Smart Marketing: Stop&Shop And Free Fruit For Kids

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am 61 years old and a size 4.  I work hard to stay slim, exercise constantly, and I’m hungry a lot.  But I refuse to eat junk, and I do eat a great deal of fruit, especially smoothies made with almond milk and fruit. Fruit is great – fruit is your friend, people – and there are no points on it in the Weight Watchers Program.  Oprah loves to eat fruit and stated in a recent issue of her magazine that she eats fruit for dessert every night. Fruit is a sweet snack and great for weight control and pure health and filled with vitamins, fiber and nutrients.

That’s why I was THRILLED to walk into Stop&Shop last week, and to see a display offering FREE fruit as a snack to kids 10 years old and under! What a GREAT idea.  Stop&Shop deserves some kind of award for not only providing something of value that is free to customers, but for offering a healthy healthy healthy snack for children.  Off the record, the store manager told me that this campaign has been well-received, and I understand why. It’s a real public service and a great example of smart marketing. As author of a bestselling marketing book, and a digital marketing content provider, I’m really impressed.

I constantly see that Stop&Shop goes the extra mile – not only are they promoting free fruit, but they  also publish a great magazine filled with healthy food ideas.  I love to read it every month and it’s so well-done.  Foodies, you will love it. Another great example of smart grocery marketing.

Stop&Shop also has other things in its repertoire that I love.  Its cherry Clear Splash water brand is my favorite thing in the world to drink, and word is, it’s a bestselling flavor.  Yes, it’s made with aspartame, but I can’t stop drinking it, it is so delicious.  (In fact, I am drinking some right now).  I buy tons of it when it’s on sale, then get rainchecks so that I can buy it later. Their raincheck policy is superb – they never expire. As a food marketing expert and a healthy consumer, I can tell you personally and professionally – visit Stop&Shop!

Debbi Kickham is a former Editor of Robb Report Magazine, and a Westwood, Mass-based marketing consultant who loves to write about food, beauty, health, spas, and staying young and slim, especially when you travel.  Contact her at and Contact Maxima Marketing at (781)-407-9305 for more marketing tips and get a free initial consultation for your business in the Greater Boston area. We offer creative marketing strategies, public relations, branding, slogan creation, spokesperson, travel writing and other marketing services.



Happy New Year – and Happy Easter

I want to wish all of my friends, family and colleagues, and very Happy New Year.

But I better wish you a Happy Easter too.  I was just in a big box store, and here, just two days after Christmas, they had put out the Easter Peeps and Easter eggs. Right next to the Valentine’s Day boxes of candy.  And it wasn’t even New Year’s Day yet.  It wasn’t even 2017.

Now, as a Boston and Dedham marketing consultant, I get it.  I understand retailing.  And as a former Editor of Robb Report Magazine, and a  bestselling travel writer, I totally understand that there are six-month lead times in the worlds of media and merchandising.

Notwithstanding, for me, it upsets all my balance and harmony and zen, when after celebrating Christmas and gift-giving, stores are already confronting me with Easter and the Easter bunny just a few days after December 25th.  My husband Bill and I constantly lament the relentless merchandising of our society.  To buy, buy, buy.  That it’s never too early to “plant the seed” to get us to buy more, more, more and consume more, more, more. It’s irritating and annoying. I just hate this part of retail marketing.

But I’m waiting until April before I start making Easter baskets.

Zappo’s Excels At Customer Service

The other night my husband ordered me a Lacoste polo shirt for Christmas, on Zappo’s. He was blown away by the customer service experience.

And apparently, he discovered something that the rest of the world has known for a long time: That Zappo’s has AMAZING customer service.  You all thought that Nordstrom was the stuff of magic?  Try Zappo’s.  In fact, click here to read an article about some of the Top 10 BEST Zappo’s customer service stories.

Not only does Zappo’s deserve kudos for their customer service, they also should win a prize for what happens when you call and are placed on hold.  You get a joke of the day.

My husband Bill was so impressed that he called me into his office to listen to the exchange.

Now, as a   Boston marketing content creator and a  Dedham marketing blogger, I am always thrilled to hear this kind of information.  I hate when I am put on hold by a business, and simply forced to listen to Muzak.  Zappo’s definitely goes the extra mile, and they also offered my husband FREE shipping. This is all smart marketing, and marketing that gets results.

What a pleasure!

What a novelty!

What a great way to buy for Christmas or any holiday!

I’m impressed – and the next time, especially, when I want a pair of shoes, you know where I’m going.

AT&T’s new “It Can Wait” Safe-Driving Campaign Is Brilliant and Smart Marketing

I am aggressive in my life, when it comes to working towards success, for example. Maybe I should just say that I am assertive. But there is one place where I totally give that up and become defensive every day: in the car. That’s right – I drive defensively. I totally “watch out for the other guy” – which was a successful driver-safety civic–marketing campaign, when I grew up in the Sixties.

I don’t know about you, but I’m terrified of other drivers. Why? Because, chances are, someone behind the wheel – near to me and my car – is texting or Snapchatting while driving. It scares the bejesus out of me. Last night I drove three hours from Trumbull, Conn., to my home in the Boston area, and I worried the entire time that THE OTHER GUY was going to text and drive and swerve and crash into me on the Mass Pike. And then my life would be over.

That’s why I’m thrilled to know about – and participate in – AT&T’s excellent new marketing campaign called “It Can Wait.” See this link: This is one of the best driving safety marketing campaigns I have ever seen.
This wonderful, smart, and important program encourages every driver to “take the pledge” and to vow and commit to never texting when they are in the driver’s seat. It makes IMPORTANT points – that it’s never OK to text while driving (or to do Snapchat), and that NO ONE’S LIFE is worth a text. If you kill someone as the result of looking at a text when you are driving – would that EVER be worth it? Take the AT&T simulated drive and you’ll be terrified into action. Even if you are in the car alone, you are not alone on the road. In my opinion, you should just TURN OFF the cellphone in the car, so you won’t even be tempted. Turn the phone on if you are lost, and need to pull over to get directions or to make a phone call. Or to tell someone you are late. In my humble opinion, I think even changing the channel on the radio is dangerous – that’s probably why my brand new Toyota Corolla has a radio-changer fitted into the steering wheel of my new car. One second, if you take your eyes off the road – and disaster can happen.

Please read this impressive blog post that my husband Bill wrote about this – the powerful video he embedded in his post is one of the best I have ever seen on this subject. My husband Bill is a Boston personal-injury attorney and he knows firsthand how incredibly dangerous it is to drive and text.
With a AT&T campaign like this, I’m proud to be an AT&T customer. I’m also a published author of a marketing book, (Off The Wall Marketing Ideas) and a marketing communications writer, ( and a travel content creator, and I KNOW a great public-relations campaign when I see one. I am also a former Editor of Robb Report Magazine, where I wrote mountains of articles about luxury cars. Congratulations to AT&T. Now let’s all get onboard, in the car, and do the right thing. For everyone.

Nars Orgasm Blush Debuts New Marketing Program

If you’re a beauty enthusiast, no doubt you know that there are some incredible icons in the beauty industry. Cetaphil cleanser. L’Oreal Elnett hairspray. Rosebud salve for your lips.
And the king of all beauty icons is probably Nars Orgasm blush for your cheeks. This special $30 product has a cult following, and has been in the beauty Hall of Fame for years. It’s a pinky-peach, and it looks incredibly natural on your skin.
This month, I noticed that Nars was marketing its sensational blush in a new way. In this month’s Vogue Magazine was a huge pink insert that actually contained samples of the Orgasm blush! It was beauty heaven! I’ve been around the beauty block for the past 30 years, and this was the first time I’ve seen a blush sample in magazine. Kudos to Nars – this is smart marketing and smart beauty marketing.
They also have a new social media campaign: Go Ahead, blush and tell: #whatmakesyoublush. As a beauty marketing consultant, I love this idea and am sure it is going to be a huge success. I also really like Nars’ message in the big pink insert: “There’s no faking the award-winning afterglow. Experience it to believe it.”
Of course, even the name of the product is smart beauty marketing. It offers that lovely flush you have after making love. Way to go, Nars!
For all my Gorgeous Globetrotter friends out there – make sure to include this wonderful little cult compact in your travel carry-on!

Azamara Club Cruises: Smart Marketing

In my many years as a professional marketing expert, brand ambassador, and travel content provider, I’ve seen lots of examples of bad marketing. You can read about some of them on my blog. The Heart Attack Café in Las Vegas is just one example that comes to mind. Who in their right mind wants to frequent a restaurant that just might make you die?
But I digress.
I just love smart marketing. Marketing that puts a tiger in your tank, makes you admire its creativity, and inspires you to check out what the brand is all about. That’s why Azamara Club Cruises is a winner.
For one thing, what sets Azamara Club Cruises apart is that its ships spend more time in port – unlike the large, mass-market ships out there. There are none of the typical 3PM afternoon departures. Instead, what you get are days AND nights in port, so that you can, for example, go out to dinner, do something fun, or attend an “AzaMazing” complimentary evening. When we were just in Malta, for example, we attended an extraordinary concert by a choir, in the town’s main cathedral. It was awe-inspiring – and complimentary to all cruise guests. All of these things set Azamara Club Cruises apart. The small size of its ships also allows for frequent, easy access to towns, and docking at the piers – instead of having to take in the tender. Furthermore, why take a shuttle bus into town if you don’t have to?
And, in another example of great marketing, have you ever wondered where the name “Azamara” comes from? Azamara is a coined term derived from the Romance languages. This includes the more obvious links to blue (az) and the sea (mar). The name was also inspired by a star, Acamar. In classical times, the star Acamar was the most southerly bright star that could be seen from the latitude of Greece. Azamara, the brand, thinks of itself as a star on the blue sea. In their marketing materials, Azamara says, “We love the flowing name that conjures up imagery of magnificent journeys around the world.”
This is not just smart marketing; it’s brilliant marketing.

Limousines of CT: The Vroom At The Top

What to do if you’re a travel executive — or just an ordinary business person or on vacation — and want a car in Qatar?

We wanted a thoroughly professional car service, not only to JFK Airport, but one that could also easily transport us in Europe, and for that matter, all across the globe. We selected Limousines of Connecticut based on its excellent reputation and the fact that it has affiliates all across the globe, to assist you in your transportation in foreign countries – everywhere from Europe to Kuwait and Qatar.

This is smart travel marketing — I love the concept — and as a marketing writer and bestselling travel writer, I can tell you that Limousines of Connecticut is your go-to-guide for global transportation.

Limousines of Connecticut has been providing excellence in all aspects of wedding and 8-passenger limousine services, setting the highest standards. The Connecticut limousine service is taking the experience to the next stage by announcing that it has reduced rates for 2016. Now it will be more affordable to book limousines in Connecticut, even for those bigger parties with higher demands for large transportation options around Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.
It offers transportation services for:

• Weddings
• Bachelor / Bachelorette Parties
• Sweet 15 and 16’s parties
• Wine Tours
• Shopping Tours
• NYC Tours
• Casino Transportation
• Airport Service to all major airports in the Tri-state and Florida.

Most of the vehicles in the fleet are high-end brands: Mercedes, Cadillac Escalades, Hummers, and stretch sedans.
It’s first-class service — all the way.

(203) 344-0066

Advertisers May Dump Trump at Republican National Convention

Advertisers might skip the Republican National Convention?
It comes as no surprise to me, as a digital marketing expert, that many advertisers are currently struggling with whether or not they should sponsor the upcoming Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio in July.
With Donald Trump likely to be the Republican nominee, it’s easy to see why sponsors are afraid to be associated with him. Trump has alienated all kinds of people – women, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Muslims in this country, to name a few. To be associated with him, many companies believe, is to commit corporate suicide.
Currently, it’s reported that Apple, Google and Wal-Mart are among the many companies evaluating whether or not they should participate. Many companies have already disassociated themselves with Trump, as was reported in a recent issue of Advertising Age, which did a huge cover story about the Trump brand. Some of the businesses that have severed ties with Trump already include Macy’s, Serta, and Perfumania, which carried his fragrances.
Everybody likes a winner – especially in big business – but Trump isn’t guaranteed to be the presidential winner, and he’s seen as far too risky for sponsors to be associated with. I understand this and it’s smart marketing. This is totally understandable on the part of corporate America, whose emphasis is always on the bottom line. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Stay tuned.

Smart Travel Marketing: Sealed With A Kiss

How do you make lemonade out of a lemon? Especially in the travel business? I discovered an effective travel marketing program at Sandals, Jamaica, and as a travel content marketer, I can tell you it is a great idea.
Apparently, at Sandals Resort in Montego Bay, management was worried about the noise due to the hotel’s proximity to the airport – just ten minutes away. So, when the flagship property in Montego Bay opened back in 1981, founder Butch Stewart came up with an idea. He created a special tradition. Whenever a plane flew overhead at Sandals, guests were told to kiss each other, while team members were told to instructed at the plane.
The tradition lives on and all guests are seen smooching while planes fly overhead.
Apparently no one seems to mind!
And here’s another example of smart travel marketing.
In the wake of the Paris attacks in November, tourism to Brussels dropped. As a result, Visit Brussels launched an incredibly clever program to boost visitors to the city. It was called the #CallBrussels campaign, and it was born to enable local people to convince visitors of the city’s safety. Three phone booths were installed in three different locations in Brussels so that passersby could answer the phone, and vet that their city was safe! Calls were made to the phones between January 7th and 11th via the website, and there was even a webcam to film the action.
More than 12,000 people from 154 different countries called in!
It was a smart way to convince travelers that Brussels was indeed, not a war zone but a lively city filled with a wealth of fun and cultural activities.

I love smart, clever marketing ideas such as these.

This is what my book, Off The Wall Marketing Ideas, is all about! Let me know if I can design some clever marketing, PR or social media for your business.

Too-Small Airline Seats? Here’s A Solution.

If you’ve traveled anywhere by plane recently, I’m sure you’ve noticed – the seats have progressively shrunk. When you’re squished into an airline seat – with nowhere to go, never mind stretch – you’ve felt the pain. The seat pitch – which is the distance between a point on an airline seat, and the identical spot on the seat in front of it – has shrunk from 35 inches in the Seventies, to about 31 inches now. That’s four inches of legroom. G-O-N-E. Seat widths have also dropped from 18.5 inches to about 16.5. And now someone really wants to do something about it. Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat in New York, wants the Federal Aviation Administration to finally establish special standards for seats on airlines. In his words, the airlines have been causing passengers to sit like sardines. It’s true. My husband Bill and I dread any flight, even it’s for an hour. Note to airline marketers: You would do well to market and promote the fact that you aren’t going to change the size of your seats, and may in fact, even enlarge them. As a travel content provider, and travel marketing expert, I know that an airline that could ensure comfort and safety would entice passengers in droves. That would be very smart marketing. (And you thought only George Costanza of Seinfeld spoke about “shrinkage.”)