Great Marketing from the Collingwood Football Club

In the words of Dale Carnegie, “Remember that a person’s name is to them the sweetest and most important sound in any language”.

So what did the mighty Collingwood Football Club do for its membership recruitment drive for year 2007?

Put the name of EVERY SINGLE MEMBER on a poster and sent it out to prospective households.

Here it is as a PDF. Brilliant. Look for someone you know. No doubt the AFL will want to impose some socialistic restraints on Collingwood doing marketing too well in case the also-ran clubs can’t catch up.

JJJ – The Secret Station

JJJ thought they’d “do a MySpace” and exclusively promote a Jet concert on the banks of the Yarra at the last minute. The concert was held this afternoon, Jet literally played on the Yarra, on a floating barge, in the Sunday afternoon sun, with the Melbourne skyline as a backdrop. What could be better?

The problem is, nobody in Melbourne listens to JJJ, so “less than 200 people” turned up, according to my music industry insider who was at the gig (the band’s manager called her to let her know in fear of nobody turning up).

Jet – very good apparently. Shame nobody knew about the gig.

JJJ – what a bunch of incompetents.

Tony Abbott Gives Up the Coke

Tony Abbott, known by some as the “Mad Monk” of Federal Parliament, has advocated the removal of soft drinks from household fridges, and a “McDonalds-style” campaign by the company (and possibly through Government funding) to promote healthy lifestyles.

What has gotten into that man’s head?

People should be free to drink whatever the hell they like – whether it be Coke, battery acid or a quiet shandy. Insofar as it cause a health problem, it’s not Coke that is the problem but people’s sedentary lifestyles. “Feed me, clothe me, entertain me in the shortest and most convenient possible way”. That people are increasingly fat isn’t the result of Coke consumption, but the result of increasingly lazy and inactive lifestyles mixed with a large percentage of their diet being high sugar, low quality foods.

Coke has been around for over 100 years, a magnificent product drunk the world over. That diabetes is an increasing health issue isn’t the fault or cause of this company’s products, but the lack of understanding of nutrition in the general populace.

What is Tony thinking? A demand management program funded by the supply side?

On one had he has a point: McDonalds has done EXTREMELY well to reposition themselves as a provider of “healthy choices”. A few years ago, there was some strong debate over whether Macca’s and other fast food companies should be banned from advertising during children’s TV and other times. Macca’s then decided: “what is fast food”? Is Macca’s “fast food” or is a Big Mac “fast food”? So they increased their sales of fresh fruit, vegetables, rolls, wraps, salads and cereals. Now they are the biggst supplier of salad in Australia. If anyone were to advocate banning McDonald’s advertising, it would result in some very tricky, very difficult theorising, let alone a mess of legislation.

Coca-Cola have gone down a similar path. They have purchased SPC, the famous Victorian Fruit company, and made a play at Berri a few years ago. They were also running their financial calculators over National Foods, maker of Pura Milk, Yoplait and Big M before it was taken over by San Miguel. They obviosuly understand the nature of diversification for business’ sake and also to diversify away from being a “sugar” company.

So where does this leave Abbott? Seemingly, trying to promote Coke. In a weird, touchy-feely, nice guy, “an apple a day will keep tertiary health costs down per day” sort of way. Abbott should be encouraging preventative, healthy lifestyles through a words and deeds, not legislation. With this sort of thinking, I’m not sure he’s actually on the right side of Parliament.

Coke should be doing one thing only. Making, promoting and selling it’s products as best it can, with the highest possible margins for the good of it’s shareholders. If they feel they should encourage helathy lifestyles as a PR, CSR style “nice guy” push, then fine. If Coke makes great profits, then the Government gets tax revenues, shareholders and consumers are happy, and Abbott should go jump – it’s good excercise.

VALE MILTON FRIEDMAN

One of the greatest thinkers, revolutionaries, philosophers, leaders and liberal evangelists this world has known, Milton Friedman, has died at the age of 94.

Milton Friedman - One of the Greatest Thinkers the World Has Known

The winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Economics, Friedman was one of the founders of the “Chicago School” of Economics, a group of then “radical” free marketeers and liberals who advocated market solutions to the most pressing economic and social problems of the day. A great departure from the prevailing Keynesian economic paradigm, Friedman’s theories and ideas for small government and greater personal freedom and responsibility have slowly clawed their way back into prominence among academics and policy makers – and the world is a far greater place because of it.

Truly a great humanist and advocate of human freedom through economic freedom, Friedman was a natural heir to the greatest thinker in economic and social philosophy, Adam Smith. He was seen as such a radical in proposing such capitalist and free-market ideas that he was put on the cover of TIME Magazine in 1969 (that summer of radicalism and free love) with the headline, “MAVERICK MESSIAH”.

He was known as the “economics” in “Reagonomics”, long working as an economic adviser to Ronald Reagan. Former British PM, Baroness Margaret Thatcher released a statement upon hearing of Friedman’s passing: “Milton Friedman revived the economics of liberty, when it had been all but forgotten. He was an intellectual freedom fighter”. Former Governor of the US Reserve Bank, Alan Greenspan, said: “My world will not be the same”. Austrian born Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger (himself an Economics graduand), said: “When I was first exposed to [Friedman’s] powerful writings about money, free markets and individual freedom, it was like getting hit by a thunderbolt. I wound up giving copies of his books and ‘Free to Choose’ videos to hundreds of my friends and acquaintances.” Gary Becker, 1992 Nobel Prize Winner, said: “He was the single most important force for setting out the argument for why free-market economists do better. Those ideas impact everybody.”

One of Friedman’s best quotes was when confronted by socialists and lefties: “Your objective is the same as mine – greater individual freedom”, he would say. “The difference is that I know how to achieve that objective and you do not.” It is easy to dismiss Friedman’s achievements as a reinforcement of the norm. However, when Friedman was proposing his ideas, it was in an environment of hostility, ignorance and socialist groupthink. Friedman not only broke the mold, but changed the world. His students themselves have won a staggering total of 12 Nobel Prizes.

His official biography

Some tributes:
The Boston Globe
The Financial Times
New York Times
USA Today
Chicago Business News
Fox News – Interview from 2004
A Personal Account from the Von Mises Institute

Friedman’s ideas and leadership have improved the lives of EVERY PERSON on this planet and will continue to do so for years to come. He is a giant in world history and deserves to be treated as such. He will be sorely missed.

DOWNLOAD:
Friedman’s Nobel Presentation

BUY:
Capitalism & Freedom
Free To Choose

POSTSCRIPT: Andrew Norton has an excellent personal obituary to “Uncle Milton” on his blog here.

Lying Zune: How to use data from research groups to create a misleading headline

Microsoft were more than happy to release some stats a few days ago talking about how 58% of iPod owners said they would consider a switch to the Microsoft Zune.

It seems that the survey methodology was dodgy as hell. People who owned iPods were shown a series of photographs of competing MP3 players and asked which one they preferred. No iPods were shown, but the Zune was.

Check out what MacDailyNews has said here: MacDailyNews | Are 58% of iPod owners really thinking of a Zune switch?

The Zune is such a “me too”, lame excuse for an MP3 player. It’s really quite laughable – so typically Microsoft – in that it isn’t that user friendly, and the owner has to go through so many hurdles just to get the thing to play music.

Lies, Damn Lies and Microsoft.

How to be Interesting

This is most likely the most interesting blog post I’ve seen in a long time, russell davies: how to be interesting

Look Up

I would have added another one – not so imaginative: LOOK UP.
Most of us live in amazing urban environments filled with architecture, design, trees, birds, clouds, and anything which happens to be above the 10ft high world in which we live.

Look up. You’ll be surprised at how much you NEVER noticed.

Drowning in the BogPond

Telstra’s ISP division, BigPond, has just released its ADSL 2+ service, which is priced at over double the most competitive market ADSL 2+ offering. Incredibly, not only is BigPond offering a paltry 12GB a month under it’s largest volume offer, it also charges for UPLOADS, which means in real terms, BigPond is offering approximately 8-10GB a month offering. Further, there’s no in built VoIP offering, no encouragement of new technologies, no new products or services to justify the huge expense.

BigPond Pricing is here, but I can’t imagine too many people taking up the offer, save for the thousands of morons who are sucked in by blanket advertising and fail to use websites such as Whirlpool to research ISP costs.

It’s a shame that the largest telco in Australia is so out of whack with the best offerings in the market. All of this obsession with content driven internet provision isn’t relevant. It’s not about ISPs having their product commoditised, it’s about bringing in new product to the market and maintaining margins with innovation and service. They may argue their differentiator is their content, however content is GLOBAL, BigPond is only buying certain local content. They might argue it’s sport that will be the “killer app”, however sport is still available on many different platforms, not just IP based.

Content with cables isn’t the answer to Telstra’s woes, especially when it’s so bloody expensive.

Rail Nationalisation?

The Bracks Government today announced that it was buying back it’s lease with Pacific National to operate the Victorian country rail network. This nationalisation sets a horrible precedent. Instead Pacific National bearing the burden of an under-utilised rail network, now Victorian taxpayers are going to bear the burden.

Pacific National has blamed poor grain cartage, which makes sense considering there has been three years of drought and low harvest yields. But for the Government to take the ownership back makes no sense at all.

It’s a worry that Bracks may well use this third term to buy services which are better and more efficiently run by the private sector. Further, racking up a hefty debt to pay for it all.

What could be next on his wish list?
Power stations?
Banks?
Phone companies?
Airlines?
Ports?
Shipping?
Media Companies?
Mines?

Rex Connor, eat your heart out.