It’s Super Bowl Weekend. Forget about watching the commercials and fill your mind with tidbits from the BloomReach Relevance Report. We can’t promise wardrobe malfunctions, but it’s good info. And no, we don’t know what’s so super about it.
Happy Super Bowl XXXXX?
OK, here’s a thrilling tale of marketing derring-do that might leave you wondering: What the L?
Turns out the Super Bowl folks spent uncounted time and no doubt some dollars fighting about whether Super Bowl L should follow Super Bowls I through XLIL nomenclature-wise. Of course it should, as any good Roman could tell you. (Granted, it’s been hard to find a good Roman in the NFL since Gabriel left the Eagles.) But no. Tradition, Roman numerals and perhaps the Romans themselves were tossed out this golden year in the name of good looks.
Turns out the letter L is packed with negative space, the San Jose Mercury News story explains. It’s asymmetrical. It’s so thin it becomes consumed by the Lombardi Trophy when printed along with it, the NFL’s top creative guy told Mercury News reporter Bruce Newman. Oh, and, the pro football league isn’t keen on conjuring up that L-on-forehead-thing middle school kids do (did?) to connote, “loser.”
And so, Super Bowl 50 it is.
But this whole thing has the BRRR thinking, which in itself is quite a feat. This year’s Super Bowl is the big ha’century celebration and it’s smack in the middle of Silicon Valley. Why not ditch the Roman numeral thing permanently? And, no, no, not to stick with plain, old, vanilla numbers, like 51 and such.
Why not, in a nod to the science, technology, engineering and math education craze, go with equations? For instance, this could be Super Bowl √4 x (50 x 2 – 50)/2.
Now a word — OK, several — from our sponsors
Roman numerals aren’t the only Super Bowl artifact that are so 20th century. Gone too are the days when you just throw a commercial up on TV for three-quarters of a million or so (those were the days) and wait for the free publicity and sales to come in.
Oh, and, the truth is a lot of people who will be watching won’t be watching on television at all. Yeah, they’ll be glued to tablets, laptops, computers etc., which should come as a surprise to about no one.
Anyway, if you’re looking to save yourself the time of sitting through a whole football game (and a half-time show that is slightly longer than a whole football game), you can watch most of the commercials on the Web now. That leaves your Sunday open for a game of golf or a walk in the park. (Not that that’s a walk in the park. Oh wait. It is.) CBS Good Morning has posted 17 of the ads. The BRRR can’t stand online features where you have to click through 17 pages, but if you have the stamina, knock yourself out.
We did take a look at the first one because, hey, it was the first one, and it reminded us of how these ads become fodder for water-cooler chatter. Now, it’s possible the Audi ad we saw was merely supposed to be heartwarming. Still, another interpretation (ours) would have it be the story of a son, or son-in-law, who recklessly endangers his life and the life of his deeply depressed and elderly father or father-in-law by allowing him to drive a fairly new car at about 200 miles per hour on a twisty road in the middle of the night.
We mean, maybe that’s not it. But it kind of looks like it.
Is it time for kickoff yet?
Mamas do let your babies grow up to be retailers
Business Insider is out with its list of the 15 richest people in retail and the lesson in the list seems to be that the richest people in retail aren’t retailers at all.
Well that and: If you’re going to be an actual retailer, be a Walton.
OK, it’s all a matter of definition and splitting hairs. (And what fun is life without splitting hairs?) But the list seems largely populated by fashion designers, manufacturers and technology whizzes, as opposed to people who actually run a bunch of stores. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.
By our count, no more than seven of the 15 are what we traditionally think of as retailers and three of those are Waltons of Wal-Mart Stores fame. We mean, Phil Knight (net worth: $25.7 billion) of Nike? OK, sure, Nike has stores, but come on. And Jack Ma ($26.5 billion)? Jeff Bezos ($56.6 billion)? Sure they sell stuff, but think about Bezos, for instance. Amazon’s big money is in things like cloud services and what they really do is move goods around, more than sell them. And Forrest, Jacqueline and John Franklyn Mars? They’re candy-makers. OK, candy makers who branched out gum and pet food (and let’s just hope they keep all that straight), but still: Retailers?
OK, maybe we’re just being cranky. You’re free to disagree with our interpretation. Talk amongst yourselves.
Retailers’ Super Bowl results are under further review
Retailers, themselves, have just finished up their version of the Super Bowl: The holiday shopping season. Much has been made of Macy’s tough fourth quarter. Now another heavyweight, Kohl’s, has come in with an earnings report that is either half-empty or half-full, depending on how you look at the glass.
The Wisconsin-based department store said sales grew just under half a percent for the fourth quarter, according to Forbes. It’s not the kind of news that has Wall Street jumping for joy, but revenue did in fact grow, whereas Macy’s and others saw revenue fall in the key quarter.
The Forbes story points out that the bump in sales was Kohl’s fifth straight positive quarter. And CEO Kevin Mansell told analysts that sales were strong during the heart of the shopping season, from Black Friday to Christmas, but that they were dragged down by slow stretches in other parts of the quarter.
Nonetheless, writer Phil Wahba does take the retailer to task, given that it’s in its second full year of it “Greatness Agenda,” which Forbes says calls for adding $2 billion to 2014 revenues by 2017.
Looking for the glass half-full part? Buried in the latest Forbes report on Kohl’s performance is this: “Kohl’s heavy investments in e-commerce and integrating its stores with its digital business seem to paying off, with online sales rising 30% during the quarter.”
That kind of digital growth is ample cause for optimism, provided Kohl’s can adjust quickly enough to the changing habit of shoppers while continuing to figure out how to pair its emerging online power with its brick-and-mortar empire.
Mobile shoppers are on the move (did we just say that?)
That thundering rumble you hear is the stampede of consumers to mobile shopping. Yeah, it’s taking off. Facebook, of which perhaps you’ve heard, has released a study that indicates that 60 percent of consumers say they will either start buying on mobile or increase their mobile buying in 2016, according to AdWeek.
The story points out that mobile (and, face it, usually we’re talking about smartphones) is already involved in 45 percent of all purchases, whether that’s mobile being used to research products, compare prices etc. The number is 57 percent when it comes to those mobile-friendly millennials.
But where the Facebook study gets really interesting is where it talks about why consumers shop the way they do. AdWeek reports that 56 percent of respondents said they buy on mobile because they’re already on the device. And 55 percent said they use mobile because of the convenience. So, basically, 110 percent of those surveyed said mobile is more convenient.
That doesn’t mean they’re thrilled with the experience. More than 70 percent said the transaction process needs work. Another 54 percent said they’d be more amenable to online shopping if they could shop across more devices — presumably a call for a more unified shopping experience.
The desktop, by the way, gets high marks for making it easier to see products and for simply being easier to use because of its larger screen.
But the story’s key take away is its awkwardly worded lead: “Mobile shopping isn’t going anywhere this year.” Translation: Mobile shopping isn’t going away this year. In fact, all signs are it will grow dramatically.
Quote of the week
“Their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400 bookstores,” — Sandeep Mathrani, of mall-operator General Growth Properties, commenting on Amazon’s brick-and-mortar plans in a quote that launched a thousand rumors and a row back by Mathrani himself.
Photo of Super Bowl logo courtesy of Super Bowl Host Committee. Photo of Kohl’s bag by Mike Cassidy. Photo of Super Bowl brain by Mike Licht, shopping apps by Jason Howie and newspapers by Jon S. published under Creative Commons license.
Mike Cassidy is BloomReach’s storyteller. Contact him at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy.