Thursday, January 26, 2012

Would you use more spices if you knew how healthy they were?

In 2007, The New York Times magazine section featured an article by Michael Pollan, entitled Unhappy Meals.  It was a game changer for me. 

I was particularly blown away by this list of the antioxidants that are found in garden-variety thyme -- 4-Terpineol, alanine, anethole, apigenin, ascorbic acid, beta carotene, caffeic acid, camphene, carvacrol, chlorogenic acid, chrysoeriol, eriodictyol, eugenol, ferulic acid, gallic acid, gamma-terpinene isochlorogenic acid, isoeugenol, isothymonin, kaempferol, labiatic acid, lauric acid, linalyl acetate, luteolin, methionine, myrcene, myristic acid, naringenin, oleanolic acid, p-coumoric acid, p-hydroxy-benzoic acid, palmitic acid, rosmarinic acid, selenium, tannin, thymol, tryptophan, ursolic acid, vanillic acid.  One can only imagine that there is a similar list for every herb and spice nature produces. (Pollan, 2007)

I decided to go all in and eliminate processed foods from my diet and began cooking from scratch, often using fresh herbs and spices in my vegetable sauces.  But even if you don’t want to go to that extreme, you can still sprinkle some oregano and garlic on a slice of pizza and be healthier.

McCormick the spice and seasonings category leader thinks you should do just that.  And after 123 years of focusing on the ability of spices to add flavor (yes, they do that too) they are now pointing out a myriad of ways you can use spices to up the health factor of whatever foods you currently eat.  (Schultz, 2012)

That sure sounds like a successful strategy to me.  What do you think?  Will you add some pepper to your scrambled eggs?

Pollan, M. (2007, January 28).  Unhappy Meals.  New York Times.  Section 6, Column 1, Magazine, Page 38
Schultz, E.J. (2012, January 22).  Spice Maker McCormick Sprinkles Health Messages Into Marketing.  Retrieved January 25, 2012, from

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Would you create a video to get a lifetime supply of anything?

Pepsi has just announced a new contest in search of their most passionate fans.  This is how it works.  You create a :60 second video expressing your passion for Pepsi MAX.  Two lucky winners receive a lifetime supply of soda, defined as one 12-pack every two weeks.  I wonder what the odds of winning are.  Frankly it sounds like a lot of work to me, unless of course you are drinking far too much of the stuff for it to be healthy, in which case six cans a week probably won’t do it for you.

Of course you will also need to “like” the brand on Facebook and fill out an application.  And if you want your friends to vote for you, they too will need to “like” the brand on Facebook and register to vote.  No wonder Pepsi likes this idea. (Lukovitz, 2012)

Selected videos will run at the NFL Experience, so I suppose it would be a kick if you are going to the Super Bowl, and your video makes the cut.  But for everyone else it sounds like you and your friends will be surrendering a fair amount of personal information for no reward.  Shouldn’t a discount coupon for everyone who plays be part of the deal?  Will you play either way?

Lukovitz, K. (2012, January 14)  Pepsi MAX Video Contest Seeks Passionate Fans.  Retrieved January 18, 2012, from

Thursday, January 12, 2012

If you thought the primary online gamer was a teenage boy – you need to think again.

According to a new survey from Harris Interactive, 55% of online gamers are female.  And 64% of them are over age 35.  (Padberg, 2011)
Wow, I’m surprised, are you? 

61% play between 8 pm and midnight, and 58% play to alleviate boredom, while 61% play to relieve stress.

Who knew?

Padberg, N. (2011, December 19) Online Female Gamers Are Over 35, Have More Sex Than Non-Gamer Women.  Retrieved January 11, 2012, from

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Force Was With the Best Ad of 2011.

Amid stories that the cost for a :30 spot in the sold out 2012 Super Bowl is $3.5 million, comes concern that the size and diversity of the audience, which was 111 million last year, necessitates lousy advertising.  (Baskin, 2012)

I share that opinion.  When you try to talk to everyone, you inevitably end up speaking to no one. 

But there are exceptions to every rule, and last year Deutsch/LA proved that it was possible to create a car ad that even a Manhattanite could love.  My choice for ad of the year is VW’s “The Force.”  This charming effort which makes excellent use of storytelling techniques and hinges on a key consumer insight – parental love knows no bounds – not only succeeded in dominating the post-game discussion, it actually sold cars!  In fact, Volkswagen says that the new VW Passat had more sales in its first two months in the market than the last Passat model sold in all of 2010.  Wow! (Vranica, 2011)

Not coincidentally it was also the most viewed ad on YouTube with 45 million views.  In case you forgot how effective it was, you can take another look.  And here’s to hoping that this year’s game brings some equally pleasant surprises.

Baskin, J. (2012, January 3).  The Industry’s Super Bowl Stumble.  Retrieved January 4, 2012, from

Vranica, S. (2011, December 27). Thumbs Up for Mini Vader: Best and Worst Ads of 2011.  Retrieved January 4, 2012, from