Archive for December, 2012

Houston’s Winetopia Does It Differently

steveparkhurst | December 29, 2012 in Branding,Small Business,Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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If you are in Houston anytime soon, you must check out Winetopia. There are wine bars, and then there are wine bars. And then there is, A Vino Paradise.

Winetopia - The Parkhurst Group

The owners of Winetopia have separated themselves from the other servers of wine by having limited, selected offerings. You would have to stop in to get the full skinny, but their approach is quite different than the typical wine bars I have been in before.

To start with, the owner told me that his most expensive glass of wine is $13. I’ve been in some wine bars where $13 was about the minimum for a glass of wine. They acquire rare wines, typically limited or seasonal productions, from various parts of the world. Their wine selection won’t likely be found in a local liquor store, those places go for the popular, known, requested wines because they deal in volume. If you’re looking for something special, something rare, maybe as a gift to give, these guys can set you up without emptying your wallet.

If you are with a group of friends or colleagues and each person has different tastes, no problem. At Winetopia each person can have what they want, without having to commit to a full bottle of any one wine. And the experts pouring your wine, they want you to enjoy your experience and find what you like.

There’s also a great beer selection for those of you not inclined toward wine, Winetopia has a plentiful beer selection. When I heard how many different bottled beers they have (I forget that number now), I was somewhat shocked, some sports bars don’t have that many beers to choose from. Only places like Flying Saucer, places that pride themselves on having more beers than you could ever attempt to drink, have more available beers in the bottle.

Winetopia is daring to be a little different, and they take advantage of repeat business and word of mouth. Remember the rule that it costs most to get a new customer than it does to keep a current customer. Winetopia is doing many things to keep their customers happy, and keep them coming back.

Anyway, Winetopia is a neat spot. Take some time to check it out next time you need to choose a destination in Houston. Oh, and don’t feel as if you need a suit and tie to visit Winetopia. They welcome all patrons, whether dressed casual, for sport or for work, everyone is equally welcome. Follow them on twitter @WinetopiaTX and watch for their mobile app very soon.

Are you daring to be different? Are you going your own direction? Are you doing the best you can at what you do best? If so, and if you feel the need for some guidance from someone that understands and appreciates your commitment and wants you to succeed, we should talk. Email Steve @ this domain and let’s begin. You can also engage us at @ParkhurstGroup on twitter.

Get Ready, It’s Time For Valentine’s Day 2013

steveparkhurst | December 28, 2012 in Advertising,Marketing,Promotional | Comments (0)

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Today I was in a local pharmacy, and greeting me near the front door was a card display. Upon further inspection, wow! It’s Valentine’s Day cards for sale just three days after Christmas.

Valentines Day - The Parkhurst Group     Valentines Day - The Parkhurst Group

Count me among those not looking forward to the time when I’m doing Christmas Eve shopping and I see the Valentine’s Day cards. For now, we can be glad that the Valentine’s merchandise is not on sale prior to Christmas.

A Christmas Story Continues To Grow

steveparkhurst | December 24, 2012 in Television,Visual | Comments (0)

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As I tune in to TBS to watch a portion of their annual 24 hours of A Christmas Story, I am always struck at the cash cow that the movie has become. The movie has spawned an entire industry based upon the movie.

The home the movie was filmed in, in Ohio, is now a tourist site with a gift shop. You can go into any number of stores during the Christmas season and see pink bunny costumes, full-size lamps shaped like a leg, and of course, the Red Rider air rifle.

This does not even get into the tv rights and the video sales each year. My own collection, pictured below, consists of an early edition of the VHS, a later edition of the VHS, and then a DVD. I still own them all. I have not yet purchased any of the other items I mentioned above, though I know some people who have and I know people who have toured the house.

As for now, I still enjoy the movie each year, and while TBS airs the movie 12 times over 24 hours, I will catch parts of 6-8 showings of the movie as the family tends to leave the tv on that channel the entire 24 hours.

A Christmas Story - The Parkhurst Group

Merry Christmas to you and yours. If you have a thought on this to share, this blog is the place, or tweet it to us.

Starbucks’ In-Store Drink Ads and Tradition

steveparkhurst | December 23, 2012 in Advertising,Branding,Marketing,Promotional,Visual | Comments (0)

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I post about Starbucks quite often. They are literally positioned at the heart of the business world. There is a reason for that.

Every now and then you can question Starbucks’ motives or politics when they make statements or undertake initiatives, for instance this past summer when I wrote about their Let’s Create Jobs campaign.

However, Starbucks does a great job with their in-store advertising, there is not questioning that. Their customers already want Starbucks, that’s why they are in the store. But, the customers may not always know what they want, or they may be in the mood for something different. Starbucks is literally to the point of having something for everyone with their choices being so many.

This in-store ad for the Caramel Brûlée Latte is quite well done. It’s a smaller ad, the size of a large photo, maybe a 8×10. The graphic is great, even down to the red Starbucks Christmas cup. The wording is simple. The offering is clear. The only reason this ad would not be successful would be because of poor placement within the store. I’m not sure Starbucks is capable of poor placement.

Oh, and, nice use of the word “tradition”. Which tradition, Christmas? The Starbucks tradition? Amazingly well done.

Caramel Brulee Latte Ad - The Parkhurst Group

What are your thoughts? Have the in-store ads worked on you? If not at Starbucks, another coffee establishment?

Sears Auto Center Christmas Radio Ad

steveparkhurst | December 22, 2012 in Advertising,Marketing,Promotional | Comments (0)

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I heard a rather good Sears ad on the radio today. Without recalling it 100% accurately, I’ll do my best to rehash the gist and the effective catch.

The ad was specifically for Sears Auto Center. They were trying to get people to come in for oil changes and other car repairs. The pitch for the quick oil change included the offer of a $5 coupon good for using at Sears while you wait for your car. What a hook! And at Christmas time no less.

If you’re the right kind of business, the kind that can offer auto work AND shopping for any number of other items, this sort of promotion is a great hook. The $5 coupon from the oil change can be parlayed into extra dollars being spent in your store at the same time, and the real beauty is the multi-tasking that takes place, in which the customer never has the time to think “how much longer is this oil change going to take??”.

Give your business model some thought and see if a similar promotion will work for you. Think about the local grocery store with a floral center inside, a customer can go in and order an arrangement with balloons and stuffed animals, and the item is ready by the time the customer completes their grocery shopping.

If you need help with a promotion idea, or executing a promotion idea, contact us today.

WSJ: A Substitute’s Sacrifice

steveparkhurst | December 21, 2012 in Branding,Earned Media,Marketing | Comments (0)

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Wall Street Journal - The Parkhurst Group

The Wall Street Journal today has a very touching story.

Last week’s mass murder in Newtown, Connecticut has gotten plenty of news coverage, as it should. But, the underlying stories will be of those who lost someone. We will hear from them at every anniversary of that day for years to come.

One of the adults who fell victim last week was a young woman who worked some days as a substitute teacher, and she spent other hours working at a local Starbucks. The young woman, Lauren Rousseau, is recounted in the story by messages from her co-workers on a store display, and by interviews with customers who knew her, chatted with her and laughed with her.

Here is part of the story:

“I saw her face. I realized that was her,” said Erik Granfors, a regular at the location. “She probably served me a hundred cups of coffee.”

Ms. Rousseau, 30 years old, was a substitute teacher at the school and kept her part-time coffee job for the steady income and health benefits she lacked. As she was mourned Thursday by loved ones at a church four miles away, Starbucks customers scrawled eulogies on a memorial set up by her co-workers.

“Always looked forward to our talks,” said a message left on the poster boards perched in the middle of the store. The makeshift display included hand-written notes, a Mickey Mouse doll and a single electric candle.

Patrick Austin, 44, remembered ordering his cappuccinos from Ms. Rousseau, and finding her among the slain came as a shock. “She just had a great, outgoing personality,” he said.

“People are part of your life and you don’t realize it until they’re gone,” agreed Mr. Granfors, 41. “You do have sorrow even if they weren’t a close acquaintance.”

This is pretty powerful. From a business perspective, and I don’t mean to diminish anyone here, this is a great reflection of what it is that Starbucks represents. Starbucks wants to be your Third Place, that place you go after home or work. They also want their employees, or associates, to act as a family and work as a team. The layout of the store equipment is chosen for conversation between patrons and associates. It is those types of conversations that have an impact, that leave an impression.

For a barista to have left this sort of an imprint in the minds of her customers, this is a true testament to her, to her customers, and to a coffee giant that has always looked to do more than just sell cups of coffee.

Yamahopper For Christmas?

steveparkhurst | December 20, 2012 in Advertising,Marketing,Visual | Comments (0)

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I’m really sorry I never crossed paths with the Yamahopper. This sweet ride was featured in a 1979 issue of Sports Illustrated. I’m sure this was quite the Christmas gift back in 1979. If you ever “drove” one of these or owned one of these, I’d love to hear that story.

Yamahopper - The Parkhurst Group

We love great, older advertising here. If you have some great advertising to share with us, tweet it or pin it.

Very Funny Samsung Galaxy Ad

steveparkhurst | December 19, 2012 in Advertising,Marketing,Television,Visual | Comments (0)

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This commercial for the Samsung Galaxy is currently one of my favorites on tv. It’s simple and funny. There are several elements, or scenes, throughout the short ad that we can all relate to.  Pretty much every family has the character that wants to dress up and be Santa. I was particularly fond of the line, “I landed on my keys”, followed by a visibly wounded, slowed Santa handing out gifts. Kudos to the team that made this ad: The setting is simple, the technology is self explanatory and the Santa is hilarious.

Let us know what you think.

The Year’s Most Bizarre Ad?

steveparkhurst | December 17, 2012 in Advertising,Promotional,Visual | Comments (0)

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I’m not sure whether this is the most bizarre ad of the year, or just the most out of context ad of the year. I guess if someone looks at this ad and wonders why Bubba’s did this, well, that gets people thinking about Bubba’s.

Why is Ralphie from A Christmas Story featured on the ad, yet there is no mention of “Ralphie” or “A Christmas Story” on the ad?

Bubba's Ad - The Parkhurst Group

If you have a nominee for a more bizarre ad, post a comment here on the blog, tweet it to us or pin it to us.

Family Bookstore Thrives By Bucking Trend

steveparkhurst | December 15, 2012 in Earned Media,Small Business | Comments (0)

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It is great to see Becker’s Books featured on the front page of the Houston Chronicle’s Ultimate Memorial edition. The bookstore website is one of the best around for older and out-of-print books. If you’ve had trouble finding something in the past, be sure to search their website and see if they can deliver for you. If you’re in Houston, stop in to the Spring Branch area bookstore and spend some time with a cup of coffee and a treasure trove of great books.

Becker's Books 12-13-12 - The Parkhurst Group

You might even take a few pics while you’re there, if you do, tweet them to us @ParkhurstGroup or pin them on Pinterest.


Becker's Books sign - The Parkhurst Group     Becker's Books in store - The Parkhurst Group

Two pictures, taken by me on my most recent visit to Becker’s Books.