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Make it snappy Sachet marketing — making branded goods accessible to consumers with limited cash by packaging them in small, inexpensive quantities — is still going strong in countries like Brazil, Mexico, and India. Now we’re seeing an early emergence of secondary businesses directly addressing the needs of companies entering the sachet market. Witness Snap Pak, a company that provides packaging of sachet products and a unique new advertising medium. Snap Pak’s packaging is made for single servings of liquid products of any viscosity. The units are designed to open and dispense the product with a two-fingered snap-and-squeeze (rather than cutting or tearing). In addition to more convenience, one side of the packaging can be printed with high-resolution, photographic quality artwork. Snap sachets are currently available in a variety of standardized sizes, and custom sizes and shapes are also possible.

Opportunities

Snap sachets could be used for cosmetics, condiments, haircare products, pharmaceuticals and OTC medicines, lotions and sunscreens, scent products, sports supplements, and more. In true SACHET MARKETING style, the single serving size allows a wider range of branded goods to be sold at an economical price: an opportunity to introduce established products, create brand loyalty, and maybe even generate some MASSCLUSIVITY appeal in markets where larger quantities would be prohibitively costly. The size and easy-open design also makes them a viable alternative to the tear-open packaging used most often in the US, Europe, and Asia for samples and single-use packaging. From vending machines and retail outlets with limited product space to trade shows and sales staff tools, snap sachets widen the possibilities for product placement by manufacturers. The advertising possibilities for snap sachets are quite promising for both sides of the equation. Product manufacturers can use the space to reinforce branding or reduce costs by selling the advertising space, and any company can reach large numbers of consumers with high impact visuals in a novel medium. It may literally look like small business, but the volumes are massive. And who’s going to come up with an environmentally sound (biodegradable?) solution? Start thinking small! And to really drive home the point made above: how about magazines for cell phone users? Spanking new Finnish weeklies Whopla!, ROCsport.mob and RIENTO claim to be the world’s first mobile magazines. Whopla! will contain news and information on global celebrities, while ROCsport and RIENTO cater to the sports crowd. Every mobile magazine contains a minimum of 16 news items and 16 images. A clever idea in itself (if only for the PR it generates), where it gets really interesting is the multimedia aspect: the contents of the magazines (think movie and rock stars, sports heroes and royalty) can instantly be used for personalization of the subscribers’ mobile handset – as wallpapers, ring tones, photo album et. al. The magazines are part of the Sendandsee Group, a Finnish distributor of visual content for mobile media, with operations in over 40 countries. Worth talking to them, or quickly starting the unavoidable ‘we try harder’ second player in this fast growing market! Are all things Japanese still funky? Yes. So make way for yet another phenomenon (and fun business opportunity) from the land of the Rising Sun: Beard Papa’s, a cream puff chain! This March, Beard Papa’s opened on Broadway / 76th St in New York, adding to a list that already includes Japan (270 stores), and South Korea, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. (Source: Economist.) Papa’s immense popularity is based on the whipped cream and custard combination inside its cream puffs. The filling is a special vanilla-bean custard, made with beans imported from Madagascar. Other fillings include green tea, caramel, cocoa, and royal milk tea (black tea with milk flavor). The company’s logo, Beard Papa, resembles Santa Claus; this, according to a spokesperson, “because when people think of Santa Claus, it makes them happy, and so Beard Papa makes people happy.” (Source: CS.) But hey, who cares, as long as the cream puffs are sold by the millions?

Opportunities

Beard Papa is scouting for additional sites in New York and in other US cities including Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco. Like Krispy Kreme (featured earlier), Beard Papa is rapidly becoming one of those cult snack brands, based on great quality combined with unorthodox marketing. No reason why every medium to large size city on this globe couldn’t sustain a few Beard Papa outlets. Time to get on board and join the next Big Sweet Thing? Blue Afro wigs + Segways in the office + young, enthusiastic employees with a taste for fun = junk? Surprisingly, the answer is yes, and this unique formula is helping 1-800-Got-Junk? turn trash into treasure. The image most consumers have of the garbage removal business is utilitarian and industrial at best. More often, the phrase ‘junk removal’ conjures visions of feral-looking dogs patrolling razor-wire fences while men in dirty jeans and stained t-shirts unload cast-offs from rusty trucks. Not a good visual to sell a valuable service: after all, at one time or another everybody has stuff the Salvation Army won’t take, but very few folks want stains across the carpet when they come to remove that old couch, or risk back-breaking adventures by doing it themselves. No longer: 1-800-Got-Junk has managed to transform junk removal from industrial and unappealing to convenient, friendly, and fun. Now billed as ‘North America’s Largest Junk Removal Company’, 1-800-Got-Junk got its start when CEO and Founder Brian Scudamore had a tough time getting a summer job in 1989. He bought a used pick-up truck and started a junk removal service he christened ‘Rubbish Boys’. By 1996, Rubbish Boys hit $1 million in annual revenue; in 1998 Scudamore changed the name to 1-800-Got-Junk, and the first franchise was opened in 1999. 1-800-Got-Junk combines a tech-savvy structure with aggressive grassroots marketing to bring reasonably-priced junk removal to the masses. Snappy blue service trucks are designed to double as moving billboards, and employees wearing trademark blue Afro wigs attend local fairs, ride Segways through the streets, and even stand by the side of the road and hand out discount coupons called ‘JunkBucks’. (more…) OK, compared to the previous mobile content examples, Canadian 2 Magazine is very paper-based, but it fits well with the niche magazine trend, which has already spawned gender specific shopping-only mags like Lucky and Cargo. The Toronto-based 2 Magazine is a quarterly lifestyle magazine for both genders, aimed at 25- to 34-year-old urban couples, providing couple-centric entertainment, information, guidance, and advice in a gender-neutral, honest, edgy, and irreverent editorial package. The debut issue of 2 Magazine hit Canadian newsstands in March 2004. It featured columns and pieces like “Get It On! 9 Essential Album to Put Both Of You In The Mood”, “15 Excellent Couple Adventures”, “Money + Couples = Arrrgh!”, and “Ask The Smug Married Couple”. A lifestyle magazine aimed specifically at young, trendy urban couples has the potential to elicit the same “oh, gimme a break” response one would utter after witnessing an extended public display of affection, but 2Magazine’s tongue-in-cheek style coupled with real, useful advice could may make this mag a sleeper hit. And having Neil Morton (the former editor-in-chief of the award-winning pop culture-forward Shift ) at the helm can’t hurt either.

Opportunities

More people than ever are coupling up for the first time in their late 20’s and early 30’s. The current median age for marriage in the US has risen to 25 for women and 27 for men, and there are more than 5 million unmarried cohabiting couples currently in the US alone (and millions more in Europe) – a nice little niche market, especially when you consider that those newly-coupled urbanites consider trend-forward goods and entertainment to be a basic necessity. It’s too early to call a yeah or nay on 2 Magazine, but if a mag geared to such a specialized demo can survive and thrive, it opens the door for all sorts of biz opportunities for goods and services geared specifically toward urban couples. Time to publish (or advertise in) the European, Asian, or South American edition? So far, Springwise highlighted novels for the mobile phone (from Japan) and spotlighted Media Republic ‘s Jong Zuid, an interactive soap opera from The Netherlands, formatted especially for cell phones. Now Sprint is getting in on the action, too – they’ve teamed up with Cyber Oasis Corp, V-Star, and StewdioMedia Entertainment Group to present The Spot, an interactive reality TV show that follows the lives of Californian 20-somethings. The Spot originally aired on the Internet from 1995-1996 and was immensely popular; Sprint claims The Spot is the first drama series for wireless to use writers, actors and photographers the same way a television show would. Video content for cell phones is of course hot, hot, hot: Hotel Franklin, a soap presented in 60-second episodes for 3G phones, was recently announced at several trade shows by News Corp (the parent company of FoxTV), and similar ideas must be brewing all over Europe and Asia (Japan, South Korea!), too.

Opportunities

If you’re in media or telco, studying (or copying) The Spot is a no brainer: it’s yet another manifestation of new screens capturing coveted eyeballs: with hundreds of millions of PCs and laptops, and more than 1.35 billion cell phone users staring at mini screens on an almost hourly basis, the TV screen is NOT the only show in town anymore. And if you’re not part of the creative scene leading the mobile revolution, are you at least making sure your brand is showing up on the small screen, either as a sponsor or as strategically positioned product placements? Time to ask your ad agency some pointed questions!? Ah, wine, that wondrous, versatile child of the simple grape. 2.52 billion cases of wine were consumed worldwide in 2003; that’s almost 5 bottles for every single human being on the planet. But only a very small percentage of wine drinkers have knowledge of vino that extends beyond “I’ll have a glass of your house red.” The sheer volume of wine facts can be daunting: over 5,000 varieties of grapes from dozens of regions worldwide are coaxed, coddled, blended, and aged into a staggering array of red, white, rose, still, sparkling, and fortified wines. With so many enthusiastic but under-informed wine lovers, The Traveling Vineyard and Berry Brothers & Rudd tasted and smelled an opportunity. The Traveling Vineyard is the home-based business arm of Geerlings & Wade, a US-based direct marketer of wine and wine accessories. Anyone interested in hosting a wine tasting party can call on the Traveling Vineyard rep in their area (called an Independent Personal Wine Consultant), who will work with the host to organize an at-home event for 10-20 friends. In short, Traveling Vineyard at-home wine tastings are like Tupperware parties for wine — their website bills the events as “a party in a box!”. The company began running events in April of 2002, and now boasts over 100 Personal Wine Consultants in 11 states in the US. On the other end of the spectrum is Berry Brothers & Rudd’s home wine service. Berry Brothers & Rudd (BBR) is Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant and one of the oldest in the world, trading from the same shop for over 300 years. Berry Brothers & Rudd offers at-home service that includes one’s very own private sommelier. Prices start at 250 British pounds ($440 USD) for advice and an introductory tasting (for a maximum of 15 guests) up to 1000 British pounds ($1750 USD) or more for a completely tutored evening. (more…)