Smart Tourism Marketing: Taste The Cayman Islands

If you were traveling to Paris, wouldn’t you love it if the French Government Tourist Office sent you some coq au vin and a baguette?  Or maybe a Nutella croissant that is readily available as delicious street food? How about the makings for a café au lait?

Well, in a new and novel move, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism is going to be sending travelers free meal kits so they can preview a taste of the islands typically known for offshore bank accounts. Since the Cayman Islands hope to reach many consumers who have never visited the destination, their first impressions will come through the meal kits and destination-infused recipes. As a travel marketing expert, a travel content provider, and a food marketing expert, I believe that this is an excellent example of smart tourism marketing. Foodies can rejoice!

Recently, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism launched a partnership with a Los Angeles-based meal kit delivery company that is named Chef’d; under this unique partnership, U.S. travelers can order meal kits containing ingredients of Cayman Island recipes so that they can get an idea of the exciting cuisine that the island holds in store for them.

This is unprecedented and one of the first examples of a tourism board working with a meal delivery service as part of a marketing campaign. “Unless you try something, you don’t know how successful it’ll be,” said Rosa Harris, director of tourism for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. “We were more specifically concentrated on a luxury, millennial, young professional clientele who is cooking at home and open to different kinds of cuisines.”

Chef’d said its customer base favors women but ranges from ages 18 to 65 and older. Consumers don’t need a subscription or membership to order from Chef’d and can place a one-time order for a meal kit.

So how about some chocolate bread pudding? The tourism board worked with four Cayman Islands-based chefs to develop the five meal-kit recipes for selections such as pina colada chicken and other delicacies.  Chef’d sources all ingredients in the promotion in the United States and will ship the kits from either its headquarters in Los Angeles or from a shipping facility in Brooklyn, New York.

For a small island country in the western Caribbean, Cayman Islands boast more than 230 restaurants; they include Ripert’s Blue, which is the Caribbean’s only AAA Five-Diamond restaurant that is definitely worth the reservation.

“We’ve been promoting ourselves as a culinary capital of the Caribbean for quite some time,” said Harris. “Outside of other Caribbean destinations where you have a property that’s all-inclusive, our country offers the option of dining out and having a different kind of experience.”

But while the islands have earned awards and distinctions for its dining scene, it’s a huge challenge to translate that to meal kits thousands of miles away through packaging and shipping facilities before they reach consumers’ kitchens.  The meal kits take between 40 to 90 minutes to prepare and cook.

The Cayman Islands are trying to distinguish itself away from traditional kinds of marketing; with the meal kits, consumers can directly engage with island recipes from hundreds of miles away from the destination. Bon appetit!

Debbi K. Kickham is Chief Content Officer of Maxima Marketing, a boutique full-service marketing firm in Westwood, Mass.,





Sniff, Sniff: How To Market With Scent

Do any of you remember Smell-A-Vision? When I was growing up in the Sixties, Smell-A-Vision was touted as a fun new way to experience things – even though it didn’t actually exist. (It was probably only discussed in Mad Magazine!) But it was tantalizing.

Apparently, marketers are once again believing that scent is the way to sell.

As a marketing consultant and author of a bestselling marketing book, I believe that the use of fragrance is very, very smart marketing. If I’m correct, open houses of luxury homes have frequently used the scent of cinnamon rolls, fresh-baked bread and other delicacies to convey an atmosphere of home, sweet home, to entice sellers.

Some hotels, for example, have adopted a signature scent, and have used it to infuse aromas through the air in their lobbies, to make travelers more at ease and at home. Recently, JW Marriott hired ScentAir to create a fragrance for the chain, and ScentAir developed “Subtle Sophistication.” Advertising Age magazine recently described this scent as fresh “with a bit of citrus.” If you really, really like the fragrance – you can even buy it as a candle to bring home. This way, the hotel is creating the ultimate souvenir which will help you remember Marriott when you’re back home.

Scent experts say that using aromas in marketing works well, because smell is directly connected to the brain’s limbic system, which stores memories and emotions. In 2013, the Global Journal of Commerce and Management Perspective said that “ambient scent has the strongest impact when it comes to enhancing consumer behavior in terms of emotion, evaluation, willingness to return to a store and purchase intention.”

Have you noticed Ford’s Lincoln car lately? In its latest effort at rebranding, the car company created a scent called “Essence of Lincoln,” which is dispersed through special ventilation systems in showrooms, to an encourage a sense of well-being and a relaxing atmosphere. The idea? Scent-sational!

In 2015, you can expert more and more retailers to come up with their own signature scents. And you know what I detect? The smell of hard, cold cash.

Fairmont Kea Lani Has Smart Marketing Afoot

Here’s a marketing tip that’s perfect for summer.
The posh Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui is one of my most favorite resorts in the entire world. Everything about this haute hotel is divine – from the all-suite rooms, to the private villas where celebrities stay, to its award-winning restaurant Ko that has been named the best restaurant on Maui.
Recently, my husband Bill needed to mend his broken beach sandals, when we were staying at the Fairmont Kea Lani on assignment for several magazines. He bought his sandals to the concierge, who gave them to one of the team members in Maintenance. Faster than you can say, “Flip flops,” Bill received his mended sandals. The Fairmont Kea Lani maintenance worker simply used tile caulking to fix the sandals and they were good as new.
Furthermore, making the situation even more sweeter – the maintenance worker also gave my husband a complimentary pair of the hotel’s signature flip flop sandals. That action was a fantastic example of how this resort always goes the extra mile, for guest satisfaction. We were wowed by that. And get this: Not only do these sandals bear the hotel’s name, but the underside, on the sole, carries a marketing secret: The words “Fairmont” and “Kea Lani” are carved into each of the soles, so that when you walk on the beach – especially wet sand – the name of the resort is embedded into the sand. Brilliant!! This literally makes these sandals the epitome of a “walking advertisement.” Clever!
As a Boston marketing consultant, travel writer, and content creator, who loves savvy marketing ideas, the Fairmont Kea Lani’s signature sandals are a great example of a creative marketing solution. This is thinking outside the beach — and dare I say it? — thinking outside the bunion.

Building 19 Bites The Dust

It is with great sadness that I write that Building 19 – a Massachusetts institution – is going to bite the dust. If you haven’t heard of Building 19, you missed something super.  Building 19 was a local chain department store, which was nothing more than a huge warehouse filled with fantastic low, low, low priced items.  They bought overstock and in some cases,  slightly damaged goods, and always offered incredible deals.  The thing that made it so fantastic was the “thrill of the hunt.”  Whenever you entered – maybe looking for cans of pumpkin or high-thread-count pillowcases – chances are, you wound up going out the door with huge containers of Windex for 99 cents, $500 crocodile shoes for $49, and a men’s Italian suit for only $69.  I know, because indeed,  I actually bought all of those bargains there. I once stood in line at 6AM in the morning, waiting for the 9AM opening, so I could be first in line to purchase their Ethan Allen overstock.  I bought a gorgeous – and I mean you’re-going-to-gasp-it’s so-gorgeous  — $3,000 Italian bedroom mirror for $650. It was a place where I went to purchase cereal, and came home with a cashmere sweater that looked like a million bucks.

Another great aspect to Building 19 – perhaps its best-known trait – was how owner Jerry Ellis made fun of his own institution.  All through the store, there were signs saying that  he was “Elvis in Disgraceland” and that the stores were the “Little Shop of Horrors.” It was where you went to find “good stuff cheap.” If you want this month’s marketing tip – take your cue from Building 19: Making fun of your brand can sometimes be the best advertising ever.

Many times, Building 19 advertised their bargains but was not permitted to tell you the name of the brand. Once, when they were selling Burpee sunflower seeds, their advertising department described the brand as “two things you should not do in public.”  That’s just hilarious, when you think about it.

Building 19 was iconic.  People loved to rave about the bargains that they found there. And for a long, long time, the stores didn’t even accept credit cards, in order to keep prices down. You were forced to pay cash.

Now they are going under. Too much competition from national discount retailers such as Walmart, and too little loyalty from customers. As a Boston marketing consultant, who loves creative strategies,  I’m sad to see  such an unusual place go.  They referred to themselves as “America’s laziest and messiest department store,” and you know what? I loved it.

Get Married At Denny’s – With A Side Order of Syrup

Well folks, now I’ve heard of everything.
As a Boston communications consultant, and a business author of Off The Wall Marketing Ideas, I really shouldn’t be surprised when I hear about the newest and craziest PR campaigns that companies dream up. And the newest one, from Denny’s in Las Vegas – is a doozy, tailor-made for lovebirds and even a few loony birds. This is what I call wacky marketing.
The Las Vegas Denny’s, on Fremont Street, near the Mob Museum, has its own wedding chapel. Apparently, previously, so many couples have married in the diner, for various reasons – it was where they met, or they both happened to work together at a Denny’s — that management realized that they should have a more formal venue.
Here’s where couples can order a Pancake Puppie Wedding Cake, and a Grand Slamosa cocktail toast so they can celebrate their nuptials.
A couple from Iowa — passionate Denny’s fans – were chosen by Danny’s marketing executives to enjoy the chapel’s first wedding ceremony earlier in April, 2013. Said the couple – pardon me while I roll my eyes – “When we reflected on all of our memories made at Denny’s, we knew that getting married there over a plate of pancakes would be our best memory yet.”
If you want to say your “I Do’s”, just fork over $95. That price also includes “Just Married” T-shirts and a Pancake Puppies wedding cake. I can only speculate how many happy couples will take advantage of the “Baconalia” and order the Maple Bacon Milkshake weighing in at 1,150 calories and a whopping 61 grams of fat.

Injured Aflac Duck Is Brilliant Marketing

As a Boston copywriter and Boston marketing expert, I can say assuredly that the new Aflac marketing strategy is nothing short of brilliant – and unbelievably effective.

Aflac – in case you don’t know – is an insurance company that pays cash benefits when any policyholder gets sick or hurt. For more than 55 years, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on their recovery, and not the financial stress that results from an accident or injury. In the United States, Aflac is the Number One provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance.

In the latest commercial, which looks exactly like a televised press conference, the Aflac Duck is facing what millions of Americans experience every year—a debilitating injury. In a new series of television commercials that debuted this past week during college football’s national BCS Championship game, it was revealed that this barnyard animal – just like anyone else – has been vulnerable to unexpected injuries. It seems that the Aflac duck has had to be hospitalized due to injuries to his wing and his beak. Hilarious. The “press conference” from “County Memorial Hospital” shows a doctor in scrubs explaining to a slew of reporters that the Aflac Duck has been injured. The reporters ask a series of questions, all of which have just one answer that the “doctor” states over and over– Aflac. “Who will pay the duck’s living expenses?” “Who will pay for his rental car?” “Who will pay for his gas and groceries?” The unmitigated answer is always “Aflac.” In the humorous ending of the press conference, the doctor notes that Aflac will also pay for the duck’s cell phone – but that he probably won’t use his phone, due to his injured beak.

I happened to see only a few seconds of this commercial when I was at the gym yesterday – the part about the injured beak – and it stopped me dead in my tracks. I laughed out loud.

This advertising campaign deserves a medal.

This is the kind of off-the-wall marketing that I love — so much, that I even co-wrote a book about it.

The campaign even lets consumers send an online get well card or e-Card to the Aflac Duck via the Duck’s Facebook page or at Your cards will help the duck get back on his (webbed) feet.

This brilliant marketing campaign demonstrates the challenges that everyday American’s can face when an unexpected accident or illness causes them to miss work. Only this time, it is the iconic Aflac Duck who will provide a first-hand perspective as a policyholder; while shedding light on how Aflac’s insurance policies can help protect families against common, but unexpected setbacks.

Aflac Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Michael Zuna said, “Our plan is to leverage the incredible awareness and likeability that the Aflac Duck has amassed over the past 12 years to connect with consumers in a personal way that will both entertain and inform. The new commercials will make viewers laugh, but they have a very serious message; if the Aflac Duck can get hurt, anyone can get hurt. And that’s why everyone needs Aflac.”

To read the Aflac press release and download Aflac’s latest commercial in Windows Media format please click here.

Why A Duck? Aflac Uses Smart Marketing

The Marx Brothers would probably approve.

In the year 2000 the Aflac insurance company decided to make themselves more visible to the world, and to differentiate themselves in the sea of competition. After all, insurance companies are pretty much all alike, aren’t they?
And they’re pretty boring, when you think about it, even though the subject matter is important. In fact, there’s a joke here in my house, all about insurance. My husband Bill, a personal-injury attorney, knows all about insurance, because he used to be the media spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute. He knows about insurance from A to Z, and it’s quite impressive. The subject of insurance, however, tends to be a snore. So when I can’t get to sleep, I will frequently chuckle and beg Bill, “Please tell me about insurance.” Before you know it, the subject puts me in deep slumber.

So, insurance companies have their work cut out for them, as they try to make themselves stand out. Some companies have been very creative and very successful. You’ve got Flo, the Progressive Insurance girl, who is extraordinarily popular and even has her own Flo Facebook page, along with bobble-headed Flo dolls and T-shirts. And of course, there’s Geico Auto Insurance and the British-speaking gecko who is also highly recognizeable.

Aflac, which handles health and life insurance, had oceans of options – and they chose the duck, which is the very definition of wacky marketing. But today, apparently nine out of 10 people know about Aflac thanks to its quacking duck. It’s a very important reminder to all of us, small and big businesses alike, about how important brand marketing is. As a brand marketing expert, and a marketing consultant for small business, I know all about it. Small companies should take their cue from the big companies, and develop and mastermind their own “golden arches.” There’s no reason a small company can’t have its own signature tag line, spokesperson and corporate logo.

Apparently Japan comprises three-quarters of Aflac’s earnings. Aflac had to respond after the country was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami. And along with that, they had to respond after their professional duck spokesperson, comedian Gilbert Gottfried, made jokes about Japan’s earthquake on Twitter. He was promptly fired and guess what? Their decision generated good publicity, and more than 11,000 eager applicants tried to become the new voice of the duck. That fact speaks for itself, about how successful the duck marketing has been.

Aflac’s website even has a duck store. A young cancer patient named Monica designed the 2012 holiday duck. And when you buy a holiday duck, your donation is targeted to a participating pediatric cancer hospital near you. That’s a great example of Aflac’s civic marketing as well.

$35,000 Hamburgers At Mick Fleetwood’s Restaurant Is Smart Marketing

Here’s some clever marketing that is having enormous success on Maui. There’s a new restaurant on Lahaina’s Front Street, called Fleetwood’s. Yes, it’s named after the famous musician from the popular band Fleetwood Mac – Mick Fleetwood. He has opened a successful restaurant, with a British flair and even a Moroccan verandah – where patrons can dine on wild mushroom ravioli, Beef Wellington with a red-wine demiglaze and bangers-and-mash flatbread. But one of the most astonishing things on the menu is the delivered-to-your door $35,284.67 Harley Davidson Hog Burger. It’s made with one pound of beef, grilled Maui onions, and special burger sauce. For that price, you get the burger plus a spanking, shiny new Harley motorcycle that is signed by Mr. Fleetwood himself.

A great gimmick? You bet. As a Boston copywriter, I’m all for clever gimmicks. Believe it or not, Fleetwood’s has already sold four of them in three months, since opening its doors.

Who are the buyers? Ashley Leal, the Director of Dining Services, told me that “A lot of do-gooders have bought it.” Some buyers have bought the bike to donate to charities, while others have auctioned if off for a charity, to raise funds for all kinds of causes. “When they first mentioned this promotion I thought they were insane, but lo and behold, it’s genius.” Ms. Leal added, “Our goal is to sell five a year.”

But there’s just one small caveat – cheese is one dollar extra.

Smart Marketing From A Football Team

Word has it that the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams are coming out with their own line of bottled water. The name of the nifty new H2O? Thirst and Ten. Hey, let’s do it again!
Each bottle will feature the team’s logo, color, and the URL to their website. They will be sold at the Edward Jones Stadium in St. Louis, and in a 75-mile radius around the stadium
As a Boston marketing expert and copywriter, I find this to be very clever, although what the world needs now is not another bottled water.

But this is clever marketing.

It reminds me. When Britney Spears porked up a few years ago and got fat, many thought that her career was over. (Sort of what happened to Jessica Simpson last year, although she’s now gaining PR momentum again with her gig with Weight Watchers.) Now that Britney’s making headlines on the X Factor TV show, her career seems to be in full swing again. But I remember saying to myself that she needed some kind of product placement back then that would have gotten her name favorably in the public eye again. My idea back then? I told my husband Bill that Ms. Britney should come out with a line of pickles. Call them Britney Spears.

And that reminds me. In my bestselling book Off The Wall Marketing Ideas: Jumpstart Your Sales Without Busting Your Budget, my co-author Nancy Michaels and myself did an interview with a clever PR gal in California named Marci Blaze. She fully capitalized on her last name, especially with her stationery. After all, as I tell all of my audiences when I give a presentation, marketing is the art of making yourself memorable. When Ms. Blaze got her letterhead, she singed all of the bottom end of her stationery with a match, so it looked like it had been in a fire – or a blaze. She wound up burning through many printers, so to speak, but the name recognition was all worth it.

Smart Marketing Strategy: Coin Your Own Words

Remember the movie Mary Poppins? That was the film that put the word “Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious” on the map. It was a marketing gimmick that worked. That word is still in our lexicon.

If you’re a smart marketer, you’d be wise to follow that example and make up your own new words to advertise and market your product or service. For instance, Apple has just started to advertise its new iPod Touch, claiming that it is “Engineered for Maximum Funness.”

Funness? It seems that the word “fun” has been extrapolated, and marketers are working overtime to find words and ideas that will be remembered. And I must say, more often than not, those gimmicky new words succeed in getting the marketer’s point across to new and potential customers.

As a Boston marketing consultant and copywriter, I tell everyone that marketing is the art of making yourself memorable. Coining your own words can be very successful.

Advertisers and marketers have been playing with words for a long time. I remember a milk campaign with tennis Star Chrissy Evert, in which she proclaimed the milk’s inherent “goodness.” Here, the word “good” was used in a way that would have typically been used for a Catholic saint.

Do you remember the Snickers ad campaign from 2009? They launched a successful ad campaign, with made-up words, and advertised just one of these words per taxicab in New York City, in a sign affixed to the cab’s roof. I thought it was brilliant. You would have discovered that Snickers was the cure for “hungerectomy,” and that the snack was “satisfectellent.”

I myself coined a special word when I debuted my bestselling book, The Globetrotter’s Get-Gorgeous Guide. Taking my cue from the word “fashionista,” I wanted to address all women who were beauty junkies. Hence my own new word: “beauty-ista.”

Here’s my favorite headline, which gets right to the point. The Onion used it in a story about Frito-Lay: “Fritolaysia Cuts Off Chiplomatic Relations with Snakistan.”