obesity epidemic

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Cars and Legs.

I always admired Fiat as a car company that made,what I call meep-meep cars. Little four wheelers that zoom around Europe, emitting cartoonish horn bleats. I love how Fiat bought Chrysler bringing a small car mentality to the Jeep and Chrysler brands. But as gas prices have come down, America’s addiction to SUVs and trucks has ticked up.

There is a direct correlation between American’s health and their use of cars. The number of obese Americans and the number of cars per family are aligned. We don’t walk anymore – not until we’ve had a heart attack. Or some other sort of health scare.

God forbid a mom or dad should walk to the store with a wheelie basket and shop for groceries. If s/he does s/he’s either destitute or a hippie. We need a making walking cool again. It is cool. You get to interact with people. You get fresh air which is good for lung health. You’re doing aerobic exercise.

Two things that will help individual and planetary health are smaller cars and walking. No brainers. I think we’re shopping for smaller car this weekend. Perhaps we’ll walk.



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Evidence of change.

Reading an article yesterday on Haider al-Abadi, the new prime minister of Iraq, greatly informed my brand planning thinking. In two ways. What’s the Idea? readers know how I feel about brand “claim and proof.” Well, evidence is another word for proof. When Mr. Abadi wants Iraqis to know there is a new sheriff in town, and that there will be a more pluralistic nation state in Iraq he did a few things differently. While predecessor al-Maliki went before Parliament 2 times in 8 years, Mr. Abadi has been 3 time in his first couple of months. When there were disputes between tribes threatening to hold up military action against ISIS, Mr. Abadi rolled up his sleeves and mediated traditional blood money solutions.

If his claim is “change” the evidence must be tangible.

Learning for brand planners is similar. But before we get to claim and evidence we need to deeply understand the category. A thorough understanding of the bigger category picture, is important before we focus on our specific brand work. For instance, I understand what it takes to improve K12 education before I recommend an interactive white board solution. I understand what it takes to fix the U.S. healthcare system, before I recommend a physician group. I know the impact of obesity on the masses and families before I recommend a weight loss modality. And so on.

When a brand planner gets the big picture, s/he can then safely focus on the smaller picture. And when serving up that smaller picture claim, be sure to provide lots of memorable evidence. All claim and no proof is wasted an all but the production company. Peace.


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hain celestial

I was listening to Irwin D. Simon the CEO of Hain Celestial on a webcast yesterday and he mentioned a consumer insight that was both true and funny. Mr. Simon’s company is the largest natural organic food producer in the U.S. Not too long ago, said Simon, people would prefer to eat the bag over the food. Add that to the fact that natural organic products typically cost 15-20% more and you have some serious roadblocks.

Hain Celestial is doing so well these days because it is focusing on taste. For many people, when you say “nature bars” or “grain and oat cookies” the mental response is cotton-mouth. The reason obesity is pandemic in the U.S. is because sugar, salt and fat taste good.  Changing the taste profile of natural food is why Hain Celestial is growing a 3 times the pace of traditional foods. 

Hain Celestial’s product portfolio is growing. Their products are 99% GMO free (Genetically Modified Organisms.)  And though I wouldn’t exactly put them in the craft economy category, they are getting there. BluePrint, their cold pressed juice brand, is definitely a craft product.

Keep an eye on Hain Celstial. The CEO gets consumers, product, and marketing. And that’s a tasty recipe.


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