Today’s posting, ironically perhaps, was a seedling that sprouted following a one line quip from David Lee Roth on his new radio show. Who said we are always highbrow anyway? Always have been, and probably always will be a fan of Diamond Dave. Might even consider eating an extra cheeseburger or two to see if he’ll show up in EMS attire with a defib. I digress…

Dave was discussing his opinions about people at large prefering their separate little silos (as opposed to a concert where James Brown opens for Led Zeppelin). He ended the bit saying something about pondering the issue further during the break while he sips at a Kabbalah water… laden with sarcasm. It put the bug back in my head… It’s something I’ve heard about and shaken my head at before, but chose to forget. No longer…

A little backstory… I was, overall, a fortunate youth. I got to spend my summers at a camp in Maine that had a well that tapped into the original Poland Spring. Let me just say that there’s nothing like pumping a glass of water out of a spring and drinking it while it’s naturally ice cold. Sadly, my attempts at being nostalgic today by drinking Poland Spring out of a plastic bottle (approximately 6 times a day), now a division of Nestle Waters North America, Inc. based in Greenwich, CT — nowhere near Poland, ME, fall short.

Bumping it up a notch as once local brands have been made national and global by big business (a single bottle of Poland Spring now might contain water from 6 or so springs – and might not actually have any water from Poland Spring), some marketing guru decided to get God on his side. The result, a product hocked by the Kabbalah Centre:

Kabbalah Water

A verbatim excerpt in case your hysterical laughter is preventing you from hitting the link…

The Kabbalistic blessings and meditations that are used to create Kabbalah Water, for example, bring about elegant and balanced crystalline structures in water, while negative consciousness has an opposite effect. This is hugely important. In a very literal way, Kabbalah Water is life’s original blueprint information brought into the modern world.

Can you say… CULT!!!

In a tangentally related story, Madonna has demanded upwards of 25 cases of Kabbalah Water backstage for a single concert. Hey Dennis Miller, you’ve been outdone by the Material Girl with “holy water” (he’s been rumored to have truckloads of Evian carted to his Los Angeles home to fill his hot tub).

The folks at the Kabbalah Centre claim it’s from a mountain spring. Not having purchased a bottle, I’m not certain if they specify the location(s) or which spring(s)… it ought to be a mountain with a burning bush, but my natural cynicism has me thinking the only thing religious here is a product full of “holy crap.”


I was planning on writing a lengthy analysis of the changing landscape of the consumer music business with the explosive growth of Apple’s iTunes, of which I am a huge fan, and some others in the online music space. In thinking it through though, I think this photograph I took is living proof that “a picture is worth 1000 words…”



About six months ago we ordered a pizza for dinner. When it showed up, instead of the corny “You’ve tried all the rest, now try the best” slogan, it was a bright turquoise box with a huge Snapple advertisement across the front.

My first thought was that this was the brilliant idea of a creative advertising executive. Not only minimal spend for maximum exposure, but a pennies on the dollar spend. Simplified, figure that Snapple negotiated a deal with a pizza box manufacturer to pay for the production and discounted distribution of the boxes (providing incentive to both the manufacturer and the local pizzerias). If the campaign was for 100,000 boxes, it might have cost Snapple a total of $150,000 and represents an inconsequential percentage of Snapple’s annual advertising budget for exposure that probably lasted over a month.

There are of course there are limitations to this genius. While soft drinks certainly go hand-in-hand with pizza in terms of product placement, I seriously doubt if a Volkswagen or Jeep add on a pizza box would incline anyone to consider looking at a new car.

On another note, Columbia Pictures recently struck a deal with Major League Baseball to place “Spiderman 2” logos on the bases during pre-game play. Despite the public outcry that caused MLB to balk at a bigger ($3.6 million) nationwide marketing deal, what was the studio executive who made that decision thinking in the first place? If advertising is about gaining mindshare to drive sales, is there logic in thinking that placement of a movie logo on a base that most spectators can hardly see will drive ticket sales? And how could you even begin to measure the success of the campaign. One might argue that the negative reaction of fans got enough people talking to make it a viral smash hit. The question for the studio is was that the intention of the executive from the start, or was it a stroke of luck?

Hollywood studios often have marketing budgets for their tentpole pictures that approach the production costs. While an automobile advertisement on a pizza box is a ridiculous notion, the marketing of a movie could be a brilliant win-win-win for everyone (and at a whole lot less than $3.6 million).

Here’s how it works:

First, the studio starts strikes a distribution deal with a national chain like Domino’s to produce and distribute the desired number of branded boxes over the desired timeframe (of course the same thing could also be done nationwide or regionally with local pizzerias in the Snapple fashion). Next, they put a code onto the ad (this will be made clear in a minute). Last, they strike a deal with and/or to allow customers to purchase tickets for showings using the code from the ad before they go on sale to the public.

How it’s a win-win-win:

Hollywood Studio

Win #1: Using $1.50 as the per box price (which I’d be willing to guess is VERY conservative), a one million box campaign would carry a cost of $1,500,000, which is still less than half of the proposed MLB campaign above.

Win #2: Instead of select 3 hour windows, the campaign lasts about a month and has repeated placement for people who buy more than one pizza a month.

Win #3: In conjunction with and/or, depending on the nature of the code placed on the box, the success of the campaign can be measured. A single code would be a straight “click-through” measurement (100,000 pre-sold tickets = 10% conversion). Regional or individual box codes allow for potentially quite a bit more data about the individual ticket buyer.

Domino’s (or pizza box manufacturer and local pizzeria)

Win #1: Cash and/or lower cost of operations for duration of campaign.

Win #2: Depending on the nature of the code in the advertisment, the promotion could drive sales in pizza during the campaign.

Win #3: Product tie-in. and/or

Win #1: Pre-sale of tickets at full price (with full markup).

Win #2: In conjunction with the Hollywood studio, depending on the nature of the code placed on the box, the success of the campaign can be measured. A single code would be a straight “click-through” measurement (100,000 pre-sold tickets = 10% conversion). Regional or individual box codes allow for potentially quite a bit more data about the individual ticket buyer.

We are no doubt continuing to approach a world in which all once free space is sadly occupied with advertisements. Some will be interesting and viable for business, others will be despicable, and sinkholes for both society and corporate bottom lines. For more reading, ABC News’ Buck Wolf posted an editorial this morning on the subject entitled All the World’s an Ad.