Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yuken Teruya art

Yuken Teruya is a japanese artist who uses everyday objects (Mc Donald's bags, cardboard toilet paper rolls, pizza boxes...), recycling them with a nice sense of meticulosity. Nothing is added, just transformed to drastically change their meanings. The results is very poetic.

As Teruya writes :
"Pizza Boxes, a McDonald's bag, Flags, Desserts and Toilet Paper rolls... when these items become artworks, they also easily become political, maybe because they are taken from daily life. But if you find unexpected shapes and colors from the toilet rolls, they become something else. (...) I feel that my work shouldn't only have the function of conveying the artist's message. My works have a right to simply be beautiful or offer any kind of attraction."

Friday, September 25, 2009

"You can get ANYTHING at Trader Joe's" slogan made reality !

Entrance of Phoenix Trader Joe's
Where they met...

While shopping at the Phoenix, AZ Trader Joe's (4821N 20th street) this summer, I've found this (great !) customer letter from Ms Gail Petersen to Mr. Winans, "Store Captain" exhibited just close from the cashier. Worth reading ...

"Dear Mr. Winans,

On October 14, 2007 I was shopping at the Town & Country Trader Joe's - a beautiful Sunday afternoon. That shopping trip changed my life forever. I met the man I will be marrying, on October 18 this year (2008), that Sunday at your store. Our eyes caught one another a couple of times and we spoke briefly in the checkout line (the one under the Palm tree) - further conversation in the parking lot led to an exchange of business cards and the rest is history.

This is a second marriage for both of us - we will have a family with four grown children (two girls and two boys). As we have gotten to know one another we realized that we have lived or worked just a couple of miles apart over the last 13 years, know more than a few people in common and have sisters that live just five miles apart in Los Angeles. Alan is a fourth generation Arizonan and I have lived in Phoenix since 1960 - but what it took was a simple trip to our favourite grocery store to bring us together and we would like to thank you.

We shop at Trader Joe's every week and always go to the checkout line under the palm tree. We share our story with the checker and anyone else who is willing to listen. We will be buying the flowers for the bouquets for the wedding at your store and plan to stop by between the wedding at the church and our reception to take a photo under the Trader Joe's palm tree that brought us together 12 months ago.

I am a professor at Arizona State University's College of Nursing & Health Care Innovation and Alan Hock, my fiancé, is a defense attorney in private practice and pro tem judge. We have shared our story with many of our colleagues and friends - and now all of our 'over fifty ' single friends shop at Trader Joe's with the hopes that our joke, "You can get ANYTHING at Trader Joe's" will also become their romantic reality.

Our thanks to all of you who make Trader Joe's such a wonderfully unique shopping experience !"
Gail Petersen

A dream of happy customer letter !

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sam Walton's quotations

about why he established WalMart in Bentonville, Arkansas :
"It was good for me because I wanted to get closer to good quail hunting, and with Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri all coming together right there it gave me access to four quail seasons in four states."

"We were forced to be ahead of our time in distribution and communication because our stores were sitting out there in tiny little towns and we had to stay in touch and keep them supplied"

" In retail, you are either operations driven - where your main thrust is toward reducing expenses and improving efficiency - or you are merchandise driven. The ones that are truly merchandise driven can always work on improving operations. But the ones that operations driven tend to level off and begin to deteriorate"

"From the very beginning, we never believed in spending much money on advertising, and saturation helped us to save a fortune in that department"

"The way management treats the associates is exactly how the associates will then treat the customers."

"The secret of successful retailing is to give your customers what they want"

"There's not an individual in these whole United States who has been in more retail stores than Sam Walton"
Bud Walton (Sam's brother)

"I was impressed with the giant Carrefour stores in Brazil, which got me started on a campaign to bring home a concept called Hypermart - giant stores with groceries and general merchandise under one roof."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ready to sell seen by Jasper Morrison

The ready to sell concept was invented and implemented by the Hard Discounters chains such as DIA, Aldi or Lidl. The idea is simple : the box which contains the products act as display. For the retailer, its an important source of gaining productivity, it also helps to maintain the products implantations as defined by plannograms and also is reducing the waste of rug boxes.

Jasper Morrison, the British designer on his website comments his Photo of the month. He gives us interesting thoughts about the ready to sell concept from a non retailer perspective.

"Why go to the expense of buying an expensive shop display system when you can make one yourself? And in this case you don’t have to stack the products on the shelf or even remove them from their boxes. I suppose a certain skill is required to avoid slicing through the merchandise while cutting the window in the cardboard box, but with practice and the help of gravity it would get easier. The question is, is the shop keeper lazy, or tricky, or is he both? Has he calculated that this device will help people to imagine he’s cheaper than anyone else, or is he so bored by the tiny profit each sale brings that he’s decided to visualise his frustration? Or is it his way of personalising what might otherwise be a rather ordinary local shop? Has he discovered that a help-yourself system like this one actually improves sales? Maybe the framing around each box of products does make them seem more special than the ones on the shelves below. Does it help us to know that the shop is in Barcelona, in a not so rich part of town?"

Thank's Alexis for the tip.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Futura vs. Verdana : The IKEA dilemma

IKEA released recently his new 2010 catalog. It's usually a no (big) news event even though it happens to be the 3rd biggest publication in the world, just after the Bible and Harry Potter.

But this year comes with a small change from the previous version : the type font has changed from the traditional Futura to Verdana. Did it increased sales ? To early to draw conclusions but the fact that it was a shock for the brand lovers who began to protest in forums and even launched a petition (5500 signatures up to date) on the web asking IKEA to get back with the Futura font.

As Edward Rothstein writes in the NYT, "they should have first taken everything out of the carton and made sure nothing was missing and that they weren’t mixing up" ! The reasons of the change said an IKEA spokesperson is the ability to use the font in all countries (including Asian ones) but also to be consistent and use the same in the print and the web.

Futura font was created by Paul renner in 1924, inspired by the Bauhaus movement, using basic geometric proportions and getting rid of any serifs or add ons, reflecting simplicity and effectiveness. It's also the first font to be present in the moon with this commemorative plaque

Verdana is a Microsoft font designed in 1996 especially to fit with websites.

We all remember the trauma Coca Cola provoked when they intended to change the Classic Coke formula or the protests after a packaging re-looking from Tropicana (a Pepsico brand). What's the problem with Verdana ? These reactions shows that the font is truly part of the brand appeal and covers insights and history for the customer. It created a lot of buzz on twitter.

- Mc Luhan was right : the medium is the message
- The print in spite of 50 years of tradition from IKEA, has to adapt to the web and not the contrary
- Design matters

PS: this blog is written on the Georgia font and I promise won't change...:-)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cola testing in Las Vegas

Coca Cola Store located in the Strip, Las Vegas, offers one of the most weird experience of Vegas ! Yes, for 7 USD you get a tray with 16 samples of Colas from all over the world. From the best sweet flavor of the Japanese Vegitabeta to the nasty Chinese Watermelon Cola...

The list included the following beverages :
1) Inka Cola / Peru
2) Sunfill Mint / India
3) Stoney Ginger Beer / "South America"
4) Aquarius Citrus / Taiwan
5) Red Flash / USA
6) Vegitabeta / Japan
7) Smart Watermelon / China
8) Kinley Lemon / England
9) Lift Apple / Mexico
10) Fanta Kolita / Costa Rica
11) Nestea Raspberry / Spain
12) Bibo Kiwi Mango / South Africa
13) Bibo Pine Nut / South Africa
14) Smart Apple / China
15) Beverly / Italy
16) Mezzo Mix / Germany

Who knows how many calories you get after having tasted all that sticky liquids...