Wonderful Pistachios SodaStream
Paramount Pictures GoDaddy.co
Anheuser-Busch Universal Pictures
Anheuser-Busch Anheuser-Busch Anheuser-Busch
Horse and trainer reunited Miracle Stain
Deion Sanders returns Deal with the devil
Goat 4 Sale
God Made A Farmer Families waiting
The Rock - Superhero
Bud Light Voodoo Doll
PSY Gangnam Style
The effect of SodaStream Asking Amy Poehler
Kid assembles team
Get Happy office guy
Rav4 wish granted
Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan Thank you
Star Trek trailer
Danica Patrick pilots plane Guy doing laundry
Bud Light lucky chair
Fast & Furious 6 trailer Wedding faints
Whispering in the library Iron Man 3 trailer
Puppy is a wolf
Parents like to party Jocks Love Jared - 15 yrs.
Tracy Morgan anthem Halftime show countdown Jocks can’t say Februany Passing obstacles
Baby getting wealthy
Epic play date
My new Blackberry
Guy needs his t-shirt Lifeguard
Jimmy Fallon - Road Trip Guy in underwear
Black Crown party
Black Crown “coronation” Viva Young
Bar Refaeli "Kiss"
Ad Meter Score
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My Day As A USA Today Expert Super Bowl Ad Panelist
My Super Bowl is usually spent watching the game and eating some nachos and cheesesteaks. All that changed last week when I was invited to participate as a member on the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Panel, rating each and every Super Bowl ad for the paper’s annual Ad Meter Ranking. See: http://admeter.usatoday.com
It was a very interesting experience having to focus and evaluate every ad. I kept getting emails from a USA Today staffer asking my thoughts and opinions on different ads as we progressed through the night. For the most part, my rankings pretty much agreed with the consumer polling. I ranked the Budweiser Clydesdale “Horse and Trainer Reunited” as the top ad, followed by Tide’s “Montana Miracle Stain”, and Kia’s “Space Babies”.
One place where I separated from the poll was on the evaluation of Dodge Ram’s “God Made A Farmer” (3rd place) and Jeep’s “Families Waiting / Troops” (5th place). Both of those ads were touching, poignant, and terrific pieces of art -- Norman Rockwell paintings on video -- which stirred patriotism and pride in the USA. But where I had a problem with the ads was they didn’t relate at all to their brands. Either could have been produced by any American company (McDonalds, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Ford, Chevrolet, etc.).
Don’t get me wrong, both ads were fantastic, but I’m not sure that they will drive sales. In my days back at Coca-Cola, there were several ads that consumers really liked, particularly “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” and “Mean Joe Greene”. Both increased the number of consumers who said Coke was their favorite soft drink, but as the “favorite soft drink” rating increased, actual sales volume was flat or slightly declining. The gap between these two numbers we came to term as “virtual consumption”. Companies don’t like it when advertising creates virtual consumption, they want real consumption. I think the Dodge and Jeep ads will both increase consumers “liking” perception of the brands, but I don’t think it will translate into increased sales – they will create “virtual consumption”.
Here are some of the notes I made while watching the commercials:
Budweiser Clydesdales: It was as brilliantly produced as a Hallmark special. It's hard to strike that emotional chord, but Budweiser nailed it. We all enjoy a good love story, and Budweiser pulled it off in just :60 seconds. The ad was sweet and heartfelt. It was the only commercial that made me cry.
Tide “Montana Miracle Stain”: Brilliant. Topical, fun, and the product is the hero, getting rid of the Montana stain!
Doritos: Eating Doritos was clearly the hero, and both ads told the story in humorous, relevant yet unexpected ways.
Go-Daddy “Kissing”: The ad was intentionally designed to create “water cooler talk” after the game. Go-Daddy regularly tries to offend people’s sensibilities with their Super Bowl ads to get attention. “Say whatever you want about me, just spell my name right” is the strategy. It works. Their entire brand has been built on titillating Super Bowl advertising.
In the Super Bowl, creativity and entertainment value often get in the way of marketing effectiveness. Agencies consider a great spot to be wildly creative and entertaining. But creativity and entertainment doesn't always equal brand communication effectiveness.
Great advertising should show creativity, entertain, and be relevant yet unexpected -- making your product the hero. Tide’s “Montana Miracle Stain”, Milk's " The Rock - Morning Run" where our superhero can't save the world until he's had his milk; KIA's "Space Babies" where the car has an answer for everything -- each of these were winners from a brand communication standpoint. They were fun to watch and made their product standout as the superhero of the day.
Some of the worst ads -- those that did nothing to showcase their products, included Cars.com "Wolf", Axe "Lifeguard", and Lincoln's "Jimmy Falllon -Steer the Script". While creative, their products were secondary, and got lost in the spots. Budweiser disappointed me and made me feel inferior with their whole “Black Dressed Cool People” the “Black Crown party”, and “Coronation”.
And one other thing, the E-Trade baby is tired and needs to be retired. Several Super Bowls ago, E-Trade had one of the best Super Bowl commercials ever, entitled "Money Coming Out The Wazzoo", where a man being rushed to the hospital ER was being hospitalized because he had "Money Coming Out His Wazzoo". They need to find that mojo again.
We all know that person who can gripe about anything. A beautiful day with blue skies and 78 degrees (wouldn’t that be nice right about now), and they complain about pollens making them sneeze, or bugs, or….
While it isn’t politically correct to gripe, this week in my marketing classes I took off the gloves for an hour and declared our time together as “The World’s Largest Gripe Session”. Complain to you delight! What bugs you? What do you hate!
It was wonderful. Everything from “I hate scraping ice off the inside windows of my car”, to “I hate not having a place to put my backpack under my seat”, to “I hate when the dryer eats my socks.” In just one hour the class generated over 1,500 complaints and gripes! Why did I open up the class to nothing but negativism and criticism? Because within gripes and complaints are the seeds for innovation!
NOW we will take those seeds of problems and use them as inspiration in DESIGN THINKING, designing and creating new products and services to solve these very problems. For example, using the three examples above, great new product ideas jump out -- what about a hot can of air to melt the inside ice on your car window? or an ice scraper with the right bend to conform to scraping the INSIDE of your car window? Or adding backpack holders under the seats in classrooms (similar to the holders on the “California Adventure” ride at Disneyland? Or what about “Snap Socks” where your sock all now have a snap at the top to snap them together before washing and drying so that one of them doesn’t fall prey to the dryer monster?
If you are looking for new ideas, BEFORE you start brainstorming, do a giant gripe session to identify problem areas, and your time spent creating new ideas will be much more fruitful and useful!
Everyone thinks that Apple is brilliant. Phooey. What kind of genius company takes their best-selling products and discontinues them, introducing an upgrade virtually every year? Apple! Did the world really need an iPhone 2, iPhone 3, iPhone 4, iPhone 5; iPad, iPad 2, The New iPad, mini iPad? Did they ask for an iPod, iPod mini, iPod Touch, or an iPod Shuffle? Not only did the world need these upgrades; they demanded them!
Apple IS brilliant. They understand the importance of innovation, of having a healthy dissatisfaction for the status quo. Apple has an inbred DNA that says, “we can do better”, and then goes out and does it
Look at the personal music player business segment. For decades, SONY dominated the market with its Walkman, first introduced in 1979. They did very little innovation to the product. Every five years, from 1979 to 1999, they celebrated their anniversary with a new cassette model introduced on July 1. Every FIVE years!
In 2001, Apple introduced the first iPod, using digital storage instead of cassettes or CD’s. They introduced the iTunes store from which customers could acquire their music. And instantly, the Walkman was dead.
By all rights, SONY should be the dominant player in personal music. They had worldwide domination of the category with their players. But they didn’t do what Apple did…innovate, and vertically integrate. Instead of saying, “lets sell a new digital music player”, Apple said “lets sell music AND a digital music player, and an online storage vault for our customers to store their music and download onto other Apple devices.” Game over. Apple won. And what is sometimes lost in this history is that at the time of Apple’s move into music, it was a struggling computer company that was popular only in the graphic-designers market.
It’s been said that courage is the willingness to innovate when you don’t have to. It’s easy to change when your business is on the rocks, but when things are going well, it takes real courage to say, “let’s make it better”. Studies have shown that companies that have innovation as part of their primary business model average over 15% profit margins, the highest in most industries. Why? Because they are in-tune with their customer needs, constantly working to improve and make their products even better and more relevant to their changing needs. The SONY example clearly shows that when you are self-satisfied and stand-still, that’s when you are most vulnerable, as somebody will surely come from behind and run-you-over, and you likely won’t even see it coming. Every business should learn from Apple, and start working on an innovation pipeline and start hiring innovation managers to lead their innovation initiatives.
More than 8 out of every 10 young adults (ages 18-34) that have acquired a new mobile device in the past nine months have chosen a smartphone, according to recent Nielsen data. More than 70 percent of young adults now own a smartphone – up over 25% in the past year.
The marketing implications of this are huge. Email had become the forgotten tool in reaching young adults, as they weren’t checking their email accounts often enough to be effective – on average just once in the evening, or every few days -- when it was tethered to a PC or laptop. But now, email is back in vogue, with the majority of smartphone users reporting that they check email multiple times each day on their phones – often within seconds of an emails arrival.
The shift to smartphones from PC’s / laptops is also increasing the viability of mobile payment systems. ISIS mobile wallet service is testing a “Tap ‘N Go” service where you just tap your smartphone in front of the ISIS device and it works like a debit card, automatically making a payment from your phone. But when it comes to making purchases, most smartphone users prefer to access a mobile website rather than using a mobile app downloaded to their phone, fearing that apps could access other sensitive data stored on the smartphone device.
Sports marketing is really very simple. It’s about figuring out ways to put butts in seats. It’s very different from typical product marketing / branding, which focuses on the product and its inherent benefits. Sports marketing is all about creating interest, hype & hope -- rallying the fans to pull money out of their wallets and buy a ticket to a particular game.
The unique benefit sports teams have over consumer products is that their customers truly are “fans”. Fans make deep, emotional connections to the team, very different from being a loyal user of a particular product. I may be a 100% loyal user of Heinz, but I don’t develop the same kind of emotional bond with my Ketchup bottle as I do with my “team”.
Sports marketing is focused on generating interest in “the collective team”, not a single player or superstar. Players come and go, but the team – the logo – remain constant. While a sports marketer should leverage its key players, focusing all efforts on building the brand on the back of a player can backfire when the player’s contract expires and he or she moves on (see Williams, Deron), or when a hamstring gets pulled and the player can’t play (see Boozer, Carlos).
Sports marketing is about pricing the product correctly. Many sports teams let their Chief Financial Officer drive ticket-pricing decisions. That’s not the way to do it. Pricing decisions should be derived from a combination of ticket demand estimation and historical pricing data, as well as a realistic assessment of the team’s chances of success and the competitive environment of the local marketplace. Just because the Los Angeles Lakers can charge $5,000 for courtside seats doesn’t mean the Golden State Warriors can do the same. Different markets have different levels of team success, different levels of optimism to account for, and different historical pricing data to analyze.
When I took over the marketing of the Utah Jazz, our season ticket base was around 6,700 seats. After doing a hefty analysis of our historical pricing data and the competitive environment – and coming off a less-than-stellar 23 game win season - I convinced Team President Denny Haslam that we needed to drop prices on over 75% of the arena seats. My analysis had shown that in most of the upper-deck pricing sections, we’d make a lot more money by dropping the prices significantly. We did so, and within 18 months the Jazz had vaulted to #1 in the NBA in season ticket sales (15,400 seats), and our gross revenue per game increased some 40%. Once the demand for tickets increased, THEN we slowly increased ticket prices again.
Sports teams make-or-break their sales on season tickets. It’s much easier and efficient to sell 43 games than one-at-a-time. My first season at the Jazz we faced the challenge of selling nearly 13,000 single-game tickets to every game – an impossible task for a great many of the home games, particularly those early in the season against less than stellar opponents (re: New Jersey Nets or Cleveland Cavaliers). But by more effectively re-pricing the season tickets – many as low as $5.00 per game – we reduced the number of single-game tickets we needed to move to only around 3,500 per game – which is relatively easy to do. As a result, we sold out 54 or 56 consecutive home games the next season, and for the remainder of my stay with the Jazz, we sold on average about 95% of available tickets.
One single-game ticketing experiment that interests me greatly has been conducted by the San Francisco Giants for the past three seasons. They partnered with a company called Qcue, which has developed a variable pricing software platform that allows sports teams to charge different single-game ticket prices for different games based on demand. The Qcue software monitors ticket sales, ticket availability, and demand (as well as a qualitative assessment of opponent, day of week, weather, or other things that could affect demand that the Giants staff can input for each home game). The Qcue software adjusts priced daily to maximize sales and revenue. I met with Giants officials when they were entering season 2 of their affiliation with Qcue, and they were extremely happy with the results, seeing a 15% average bump in single-game ticket sales revenues. The way it worked was very interesting. For the same seat, pricing could vary from $8.00 for a weekday April game against the Arizona Diamondbacks to $50.00 for a July weekend game against the Dodgers (the Giants hated rivals). The Qcue system altered prices daily to make sure each section sells out. The system seems to be working – the Giants have sold out virtually every home game over the past three seasons since they began using the Qcue system.
So how do you sell single-game tickets? Create hype. It’s all Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey. Hype the game like it’s the most important event in team history, that missing it will ruin your life for time and all eternity. Hype, hype, hype. It’s OK to leverage the opponent’s assets. “See the Spurs three-headed monster of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli”. It’s very simple. Use social media to make special offers, especially “late” offers close to game time. Thirty minutes before tipoff, text out 50% off tickets for all remaining seats. Those seats are worthless once the game begins.
I enjoy watching sports on weekends, especially this time of year. Baseball is in full swing, college and NFL football is getting underway, and the start of NBA training camp is just a month away.
On my DirecTV package I can see the “local” broadcasts of teams, and I pay particular attention to the advertising the teams play on their own broadcasts to promote themselves. I see a lot of ads that are created to show a family at a game or the fun of the ballpark – quasi branding ads – but that is not what today’s fans want. They don’t want just an experience. They want a PREMIUM experience.
In sports, the brand of the team is developed over time and is entwined with the game experience and the team heritage. For the Los Angeles Dodgers, the brand is great players - Jackie Robinson, Gil Hodges, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Orel Hershiser and others; great managers – Walter Alston & Tommy Lasorda, the O’Malley family, Branch Rickey, Brooklyn, and Dodger Stadium. It’s Vin Scully. It’s the home white and road grey uniforms that are the same today as in 1957. It’s Dodger Dogs, Helen Dell and Nancy Bea Hefley on the Dodger Stadium Hammond organ, and John Ramsey at the Dodger Stadium microphone. It’s that consistency of experience. It is that the Dodger game my dad took me to in 1963 isn’t much different than the experience I can provide to my sons when I take them to a game in 2012.
The expectation of the typical sports fan has changed however. When ticket prices were $10, the expectation was for a “normal” experience. With prices for many sports events now $100 or more per ticket, the expectation has risen along with it. Now, sports marketers need to pay homage to the brand heritage and they also need to figure out a way to offer a PREMIUM experience to their fans. With their primary task of filling the seats with fans, that is a very different skill set from a typical marketing manager who cut their teeth in consumer packaged goods and spent the majority of time on branding and not promotion. In sports, it’s all about selling season tickets and creating great promotions for single-game ticket sales.
In college sports, particularly football, many schools don’t have a strong brand heritage from which to draw. Utah State University for example really only has one bona-fide All-American – the late Merlin Olsen – and much of its football heritage is forgettable. So what can a school or team like this do to put butts-in-seats?
Create a premium pre-game dining and socializing experience that fans and alumni WANT to be a part of! Copy what other successful teams / schools do and make it your own. Right now, a Utah State University football game experience is not much different than going to a high school game. You show up 20 minutes before game time, the band is playing while you walk up to your seats, grab a $3.00 hot dog and a Coke, and the game begins.
Why do fans pay $100-$200 per game to attend a Jazz game? What do BYU and the U of U offer fans to create a “premium” pre-game experience? FOOD & socializing /networking opportunities – that’s what. Utah State University needs to create premium experiences available to alumni so they can rub shoulders with important alumni, business leaders, and University leaders at Aggie home games.
At Utah Ute games, the pre-game suite dinner area is a who’s-who of CEO’s, politicians, and Salt Lake elite; at BYU, the suite dinner area has LDS leaders, CEO’s and important alumni, and in the “Sponsor Tent” is a giant buffet for 1,000 important sponsors and alumni where the band marches through, the cheerleaders and Cosmo come to visit, and the University President stops by to shake hands. When you enter the tent, you are always given a premium – a hat, a pom-pom, a pin, a poster – and a game program. Fans, eat, socialize, and THEN go out to watch the football game. And at halftime, they go back into the tent for some dessert. Food is the key. Fans want a premium eating experience, not a half-warmed hot dog for $3.00. Wrap the price of the buffet into my ticket price, give me the opportunity to hob-nob with the USU elite.
Create this experience, and season ticket sales will follow. Then, all you need to worry about is figuring out a plan for single-game sales. More on that subject next time.
For more information on effective marketing, check out my new book “The Smart Marketer’s Toolbox”, available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle - http://amzn.to/QPj5MV.
For the past several months, I've been working on an update to the marketing book I wrote back in 1998 entitled "The Marketing Game, How the World's Best Companies Play to Win". What started out as an "update" turned into almost an entirely new book. It is amazing to look back over the past 25 years to see how much marketing has changed. I think back to the day I started at P&G. No internet. No email. No computers that we could use. If you wanted to write a memo, you had to dictate it onto a hand-held cassette player and give it to your administrative assistant to have it typed.
Even going back ten years, you didn't have social media, DVR's, Smartphones, Wi-Fi, apps, or any number of hardware / software solutions that can now aid in marketing efforts. Nowadays, marketing revolves around technology. It didn't used to be so, and the changes that needed to be made are significant.
The new book is entitled "The Smart Marketer's Toolbox - the latest marketing innovations and how to use them to grow your business." It is available on Kindle right now for $9.99 - http://amzn.to/MVNT2r. It will be available on Amazon in paperback in just a few days for $17.99. There is a lot of new material that is pretty cool. Give it a read and let me know what you think.
Consumers are lazy. Once they have made a conscience decision to purchase a particular product or service, it’s almost impossible to get them to change to a competitor’s offering, so long as prices and the competitive landscape remain relatively stable. If you regularly buy Dove soap, it’s almost impossible to convince you to switch to Dial soap. If you prefer Heinz Ketchup, it’s highly unlikely you will switch to Hunt’s.
For brands, products and services in market leadership positions, that’s great news. Consumer lethargy makes it almost impossible to screw up. For everyone else, it sets a clear challenge – in order to successfully introduce a new product or service and capture significant sales, you must disrupt marketplace equilibrium by offering the customer something significantly different, better and special versus the current product or service offerings.
This is a high hurdle. Think about maps for example. For a hundred years, when we went off on our summer vacation, we bought a few paper maps (remember how fun they were to try to fold up?), a road atlas, and off we trekked to adventure. Do we use paper maps anymore? No. We now have GPS maps on our smartphones or Garmin maps installed in our automobiles that automatically navigate us to our destinations. The GPS disrupted marketplace equilibrium in the paper maps and road atlas categories, offering customers a significantly better product than what already existed. Maps and road atlas’s were effectively put out-of-business.
VCR’s are another example. In 2000, 99% of households used a VCR as their primary appliance for watching movies and recorded programs. In 2006, DVD players for the first time were in more homes (84%) than VCR’s (79%). High Definition Televisions were in only 10 percent of homes.
Fast forward to 2012 – just six short years later, and 69% of homes have at least one HDTV, 90% own a DVD player, 38% have a Blu-ray DVD player; 41% have a Digital Video Recorder (DVR); and VCR usage has plummeted to under 10%. Did the DVD player kill VCR’s? No. In fact, it took DVD players 14 years to push by VCR players in home penetration. It wasn’t until HDTV’s started getting into homes that VCR’s died. Why? Because played on a High-Definition TV, a digital picture from a DVD was significantly better than that from an analog VCR tape. When the two formats were played on old analog TV’s, there wasn’t much difference in picture quality. But high-definition TV’s made the digital pictures come to life, making DVD players suddenly a significantly better product for movie playback than a VCR.
So if you are a budding entrepreneur, is what you are cooking up for your new business so good that it will be disruptive to your product or service category? If it isn’t, you better have deep pockets and be prepared to spend a ton of money on advertising to try to win over some customers. Oh yeah, and remember, if what you are selling isn’t different, getting customers to switch is almost impossible. They won’t switch until you give them a real reason to.
One of the harsh realities of marketing is that advertising won’t reach all your potential consumers. Even the best, most expensive campaigns only reach up to 70% of target consumers. Moreover, many products aren’t good candidates for advertising. The only place where you are absolutely guaranteed the opportunity to speak to consumers about your product is at the point of purchase. If a shopper is standing at the store shelf ready to select an item to buy, and your product is displayed as part of the competitive set, only then do you have a 100% chance to communicate why they should buy your brand instead of somebody else’s.
Extra - Extra - Read All About It!!!
Consumers make purchases because they are seeking the benefit the product provides. Obvious, isn’t it? So it follows that the best place to trumpet the benefits of your product is on the front of your packaging. That’s where you tell the consumer that your brand delivers the desired benefit better than all those other Joe-schmo competitive products on the shelf.
More often than not, marketers overlook this apparent no-brainer. They mistakenly assume that consumers know what their product is and what it does, so they just slap the brand name on the label with the required legalese and very little fanfare. Big mistake. Sure, shoppers who have used your brand in the past know what your product does and how to use it, but unless you control 100% market share and have no competition, you are losing potential consumers who for one reason or another are buying your competitor’s product. These are precisely the folks to whom your packaging should be talking! If a shopper is using your product and likes it, you won’t have to work hard to get him to buy again. Savvy marketers know that the real money lies in attracting new users and stealing competitive share!
Package copy is no time to be shy -- you need to think like a carnival barker. Go take a look at the products in a typical store that are category leaders. Most of them shout to the consumer what benefit the product delivers. A sampling of the front package copy from some powerhouse brands:
Windex Glass Cleaner: More Cleaning Power! Streak-Free Shine with Ammonia D.
Dow Disinfectant Bathroom Cleaner with Scrubbing Bubbles. Removes Soap Scum Easily!
Drano Clog Remover: Opens Drains Fast! Safe for Pipes.
ChapStick Lip Balm: Helps heal and prevent dry, chapped lips.
Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer: Kills 99.99% of Germs Without Water or Towels.
Downy Ultra Care: Helps Keep Clothes Soft and Looking Like New.
Bounty Paper Towels: The Quilted Quicker Picker-Upper.
Kleenex Cold Care Tissues: Softest Tissue Made! Ultra Comfort.
The world’s best marketers are always searching for new ways to create competitive advantage through packaging innovation. Developing packaging that performs better than the competition is a great way to differentiate your product to consumers. Packaging innovations can usually be protected by patents, which provides your consumers with a demonstrable and meaningful reason to purchase your product.
When liquid laundry detergent was first introduced, consumers loved the product and how easily it dissolved in their wash, but they didn’t like the messy bottle caps. The caps were designed for measuring and pouring the detergent into the wash, but when consumers replaced the cap on the bottle, the liquid detergent leaked around the cap edges causing a gooey mess. To solve this problem, the Tide brand team developed an innovative package design for no-spill tops on their liquid Tide bottles. The bottle top was designed to channel the liquid detergent from the cap back into the bottle, leaving the cap edges clean. The Liquid Tide bottle is protected by no fewer than 13 patents, making it difficult for competition to mimic and offers Tide a distinctive long-term competitive advantage.
Why did it take until the mid-2000’s for shampoo brands to start installing the large flat caps so that you can stand your bottle upside-down to get the last 20% of shampoo to come out of the bottle? Seems like a no-brainer. Same with the ketchup bottle.
When you consider these examples, it’s easy to see why they work. The tricky part is developing the packaging strategies in the first place. It is common to become so caught up in the process of choosing colors and fonts, developing labels and solving manufacturing problems that you stop asking the question, how could it be different or better? How does the consumer use my product? How could I make her life easier or more pleasant?
Step back from the creative process, and get functional once in a while. Worry about pull tabs versus screw tops, and whether your product reseals easily. These are the unglamorous steps to successful packaging, yet can lead to huge gains. Think about the re-sealable Oreo Cookie package and how that innovation has made that package much more desirable and functional than any other cookie brand? Do you think it’s helped grow sales? You bet it has.