Think Globally, Drink Locally and Stop being such a Snob!

A little over a year ago a couple of really smart guys did a study about what goes into a bottle of wine’s carbon footprint. Turns out that the vineyard itself is actually carbon neutral and depending upon fertilizer choice and harvesting techniques can actually go negative (if you believed Ronald Reagan in the 80’s you aren’t going to get that point). The biggest contributors to the production of CO2 in the manufacture of a bottle of wine are the packaging and the shipping. So what have wineries and wine regions been doing to either a) minimize the CO2 being created or b) exploit this fact to ensure that their wines are seen as the “greener” choice by consumers? More important, what can we, as consumers, do to encourage green behavior and make greener choices?
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We Should Go to Martinique

Or, how the marketers got to Nerd’s Eye View.

Aloha, nonfamousi. It’s been ages and mostly I blog at my own site now, but given JPs occupation, I thought you might find this interesting. Plus, I totally want to go to Martinique, don’t you? Crossposted from Nerd’s Eye View.

First things first. I was asked to participate in a 25 entrant writing contest to win a trip to Martinique. You should totally vote for me because, duh, of course I want to go to Martinique. One of the 25 bloggers “recruited” for the contest is going to go, it might as well be me, doncha think? Yes, you’re going to have to hand over an email address, but then you get entered in the contest also, and wouldn’t you like to hang out with me in Martinique? I’d sure like to hang out with you, eating excellent seafood, drinking tropical cocktails, watching the sun go down, or having a leisurely breakfast before we head off for a strenuous day of lolling about the beach… you get it. Go here.

Okay, here’s the deal. The whole thing is a marketing program for whoever is handling Martinique tourism these days, isn’t it? They contact me and offer me Martinique-esque swag and a shot at a trip to the island. I tell you and off you go to the website, and they get your email address and send you stuff about the island and all of a sudden, you’re thinking, huh, Martinique! There’s an idea… It’s clever marketing, a little back door media through an unconventional channel. Thing is, you don’t have to sell ME on the idea of a getaway to the tropics, hell, I’m always up for it and as far as passing the word along to you? I feel okay about that. Come on, don’t tell me you wouldn’t like a sun break about now. Unless you’re sub-equatorial, in which case, I’m sorry.

But check this out, too. On the heels of the Martinique pitch comes another PR mail. “Thought you’d be interested in this travel blog…” says the mail. Meh. okay, I click through and I don’t get it. It’s a nice enough blog but shockingly free of advertising. What’s the pitch? I click through a few times and I give up. Why is the PR company promoting this one guy’s blog? And, in a more self-serving question, why aren’t PR companies promoting Nerd’s Eye View? What gives here? What the hell, I email the PR company back and ask them.

Here’s the deal. The blogger is an artist. The artwork is displayed at a restaurant chain. The idea is that I point you to the blog, you get interested in the art, you go to the restaurant to see the work and there you are, eating your franchised meal. This one, no can do. I can’t vouch for the quality of the food, I don’t think you should eat a chain unless you’re out of options, and even then, are you sure you wouldn’t do better just going to the supermarket? But I do have to say that I appreciate the honesty from the PR folks. When I asked, they told me exactly what the deal was. I wonder how many people ask.

I can totally get behind the idea of a vacation to Martinique; I can’t get behind the idea of a chain restaurant meal. I might eat at a chain restaurant if I had to because I’m not really a snob, I just don’t think you’d believe me if I said, “Dude, you have to go to Olive Garden to check out this artwork.” (It’s not Olive Garden, FYI, but you get the gist.) Interesting stuff from the land of marketing to blogs, through blogs.


There is very little new under the sun, but in the midst of some work a couple of weeks ago on a new business presentation I may have actually coined a new term for a huge consumer trend. As of now, “peerenting” doesn’t garner any hits on Google.

So what’s it about? Well, it’s one of those trends that is really hard for me to wrap my head around, though rationally I can see it clearly. Basically, more and more parents have stopped being uncool: as 40 has become the new 30, parents have become the new hipsters–or as Adam Sternbergher of New York Magazine calls them in his insightful look at the new mode of adulthood, grups. And as many have observed for a while now, Gen Y just doesn’t seem to require the period of teen rebellion that has been the mainstay of youth culture since at least the 1940s. They actually like their parents, and don’t see them as uncool.
The result? A thorough re-ordering of how we need to think about parent-kid interaction–especially in terms of marketing. The old wisdom was that kids would hate whatever parents like, but we see evidence all over the place that this isn’t true anymore. Parents are turning kids on to their favorite music, be it Johnny Cash or Death Cab for Cutie. And in return, kids are sharing fashion tips and Xbox 360 cheats with parents in a way that a Gex Xer would have cringed at. It’s not always pretty–I recall running into a lithe late-30s mom at Bellevue Square last year with her two tween kids, all of them sporting Von Dutch caps in different pastel colors–but it is significant.

This also has huge impact on family dynamics, obviously, and I’m not sure all of it is good. I was close with my parents, to be sure, but if only I had a dollar for every time Big L said “I’m not here to be your friend, I’m here to be the parent.” Kids still need parents to set boundaries and say no. Certainly some kids are happy to be “friends” with parents who give them anything they want. But I’ll happily take any evidence that our psycho-babble culture has actually broken some of the destructive cycles that fracture families and cause kids to put up walls from their parents. Parents and kids who enjoy spending time together and share common interests are bound to have an easier time talking frankly about sex and drugs–as well as rock and roll. (There is at least some evidence, though, that kids with perpertually young parents may have a hard time keeping up.)
At any rate, this is a trend I’ll be keeping my eye on. We’re always on the lookout for circles of influence we can tap into, and conversations that unlock new insights.
If anyone out there has any comments or examples, I’d love to hear them. Oh, and I hope nobody minds, but I’m going to start blogging on these topics a bit more. Let me know if you hate it–I might just need to spin off my marketing musings onto a new blog.