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Showing posts from June, 2013

Is the sheen off Paula Deen?

How are consumers reacting to Paula Deen's racial indiscretion, that happened donkey's years (that's 30 for you) ago?

They are ordering more of her upcoming book, due in October this year. In fact pre-orders of her new cookbook, 'Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up', went ballistic, propelling it to the No. 1 spot on the Amazon best sellers list. Those that are to be on two Paula Deen cruises planned for 2014 are calling in to say they are going. Others who aren't booked as yet are calling to say they want to go! On the retail-front some consumers have even said they'll drop Walmart if WM drops Paula!

Now how are marketers reacting to the Deen indiscretion? They are pulling out. Seven of them already have?

Consumer-marketer disconnect?

You bet.

In an era where charges of racism have taken loony proportions, its important for marketers to differentiate between genuine outrage over racist behavior, and liberal brouhaha over not…

The Beginning to the End?

The problem with gay marriage is not about gay people getting married -- they've already been doing that, or living that way. The problem with gay marriage is not that it will redefine marriage into a less valuable social institution in the eyes of the populace -- that is already happening, has been for decades, and will continue regardless of whether gays are added to it or not. And the problem with gay marriage is not about the slippery slope of what comes next -- though yes, the legal battle over polyamory and polygamy is inevitably coming, as the principle of marriage equality demands it does (these relationships already exist below the radar, albeit with more poly than amory involved -- of the 500 gay couples followed in the respected San Francisco study, about half of the partners have sex with someone else with their partner knowing).
No, the real problem with gay marriage is that the nature of the marriage union is inherently entwined in the future of the first line of the …

Why the Genius Man is no stroke of Genius

GE engineers have unveiled the Genius Man!

According to Rick Arthur, Manager of the Advanced Computing Lab in the Software & Analytics Group at GE Global Research, “GE created Genius Man to show the heroic, fun and cool side to being a scientist and engineer. From where I sit, I see the tremendously positive impact science and technology can have on our world and in people’s lives every day. Through Genius Man, we hope to inspire a future generation of scientific talent by showcasing advances being made in technology.”

Ha ha ha.

Can it get any dumber?
Genius Man proves two things.
One, most engineers aren't marketers, and so should stick to just 'making' things. Two, most engineers are myopic dudes blinded by their own point of view. That means they fail to see or consider what's most important in a business.
Its not you, dude, its the consumer, stupid!

Who's the Counter Burger's Target and Competition in India?

That the 'Counter Burger' features among the '20 Hamburgers you must eat before you die' should be good news in India. At least the 'story' around it will probably do the job of arresting attention for a brand that's virtually unknown here.

For the 'counter burger' to sell in India, it will have to be more than a burger, because a burger won't sell at 400 bucks. Not with the middle class. But then I guess the 'quarter burger' isn't targeting the 'middle class'. Its zeroing in on a class above.

My gut tells me the counter burger can sell to the upper-middle-class, if it turns out to be more than a burger. Meaning, it must drive a 'more than adequate' amount of psychological value to the customer in addition to being a tasty burger. That means the atmospherics and service will have to deliver.

The other day we were at lunch at the Barbeque Nation. Tell you what, it was good food, great service, great place, and it all …

Happy Father's Day.

As for me, I'm getting more comfortable with the idea of making demands on my children -- ages 8, 6 and 4.

This Father's Day, and for all the rest to come, here's what they can give me:

I want each of them to stop acting like an only child, and learn to share everything with their siblings, including their parents' time and attention;

I want them to get out of their heads this corrosive idea that the world revolves around them, and all that matters at any given moment of the day is what they want, need or feel; and

I want them to treat people better, starting with their family members, and then moving on to complete strangers, and not look down on anyone -- ever.

Of course, the rub is that this is what parents are for. It's our job to instill these values and teach children how to become good people. It doesn't happen organically. And it won't happen magically. It'll only happen if we set the standards and and lay down the law when they're not met.

And fa…

The Indian School Norm of 'Keeping It In'

Since the rains, its gotten cold in Bangalore. Which is why Jaden's having a bit of a tough time at his school. The cold means there's more trips he needs to make to the loo. Sadly, such 'unscheduled' trips are a no-no at Jaden's school, and so the poor fellow's finding it difficult to 'keep it in'.

He told me the last time he asked his teacher, she said no.

I know why. Out of experience she knows there are those that use trips to the loo as a pretense to get out of class. Plus, if she allows such trips to one kid, there'll be others joining in. Then there's the principal to deal with, who probably uses the 'seagull technique' to management. Jaden's teacher doesn't want to be on the wrong side of her principal, who may on one of her visits, find kids going to the loo during class hour, and be displeased about it.

The Indian school system does have its positives. At times I wonder if a requirement such as the one to 'keep it …

'Liberal' Behaviour

The explanation for this strange behavior by liberals is actually fairly simple.  They have very different definitions of guilt, innocence, and responsibility from conservatives'. Liberals believe that guilt is a relative thing, because people are really not responsible for their actions.  In the liberal mind, a black who grows up in a ghetto gets a free pass on being a criminal because he can't help himself.  While that is obviously very racist, it's also clearly wrong, because the majority of poor blacks are not criminals. Liberals believe that the unborn child is not innocent, but rather that she is a parasite whom the mother has the right to kill.  In a liberal's mind, innocence is aligned more with the correctness of a cause than with the actions of an individual -- someone who shoots an abortionist is a monster, but the Unabomber was motivated by love of nature.  Any action that furthers the liberal cause is good, so lying about Benghazi was good because it made it…

Matriarchy & Patriarchy

'And, no, it isn't good when you destroy patriarchy.  Why?  G.K. Chesterton put it best when he wrote, "What is called matriarchy is simply moral anarchy, in which the mother alone remains fixed because all the fathers are fugitive and irresponsible."  If you want matriarchy, just go into the black community.  Women rule the roost there, but they reign in a hell born of degraded morals and family breakdown.  There has never been a successful matriarchy -- the notion of a matriarchal prehistory is a myth -- and there never will be.
This is why, ultimately, the feminist model is destined for the dustbin of history.  The only system that ensures the perpetuation of civilization (replacement-level birth rates) is patriarchy; the only system that compels women and men to fulfill their responsibilities to hearth and home is patriarchy.  And this is why, barring the end of man or a dystopian future in which children are lab-created assembly-line style to be the collective…

'Understanding Hypothesis' & LK Advani's Resignation

Post Goa, if LK Advani let status quo (read, Modi in charge) be, he stood to gain nothing. Plus he knew it would be the end of the road for him in the BJP, a party he helped found. 
So he did what anyone would do. 
As he went down, he hit where it hurt. It worked. The BJP is hurting. 
The 'understanding hypothesis' that seeks to explain the psychology of revenge holds that an offender’s suffering is not enough, on its own, to achieve truly satisfactory revenge. Instead, the avenger must be assured that the offender has made a direct connection between the retaliation and the initial behavior.
Post Goa, and the protests in front of his house by Modi-Sena, LK Advani needed to hit back. He also needed the party to know he's hit back. Which explains both the resignation letter, and the 'content' of the letter. 
Read more about the complicated psychology of revenge here.

100 to 1 backward, top-down vs. 1 to 100 forward, bottom-up

Jaden's Math homework requires him to write the numbers 100 to 1 backward, top-down on the page. He does the opposite. He works bottom-up, and writes the numbers 1 to 100.

I'am torn.
Should I make him write it the way it was asked, or should I just admit he's done it the smart way? I settle for the latter. Now I am quite aware in certain cultures, the smart way is a no-no. Which explains why such cultures throw up great workers, and lousy thinkers. Like its the way in India. Great work-men, lousy think-men.
Why I settled on the latter with Jaden is because of the nature of the world we live in, and the one to come. Its the 'smarts' that will make all the difference. Insistence on coloring between the lines will only matter to the extent it inculcates discipline. Beyond that, its a killer.
Marketers too of tomorrow will be ones who break the rules. To foster a crowd that breaks the rules tomorrow, we need to let the Jadens of today write bottom-up, 1 to 100.
Smart …

Virtuous Selfishness

Rational egoism does not produce a short-sighted self-centeredness which ignores all context. On the contrary, true selfishness recognizes the value of relationships and takes joy in rational giving. The sentiment that giving is better than receiving recognizes the selfish gain which occurs through gifting. Why else would we watch our loved ones open presents on Christmas morning? If it was just for them and did nothing for us, what would be the point?

Firefighters do not run into burning buildings in order to die. They run into burning buildings in order to more fully live. Soldiers do not enlist to die for their country. They enlist to live free. No one throws their body on top of a live grenade because they seek to die for their friends. They do it to protect those whom they value.

The use of the word “sacrifice” in our language distorts the true motivation behind service. It is not a sacrifice for a parent to divert time from other interests to invest in raising their child. It is n…