Friday, May 27, 2016

Airbnb's new campaign speaks to me.

I am one of the 30% of Americans who has their passport and loves to make use of it.  When we travel, we have always preferred to stay in apartments.  So when I saw this ad from Airbnb, it really spoke to me.  

For the first time I saw Airbnb not as a cheap substitute for a hotel, but rather as a superior alternative because it offers a different type of travel experience. 

I'll be curious to see if it works.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Google is Skynet -- or maybe Amazon is.

I caught up with Terminator Genisys this weekend, just in time for Google's announcement of Google Home this week.

Google Home is your new virtual assistant, just like Echo (Amazon) or Siri (Apple).  It will control a variety of devices in your home and bring you music and entertainment.  And it will do a Google search for you.  (Forbes, 2016)

I wonder how that's going to work.  Sometimes I search for hours to find the information I am looking for.  Meanwhile Google is gathering data about me.  Data that it recently sold to someone who served me an ad for a medical problem that I don't have.  It freaked me out.  It's so much more personal than just trying to sell me shoes.

And maybe it's just me, but I don't particularly want a surveillance device in my home listening to everything I say.  And what happens when it goes down and I can't turn on a light or lock a door?  I shudder to think of the possibilities.  (Oremus, 2016)

Forbes, T. (2016, May 19)  Google's Coming Home, Among Other Developments.  Retrieved May 19, 2016, from

Oremus, W. (2016, May 18) The Google Home Is Like the Amazon Echo, Only Smarter.  And Maybe Creepier.  Retrieved May 19, 2016, from

Friday, May 13, 2016

Is Red Lobster your favorite restaurant? You must be a Millennial.

A recent survey by Nation's Restaurant News surprised everyone, including Red Lobster's management, by finding that it is the favorite restaurant of 18 - 24 year olds.

I'm not surprised.  Despite their flat footed non-response, sales at the chain rose 33% in February after Beyonce mentioned it in her Formation performance at the Super Bowl. (Houston, 2016)

Now comes word that lemonade beverage sales have also increased, up 20% to 100% depending upon the brand, since Beyonce's latest release - Lemonade. (Houston, 2016)

Wow!  The power of celebrities has never been stronger.

Houston, G. (2016, May 9)  Millennials Are Really Into Red Lobster.  food and  Retrieved May 11, 2016, from

Houston, G. (2016, May 6) The Hive Is Craving Lemonade.  Retrieved May 11, 2016, from

Friday, May 6, 2016

If giving away burritos doesn't bring back their loyal users what will Chipotle do?

Last week Chipotle released their quarterly earnings report and it showed a decrease in revenue of 23.4%.(2016)

After a series of disease outbreaks last summer and fall, customers do not appear to be rushing back.  That surprised me as many of the people I had spoken to had already gone back, choosing to believe that it would never happen to them. 

But, it appears that Chipotle's most loyal users are not in such a hurry -- hence the freebies.   

Foursquare Inc. analyzed traffic data from its location-sharing mobile apps (that in and of itself is worth noting) and discovered that heavy users were actually 50% more likely to stay away.  Hmm.  (Jargon, 2016)

Since they were the most frequent visitors they could be concerned that they would be more likely to get sick.  Or is it a trust issue - they never did identify the actual source of the outbreaks.  And closing the stores for a day to tell employees that they should wash their hands wasn't exactly reassuring.  But, it also appears that some of the changes that have been made to increase safety have negatively impacted taste. 

Why do I think that might be the real issue?

So now the stores have gone back to slicing and dicing their own produce.  And there was another store closing for two days in March.   
Coincidence?  Or maybe fresh foods are simply incompatible with the fast food model.

(2016, April 26)  Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. Announces First Quarter 2016 Results Chipotle Investor Relations.  Retrieved May, 6, 2016, from

Jargon, J. (2016, April 25)  Chipotle Banks on Freebies.  The Wall Street Journal.  pB2

Whitehouse, K. (2016, March 9)  Chipotle store closed for second day on norovirus fears.  Retrieved May 6, from