Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Last insightful thoughts before leaving Amsterdam

Some friendly advice regarding retail marketing operations in Europe

Still on a roll in Amsterdam. Hey, local merchants? Listen up. Unless there is a disproportionate number of cat-lovers in Amsterdam, and you plan to do business only with them, then you really need to rethink the whole cat-in-the-display thing.


Okay, so that’s kind of cute, unless you’ve had a lot of experience with finding cat poo in your flower pots. But I’m less convinced about the appeal of this:


Note that the restaurant has had to slash its prices for "new herring" and is still totally empty at about 8 p.m.

Finally, this simply does not work for me – even if that’s only display bread.


Taking a broader look around Europe, it occurs to me that the names of many European products and services would have to be changed for successful sales in the U.S. Remember the story about how the Chevrolet "Nova" had trouble selling in Latin America because "no va" means "no go" or "doesn’t work" in Spanish? I can’t say that I saw anything quite so good here in Europe, but here are a few anyway.

Our grocery store in Boogie, Germany was an outlet of a very successful chain of grocery superstores. It’s name? Toom.

Here is a very popular bottled juice found in Belgium and the Netherlands. If you drink it in the U.S., you are a ___


Easier to market, but with some risk of sending the wrong message: Beligum’s "Hoegaarden Beer." The Hoegaarden coasters looked, at first glance, like Europe’s most dull and artless beer coasters,


but on further inspection, there may be more to them:


What exactly goes on in the Hoegaarden? Check out their "Forbidden Fruit" beer, here.

Finally, Germany’s "Sportlife" chewing gum seems well enough –


– until you check out the ad on the back of the wrapper:


Whuh??? I think "Sportlife" needs to lose that ad on the back. Or, I don’t know, maybe keep it.


And Coca-Cola's original introduction of Mr. PiBB into the German market was greeted with catcalls because the stylized B's look like a sharp S in German.
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