Why TGI Fridays’ Hail Mary Won’t Appeal to Conscious Consumers

By now, you have probably heard about TGI Fridays’ latest promotion, endless appetizers. If you haven’t, the deal is straightforward: Any consumer can choose one of seven appetizers, ranging from mozzarella sticks to bruschetta to spinach dip, and get as many free “refills” on that specific order as they’d like for $10.

In one way, you could look at it as a marketer’s dream, as the brand has not seen press like this in years. People are actually talking about TGI Fridays. Even David Letterman.

On the other hand, if you watched that video or read this Huffington Post article, you might agree that this ploy seems like a “Hail Mary” attempt to bring new customers into Fridays restaurants. As Aaron Allen, a restaurant consultant said in the article:

“In the short term, they will definitely have more traffic, but in the long term … Read More »



Conscious Consumer values: Honesty

About a year ago at the LOHAS conference in Boulder I got to hear Seth Goldman, “TeaEO” of Honest Tea talk about his company, their acquisition by Coca Cola, and maintaining their Conscious Consumer values post-acquisition. While that’s a meaty topic of its own, one of the things Seth shared with the conference attendees was a fun social experiment from Honest Tea called The National Honesty Index.

The index measures honesty in cities across the U.S. (Note that Honest Tea is clear that this is a loose social experiment, not a scientific study) by installing Honest Tea “honor system” kiosks in busy public spaces. Passers by see the Honest Tea displays with a collection box in the middle, requesting $1 per bottle (all of which is donated to charity). With hidden cameras and undercover employees capturing demographic information about those who pay … Read More »



The Minnesota Zoo taps into Conscious Consumer passions

One of the best things about working at an ad agency is the diversity of clients and learning the ins and outs of their businesses. One day we might be learning about the sustainable farming practices of Red Gold tomatoes and the next, the value of public transportation and Metro Transit’s contribution to a healthy economy. It’s this diversity that keeps our creativity churning and our curiosity sharp.

A few months ago, we re-launched the Minnesota Zoo website. This was a dream project for me. I love animals and have been passionate about their conservation since I was a kid – visiting my local zoo, subscribing to National Geographic, sponsoring animals and more. This passion has lead me into the jungles, oceans, treetops, deserts and plains throughout the world – always learning more about the complexity of nature and marveling at … Read More »



Aligning values with purchase

What if I told you that 90% of American adults have indicated that they will buy your product over others if they know you have shared values? And what if I told you that 49% would pay more for your product or service? Again, if you have shared values or at least can show that you are working toward a positive benefit for others. We recently closed our second study of Conscious Consumers and that is exactly what they are indicating. The specific question was:

For companies that incorporate values into their business model, are you willing to pay more for their products or services?

The answer is a clear yes. And even if they are not willing to pay more, they have indicated they are willing to switch if price is aligned with others in the category. Some may require you … Read More »



How Minneapolis is marketing to Conscious Consumers

A few months ago I wrote about the planned reconstruction and reconfiguration of the once iconic Nicollet Mall here in Minneapolis that is expected to begin this time next year. Another initiative is running a parallel path (literally and figuratively) along Hennepin Avenue.

Recently, the Minneapolis City Council approved a plan to create a Hennepin Cultural District stretching from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to the Mississippi Riverfront in an effort to unify the businesses and organizations and make Hennepin Avenue a more inviting place.

It is the evolution of the Hennepin Theatre Trust from owner and operator of four theatres to a broader definition of what “culture” means along this two-mile stretch. In addition to performing arts, the Hennepin Cultural District will include a wide range of activities funded largely by an “Our Town” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

All of these initiatives roll … Read More »