Category: Marketing

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Microsoft, Copilot This!

Yesterday, I dropped by Best Buy for a quick looksee. My local store, in San Diego’s Mission Valley district, is undergoing changes that started with remodeling last year—or, gasp, was it 2022? Oh, how we lose track of time. Regardless, a dramatic change greeted me.

What can best be described as an Apple mini-store occupies some of the space once dominated by Microsoft, Surface devices, and OEM laptops. The newer setup is all about digital lifestyle, with all-Apple devices gathered together in one area. If there was space being made for Windows Copilot+ PCs packing Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite and Plus processors, I couldn’t find it. But nobody could miss all that fruit-logo fare.

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You Can’t…

Irony is sometimes what you make it—or not. You decide, regarding my explanation about the Featured Image. Yesterday, I walked by the Sun Bum display inside Ralph’s and gaped. Hillcrest is one of San Diego’s homeless hangouts, and the street folk have, ah, sticky fingers. Yes, thievery.

Local street sleepers are blamed. Meaning: The supermarket doesn’t trust the bum, which is why so many items for sale are in locked displays. Buying batteries? Ask a clerk. Personal hygiene products? You will need assistance getting access to some of those, too. I could go on, but you get the point—right?

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Prime Cuts

Like many other Amazon customers, the day after Christmas (Bah humbug to you, too, Jeff Bezos), I received email informing that “starting January 29, Prime Video movies and TV shows will include limited advertisements”. That one sentence sentences my Prime membership to execution. I won’t renew when the current annual period expires.

My family’s first Amazon purchase was in 1998, and we joined Prime a decade later. One of the benefits for which we keep the service is commercial-free video content. Advertising changes everything. Free, fast shipping isn’t compelling enough.

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Who Can It Be Now?

What to say? I don’t drink alcoholic anything, but here we are for a third time romping over Bud Light. Perhaps you know the once popular beer that undergoes the mother of all boycotts—after Anheuser-Busch made the marketing mistake of aligning with a transgender TikToker.

Previously, on this torrid topic: “‘Hey, I Thought There was a Boycott!‘” and “Delivering or Removing?” So with the beer’s sales flushing down a toilet, I was surprised to see—on Oct. 8, 2023—a bag of empties tied up nicely for someone like Pat to grab and cash in at the local recycler. The Featured Image was a compulsory capture, if for no other reason than how cleanly the cans were gathered together and neatly sacked.

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‘Hey, I Thought There was a Boycott!’

So said I to my wife when we passed by the discarded can today. I don’t drink beer—or any other alcoholic beverages—and am only aware of the Bud Light boycott because it blasted across every avenue and alley along the Information Superhighway (yeah, call me archaic), starting in April 2023. Anheuser-Busch made the marketing mistake of aligning with a transgender TikToker.

Sales plummeted, and the brewer stumbled into “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” territory. Distancing damage control precipitated a backlash among the Rainbow coalition of gender-identifying letters. Along the spectrum of staunch conservatives to prickly progressives, Anheuser-Busch managed to offend just about everyone who drank Bud Light, which was the most popular beer in the United States before the fiasco’s start.

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The Case for Monogamy

Along University Ave., in San Diego neighborhood North Park, two billboards that typically market local drug dispensaries warn about syphilis and gonorrhea. There are two! A block apart, straddling Louisiana and Texas streets.

Take my advice: Stop smoking pot and sleeping around. That’s how you reduce—or eliminate among faithful spouses—the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Advertising that changed from cannabis shops to STDs—drugs and sex—there is a connection.

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Audacious Advertising

While driving our car to the auto shop for routine maintenance, today, I passed an intriguing billboard along Adams Avenue in San Diego neighborhood Normal Heights. Sentiment “People Matter” makes perfect sense. But not too long ago, and perhaps still, “all lives matter” was taboo response to the “black lives matter” crowd. Does this advert push boundaries? Is “people matter” all that different from “all lives matter”—regardless the different context? You tell me.

I am a big fan of offending people, of pushing their buttons, so to speak. We all need to feel uncomfortable from time to time, so that we think. So if “people matter” offends you, good! And because everyone matters, why should inclusivity of all colors be bothersome? Now, let’s get to the context, which is nothing about race relations.

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Adventure Advertising

Unless mistaken, my wife and I saw this pull-trailer promoting GoCamp, which rents camper vans, parked on Florida Street here in University Heights. I perused the company’s website: Including duplicates, 46 vehicles are available from San Diego to the destination of your choice.

Based on interior—exterior, not so much—I rather fancy Van Luca: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or Gia, which “is a 2009 Ford Econoline 150 Chariot hi-top conversion”. They are available for $179 and $145 per night, respectively. Neither can be driven one-way; got to bring them back. The Benz burns diesel, which is something of a liability because of high costs; the Ford is a gas-guzzler.

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Serve One Up for Linus

Shouldn’t September 12 be considered a wee bit early for Halloween? Can we not wait until October? But marketing seasonal spicy drinks knows no bounds. The sign stands on the corner of Alabama and Mississippi, outside Mystic Mocha, which is an iconic coffee shop and eatery in my San Diego neighborhood.

The Featured Image comes from Leica Q2, today, but I first saw the advert on the eighth. I made shots at two different apertures and fiercely debated with myself about which to share. In the end, I prefer the wider depth of field of the narrower aperture, which keeps the University Heights sign and storefront in the range of focus. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 1:02 p.m. PDT.

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Mystic Mocha Marketing

One of University Height’s fixtures is Mystic Mocha, which through change of ownership survived the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 shutdowns mandated by California Governor Gavin Newsom and also San Diego County health authorities.

Today, as my wife and I walked by the place, we happened upon a sign at the corner of Alabama and Mission. I pulled around Leica Q2, knelt down low, and shot the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 11:39 a.m. PDT.

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I Won’t Go Soft on Hard Seltzer

Before the Wilcoxes relocated to California from Maryland some thirteen-and-a-half years ago, I generally replaced soda with a couple tablespoons of apple juice mixed with a 12-ounce can of seltzer (e.g., carbonated water). But finding the bubbly proved to be really challenging in SoCal. A few stores stocked seltzer in quart-size plastic bottles but no cans and for considerably higher price than what we paid back East.

Then came LaCroix’s bold brand turnaround early in the last decade. Packaging makeover and consumer rage against sugary soda won over mainstream Millennials, ultimately leading to a seltzer surge—whether measured by increased number of brands, flavors, or sales. That’s good for me, now a drinker of straight seltzer; no juice added by my hands or artificial flavors by bottlers.