Monthly Archives: June 2008

new urgency for web solution

I’d planned a post on the shifting attitudes towards e-advertising (worth $21-billion last year) when I got a query from a Canadian dealer friend, still using traditional methods, asking pretty much the same questions only from the retailer side. How did/can you (the customer) find us? This is when I coincidentally started seeing H-D’s new second tier banners popping up on Yahoo.

A recent Washington Post feature summarized the latest look back on major brands’ adventures with web advertising. And the big news is, the biggest spenders aren’t who you might think: number eight Netflix lays out $10-mil a month to push those irritating popups in our face. So what’s going on these days? Continue reading

messing with icons – sometimes it’s necessary

Hello! What’s this? Decades of caramel colored soda showing through green glass is out, aluminum bottles with ultra-fresh graphics is in. Or at least alongside, for now.

Design firm Turner Duckworth’s responsible for the who’d have guessed red sells best brand makeover that just won the Cannes Best Design Gold Lion Award.

When it comes to brand projection – and it does – the perennial member of the world’s most identifiable top ten brands list shows it’s not afraid to throw the dice. We can just see this combo as an end capper that draws crowds in the wire cage locked horns battle for soda surpremcy.

scooters ride the wave

Cha-ching goes the gas pump and another pissed off motorist does the long hard look at the increasingly not that crazy scooter buzzing by at 70-mpg. All over America these two-wheeled sippers are hitting mainstream stride, cashing in on a flurry of coverage from editors eager to exploit Top Ten lists on how to beat the prices at the pump.

For instance. Last week the local paper’s Saturday automotive section front page was devoted to scooters. Can’t imagine the stalwart page advertisers were too thrilled, but there it was, a four-color shoutout to the virtues of minimalism. And style, and just plain hipness. We call it pr on a platter, there for the plucking.

going green – or just going?

When we read the April email from Dealernews alerting us to the fact that, “Unless you live under a rock, you’re aware of the increasing awareness and need for all of us to find better ways to deliver the products we produce using fewer of our natural resources. The popular term for this is “Going Green”,’ we first assumed Advanstar would lead the industry in environmentally responsible publishing through such actions as certifying that paper was 100% recycled, all inks were soy based and no animals were harmed in lab testing. (And yes, we’re aware of the awareness. We saw the movie.)

Wrong. Instead we learned that all but the most recent – last 12 months to be exact – advertisers and agencies who receive the “complimentary subscription” were being given the heave ho. Dealers not included. How’s that for qualifying the herd? The practical side of how the circ list would be worked out is beyond our ability to comprehend, but suffice to say that as an agency required to pay $100 for the privilege of admission to Dealer Expo that badge should at the very least grant us some clemency. Hah!

Add this latest Advanstar gambit – transparently hypocritical in trying to cash in on the legit green movement yet leaving a Hulk sized carbon footprint as evidence – to what seems like a string of perhaps well intentioned yet seriously off course trip ups which simply serve to call into question overall corporate goals and vision.

a stalking horse for a stalled market

Recent news concerning Big Dog, KC Creations, Global Motorsports and Harley Davidson has a common thread: continuing confusion in the v-twin production chopper/custom marketplace that won’t soon clear.

Custom Chrome’s revelation that original founder and announced saviour of the troubled distributor Nace Panzica was, in fact, only a stalking horse during the company’s reorganization raised eyebrows as former Euro boss then CCNA boss then Euro boss Holger Mohr is now in reality the head of the freshly capitalized company.

At about the same time, Big Dog cut loose company president and long time employee Nick Messer, along with v-p/engineering Jim Moorman, both out the door following earlier company wide layoffs. Owner Sheldon Coleman tied his comments regarding the firings to the economy, although it’s worth noting that marketing decisions like naming one of their newest models “Mutt” probably didn’t help the overall sales picture. (We’re left wondering if “Butt Crack” was already taken.)

A little further east we learn that chop builder – and Big Dog dealership – KC Creations has closed its doors via an industry announcement by owner Kim Suter.

Add to the above observable erosion in H-D’s credit bridge to the consumer, and the picture of an industry in transition becomes cloudier with each new hit.

Given the fact that even the worst offenders in the bike gas mileage category are equal to a Honda Civic on a really good day and it’s clear that the volatile components governing consumer acceptance of the custom v-twin market are undergoing significant change.

where creative juice really comes from

England’s South West Creative Growers’ Association finally pulled back the wraps and let the world see where some of the finest ideas on the planet come from. We learn that freshly squeezed creative juice should never be consumed without first diluting – and that you really can’t go wrong with a good idea.

Creativity – where nature meets the needs of a thirsty globe. If they’re out of fresh juice where you normally shop we always rotate our stock.

we’re back online – and a little wiser

Here’s what every webmaster has nightmares about. A freak explosion at the server farm that hosts our site, along with an estimated 700,000 others, knocked us off the net for three days and in the process delivered a near-miss dose of reality about the absolute necessity to have a redundancy plan as a backup for the unexpected.

What else? All site addressed email was immediately bounced back to the senders, and because it was the first of the month web crawlers from Google and others hit a brick wall of domain not found – and that translates into loss of ranking. Not critical for us, very critical for others, especially eCommerce sites. Continue reading