOR OUR HELP!

Since the holiday season is upon us, I thought we could start to build a list of recommendations from the readers of this blog to make sure she feels at home and starts to make a new life in the Big Apple.

  • Steve, Matt, Joan — how about a few restaurant recommendations?
  • Patty, John, Dale — how about a small park to walk her dog?
  • Jon, AJ how about a sports bar or two?
  • Does anyone know of a good dry cleaner in the area?
  • Greg H — how about a good car service?
  • Anyone got a tailor they love?
  • What about someone to fix her heels that just broke on the sidewalk?

Remember when you moved to a new town and people gave you recommendations — now is the time to give something back and help someone.

  • Breakfast at Tiffany'sHow about a cute breakfast spot?
  • Who has the best corn beef in town?
  • Where is the best place to hear live music?
  • What is the hottest club in town?
  • Tiffany – where is the best place to buy chocolate?
  • What about a single, nice guy? (sorry TA)
  • Joan — what about a kosher deli?
  • Steve what is the name of the falafel place near NYU?
  • What’s the best museum to see?
  • What Broadway play would you recommend?

Thank you in advance for your comments and recommendations. I know she will really appreciate it as well as I do.

Happy holidays!

mnE P’s dnt bleev der is a gNR8N d/c b/t em n thr teen – READ ON FOR WHAT THIS MEANS!

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Now I have your attention — was that spelling errors or much more? Did that really mean something? Probably to some people it didn’t but probably we are too old to understand it.

That was probably a conversation between two teens. That means nothing to me but everything to them. To teens the translation is "Many parents don’t believe there is a generation disconnect between them and their teen."

Even though I don’t have any teens I do believe that statement is true. Often I will look over my niece’s shoulder, trying to see what she is texting or instant messaging her friends and frankly I have no idea. Actually this should be a new reality game show — HOW TO COMMINICATE WITH YOUR TEENS or instead of the game categories it could be Adults, What Does This Mean?

That would not only be hilarious but meaningful to many of us. Since my kids have a long way to go to be teens I thought I would get a jump start on trying to communicate with them in the next decade. I do realize that the "teen" language might be totally different but I am willing to learn this language now since I am fearful that the only way I will communicate with them is through technology.

Sure I know some of the easy ones:

ASAP As Soon As Possible
FYI For Your Information
BBL Be Back Later
BBS Be Back Soon
DWD Dude
FOFL Falling on the floor laughing
GFN Gone for now
LTNS Long time no see
N1 Nice One
TNC Tongue In Cheek
TTYL Talk To You Later

My fear is, there is a ton that I don’t know – please help me!

  • Do you know the secret "teen" language?

If so, please respond with some helpful hints and hopefully some new words so I can expand my "teen" vocabulary.

I look forward to hearing from you.

PS — How long will it take for advertisers to start using this language? Maybe they are and I just have missed it.

What Else Are Airports Missing?

Friday, December 7th, 2007

Over the past few years, airports have really changed. Most airports are now treating themselves as a destination–especially since flight delays appear to be happening more now than in the past. Yes airports have:

  • High end shopping
  • DVD players and movies to rent
  • Barbershops
  • 10 minute manicures

And plenty of upscale restaurants.

The average passenger spends 108 minutes at the airport–more than double the amount of time that people spent seven years ago.

CLEARLY THERE IS PLENTY OF MONEY TO BE MADE IN HAVING CAPTIVE CONSUMERS WITH NOWHERE TO GO.

Some airports just don’t have the room to add lots of new amenities. Airports like Logan International in Boston and LaGuardia in New York are very limited on what they can add because their concourses are very small.

  • The question is what is next for the airports?
  • What is missing?

Airports need our help. Since a number of airport planners are readers of this blog (not 100% sure if this is true) and perhaps may listen to us if we can come up with a good idea or two.

A few of my thoughts:

  • Investment centers. Why hasn’t Fidelity or Merrill Lynch opened up small offices?
  • Workout facilities in the airline clubs
  • Florists. Isn’t the airport a perfect location for guys who have left home without celebrating their significant others’ birthday or anniversary?

What are your thoughts and ideas?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Attention Researchers! We All Know What The Problems Are. The Real Question Is, What Can We Do About It?

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

All of us have probably looked at a situation and can’t detect the problem. Whether it is a DVD or any piece of technology that just doesn’t work for some reason or your car just won’t start. You have NO idea what the problem is so you have no idea what the solution might be.

I must say that doesn’t appear to be the issue in the market research industry. All of us know what the issues are. In fact we have known what the issues are for years — many years. I recently sent out a quick email and asked people what they thought were the top three or four issues with data collection. There were a number of common themes:

  1. Length of questionnaire
  2. Boring, repetitive, poorly written surveys
  3. Declining cooperation rates
  4. Great variation in quality across online sample providers

As a follow up, I presented at the CASRO Data Collection conference in November and you just read my presentation. That’s it. Short and sweet. I started listing the current issues in the research industry and launched into what I hope was a step toward a very productive brain storming session.

Isn’t it about time to do something about it?

Isn’t it about time that we all work together to make things better to solve some of these issues?

  • What do you think the research associations should do?
  • What can clients do?
  • What can your company do?

THIS IS VERY CRITICAL TO THE LONG TERM SUSTAINABILITY OF THIS GREAT INDUSTRY.

If there is only one posting you comment on the next year — please make it this one.

I really look forward to your comments and suggestions.