Whitening Cream? But I Came to Tan!

We are rapidly approaching 100 days since we began our Asia adventure. 100 days is long enough to begin running out of the things we packed, particularly sunscreen and moisturizer. While Thailand’s beautiful islands have tons of places that offer these two products side by side in the skin care aisle, finding suitable replacements for the products we take for granted at home has been difficult, and shopping for them has shed light on a critical cultural difference between the West and the East. Continue reading


You Get What You Pay For: My $26 Fleece

When we planned this trip to Southeast Asia, we knew that we would be encountering some wacky weather. For most of the trip, it was going to be hot. But for about a month, we anticipated some stormy and cool weather. That month happened to fall while we were in Vietnam, specifically in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital. We arrived on February 15, and for the duration of our 8-day stay (while we recovered from illness), it was cold and rainy, for which I was completely unprepared. So, I decided to buy a fleece jacket. And in my successful outing, I realized that the way I shop at home is really stupid.
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Earplugs: God’s Gift to Travelers

So you are looking to travel. You buy a book about your destination, you save some money, and you head to REI to check out all the gadgets designed to make your life simpler and safer. You tuck your new security wallet confidently into your underwear and pat yourself on the back. You’re ready to go, right? Wrong. Because without a good set of earplugs, you are not ready for a trip. Continue reading

Mountain Dew in Asia, The World`s Advertising Capitol

As far as brands go, Mountain Dew may be one of America’s most recognized. It has colors that are unique, it has a distinctive feel, and its font and logo are very recognizable. I always know when I am looking at a Mountain Dew ad. It isn’t often that I seek out Mountain Dew ads, or pay attention much at home. But it became apparent that they have distinguished themselves quite successfully when I arrived in Bangkok earlier this week. Continue reading

Pak `N Save, the Costco of New Zealand

While we were traveling in New Zealand, we made a concerted effort to save money. Instead of restaurants for breakfast and lunch, we went to supermarkets and bought things. This meant peanut butter and jelly sandwiches more than we would have preferred, but it also meant critical savings. One key weapon in our arsenal in our quest to save money was Pak `N Save, the Costco of New Zealand.
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Marketing at Work: McDonald’s Georgie Pie

One key aspect of marketing is market product differentiation. In other words, if you have a company with a presence in multiple markets, you need to make sure people in each market have a product that fits their lifestyle. So for one demographic, you have one product, and for another, you have another. In one country, you have one mix of product offerings, and in another country, you have something different, all based on your customers. Therefore, I present to you, the McDonald’s Georgie Pie.
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Customer Service: A Lost Art Found

A few days ago, we decided we needed to start making reservations for later dates in our trip. We had been having some problems booking transit and places to stay, since we were traveling around the country during the holidays. We didn’t think it would be a problem, since in the US, transit companies increase capacity for major travel days. But in New Zealand, there is significantly less capacity in general, so things get booked up.

At first, we tried to do everything online, thinking that would be the most efficient. Everything was full, and hope was lost. But then I thought back to previous travel experiences, where my parents and I relied on word of mouth to find recommendations for everything from hotels to buses and taxi services. So we decided to take the personal route, and talk to people, not machines. What transpired is a testament to the importance of a personal touch in marketing.
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Leaving Las Vegas, Sort Of

So my previous travel post was about Rotorua, New Zealand, which everyone refers to as Rotovegas. I mentioned that no one could describe to us what they meant by associating it with Las Vegas, partially because few New Zealanders had been to Las Vegas itself. So why, then, the association? And what does that tell us about the Las Vegas brand?
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Auckland Transmedia


Just spent a few days in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. It reminded us of San Francisco, except the people are nicer, the streets are cleaner, and it has free wifi. There are a few things about free wifi that get me excited. First, if you are a traveler like I am and desperately need wifi for some reason, you don’t have to jump into an internet cafe or beg the nearest Starbucks to do what you need to do. Second, it’s all the things that the wifi allows you to do – like access handy maps, or learn about a particular area.
Which is why I was so pleased to see a QR code at my feet yesterday during our walk through the Auckland marina/harbor. The city gives you free wireless internet, so the tourism bureau gives you a change at a transmedia experience – a walking tour of Auckland’s picturesque waterfront. It’s a great way to give those who cannot pull themselves away from a screen a chance to experience their surroundings, and it’s an even better way to introduce visitors to the harbor – and encourage them to walk around and buy things. Plus, transmedia experiences are social, both for the group of travelers and for their friends on social media (because sharing is caring). Very well done, Auckland!

Aloha, Hawaiian Airlines!

Branding is fun to experience, particularly when done well. And I will admit, I was pretty sucked into the Aloha mentality by the successful expression of the Hawaiian Airlines brand.

As soon as you walk onto a Hawaiian Airlines plane, you are greeted by the relaxing, transporting sounds of native birds, the ukulele, and the Pacific Ocean. It’s almost as if you have already arrived. Forget that you were just felt up by a 300-pound security agent, or that someone got on the moving walkway to just stand there while you were racing to your flight. The flight attendants greet you with, “Aloha!” and “Mahalo.” You’re welcome, Hawaiian Airlines attendant; you’re welcome.

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