Tag Archives: marketing

Apple, Disney and KISS?

There are very few businesses that are able to pull it off, the delivery of a product or service so perfect, so seamless, that their brand becomes a gold standard.  Personally, my all-time benchmark is Disney.  Over the past 5 years, I have added Apple to that mix. Now I have to add KISS.  Yes, that KISS, as in the old dudes with make-up, big hair and platform shoes.

Call it a “benefit” of having been a Florida resident, we have visited all the attractions:  Universal Studios, Sea World, NASA, Busch Gardens, all the smaller roadside parks and sights, and of course the Disney properties.  There is no comparison, Disney has it figured out.  They are the gold standard in amusement parks, hotels, and just the entire entertainment and vacation experience.  Consider the Disney staff, their physical parks and resorts, the unmatched customer service as well as their ability to make you want to spend money – Disney is amazing.  The absolute tops in their business.  No one is even close.

Then there is Apple, the epitome of hip, premium priced products.  iTunes, iPods, Mac’s, iPhones and iPads.  Apple is everywhere, with products that just flat-out work.  Not only do they work, they work well, right out of the box.  They work with each other.  Above all, they are simple, intuitive and reliable.  Oh, and from a customer service experience, go to an Apple Store – the place is jammed and yet somehow you are taken care of quickly, efficiently, and seamlessly.  Or you can schedule an appointment:  no lines, no registers, no hassle.

So really, what possibly could a bunch of over 60, make-up encrusted, leather clad, platform shoe wearing rock and rollers have to do with anything?  A buddy gave me tickets to see Mötley Crüe and KISS a few weeks ago as a birthday gift.  It was a tongue in cheek, won’t it be funny to see hair bands sort of thing.  What it ended up being was an amazing education in business and entertainment:  KISS has it figured out.    The sound was flawless, the show was the most well-choreographed display of stage presence, pyrotechnics, theater, effects and lighting imaginable.  The marketing, merchandising and multi-generational reach of the band unlike anything I have ever seen.  There were over 15,000 people there!  In short KISS, much like Disney and Apple, makes you want to spend money.  They are a brand that generates loyalty…for over 40 years!  I was stunned.

Jimmy Buffett, the man I previously thought was the best marketer and money-maker in music, said it best:  “Don’t try to describe a KISS concert if you’ve never seen it”.  That line is from his song Mañana, from 1978’s  Son of a Son of a Sailor album.  Jimmy knew a brilliant business model when he saw it.  Speaking of businesses, if you want to visit the Margaritaville in Orlando, you have to go to Universal Studios.  Guess Disney cannot have it all…yet.

And yes, both KISS and Jimmy Buffett are available on iTunes.

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Marketing Really Works…

…who would have guessed.  I will admit, sitting through countless hours of advanced marketing classes, consumer behaviour lectures, and other such periods known as the MBA years, I always viewed the various “case studies” with a degree of skepticism. Truth be told, until earlier today, I chalked most of that stuff up to academic puffery – interesting stuff in the confines of academia, but not really the stuff of the real world. How wrong I was.

P.T. Barnum and all of my Marketing professors were absolutely right – never under-estimate the American consumer.  Now granted, I would venture to say we have all seen it happen with children…the checkout line of the grocery store impulse candy coveting meltdown. A true classic when it comes to product placement.  But to see an adult succumb not just to product placement, and odd number pricing, but quite literally to the pitchman on the flat screen right there in the middle of checking out – stunning.

Never had I seen it happen before.  I accepted that there was some truth to it, I mean why else are the checkout lanes jammed with crap all priced under $4.99? And now amplified by the ubiquitous flat screen and accompanying less than subtle sales pitches bombarding your every sense.  But to see it work on an adult directly in front of me…amazing.  The woman quite literally reached over in mid checkout, grabbed the 5 Hour Energy “shooter” bottle and placed it on the conveyor.  I doubt she ever really realized why or even if she did it.  Incredible.  It was like something out of a text-book case study, or the film The Manchurian Candidate.

Just as soon as I clear the desk today, I will be digging out those old text books from the marketing classes.  Looks like that academic puffery has some legs.  The 4 P’s are clearly alive and well…much more so than we realize.  Of course I still do not quite understand how the kid as Darth Vader thing would make someone buy a VW.

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