None of your Beeswax ... Ugg, did this get "tested" on humans?

My wife had to order a small part for a breast pump, which only cost $3. The web site had a minimum order of $10, so she found a Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme. This creme sounded really compelling: "Help for hard-working hands" and " Sweet almond oil, aloe and vitamin E help keep them soft and smooth". But did they really try this stuff? Ugggg.

Imagine rubbing your hands with sticky glue that smells like cherry-almond cardboard box. Once you have this on your hands everything you touch wants to stick to you. Going to sleep with this "creme" (yes, finger quoting when I say this) on your hands makes your bed sheets become marionettes as you roll or turn; they stick to you all night long. And did I mention the smell? If there ever was an Energizer Bunny logo for smell this product would have it. Yes, it lingers on and on and on and on and on and on.

Sure, this product would protect your skin ... if you had severely pain inducing cracks. This product might be useful in a survival kit to help repair leaks in tents or be the sticky part of fly paper.

The label says "Not tested on animals" ... Did any humans test this in real life? The best thing about this product? Its packaging! This is where the marketing makes the product look great, unfortunately.

Bottom line: if you like sticky hands and have really terrible skin cracks then get this product. Otherwise, use something like Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream.

Labels: , , , , ,

Don't let branding burn your customers.

This last May I wrote about my experiences with Starbucks' "Get more of what you love with a Starbucks Card" campaign (my post). I believe they have gotten this straightened out now. When I order a soy mocha, I don't need to remind the barista that my card is registered and they don't have to figure out how to process the card. Order, converse with barista, pay, done.

However, there is one part of this campaign that does still irks me ... This campaign is not accepted at all Starbucks. Huh? What do you mean not all Starbucks? Aren't all Starbucks alike? No and here's the rub.

There are Starbucks that are what I call "company" stores. They are Startbucks stores owned and operated by Starbucks. These stores are in the vast majority that people see. Then there are those that are "fake" Starbucks. They look, taste, and smell like any other Starbucks. Except they don't have to accept all the same promotional campaigns that Starbucks as a corporation is running. For example, the Starbucks in the Indianapolis Airport or the Starbucks in the Las Vegas Convention Center are not "real" Starbucks.

True, the employees dress and act like Starbucks employees. They have the same products and marketing material. They both even take the Starbucks store card! But that airport or convention center Starbucks do not participate in the "Get more of what you love with a Starbucks Card" campaign. I don't know why and I really do not care. What irks me is that Starbucks has me so trained on their brand that when that brand fails me I feel miffed, let down, abandoned.

Abandoned? Ok, this may sound a bit harsh. But those "fake" Starbucks are ruining the Starbucks brand: I have come to expect a certain level of service, consistency, process, and taste with what I order (tall decafe soy mocha, extra hot). I am a regular. That regularity is reinforced with my Starbucks card and my actions to register it (registering it gets me free soy milk, knocking off $0.40 each drink). When that regularity is disrupted then that causes me to feel like I have been cut off, shown to the door, not part of the culture. When I order a tall decafe soy mocha, I expect to have the price of the soy removed. And when that does not happen I will, on the next order, now have to monitor the drink making process. This requires my time and attention that I really would prefer to spend elsewhere.

So if you are thinking about brands and how to allow those brands to be licensed out / franchised, insure the plan includes education of the impact of drifting from that brand and what could happen to the revenue. Don't make licensing / franchising your brand result in a flesh burn for your customers.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Clean plate

Just so you don't think I was a bit off on writing something about crumbs, I found these bits of crumb related items:

  • From Patent 7,375,141, Soluble carob, The depolymerization may be carried out in a reactor provided with a mixing system suitable for handling fine powder, that is to say powder with a particle size of around 20 to 200 .mu.m, so as to prevent the formation of crumbs. As nonlimiting examples, mention may be made of LODIGE-type reactors, and ribbon mixers.

  • Patent 7,353,952, Insulated compartmented lunch bag, Additionally, any crumbs or stains from eating are contained on the interior side or surfaces of the major compartment 120. Thereafter, major compartment 120 may be closed to hide the said crumbs or stains therein and out of sight.

and two I thought were interesting:

  • Space Station Christmas, She looked at the swarm of crumbs and saw why NASA packaged crumbly foods in bite-sized morsels -- or avoided them altogether.

  • Astronauts wrap up space station work, Reisman, meanwhile, can’t wait to get back to his wife, Simone Francis, and, to a lesser degree, their cat Fuzzy. He’s also looking forward to “a good slice of pizza” and some bread, banned from the space station because of crumbs. He’s had to settle for tortillas in orbit.

And if you really want to learn more, NASA Facts: Space Food, has some info on crumbs.

Thanks to Kim Williams, Amy Stark, and Lorraine Ball for their additions to the crumb list.

Ok, brainstorming, the kids way...

I spent last week at Camp Invention at Pike Township's Fishback Elementary School. This is a program by the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation, run all over the country, to provide kids age 7 to 12 with hands-on activities, brainstorming, experimentation, and unbelievable action. My involvement was to help the kids during the invention time.

All the kids (and parents) were told to bring a "take apart" item, from which they would, over the course of the week, build an invention. The younger kids (ages 7 to 10) were to think about some job or activity that really bugged them and come up with an invention to do the job or make the activity fun. The invention did not have to actually work, they just had to build a concept.

The older kids had to build a Rube Goldberg device, in a team setting, that would break a water ballon on a target, using at least four steps, two simple machines, a part from each of the team member's take apart item, and once the machine was started its process no additional human assistance could be given.

Some interesting observations about the kids:

  • Kids will try anything. One boy insisted on using white glue to hold together material (LOTS of glue:) even though nothing was sticking (the items were too heavy for the glue. So he used more glue! One team of older kids found some foam tubing to make a marble launching system as part of their balloon breaking system, even though the foam tubing was not originally part of the supply kit.

  • Older kids start to get constrained by implied teacher direction but younger kids don't let directions get in the way. Some of the direction by teachers and coaches seemed to bind the teams in a design direction they may or may not have realized was needed. I found my self imposing my view of design on the kids works by the way I responded to how a kid would build something.

  • Scope creep occurs even in kids projects! The older kids rules received a few implied rules: the balloon had to go through the air (fly) and the target could be horizontal or vertical. These new implied rules came out during a discussion on what is to happen. When one kid asked about if the balloon has to fly through the air, a teacher said "yes" even though it was not stated on the rules.

It was a fun week and the kids learned some things. Hopefully they will get to practice their abilities to make things as school starts up in the next few weeks.

Pics and video of inventions.

Labels: , , , , ,

About InnovationCreation

Flickr pictures
    This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from jlblue tagged with gnomedex2007. Make your own badge here.
    This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called 2006 Podcast Expo. Make your own badge here.
    This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called Elsie Stix. Make your own badge here.