Blog

March 2014 - PS Insights

POOR AND FAMOUS

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Jonah Hill accepted a mere $60,000 for months of work on The Wolf of Wall Street. But he also got to work with Martin Scorsese and got an Academy Award nomination. What are you willing to sacrifice to achieve greater goods and goals?

FUN AND GAMES

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NBC has become the fun and games network. Morning, afternoon and night. From the Today Show, to Ellen, to Jimmy Fallon and even their Prime Time show, Hollywood Game Night, b and c level celebrities are playing games. Has interviewing, the news and fresh entertainment become so difficult that we all are supposed to be entertained by variations of beer pong and charades? How low will you let your brand go to capture audience?

DYSTOPIAN

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Divergent just opened as the latest in teen female leads whose heroics manage to survive in a dystopian society. It’s great to have strong female characters and we love the argument that women can certainly carry box office success. But what’s with all this dystopian stuff? How about strong female role models in sane societies? What do you do to keep your storylines motivating in a positive world?

STUPID PET TRICKS

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Last Monday, the NYTimes ran a story about the World Pet Expo in Orlando, featuring pet products tried, true and new. The two that stood out for us (and proves America is truly going to the dogs) were the App that allows your pet to call you from home (we kid you not) and a device you can use to train your dog to toss a ball to him or herself so you don’t have to do it yourself. What scares us the most is that there might be a market for both products. What stupid pet tricks do you have in the works that might also turn into successful new products?

ULINE

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Just got our Spring catalog from ULine (as did most of you and most of America) and we had to smile at their smart marketing. The cover depicts a drone delivering a ULine package—with a snipe “We’re Faster Than Drones.” Once again, opportunistic marketing to your target audience can add impact to a seemingly mundane item like a catalog. How do you freshen up your marketing approaches?

PREEMPTIONS

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We’re all for advertising. But we found it really interesting to see NBC run their daytime weekend coverage on MSNBC recently and turned the primary network over to an infomercial for NutriBullet. This may be a better blender, but when the economics of running an infomercial are better than running quality programming, is this yet another death knell for the mass market and broadcast television?

ERGONOMICS vs FENG SHUI

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Paul got into a conversation with a colleague recently about her planned office changes. Where to put the desk, the files, bookcase etc.? She said the desk needed to face the door for better ergonomics. Paul countered with the question, “What about the appearance of the office upon entering?” How do you balance ergonomics vs. Feng Shui in business and in life?

FIREWOOD CONVENIENCE PAKS

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We’ve marveled at shrink-wrapped firewood at gas stations, supermarkets and convenience stores for some time. It’s certainly convenient, obscenely expensive for a few sticks of wood …and ready for branding. What new distribution are you looking at…and how can you get brand credit for it?

PLASTIC SNOWMAN PIECES

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Paul recently saw plastic snowman parts at retail. Carrot nose, coal mouth pieces and eyes, black buttons and a pipe. We thought part of the fun was to use household objects to dress up our snow creations. Is a package of pieces and parts to complete creative projects a good idea, a buzz-kill to creativity – or both?

WHAT’S YOUR SKILL SET?

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December’s security breach at Target recently led to the resignation of Beth Jacob, head of IT. She was a 12-year employee of the company with management and buyer experience–and no IT background. It’s amazing that in this day and age, management skills can be weighed as being more important than the basic knowledge of what her department did. In that light, the security breach is no surprise. How do you balance management skill vs. subject knowledge? And how do you determine whether your people have the right skills for their jobs?