Great word! Juxtaposition (noun): the fact of two things being seen or placed together with contrasting effect.

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  • Government: JFK & LBJ.
  • Music: Simon & Garfunkel; Rogers & Hammerstein.
  • NBA Basketball in the 80’s: Larry Bird & Magic Johnson.
  • Family Entertainment: Walt & Roy Disney.
  • Family: Sibling rivalry.
  • Past & Future: Estonia.

Can you suggest additional examples of juxtaposition?

Shed Your Smartphone


Unbelievable what I observed on New Year’s Day. Two men playing boules, a game first popularized in France during the 19th century, talking on their smartphones. I concluded it is time for people to shed their smartphones, thus thoroughly connect with friends, plus the world around them.

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It seems every time I venture into public space, people of all ages are surgically attached to their smartphones. U.S. smartphone usage by the numbers:

  • Total U.S. smartphone penetration: 69.0% (source: eMarketer August 2018) Note:7% 18-24-year-olds.
  • eMarketer projects U.S. adults will spend 3 hours, 35 minutes per day on mobile devices (includes tablets) in 2018. Note: That equates to approximately 1,308 hours or 55 days per year – 15% of an individual’s year.

Ready to observe, listen to the world around you.  Shed your smartphone.




A Christmas Cadeau: Jambon Espagnol


Yesterday I was at my local market and noticed they were merchandising whole Serrano hams for a Christmas gift. Validated food gifting is an important cultural custom here in France. Also made me recognize the growing global popularity of Spanish hams.

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I learned about Spanish ham, initially Ibèrico hams, when I attended an English language immersion class in Spain. One of the Spaniards attending the course, gave his closing presentation about the difference between Ibèrico ham and the finest Italian prosciutto. There are two major differences: 1.) Black Iberian pigs are free-range and feast on acorns in the last weeks of their lives which yields a unique, sweet, nutty flavor ham; and 2.) The Spanish cure their hams for a longer period of time.

Several years ago, I read an article about the W.H.O., specifically their International Agency for Research on Cancer, publishing an analysis linking colorectal cancer to the consumption of meats (processed or red). Consequently, the Chinese with their insatiable appetite for pork products and rising incomes, began coveting Spanish ham as healthy. No added preservatives or colorings (sometimes metal) in comparison to their homegrown pork products. Thus, the window of opportunity opened for Spanish hams being in demand worldwide. Overnight Ibèrico hams became the most expensive commercially, boneless approximately $400 and bone-in somewhere between $1,200 to $1,400 (over $70 per pound).

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année!

Psychographic Profiling


Conventional marketers utilize demographic categorization when targeting consumers. In today’s collaborative world of Web 2.0, thanks to social media, smart marketers are currently identifying/targeting social individuals (a.k.a. brand advocates) who have influence over potential buyers. What’s next? The new world of Psychographic Profiling.

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Thanks to mobile technology, marketers can benefit from the expansion of data captured at the numerous consumer technology touch points – transactional purchasing behavior/history, apps, geo-location, etc. Consequently, smart marketers are in stronger position to identify and engage with their target audience via relevant, real time marketing communications. The advent of 5G, the next generation of mobile broadband, will enhance consumer targeting. 5G connections will deliver greater data capacity (instant computing power) and speed than previous generations – 1,000 the data rate of 4G. Consequently, marketers will be able to utilize psychographic profiling thanks to their ability to crunch data in nanoseconds to identify their audience.

Future food industry psychographic profiling buckets:

  • Lifestyles (e.g., “on-the-go”) – Snacking behavior, convenience foods preferences, beverage consumption.
  • Situational Eating Behavior – Location and time of day consumers buy food.
  • Health vs. Indulgence – Special diet needs, labeling knowledge, over the top eating experiences.
  • Social Values – Make the world a better place – sustainability, responsible sourcing, etc.

Are you prepared for psychographic profiling, the next challenge for identifying/targeting consumers?



Lightning & Thunder


During last night’s storm (a.k.a. electrical display) here on the Mediterranean, I questioned why there is a time differential between a bolt of lightning and the sound of thunder? Google time.

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Google explains a bolt of lightning and the sound of thunder actually happen at the same time. A bolt of lightning heats the air along its path causing the air to expand rapidly. The sound of thunder is the byproduct of the atmosphere expanding, but the lightning flash travels faster than the sound of thunder.

More importantly, I thought about what I did pre-Google search regarding trivia questions (e.g., film, sports), scientific or historical inquiries, etc. Google since its inception in 1998, has successfully organized the world’s information, making it universally accessible. How was it possible to live life without Google!

What is the most popular team name in sports? Thunder. Thank you, Google.

A Toy Story – A New Chapter


Over three years ago I expressed disappointment that F.A.O. Schwartz was closing its doors at its iconic Fifth Avenue location. Good news! F.A.O. Schwartz made its Big Apple comeback in late November.

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F.A.O. Schwartz is another example of Brick & Mortar 2.0: providing a great overall retail experience. The toy retailer recently opened a new flagship store in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Plaza, complete with its famous giant walk-on piano. In addition to featuring old classics (e.g., toy soldiers sporting new, updated uniforms), F.A.O Schwartz designed some new experiences to make their store, once again, a global iconic destination for visitors to New York City. New attractions include a remote-control car raceway, a grocery store where kids can fill their carts with play groceries before heading into FAO home to shop for kitchen equipment and housewares, a Build-A-Bear Workshop, etc. to name a few.

“Retail is theater!” – David Niggli, FAO’s Chief Merchandising Officer.


Searching for Consumers


Brands/retailers are geared up for holiday sales surpassing $1 trillion for the first time and the strongest growth rate (5.8%) since 2011. Note: Spending further enhanced by a 32-day holiday calendar. Consequently, influence marketers are working overtime to identify nanoinfluencers (a.k.a. “nanos”) to fuel their marketing movements.

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This past year, thanks to my affiliation with the Social Media Research Association, I have been reviewing the current viral wave of influence marketers. Via the different social media platforms, influence marketers are now digitally mining deeper to find their target audience. Their objective is to identify select social individuals who have influence over potential buyers. However, marketers’ question whether is it better to use macro or micro influencers.  Macro influencers are categorized as celebrities with massive, millions of followers, while micro influencers are everyday consumers who have significant social media followings (1,000 to 100,000) they engage deeply with on a regular basis.

Welcome nanoinfluencers (a.k.a. “nanos”), people with small followings (1,000 to 5,000), high engagement, their primary social platform being Instagram. In return for monetary compensation or free goods, “nanos” post Instagrammable, shareable photographs of products, services or travel destinations they like. Their online followers (including close friends) value their advice leading to purchase decisions. An inexpensive form of consumer marketing. For the holidays, Macy’s, H&M and J.C. Penny have implemented Instagram influencer movements.