The Curator’s News Feed: March 30, 2012

After a week hiatus while certain members of the Curator team were down in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo for a client event (read Ann Marie's link below for more) our favorite stories of the week are back. Are you buying Starbucks as a juice-maker? What do you think about Kraft Foods' new international arm? And what brands are you totally cultish about?

National Trend 'Mobs' Local Businesses With Cash, NPR. An interesting extension of the flash mob concept is now the “cash mob” idea. A group of people gather at a local small business to spend money and show their support of local businesses. They are encouraged to buy something, even small, at full price. It’s quite the departure from the Groupon or Living Social concept of hugely slashing prices to get a quick influx of cash that often doesn’t lead to long term customers anyway. The other interesting part of the concept is that it is not only aimed to support the local shop owners, it’s also a way to meet people. Aside from spending a bit of money, gatherers are also encouraged to meet at least three new people. In the days of online shopping, huge sales and multi-million dollar retail giants, it’s nice to revert back to the good old days of supporting the local guys and having a bit of an “outing” while you’re at it!  - Julia

Learning to speak Mondelēz, Wall St. Journal. Kraft Foods is drawing some mixed reviews for the name recently announced for its international arm. Mondelēz, (pronounced mohn-dah-LEEZ) may sound more like a dialect than a snack, but Kraft is hoping the new moniker will communicate their focus on delicious foods on a global scale. How to you get that from Mondelēz? Simple; “Monde” is based on the Latin word for “world,” and "delēz” is – well – a made up word for “delicious." One could argue that manufactured words have worked great for some (Google, Lexus, Twitter, etc.) but they have something on their side that Mondelēz doesn’t, namely, phonics. The other challenge is the macron above the second E. While it may help with the pronunciation, it presents a challenge for the marketing team who will have to insert the symbol a dozen or so times in each communication. What do you think; did Kraft make the right move? – Matthew

Seattle television star makes TV social, This experimental show from KIRO kicked off last week tonight and blended social media and traditional TV, with both online and then TV components. It was very interesting to see how it all came together. – Dan

2012's Food & Wine Festival in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Eater. WARNING! A little client-focused reading ahead. I’m reliving a little of the magic from last week’s FOOD & WINE Festival in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo through this post on Carolyn Alburger traveled with us last week and took in all of the demos, tastings and parties. She did a fantastic job capturing the fun and personality of this amazing culinary adventure. Take a look and then consider joining us next year. - Ann Marie

Starbucks Gets Juiced, Wall Street Journal. By now everyone’s heard of Starbucks’ newest endeavor, Evolution Fresh, but I’m still fascinated by the company’s recent move and business concept. I have to give them props for hopping on the healthy lifestyle bandwagon, but it provides a further proof-point that the company continues to move away from the look and feel of the traditional coffee shop that so many of us Seattleites still love. Given the growing media attention and spotlight shining on education around healthy eating choices, I think Evolution Fresh may just be the ticket to propel Starbucks into its next phase of success. However, it will be interesting to see how the brand’s image evolves and consumer reactions as Starbucks takes another large step away from Seattle’s little coffee shop.  - Annie

Why Drive Up To A Theater, When You Can Float Up To It? Fast Company Design. I came across this picture on (where else?) Pinterest this week and it jumped out at me. Who wouldn’t want to watch a movie while floating in the middle of a lagoon outside of Yao Noi, Thailand? This particular movie going experience was put on by Film on the Rocks Yao Noi and designed by architect Ole Scheeren who built the large raft out of recycled materials. Sign me up for the next showing! – Megan

Uniqlo in Seattle? Seattle Met. We work with West Elm and Whole Foods, so we know a bit about brands with rabid fans. My personal cult brand obsession – as in, if I’m in a city that has an outpost I WILL NOT LEAVE until I visit it – is Uniqlo. While it’s sometimes known as the Japanese take on the Gap or American Apparel, it is so much more than that. High quality yet affordable cashmere in a rainbow of colors, flattering Japanese-produced denim, partnerships with designers like Jil Sander…it’s no wonder that this blog post from Seattle Met hinting that the store might be opening in Seattle caused a flurry of excitement. Uniqlo’s verrrrry slow US rollout (they only have three stores in the States, all in Manhattan) has helped drive that anticipation among American consumers, and I can only imagine the fervor once they finally open here. The bummer of the piece is that it’s only the faintest of rumors at this point. I want my chic $100 trenchcoat, darn it! – Lisa