Category Archives: New Products

Creative Branding Hooks $1M Investment from Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban

Founders Brad Schultz, Amy Steadman and Justin Fenchel (left to right) make the Shark Tank pitch for BeatBox Beverages – October 24, 2014. Credit: BeatBox Beverages.

Last Friday night on Shark Tank, Mark Cuban invested $1 million in a boxed, wine-based cocktail business. Why?

Excellent marketing and branding.

The founders of BeatBox Beverages, launched in 2013, have done a terrific job with creative branding, customer target definition, and positioning.  Cuban was sold on the growth opportunity for this fun, lifestyle, experiential brand. Continue reading

Golf Ball Sized Apples Bring Easy, Healthy Snacking Innovation

Photo: Havelock North Fruit Company.

Photo: Havelock North Fruit Company.

A New Zealand company has come up with a new, innovative concept to market a product that’s thousands of years old:  the apple.

It’s a combination of agricultural technology and smart marketing.

The Havelock North Fruit Company developed the capability to grow mini apples that are just 1.5 times the size of a golf ball (via cross-breeding selected varieties).  Next came packaging inspiration that put five apples into a hand-held , transparent tube.  The concept was tied together with an attention-generating brand called  Rockit™.

Continue reading

Swedish Flooring Company Gives Away Flip-flops To Sell New Product

iStockphoto.com

Photo: iStock.

A Swedish flooring company demonstrates you can breathe new life into an old marketing tactic: sampling.

No, I’m not talking about carpet squares mounted on a board or a child’s toy-sized piece of wood floor.

Forbo Flooring Systems, working with agency Valentin&Byhr, figured out how to break-through to the architects who spec their products.  They created flip-flops made from the floor material, and packed it up in a gift box: Continue reading

Razor Battle is On! 800Razors.com Challenges Dollar Shave Club and Gillette.

Photo:  800Razors Facebook.

Photo: 800Razors.com Facebook.

At first glance, it would be easy to conclude that 800Razors.com is just a Dollar Shave Club copycat in the nearly $2 billion razor cartridge category.

But that would be wrong.

Let’s quickly set the stage for this discussion.

Category leader Gillette built a strong business via a decades-long, continuing series of product innovations that support a premium-price strategy.  They kept some of the older models as part of a tiered product/pricing assortment for consumers.

An opening existed for a competitor to deliver a high-quality blade at much lower cost, and it came via a new business model.  Dollar Shave Club (DSC) emerged as a disruptive player in 2011/2012, getting wide notice with a wacky video featuring its founder.  Its online, recurring monthly sales model (“club”) took dead aim at the category giants selling through traditional retail channels.

Photo:  Dollar Shave Club website.

Photo: Dollar Shave Club website.

Then, in 2013, 800Razors.com joined the fray, building off the DSC approach while incorporating significant go-to-market differences:

Photo:  800Razors.com Facebook.

Photo: 800Razors.com Facebook.

  1. Buy Only When You Want.  800Razors allows single purchase. Dollar Shave Club does not.  It’s an important difference because it removes a potential obstacle to trial.  For example, I’ve thought about trying DSC but didn’t want to sign-up for regular monthly deliveries. Continue reading

T-Mobile Creates Ticked-Off Parents to Sell Global Travelers

It’s bill-shocked Mom and Dad versus globetrotting son Jeremy in T-Mobile USA’s smart, new, integrated marketing campaign.

The message comes across loud and clear, but there’s some doubt whether T-Mobile can deliver a positive customer experience.

Photo: T-Mobile website.

Photo: T-Mobile website.

The wireless provider is touting its plan that saves users on international data service charges:

“With the Simple Choice Plan, each line comes with unlimited talk, text, and data while on our home network—and starting October 20, unlimited data and text in over 100 countries at no extra charge.”

The marketing campaign includes television advertising, a dedicated website, social media interaction, a contest to win a trip around the world, and airport communications.   There is also a companion effort in Spanish.

Photo: T-Mobile YouTube.

Photo: T-Mobile YouTube.

What stands out, though, are the TV ads.  

Give T-Mobile and its creative partners credit for coming up with an advertising idea that both gets attention and communicates the service benefit.  There’s no “did you see that great ad, but I don’t know the company” here. Continue reading

For Commodity-Busting, Idea Generating Inspiration: Think Hamburgers.

The next time you’re blocked on marketing or business-building ideas, think about hamburgers.

Photo: iStock

Photo: iStock

Because, what’s more of a commodity than hamburgers?

Author Dave Dolak provides this succinct definition:  Commodity products are largely undifferentiated products that offer little or no perceived differences between competitive offerings.

Yet, consider the creativity spawned by the ubiquitous hamburger – so many variations on the same idea that excite consumers every day.

This is top-of-mind for me because I just learned about a hamburger chain called Bareburger, which opened a restaurant in Edgewater, NJ.

It got me thinking.  There seems to be an endless amount of brand concept, product development and overall food establishment new business activity across the country, built around hamburgers.

Obviously, the challenge is to create meaningful differences or reasons to buy.  Build the news or make new news out of existing products.

So, if you’re running a commodity business, tasked with marketing a commodity product, or just in need of some new business ideas, be encouraged.  Draw inspiration from USA hamburger chains. Continue reading

KFC Speeds On-the-Go Eating with Cup Holder Chicken

Packaging-driven innovation can boost sales, especially when it’s smartly connected to customer needs and opportunities.

KFC has just launched the KFC Go Cup, a hand-held serving of chicken and potato wedges in a cup that fits most automobile cup holders.  There are five different product configurations.

Photo: KFC website.

Photo: KFC website.

Before you dismiss the launch as mere gimmickry, consider this:

KFC’s CMO told The Wall Street Journal that about 50% of sales come through the drive-through.

The KFC team leveraged that point of data, understood the implications from the customer’s perspective, and created a new product format to make on-the-go usage easier and more convenient.  It took two years to get it right. Continue reading