marketing

Posted by Ellen

The supermarket at 1015 Yuyuan Road in Shanghai is said to look like any ordinary Chinese convenience store, its shelves stocked with colorful bottles and boxes of foodstuffs and other items from all over the world.

There's the usual convex mirror in the corner to watch for shoplifters. There's a cash register and a cashier, and lots and lots of customers.  The prices they pay are exactly what people in Shanghai would expect to pay.

The only thing at all unusual is that the packages are all empty. Every last one of them. Artist Xu Zhen and his conceptual-art corporation, MadeIn Company, bought all the thousands and thousands of items found in a convenience store, patiently pricked or otherwise opened each one to remove the contents, and then carefully resealed them.
 
"Store" visitors, perhaps surprised at first by the lightness of a secretly emptied soft drink can or candy bar wrapper, nonetheless walk up and down the aisles, studying and touching the merchandise. They make their selections. As often as not, they decide to buy something, even though it's only a package of nothing.
 
They pay full price. Maybe they feel that they're actually buying art, and for art, the price looks good.
Posted by Ellen

In Sochi, we're told, the Russian government spies on you while you're in the shower. Well, in Queenstown, New Zealand, corporations try to sell you stuff while you're in the shower; the walls of the shower stall at our "holiday park" were papered over with ads for, in this case, winery tours.

Posted by Ellen

Hank, in yellow, was the "customer" of a company that embroiders custom designs, such as team logos, onto anything you can think of--in this case, a Rumblebee! embroidered on a headband. The Rumblebees played ultimate frisbee last summer in a county league. Recently, Hank noticed that the embroidery company was offering discounts and other rewards in return for customer photos of the embroidered items in action. He sent them this photo, and they sent him fifty dollars and put his picture onto the front page of their website.

Hole-in-the-Clouds, of course, endorses nothin', embroidered or otherwise. But I can't help but feel a warm spot in my heart for any company that concludes that featuring the image of one of my children will be good for business. Especially if they offer to pay for my child's image. So I'll drop my scruples down around my ankles and share the link.

Yes, Hank's face was painted yellow--something to do with team spirit. And yes, right after the picture was snapped, the guy in green punched Hank in the face as he sent the frisbee flying. It was not intentional, sez Hank. The guy is a nice kid, a former high school wrestler who is currently attending Maine Maritime Academy. They may meet again next summer, faces painted, headbands embroidered, ready for Ultimate combat. Go, Rumblebees!