Greetings Hamburglar meet Mr. McAloo Tiki

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The fast food king best known for its Big Mac hamburger is set to open the very first all vegetarian restaurant locations in company history. McDonald’s says it will open fully vegetarian restaurants next year in two northern Indian cities that are pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Sikhs. The meat-free outlets are a first for the world’s biggest fast food chain, which hopes to boost revenues by catering to local tastes.  Menus at the restaurants in Amristar and Katra will include the McAloo Tikki burger, which utilizes a mashed potato patty, and the Pizza McPuff, a vegetable and cheese pastry. At 28 rupees, or 50 cents each, the McAloo burger is the chains top seller inIndia, accounting for a quarter of total sales. McDonald’s already keeps beef and pork products off the menu at its 271 outlets in India, where a majority of the population are Hindus and Muslims, but nowhere in world has there ever been a strictly vegetarian menu at any McDonalds restaurant location.

The country’s growing urban workforce is driving rapid growth in fast-food sales. “At the moment, India is still a very small market — we just have 271 restaurants in India, and across the world, we have nearly 33,000,” a spokesman for McDonald’s in northern India, Rajesh Kumar Maini explained. But it’s certainly a growth opportunity for the chain, he continued on to say. A recent poll showed that approximately 30% of the worlds second most populous country does not eat meat of any sort, which equates to approximately 420,000,000 people who may not have previously considered venturing into one of the chains locations around the country.

Although the company has long catered to local tastes in its locations around the world this all-vegetarian concept is certainly a noteworthy attempt for any international chain to attempt a truly localized market approach. What makes this case particularly interesting is that despite being the world’s second most populous nation behind only China, India represents less than ½ of 1% of the McDonald’s locations across the world. It seems like an obvious undertaking, but the chain has been in the country since 1996 so it remains to be seen whether this strictly vegetarian concept will truly lead to the explosive growth the company is hoping for. Perhaps a case study in localization strategy awaits a future class of Chapman MBA students. As for me, I’m entirely content with my two cheeseburger combo, although I must admit a bite of a McAloo Tikki burger does sound a bit intriguing.

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Starbucks – The Evolution of the Coffee Experience

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Starbucks. The name alone conjures images of the iconic green logo and warm, soothing drinks with frothy toppings. Starbucks took our society’s dependence on caffeine and catapulted it into one of the world’s most recognizable brands. Starbucks operates in more than 17,000 in over 49 countries worldwide. Chief Executive Officer, Howard Schultz, informs Bloomberg News has opened 1000 more stores in coming years. China will be the biggest growth market for the largest coffee supplier within the next two years.
Because of this huge expansion, Starbucks even has its coffee farm in China. This effective supply chain management has helped CEO Schultz obtain the growth he was looking for. He adds, “I think we have an enormous opportunity to do a lot of things in the food and beverage industry. In the next 12 to 18 months, we will be unveiling new products and entirely new categories. I can’t tell you with specificity what it is, but we’re going to build a major multibillion-dollar business in the grocery industry for Starbucks, both domestically and around the world. I think people are going to be quite surprised over the next few years at what Starbucks is capable of doing.”
Howard Schultz is an American Business man, who is responsible for starting the largest coffeehouse company in the world. Many attribute Starbucks’ tremendous success to their ability to crate an experience. The atmosphere is one which cannot be created, and in fact – employees are hired specifically for that reason – to create an experience. Employees are taught how to strike up small talk, remember the details of your special drink if you are a frequent customer and call you by your first name. These elements have worked brilliantly to create a feeling of familiarity, whether you are in your neighborhood or across the globe. Starbucks has struck an important cord with it’s customers and that’s what has them coming back time and time again for the $5 latte.

In addition to partnering with customers to create a bonding experience, Starbucks has built powerful alliance that have helped them strategically reign in costs. According to Rebecca Larson, assistant Professor of Business at Liberty University, Starbucks partnered with Barnes and Nobles bookstores in 1993 to provide in-house coffee shops, benefiting both retailers. In 1996, Starbucks partnered with Pepsico to bottle, distribute and sell the popular coffee-based drink, Frappacino. A Starbucks-United Airlines alliance has resulted in their coffee being offered on flights with the Starbucks logo on the cups and a partnership with Kraft foods has resulted in Starbucks coffee being marketed in grocery stores. In 2006, Starbucks formed an alliance with the NAACP, the sole purpose of which was to advance the company’s and the NAACP’s goals of social and economic justice.

Starbucks continues to be one of the most successful and admired companies today. Starbucks has changed the way people think of coffee. Starbucks is known as a lifestyle brand that originated in Seattle, WA in 1972 and went public in 1982 and currently has its teeth in 40% of the specialty coffee market. The coffeehouse evolved into a meeting place for friends and colleagues. People would socialize, study and take their time. Starbucks quickly became popular with students and 20 something professionals.

Despite the Starbucks’ reach, operating in over 49 countries – it is fair to say that the coffeehouse empire is still in the early stages of its globalization strategy. It will be interesting to see what the masterminds at Starbucks have in store for us all. If history is any measure of the future success of Starbucks, the masses are eagerly waiting and ready!

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You Can’t Win the Game if You Don’t Play: Social Media – the Ultimate Game Changer

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Everyone knows that social media is here to stay. The fastest growing demographic of Facebook is women over the age of 55. It’s everywhere you turn and the international marketing industry of business is scurrying to incorporate the new wave to remain relevant in todays ever changing market.

According to best selling author, Seth Godin, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” This said, there is still a lot of gray area in understanding how social media can help business. After the Facebook IPO, the enterprise market seems more polarized than ever. One camp will use the IPO as evidence (an excuse) as to why social media platform is a trend on it’s way out the door, and not necessary for successful marketing, and the other will continue to explore social media a useful marketing medium.

In terms of small businesses, over 90% find themselves in the latter camp, seeing the value of social marketing.

“Small businesses understand they need to go where their audience is. Participating, networking and being found online is extremely important today in growing their business, so it’s not surprising that they are embracing the channel”, said Pamela Springer, CEO of Manta. ”

“As 97 percent of consumers use the Internet to research products or services in their local area, and those searches regularly include company name, product or service, or business owner, it is critical small businesses build awareness of themselves and their company online. Manta is providing them with the ability to create and house all of this content about their company in one place, which enables them to be found in all the ways customers search for businesses,” said Jed Williams, BIA/Kelsey Program Director.

So clearly, there is a dramatic shift in the market. It seems that the marketer and the customer are having a two-way conversation, once again. For the last century, the marketing strategy of the masses was a push-system; there was a lack of market research and/or a lack of communication and that resulted in the marketer telling the customer what they wanted. Now the paradigm has shifted, and a pull system is now in place. Social media has allowed the consumer to request what they want based on their individual needs, wants and desires. The power is back in the hands of the customer.

What tends to make businesses uncomfortable with social media marketing is that they no longer control the message of the brand. The responsibility lies on them to be highly responsive to their customer and listen to the changing needs of the fickle customer. Today, the result of a angry customer is no longer lost business and lost revenue. Now, a dissatisfied customer can rant on his blog and give nasty reviews on Yelp. Enterprises have to learn to effectively maneuverer the web and work. PR and customer service departments also need to become savvy with programs to match their trendy tech customers.

In 1997, Gary Vaynerchuk launched, and helped grow his family business from $3 million to $60 million in seven years. Here he explains marketing in an Internet world.

I love Gary Vaynerchuck’s commentary, and judging by his own personal entrepreneurial success – he knows what he’s talking about. According to him, social media works because it sells s*it. Everyone buys things based on word of mouth and that’s exactly what the social media platform does. According to Vayerchuk, “social media is the infrastructure for social media marketing. And Twitter provides the data that historically would have cost a ton of cash for market research. Now, a customer places order. Next, we follow him on Twitter. “Next stop, Super Bowl”, “We lost. That’s ok, Jay Cutler. I still love you.”
Now, we know he’s a Bear’s fan. We go on Ebay, buy a signed Jay Cutler jersey and send it to him with a note that says thank you for your 1st order.
When asked how to work this into a company’s bottom line, again his answer is simple. “Stop buying dumb shit and spend that money on people.”
Brilliant. It seems that we have come full circle. In the 1940’s, the butcher knew what cut of meat you want before you even walk into the door. He knew your family, your name. He knew you and he cared about what your tastes and preferences were. We are recreating this.

So, from an international perspective…is this relevant. Of course. The world-wide web has made connecting with friends from around the globe possible for decades. International marketing has effectively been using this medium for a while. Knowing your target audience, being sensitive and aware of their culture and using the right balance of adaptation and localization overcome the inevitable challenges. Hofsteade’s principles that marketers widely use in advertising can be applied with social media as well.

With over 500 million users outside the US, Facebook shows that the trend does not to be waning from a global perspective. Marketers have been quick to seize the golden opportunity, using the data Facebook makes available to their advertisers , making niche marketing a breeze! “The old paradigm was pay to play. Now you get back what you authentically put in. You’ve got to be willing to play to play.” -Alex Bogusky

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Science World Vancouver

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Science hasn’t always been the coolest subject.  It’s always been a bit geeky with reference to white lab coats and unpopular fellas. Not since the days of Bill Nye has a huge effort been made to make science more fun and exciting for everyone. For most average Joes, they consider the world of science to be riddled with geeks and nerds. Science is something in the universe that you can’t feel or touch and it doesn’t apply to everyone.  Science World British Colombia is proving that statement wrong due to an extremely successful marketing and advertising campaign targeted at the average person in the average setting.  In other words, Science World is teaching people some unique, often bizarre, sometimes disgusting facts about science, the human body and the world around us through their advertising campaign.  Half shock appeal and half eye catching graphics and installations; Science world has started a buzz that is going global.

One of my favorites in the campaign is a children’s balloon. Every kid wants a balloon right?! Well the fun part is what the balloon says…I will let you peek below.   If I had a kid, you better believe my kid would have a photo with that balloon and it would maybe make a brief showing as my profile pic on FB.

Another interesting fact that they share in the campaign is like all cats critters, the largest cat and king of the jungle will also “use” a litter box if trained to do so.

An interesting blank billboard during the day…Is transformed to a glowing factual yet disturbing display at night, all in the name of science!

Here is a very unique fact about your hair

As much as this campaign is funny, is it extremely effective in getting people to think about science and all the many things that relate to it. For some campaigns such as this, you may not be able to directly determine how many sales dollars are generated from each advertising dollar that was spent.  We can make assumptions that for this campaign these “colorful” ads are hitting the mark by building awareness of the company at large and getting the public to create a dialogue about it.

I like think it’s also savvy that the marketers are engaging teachers as well in this campaign asking them to “Spare Some Science?” in this program they are asking educators to share any science facts that really resonated with their students. This is a really bright way of engaging those who not only support the museum but these educators may be able to provide future marketing material that would be free of charge!

I do want to note that there are many bloggers and online sources buzzing about this campaign so of course I wanted to see more. I went directly to their website at and there was no reference to the campaign.  For something that is causing such a buzz it seems quite wasteful to not employ some of that same strategy through the organizations web presence. It would be a low cost way of providing that continuous messaging and pushing traffic to their website where they may be able to secure ticket sales or even merchandise sales with their catchy slogans.

To see more of the campaign images, visit these sites below:




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Gangnam Style Making an Appearance in Marketing Campaigns Around the World

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With the recent introduction of the K- Pop phenomenon PSY and his “Gangnam Style” hot single, it seems like most of the intelligent world waits for this part of the K- Pop phenomenon to come to a halt. With more YouTube hits worldwide than the most popular Bieber video, it seems like this bizarre and irritating “Gangnam Style” trend might not wash away as quickly as we thought.  The trend has made its way into pop culture spoofs, broke music video records and is now seen in the forefront of advertising campaigns not only in South Korea but around the world. Global marketers are taking the opportunity to use this craze for their product advertising needs but does using a trend, craze or song that has a very short life span somehow weaken or cheapen the brand? Below are three commercials using the  mind-numbing sights and sounds of “Gangnam Style” to as their inspiration.

Marketers for Nivea men are betting on this Gangnam craze to last another 15 minutes in order for them to air this commercial to promote their skin vitality product line. Nivea has introduced a K-Pop inspired campaign targeted toward Chinese Men. The Nivea team may well be aware that the life time of this trend may be short so they used a JSY look-a-like for their Chinese targeted campaign to market a seasonal winter product. I assume they plan to retire this campaign after the winter season as by that point this craze will have had its moment in the sun and it may hurt the Nivea brand to keep utilizing a song that is “so last week.”


The Major League Baseball Marketing team decided to show off its post season playoff offerings by spoofing “Gangnam Style.”  Here the music video has superimposed heads of baseball’s best and brightest displayed in a manner that can only be described as hilarious. This is a short silly spoof and I commend the Marketers at Major League Baseball for providing a humorous take on the video. Their ability to poke fun at the video as well as at themselves makes this advertisement that much more successful.

Here KIA motors even jumped in on this craze. The South Korean headquartered company KIA motors  jumped on the trend to show their K-pop love in this commercial advertisement using the giant hamsters that have appeared in so many prior KIA commercials. The use of the large rodents plus the K-pop “Gangnam Style” soundtrack together has me thinking this idea could have been scrapped altogether or used some majorly significant tweaking before making its debut into the consumer living room.




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