May 25, 2009

Ruffles at the Jonas Brothers Concert

Two of our brands, Ruffles® and Toddy®, sponsored the Jonas Brothers Concert here in São Paulo this past Sunday.  

In a jam-packed stadium with 60,000 fans, it was an awesome opportunity for us to launch our new limited edition Ruffles Do Seu Jeito ('Ruffles Your Way') - which comes in a flavor for girls and one for guys.  The guy version is a big wave potato chip with a masculine BBQ Ribs flavor and the girl version is a thin-sliced potato chip with a soft cream cheese flavor.  

The in-stadium brand activation was carried out by the Future Group.  The promoters were instructed to hand out samples according to the positioning.  Next to me, there was a girl asking to sample the guy BBQ flavor.  The answer she got was:  "Bring a male friend and you'll get your sample" which was a great way to promote interaction among the crowd.

Here are two pictures I took of consumers sampling the product.  I had fun playing photographer...

From T-Shirts to Tombstones

University of Sāo Paulo Professor Americo Pellegrini Filho just published a book about popular culture expressed through communication found in signs and street art. The book, entitled Comunicação Popular Escrita ('Written Popular Communication'), is a result of 20 years of research after traveling to 107 countries with over 10,000 messages filed which include written communication found on t-shirts, bumper stickers, public restrooms, grafitti and even tombstones. The publication comes with a CD-rom with photos and explanations of the cultural similarities and differences the author found.

For those who work with communication, this seems like a must-have. 

May 10, 2009

Observing street vendors

Every Sunday coming home back from golf, I drive  through a busy intersection where a street vendor 'owns' that specific corner.  I've been observing how we works and it's amazing how much you can learn from the guy.  I noticed that he has a primary product he sells:  car chargers and mobile phone accessories in general.  Today, as he approached my car, he saw I had a BlackBerry on the passenger seat. He immediately pulled a car charger and said it was for my phone.  This all happens in a split second.  He has to work fast during the 3 minutes while the traffic light is red.  You can't get faster customer service than that.

It's interesting to see that he also operates with a helper who sells occasional products according to the calendar and season. A few weeks ago, during the Sao Paulo soccer finals between Corinthians and Santos, his helper was selling flags for fans on their way to the stadium (when I asked him how many flags he had sold by 12 noon, he said 30).  Today, it was Mother's Day here in Brazil, so sure enough, they were selling red rose bouquets.  Similar to what we do back at the office with limited-editions or with our promotional calendar.  However, street vendors change product inventory at incredible speed.

These street-smart salesmen are the very best in their craft.  Thousand of hours in the heat and rain, interacting with millions of drivers has made them hyper-sensitvie to what sells and what doesn't, flexible to adapt and change their product offerings according to what's happening in pop culture. Whether it's carnival season or there's a Madonna concert coming up or the Brazil National Team is playing on Sunday, these guys don't miss a beat.  They know that having something different to sell and being relevant to what is going on, means a better chance to increase their daily income.  

I'm sure there's a lot we can learn from street vendors.  I'll continue my observations next Sunday... 

May 5, 2009

A snapshot of consumers the moment they are interacting with the new Doritos flavor

A few weeks ago, I posted the story of our Doritos Sweet Chili launch and how we are using augmented reality on-pack. One of the very cool things about this technology is that, as a marketer, you can go online and see hundreds of photos of consumers the moment they released their Doritos Lovers. It's a glimpse of that very moment they were impacted by the technology. You see their expressions and how they interact with the virtual character.

How many marketing initiatives we end up deploying and never get to see the consumer the moment he is being impacted?

Looking at all the pictures on is fascinating and it shows how technology can play an awesome role in terms of experiential marketing.... with the advantage that, in this case, we can actually see how our consumers are having fun with our product.

Pretty cool stuff.

May 3, 2009

New world-class Science Museum in São Paulo

Yesterday, I took my daughters to São Paulo's new science museum called Fundação Catavento - a fascinating world-class learning experience.  We only covered the first floor dedicated to space, Brazilian geography & wildlife, the human body, as well as, a hall with fun games teaching kids the principles of physics.  The space is very well designed, providing children with all sorts of fun interactive ways to learn.  We will explore the second floor next time we go.

The museum is located in the beautiful Palácio das Indústrias, which used to be the town hall, in a deteriorated section of São Paulo.  I hope this museum will help revitalize the city's downtown area, similar to what has happened in many other urban areas like in St.Paul with the Science Museum of Minnesota or Birmingham with the McWane Science Center.  

I was thrilled to read that the mastermind behind this museum is a man named Sérgio Freitas, an electric engineer who became a well-known bank executive.  His vast intellectual curiosity led him to travel the world visiting museums and selecting interactive displays and exhibits that became the basis for the Catavento project.  

São Paulo is fortunate to have a man like Sérgio Freitas who leaves a wonderful legacy to all of us.