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Jon Bird

Jon Bird


The day that retail changed forever

Jon Bird witnesses a critical baton passing moment for retail.

Retail roars at the Cannes Lions

Jon Bird looks at retail’s presence at the recent Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

The age of the shopper is now

The iconic television series, Mad Men, recently ended its seven-season run.

The Honest Co: a company for today?

Jon Bird takes a glimpse at a trail blazing celebrity with an honest to goodness retail business strategy.

Super Bowl 2015: The biggest game in marketing

The streets of the Pacific Northwest’s biggest city were eerily deserted on Super Bowl Sunday. It appeared that the populace was more asleep than ‘sleepless in Seattle’. First impressions were deceiving though, as off the streets things were positively buzzing. Every eyeball was glued to the telecast of the most watched television program in US history, as the Seattle Seahawks took on the New England Patriots in Arizona in Super Bowl 2015. In a bar in the Pike Place Markets – the hea…

Field of screams

“If you build it, he will come.” So said the disembodied voices in the iconic 1980s baseball fantasy, Field of Dreams. The response of Kevin Costner’s character to the whispers emanating from his cornfield was to build a baseball stadium in the middle of his farm. While the movie had a happy ending, retailers venturing to ‘build it’ in other pastures have not always been so successful. In the last week, US discount department store, Target, has announced a retreat from Canada …

Starbucks’ breathtaking ‘Shrine to Coffee’

Lovingly carved into a handsome thick timber bench at the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room in Seattle is a Victor Hugo quote: “There is nothing like a dream to create the future”. It serves as a mantra for this ambitious ultra flagship, meant to be the forerunner of 100 Roastery cafes across the US. For this indeed is a dream brought to life with breathtaking scale, incredible quality, and painstaking detail. The “shrine to coffee” (as it was referred to in Wired M…

The coming retail singularity

In 1993, a US scientist named Vernor Vinge wrote an essay entitled, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era”. Vinge’s ‘singularity’ was the time “within 30 years (when) we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended”. Cheery stuff! His view was ahead of its time, when you consider that the internet age had not yet dawned in the early 90s. Way before we get to Vinge’…

In the trenches on Black Friday

Out the door at 6:36am on a rainy (what else) Seattle morning, I was already late for the Black Friday sales. Close on 24 hours late. What used to be a one day post-Thanksgiving Day ritual has snuck forward in recent years to form what the media are calling, Grey Thursday. Online Black Friday sales started days or even weeks earlier. Just like we’ve experienced “Christmas creep” with the silly selling season starting in September, retailers went as early as they dared to get the jum…

Taylor Swift: America’s merchant princess?

Mickey Drexler is the anointed “Merchant Prince” of American retail, the instinctively creative and commercial wizard behind Gap’s glory days and J. Crew’s current time in the sun. Following her recent blockbuster album launch (two million in sales and counting), US musician, Taylor Swift, could perhaps lay claim to the crown of America’s “Merchant Princess”, and could teach many retailers and shopper marketers a thing or two about the science of ‘selling stuff’. When I …

World’s best festive commercials

Forget the Grinch stealing Christmas. This year, it is a cute little penguin called Monty that not only steals the show, but also the hearts and minds of the UK populace (and softies everywhere). British department store, John Lewis, has done it again, with a £1 million commercial (A$ 1.8 million) that tells the story of a boy and his penguin pal, on the search for a flippered mate. At the start of the two minute spot (more of a short film), we are led to believe that the animal is real, …

Subscribing to success

I was one of those early adopters (my wife would use the less technical term ‘idiot’) who paid £150 (that’s about US$240) for a Nike Fuel Band – one of the first of the wearable devices. It tracked steps and distance traveled, compared my efforts with the rest of the Nike Fuel Band user community, told me the time and looked, well, cool. I loved it, for about a year until it broke – just out of warranty of course. Since that time, prices have come down, and features have gone…