Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Starbucks Red Cup Controversy - Will the Christmas Police Please Knock it Off!

A memo to the Christmas Police: The backlash over Starbuck’s 2015 holiday cups is proof that you're nuts. Starbucks’ approach this year is a simple one – it’s inclusive and elegant, and encourages you to create your own holiday greeting on the cup. This requires some literacy, of course, so some of you may not be included. The absence of snowflakes and holly, Christmas tree ornaments, the Baby Jesus or grownup Jesus on those red cups is not evidence of a "war on Christmas."

Who are these people anyway? Are they the same folks who drive around with the “Put Christ Back in Christmas” car decals all year long? Different strokes for different folks, I say. But, hold your holy high horses. If you’re thinking of boycotting the brand, stop and think about the people who serve the coffee in those cups. A Starbucks boycott wouldn’t make for a very merry Christmas for those guys, now would it?
Here’s an unfortunate Christmas morning scenario:
Gee Mommy, how come Santa was so stingy this year?

Well Billy, some really uptight people decided Starbucks’ red cups didn’t conform with their visual standards of the Christmas spirit, so I got laid off.

…and here’s a link to the Ad Age story. Enjoy it with a cup of coffee, and have a Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

This Brand Really Does Know “Shit From Shinola”

Here’s a great story about a brand that is upscale, local, made in Detroit, and using storytelling to engage with the upscale consumer. What could be better?
Refreshingly, this is not a “comeback” story about Detroit. We’ve all seen the sad pictorials of abandoned factories and blighted neighborhoods. And we’ve read all about what went wrong with Detroit in books like Charlie LeDuff’s Detroit:An American Autopsy.
It is not a story about a brand that is merely using Detroit as a backdrop for their new hipster campaign while sending the manufacturing offshore. 
No, the Shinola brand story is about successful entrepreneurs who are making upscale products and creating jobs in Detroit. Participating in the “maker movement,” which supports artisans who make handcrafted, small-batch goods, Shinola’s stores host exhibits and events to offer a platform for American-made goods.
Shinola’s founder, Tom Kartsotis, and current CEO, Steve Bock, both have roots in the watch business. Kartsotis founded Fossil Inc. in 1984 and Bock is a former Fossil executive. The pair wanted to bring Swiss-based watch technology to the U.S., and build a company that also would produce other design-focused products stateside, such as bicycles and journals. Their mojo is working overtime, as they seduce luxury retail buyers with their brand story.
Also, the name itself is a kind of ‘in your face’ departure for products that are pricey. Yes, it comes from the saying, “You don’t know shit from Shinola.” Shinola, as it turns out, was a brand of shoe polish that was sold from 1907 to 1960. You learn something every day.

Read the full story by Christine Birkner