Monday, January 07, 2008

Maybe they'll leave me alone next time.

Besides waking up today and dropping my long distance business carrier for Comcast (we were getting hosed), I also had to run a bunch of errands in town.

It was blustery 67 degrees today in Philly - a sure sign of the looming apocalypse - so when I stopped on the corner of 4th and South for a lunchtime Jim's Steak I was rocking one of my classic "no meetings today" uniforms: Velour pants, my Risque video hat and a long sleeve black tee.

I basically fit right in with the South St crowd so I don't know why I surprised when I got stopped in front of Starbucks by a CN8 anchor with a camera man to be interviewed about McDonald's apparent foray into the overpriced and overrated high-end coffee market place. Way to be 3 months late on that breaking story Comcast!

So picture me in my goofy outfit, on South St, now about to be interviewed by a "man-on-the-street" team concerning what I think about MCDonald's competing with Starbucks and who would I buy from.

I have no doubt that they were expecting my response to follow the same format of most folks they already interviewed today with something along the lines of "To me it look like a leprechaun, to me." so I decided to screw with them.

I was asked an honest question which I could have answers simply with a "I hate both and refuse to pay for coffee", which is really how I feel. Just for kicks though I decided to throw them a curve ball - unfortunately for them, brands, their products and their positioning is something that I evaluate daily for work.

I'm not sure if they were expecting a response chock full of coffee price point analysis, evaluation of emotional customer response and the reiteration of the fact that at Starbucks you're paying extra for a (canned) authentic & exclusive experience from an aspirational coffee brand.

I think by the time I was done I had two blank stares looking back at me, really not sure how to react. Hilarious.

My closing argument was at least soundbite worthy, "Prices aside, I am not sure how happy I am going to be trusting the same guy who makes the mcmuffins to craft me my high-end coffee."

No doubt a complex answer to a simple question. They definitely got more than they bargained for. I had to chuckle.

I just hope when they run the story there is no amateur sketch involved. Who all seen the leprechaun say yeah!

Anthony Bucci

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Rock & Roll, Motorcycles & High Fashion? ... The Perfect Storm

Guy Trebay of the NY Times wrote in an article today:

"Despite the wholesale plundering of biker culture by the design world, there is plenty of gold left to mine from this $9.7-billion industry. The average age of motorcyclists continues to increase, to 41 today, from 32 in 1990, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council. Yet, paradoxically, biker style looks fresher than ever. This, at least, was the impression one took away from the 27th Annual Cycle World International Motorcycle Show, which blew into Manhattan at the Javits Center last week."

If you don't know already my new company ( is focused on the "lifestyle" of the motorcyclist and lesser so on the parts they need to keep their rides running.

The article is great and basically speaks to and validates most things that we had speculated about in varying degrees up until this point. Its nice to see other like minded, non-hell's-angels taking notice of the readily apparent collision between utility inspired biker wares with high-end aspirational products and lifestyle apparel.

See the Article: Stealing From a Biker Gang

A great example is the striking similarities between the Xelement Biker Boots pictured above and Mark Nason Distortions pictured below. If I didn't tell you, could you tell that the Xelements are $75 and the Nason's cost $450?

Somewhere in my due diligence I picked up this snippet: Other than golf & motorcycles, its difficult to name another major lifestyle or hobby that people partake in from the time they are 5 years old until they die.

...and no World of Warcraft doesn't count.

Its tough to do, and considering I find golf to be about as exciting as Tolstoy - Motorcycles have been a front runner in my mind for launching a new lifestyle based business for a while. I really don't think I could write product descriptions about putters all day even if I had to.

Each day my partners and I evaluate and reevaluate our offering, competitive advantage, positioning and strategy based all available information.

Lately its been going extremely well, with traffic, conversion rate and revenues climbing steadily week by week. A few times it's felt like I am in the middle of the Perfect Storm, with things just falling into place.

Now if I can get Mark Nason to let me carry his boots and Tommy Lee to write a testimonial we'd be all set.

Anthony Bucci