August 12, 2008

Rooibos Tea exposes Whole Foods

Filed under: BRANDS,Economy,Lifestyle,Marketing,Marketing /Lifestyle — Tony @ 7:50 pm

WHole Foods

WHole Foods

Whole Foods is one of those stores that met the boomers and the great wave of the happy days  Those were the years from 2000- 2007. We all remember those times   when being hip and cool meant paying the price.  It seemed to be so cool  – “hey we can be cool even though we have gobs of money look we are organic etc”.

I am a South African expat and I love  rooibos tea.  It’s tasty and it has loads of health benefits.

So how does this tie back to Whole Foods. Here is the rub- this is a company that  didn’t read the tea leaves and their roibos is crazily priced.  In the happy days they were unique when the selling point was luxury. Now  the  economy has turned, other competitors have joined the fray and  Health Foods seems to be a price gouger. There is nothing unique on their shelves. For half the price you can get what they have and more.

Their positioning is horrible and their revenues are consequentially down. Its no surpries that the  shareholders spoke. How the hell does  management explain why consumers are fleeing in droves.

May I suggest that it may be  a serious dose of management hubris coupled with an average selection and inflated prices.

In a nutshell – they are not positioned for the market. And may I say that their Rooibos tea is grossly overpriced. Simply put Whole Foods didn’t get it. They are on gross margin strategy and forgetting they need to read the market  have an authentic positioning.

Here’s my advice to Whole Foods: Dudes and Dudettes – smell the roses- reposition as the best priced deliverer of yummy and healthy foods.

Remember selling retail- is about the consumer and their delight.

Good luck Whole Foods !!!

Simple question- who was asleep at the switch ???


August 8, 2008

What is happiness ?

Filed under: Lifestyle,Marketing,Marketing /Lifestyle — Tony @ 10:33 pm

In my time I have sown doubt and elevated hapiness as a marketer. I do know the power of desire. What I am struggling with is the reality that most of us – including me are asleep at the switch.

As we are all searching for hapiness let me share a You Tube classic that features Epicurus. ITs in three parts so make sure you watch them all. You will be happier. PS make sure you follow through with all of them.  Part 2 and Part 3.

Enjoy and share your comments on Happiness

Are we stupid and other summer thoughts

Filed under: BRANDS,Lifestyle,Marketing — Tony @ 9:37 pm
Proust and the Squid

Proust and the Squid

First I must apologize and do my “mea culpa” … I skipped town as soon as a taste of summer touched the air- without explanation  and my readership understandably  plummeted. Go figure the writer left the building- and that is not good.  My deepest apologies but I needed to do it.

I needed to step back from the art and craft of marketing to review my place on this little blue planet of ours.

I have done a lot of thinking and I will share that over the next few weeks.  Hopefully it will make sense. One thing that has really got me bothered is close to home. I love tech and I love the reality of the web- easy search- comments and interaction- social networks and the global community. That was until I read over the summer Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf.  Its a rough read and unnecessarily academic but it has a punch. Is she right is it possible we are getting stoopider?

I think she is onto something – we have become lazy and  we allow Google to think for us…..

Summer has been glorious but that is  another story.

April 6, 2008

Cache reserves and canoes

Filed under: Lifestyle,Technology — Tony @ 9:18 pm
Tags: , ,

Sunday is for reflection and today I came across a gem of technology trivia.

Cache which we know is temporary storage entered English in the 17th century from highly volatile but very proud crews of Canadian French and Indian adventurers called Voyageurs. The Voyageurs piloted huge canoes deep into the Canadian north. Those trips were long and required a lot of energy so the Voyagers placed along the way secret “cachers” of food. And thats how cache- as a on demand reserve entered our technology vocabulary – riding on a canoe.

Who would have guessed?

April 1, 2008

Great Story Great Design Great Execution

Filed under: BRANDS,Lifestyle,Social Justice — Tony @ 5:02 pm
Tags: , , ,


Over the weekend  I got myself down to to a theater to see Persepolis. (Click here and watch the all trailers – I recommend watching the third) Right there is a classic in the making. The production values are so human and it shows. Persepolis is a movie with a great story and production techniques that hearken back to the glory days of early Disney. Except the new Disney probably would not have the courage to produce it. Sony was the financier. Its a revealing movie about Iran and very well told. Everything is seen from the point of view of the main character who brings forth her memories as a little girl in Iran, as a teenager in exile and as a married woman back in Iran. The story is always interesting, heart-felt, funny, sarcastic at times, nostalgic, cruel and absurd at some points but very very convincing. I highly recommend it.

I love stories and that speak from the heart and show character.

Check it out the movie and check out the website. That website is so bang on to the topic. Well done to whoever produced it.

The biggest asset of the Persepolis is that it doesn’t preach, it leaves everything to the viewer’s judgment, and this is something to be appreciated because we all know that cartoons can be very effective propaganda devices.


March 25, 2008

“Memory Almost Full” and Spin


BBC reports that fans of Sir Paul McCartney have been claiming a track on his latest album Memory Almost Full is about his break-up from ex-wife Heather Mills. I have a question does it matter if Paul McCartney latest album “Memory Almost Full” is about his break-up from ex-wife Heather Mills. Nope it does not matter as the BBC noted . The case is closed and the BBC is having a media moment.
And this is a marketing moment 🙂

Case closed unless you have comments.

March 21, 2008

Counting Carbon with Craggers

Filed under: Environment,Lifestyle — Tony @ 10:44 am
Tags: ,


Calculating your carbon footprint is not hard. There are hundreds of websites that offer calculators and some even offer ways to offset your sins. Kind of like the church. Its neutral and its up to you to make the difference. In the future that may not be left up to you.

The International Herald Tribune reports in its Blog the Business of Green” that there is a British movement “CRAG”, or a Carbon Rationing Action Group based in Islington, North London which has started a radically different different movement. They hold each other to account!. This may be be the birth of a trend.
Read the article and let me know if you think this will work in North America . Also check out your own carbon footprint. In North America. try the EPA’s calculator. Then there is the “COOLCLIMATE CALCULATOR” offered up by Berkley.

March 20, 2008

A 300 mpg Car ?

I have a reason to love what is happening in some circles of car design. Radical new ideas for cars are emerging as

ff_100mpg1_6301.jpga result of the good work of the X Prize Foundation. Some of the results are in Wired reports in a recent article “1 Gallon of Gas, 100 Miles — $10 Million: The Race to Build the Supergreen Car”

And far as I can tell its brilliant news while these X cars have a very limited oil dependency. Way to go . This are a step in the right direction. Where is GM and Ford asleep again at the Switch ?
Check the Alpera company .

March 16, 2008

Persepolis and Persian Rugs

Filed under: Lifestyle,Social Justice — Tony @ 8:30 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

What is the link between the movie Persepolis and Persian Rugs ???

Well sadly the link is this. Its a story of the lack of courage, a loss of heart and soul by Iranian expatriates in Canada and the USA. There is little or no protest as many have have bought the dollar and forgotten universal rights and freedoms. It would seem that the dollar has gotten them by the proverbial.

Persian Rugs are not neutral art objects. They represent people, weavers and merchants. They are the lifeblood and are a huge industry. $500 mil in the USA alone. How much of that gets to the weavers and how much to the intermediate’s and the state?

Tough questions and questions that Care and Fair, Step, and other international organizations are struggling to come to grips with. To get a sense of what needs to change rent the movie Persepolis. Its gripping and ever so revealing. This woman has courage in spades. In this movie, which is autobiographical, Marji the author grows up and witnesses first hand how the new Iran, now ruled by Islamic fundamentalists, has become a repressive tyranny. You will see how Marji refused to remain silent at the injustice, her parents send her abroad to Vienna to study for a better life. However, this change proves an equally difficult trial with Marji finding herself in a different culture loaded with abrasive characters and profound disappointments that deeply trouble her. Even when she returns home, Marji finds that both she and homeland have changed too much and the young woman and her loving family must decide where she truly belongs.

I heard similar stories over and over again. It takes courage to adjust. Take time out and read the two autobiographical graphic novel (comics) by Marjane Satrapi that describes her childhood in Iran after the revolution.
She has great courage on many levels.

January 21, 2008

Design and Music

Filed under: Lifestyle,Social Justice — Tony @ 9:16 pm

Thank the stars for music. Music are essential tools of taste. Let me share a secret on how I get into the groove for understanding designs and what consumer wants and desires are. Its simple I play music. It has helped me to understand see the world in a different way. Music allows me to express beauty, rhythm, and movement. It has also allowed me to see the world of others.

When I chose music I chose a lens through which to view the world. And when it comes to design and thinking about what hand knotted rug suites what environment I first turn to music. In my case my world is a mix of jazz, world classical and opera. Then I get lost in the music and somehow as I do I begin to see colorful geometric forms and patterns that match the music. It’s as if my eyes have been opened and I have been invited into a world I had never seen.
In music, the rhythm can slow down and speed up, pause or sustain a tone, leap, or even freeze for an instant. I just go deeper. When this happens I tie into a concept similar to Gestalt’s Law of Continuation in that everything has its own natural rhythm. In that state I meet the muse and then I can make my choices of colors, designs and patterns. Truly my creative muse is the music.
Next time you find yourself stuck when choosing a rug or even art or area rugs for your lifestyle turn to music and your music’s palette will help you will find the colors, textures, patterns and graphic forms to guide you in your choices.
Remember color, pattern and design are expressions of music. The best guide I can recommend for you that will help you chose the right area rug for you is music. Chose it well and listen carefully.
PS while you may not a Synesthesiac I do believe you will appreciate how music can trigger colors. It does for me, Listen to a little bit of how Music Unleashes Rainbows of Color. Click on the Music Unleashes Rainbows of Color and enjoy. PS I am not Synesthesiac but I think we all experience it to some exten t and music is the trigger.

Create a free website or blog at