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Archive for January, 2009

Yesterday we covered a product which I thought had a great start (Juice Republic) and then fell short when it came to execution – especially with it’s on-line presence.

Today, we’ll examine the opposite.  Honeybuns were sweet little cakes/brownies sold in a small tin like one would carry for lunch: 

Honeybuns, Gorgeous Cakes from Dorset

Honeybuns, Gorgeous Cakes from Dorset

The website is not all polish – no flash, some clip art, but it’s functional, lets us know where we might look to find the product and offers sales on-line.  It is not polished but rather charming, and more importantly, consistent with the brand message.  I feel like I know the product better after visiting – Juice Republic made me questions their brand (I’ll still try the juice though!).

 I love them and want to cheer them on – I just don’t eat a lot of cake…

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Day 13 of being in the UK – 5 hours of sleep lie ahead before 5-6 hours of work and by 12 noon I’ll be in a car on the way to the airport for a 3.30PM flight.  It’s been a rewarding and challenging trip all at once.  I haven’t had nearly the amount of time or ability to explore as I intended or desired and much of the time not working has been in the hotel room.  It has been a great trip and I’ll have some items to share on my return – not nearly as many a I wished.

Today’s highlight (and low light, explained below) is Juice Republic.  I found this at Heathrow and adore the logo.  A cold war-influenced star on each product that is created by a different piece of citrus, such as the lime below:

Notice the cans of San Pellegrino with foil to keep the drinking surface clean - almost worthy of a seperate post!

Notice the cans of San Pellegrino with foil to keep the drinking surface clean - almost worthy of a separate post!

 I love that they have a manifesto– or at least the idea of it.  I don’t think they quite went far enough with the copy but the principle behind reinventing the fruit juice industry, insisting on fresh and refusing additives is fantastic.  The execution of the statement and the overall website that is slow, sterile and partially executed (an incomplete link section that links only back to itself, copy that appears to be written with haste and a real lack of substance) actually takes away from my love of what I saw on the shelf.  For a company that launched with such intent, good design, aggressive offering of 23 products and radical vision – the website leaves one with the feeling of a stale corporate owner claiming to be a little brother – or simply a well-intended start-up that either lost the importance of delivering it’s clear message or ran out of focus/resources to accomplish it.

Love the product, find the message lacking.

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In Newzealand, Yellow (pages) sponsored a project to design and build a Treehouse Restaurant. They hired a TV presenter/project manager. Her job was to find all the people she needed to build and promote the restaurant using Yellow Mobile. The team included: land surveyers, wineries, branding consultants, electricians, builders, wood suppliers, scaffolding, caterers…etc. etc. A very cool promotion, also interesting to see the process and people involved to create a unique idea.check out the site: http://www.yellowtreehouse.co.nz

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "YELLOW TREEHOUSE", posted with vodpod

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Ahhhh, the British.  I love them.  I thought they took the cake on weight loss shows when they came out with the bizarre concept called, Fat Teens Can’t Hunt.  I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

Why are Thin People Not Fat?  I thought it was because they are less calories or perhaps were more active.  Maybe they were allergic to poutine (I, most certainly, am not).  The concept is just as it seems – 10 people have 30 days to consume as much as they possibly can to get as fat as they can and see what we learn.  There are limits – it is declared that gaining more than 15% would simply be unethical.

It is eerily chilly as they refer to this as an overeating experiment and create rules such as insisting they restrict their walking to less than 5,000 steps.  I suppose it’s not that far off Supersize Me and there may be some validity here and we learn that this type of thing has been going on quietly for years.  A study conducted in a Vermont State Prison offered an incentive of an early release to those who willingly gained 25% of their body weight in a controlled experiment.  Several were not able to, leading to a theory (that is very, very disputed) that we all have a natural weight that we can exhibit limited control over. 

They also start to claim that obesity could be an infection/virus that can be spread.  It becomes similar to a Michael Moore flick – you hope it’s not true, you feel like they are trying too hard to sell you, you doubt yourself for even considering the possibility but recognize it might just be true.  A single Doctor claiming he has proven this by studying 1,000 obese people is not necessarily a strong pool (i.e. where’s the proof that the thin people don’t have it) – but I clearly have not idea what is a scientific proof.  When he claims that being near fat people could give you the disease for only 3 months and people indeed get obese for other reasons…well my eyebrow started to raise.

Further bad news?  Chocolate is a great way to gain weight – you can eat a giant amount of calories without feeling full.  I think cheese might be related to chocolate for me…

At the heart of the concept is a fascinating study and some possible discouraging news in understanding we might have less control than others over our weight (the Law of Thermodynamics).  Don’t dispair – ultimately this is saying it may be more difficult for some of us to lose weight than others – you can choose that as validation for your state (and mine) or accept that life is not fair and we have certain odds stacked against them. 

The disadvantage of the skinny is that they have a very difficult time eating things they don’t need.  In other words, they could have the most wonderful bite of a lovely thing and get stuck – want more but feel not able to consume.  Like people trying to lose weight, they can force themselves to eat more but the effort is conscious and uncomfortable.

I suppose we all have our own challenges – I really think I’d struggle with keeping weight off and anjoying more when I find a great thing than the inverse.

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Awesome packaging and cool product – Southern Alps slow dried fruit was a wonderful discovery inside Heathrow Airport. 

The product is all natural, ethical, beautiful and lacks added sugar/ preservatives.  Fruit dried the way our forefathers (and mums) would have done it.

Their website made it a little difficult to find their products (the fruit on the right is a meny) – for direct access to their products (and more of this packaging), click here.  Check out this company, they look fabulous to me!

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I am sure Dana will post on the virtues of Cadbury in the UK compared to what we receive in North America.  Good Chocolate is a passion of hers – I love a bit in my chili!

Cadbury has a series of commericals that I’ve seen on my visit to the UK that have to be seen to be believed:

They claim to be part of A Glass and a Half Productions.  Check them out – and the website.  I love it!

******

(from Dana). I had to add to this post. These spots are fantastic, they hold your attention all the way through wondering what the heck they are advertising…and when they finally reveal it, you realize you’ve known all along. Talk about an “ah-ha!” moment, and a great example of the power of having a strong colour associated with your brand. Purple has long been associated with royalty and nobility, initially because purple dyes were so expensive that only the ‘upper class’ elites could afford anything of that colour, so it’s fitting that a chocolate endorsed by the queen herself (more on that later) has appointed the regal colour to it’s brand. I love how they’ve used it in the airport vehicle spot, subtly but consistently throughout…underlighting! haha. The spots are also a great example of having a broad, all encompassing tagline. “A glass and a half of Joy” can apply to any number of things…drumming gorillas, odd eybrow breakdancing tweens and airport vehicle drag racing….but the tagline and the colour are the thread holding it all together. 

now i’m craving chocolate, thanx.

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Sunday was my only day off during this 12 day trip to the UK – I’m scheduled 10-12 hours per day and it’s a fairly busy trip.  I woke up early and lazed about until noon when my associate, pal and host brought me out for a tour.

A typical Scottish winters day – cool, rainy, damp followed by sun and back again.  The straight cold of home is frigid but less chilling if that makes any sense.  It was raining at first and Kenny brought me to a place that he is very passionate about: the Glasgow Museum of Transport.  It was fascinating (including a sample of what looked like a trolley/streetcar that was actually pulled by horses).  There were a few food-related items, including a truck from Robert Wiseman Dairies which is one of the oldest dairies in Great Britain.  The truck had some wonderful hand-lettering that I paused to admire:

From there we were off to beautiful Loch Lomond and the Duck Bay Marina for lunch:

I had asked Kenny to go for lunch and wanted Haggis as it was Rabbie Burns day (today would have been his 250th birthday).  At home we spell it Robbie – they spell and say it with a heavy A as opposed to our version.  I’m changing my pronunciation from now on!

My first experience with Haggis was in Edinburgh with Dana.  We went to a small (“wee”) restaurant that was also a butcher shop.  This family restaurant had been in the same family for 3 generations.  We ordered it to share as an appetizer, scared of all this talk of heart, lung and other organs cooked inside the stomach of a sheep.  Ugh.  We thought we’d try – the whole “when in Rome…” thing.

Our biggest disappointment was that we hadn’t ordered it as a main.  It was fabulous!  A Haggis dinner is so close to what I grew up as Sheppard’s Pie that I’m not sure I’d know the difference after enough beer.  The scariest thing is the description – a proper Haggis Dinner with Neeps and Tatties (mashed turnip and mashed potato) is a very easy-eating dish.  I believe that even those with conservative tastes would enjoy this meal if they didn’t know the contents.  The tastes are anything but offensive and the entire dish is usually accompanied with a lovely gravy.  Here’s my lunch from today:

This was a lovely restaurant, overlooking a fantastic Loch and great service.  The Guinness was a nice touch and the company was great.  My only disappointment?  Kenny confirmed that Loch Ness is really just for tourists and no one (well, no one sensible) actually believes it could exist.

Burns day celebrations continue through town – television shows highlighting local talent, folk music and stories, dinners and festivities abound.  It’s not as rowdy (so far) as we turn St Patrick’s day into – more similar to Canada Day; a day where this country is even more proud than it typically is to simply be itself.  I am thrilled I was here to see it!

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