Thursday, October 07, 2010

Noteworthy Nuggets - Halloween, Bookstores, and General Ephemera

Sometimes we just notice things that are interesting and noteworthy. As the rain pelts the windows of Muse operations, we pelt you with some noteworthy ephemera:
Calling the Textbook Dead:
Ipads and Kindles and Ebooks oh my! This is the year that the textbook dies right? Of course pundits have been predicting the death of the textbook from as long ago as 1925. Yes, 85 years ago, the filmstrip projector arrived in school classrooms. Inventor Thomas Edison stated proudly that "books will soon be obsolete in schools. Scholars will soon be instructed through the eye". 
The TV Brand
What the most successful TV merchandising sales brand of all time? No not Jersey Shore. "The Simpsons". Word wide, this ubiquitous animated story of every one's favorite dysfunctional family has racked up merchandising sales of more than $8 Billion. Second was Sesame Street. Time to stock up (again) on Simpsons merchandise, along with Big Bird underwear.
Halloween 2010
One month till Halloween 2010! Have your costume ready? This year Halloween will be big business, with an estimated $5.8 Billion in sales. That's an increase of 17.7% on Halloween costumes, decorations and the like. Believe it or not, 11.5% of Americans plan to dress up their pets. Americans are still in the economic doldrums, and plan to use Halloween as a bit of escapism. But, they will spend money on their costumes, and reduce their spending on candy. Poor young kids trick and treating.  The Lady Gaga costumes will be in large supply, but the candy corn will not.
Toys popping up everywhere.
If there is a sales category that might be best left alone this holiday season, it's Toys. Toys R Us is opening a phenomenal 600 pop stores across the country in vacant mall spaces. FAO Swartz is opening another 10 pop up stores, and Sears has plans to unwrap 85 toy shops in their stores. This coming as national bookstore chains are expanding  their product lines with toys. Will it all work? We bet not. We're thinking the Toys R Us gambit, while successful on a small scale last year, will be too much, too late this year.
Make my dishes clean!
Interesting story in a recent Sunday issue of the New York Times, showing how consumers are getting angry at their dishwasher detergent. Turns out that detergent manufacturers like Procter and Gamble have been reducing the level of phosphates in their products in an effort to be more environmentally aware and meet tough new legislative guidelines.
All well and good, but consumers are un happy with the products effectiveness once phosphates are eliminated. It's an interesting conundrum. Do you want clean dishes or clean uncontaminated water? Turns out you might not be able to get both.
Smart Corporate Partnership.
Macy's has partnered with "The Heart of Haiti", a non profit organization to offer handmade products from Haitian artisans at 25 stores this fall. The products offered support full time work for over 200 Haitian artists whose business was interrupted by the earthquake this year. The Macy's partnership will assist these artisans to rebuild their businesses. A worthy purchase.
From Window Dresser to Couture
Simon Doohan has made a name for himself as the great brain behind the visual merchandising at Barney's in New York. He has become famous  with his out of the world windows during the holiday season, along with penning and peddling a few books along the way.
Now Doohan is stepping out with Target to create a line of "Costume Couture" designed by Doohan for the Halloween season. It is available now, exclusively at Target. You can see his designs HERE. We are not sure that it's really that interesting in terms of design, but we give Doonan his due for continuing to effectively self promote.
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