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15 Non-Obvious Holiday Gifts To Buy This Black Friday

Today is Black Friday, a day that has earned a negative reputation as an unnecessary celebration of excess consumerism. Economists predict consumers will be in a bargain hunting mindset this season, ready to overspend on cheap stuff they don’t really need. Still, this season does bring many once-a-year prices for gifts for yourself and others. In this special … Read more

Self-Checkout Is a Failed Experiment

self-checkout

Self-checkout is not a delightful experience. Goods don’t always scan properly. The system stalls if you don’t put a scanned item in the right place. Double scanning an item, or buying something that requires validation, or getting an error requires waiting for a human employee to help you anyway. Self-checkout, in other words, usually sucks. A growing … Read more

What Is Prada’s New $650 Underwear Designed to Be Worn Without Pants Really Saying?

According to fashion industry insiders, Prada’s latest release of a $650 pair of underwear is “no surprise” given the brand’s track record of expensive essentials. What was unexpected, however, was how the brand seemed to be positioning the underwear as desirable outerwear without pants.  In conversation at a fashion industry event once, I recall hearing these runway … Read more

How The Nintendo NES Game Console Changed the World

Yes, I am part of the generation that grew up with the original Nintendo gaming system … and sometimes I even feature it in my keynote talks. This year is the 40th anniversary of the console and my fellow geeks over at Engadget have put together an illuminating history of exactly why this system was so … Read more

When Influencer Marketing Goes Predictably Wrong

When a fast fashion retailer often criticized for negative environmental and labor track record wants to recast its brand image, it is not a good strategy to rely on the vapid commentary of social media influencers enjoying an all-expenses paid junket to your headquarters China. This week, retail giant Shein created their own predictable self-imposed controversy when … Read more

The Crocs Engagement Ring Is Here for Couples Who Want to Stand Out (and Think Style Is Overrated)

How do you reinvent something as staid and traditional as the engagement ring? One jeweler in the UK had the bright idea to create this “Croc wedding charm” that is custom designed, uses flat back screws to ensure a secure fit, and starts at £1,790. In their words, “we love pushing the boundaries of jewelry … and we’re looking … Read more

Coca-Cola Imagines the Future of Refreshment with “Coca-Cola Coffee”

I spent four years in a place that acclimatizes you to believe there is nothing strange about having a Diet Coke for Breakfast. I’m speaking, of course, of my time living in Atlanta doing an Undergraduate degree at Emory University which is sometimes known, thanks to it’s large endowment from the brand, as “Coca-Cola University.” … Read more

Trader Joe’s and the Slow Death of Brand Personality

Update – Two weeks after this post was originally published, Trader Joe’s issued a new statement sharing that they do not consider these brand names to be racist and instead will be keeping them intact.  I believe brands should act in human ways and have a personality. In fact, I wrote a book on it … Read more

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