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May 04, 2004


Ken Hall

You have a good point, but I think in the case of Coppertone they're going to have to be able to demonstrate a tangible, benefit amenable to independent verification. After all, I believe that most dermatologists (and I'll have to check this out) would say, "Get smart about the sun = stay the heck out of it." No, I'm not smart enough to do that--I'm an SPF15/30 guy myself. :-)

David Wolfe

You are talking about marketers morphing from hucksters to healers, a rather large paradigm shift that puts the challenges people face ahead of the traditional marketing paradigm practice of pushing products in consumers' faces to get company numbers up.

Starbucks is a healer. It put legs on the quaint expression, "Stop an smell the latte." While we haven't yet adopted the siesta or even the 4 o'clock British tea, for a few minutes every day tens of millions pause with a Starbuck beverage -- many in the store itself -- to refresh. Sure, many of the same people bought coffee before Starbucks, but most did so at a fast food place -- the antithesis of a pause to stop and smell the latte.

The relaxed cafe ambience of many Starbucks drinkeries coaches one into forgetting the rat race for a few moments in a caring, comfortable atmosphere. Sounds like a healer approach to marketing to me.

BTW, the Wall Street Journal ran a story yesterday on problems your ex-employer is having as demand for carbonated beverages sags. This was an easily foreseeable event that I warned a former research director at Coke about some years ago. I told him that with the rise in median age to the point whereby people over 40 had become the adult majority, the market for fizz drinks would go flat. He answered that people's drink habits could be changed. That's old school market think: bend customers to your will rather than submit to their will -- and becoming protagonists of their well being.

Per capita consumption of bubbly sugar water has always declined as midlife approaches. I saw nothing on the horizon that would change that when I issued my warning to the Coke researcher. In fact, just imagine how much of a competitor Starbucks has become for Coke.

Be well, do good and have lots of fun!


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