retail news in context, analysis with attitude

On Friday, our Eye-Opener featured a music video called “She-I-O” that has been turned into a commercial for Land O’Lakes; it is an updated version of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” sung by country artist Maggie Rose and written by Liz Rose, and a celebratory anthem about how women are contributing to an age-old industry. In fact, one-third of all US farmers are women.

Got the following email from MNB reader Sandra Cotter:

Thanks for sharing that video.  My mom grew up on a dairy farm in Michigan.  Her parents (my grandparents) were migrant workers from Mexico who worked hard and saved enough money to buy and run a dairy farm in the heartland.  The farm was Paul Zamarron and Son – despite the fact that there was one son and eight daughters who worked the farm with Grandpa and Grandma.  I love seeing barns with “. . . and Girls” or “Family” painted above the door now.  I always felt my mom and her sisters didn’t get the recognition they deserved.  Farming is hard work that keeps us alive.  My daughter is now a food science Ph.D. student at OSU (got her BS at MSU).  One of her favorite T-shirts is “Farmers – who else is going to feed you people!?”  Anyway, that video made me smile and go back in time a bit.  (Plus, Land-O-Lakes is the only butter I’ll buy!)

From another reader:

To add a little additional color to your piece on Land O'Lakes and women farmers: One of the demographic pressures on American farms is the aging out of the farm-owner population. More and more women are inheriting farms from their husbands. In the past, the wife would either sell the farm if the children didn't want to run it, or lease to other operators. One of the encouraging trends we are seeing today is women deciding that they can run the farms themselves. After all, many of them have a lifetime of experience. There has been some social resistance, as women have found seed and equipment dealers not taking them seriously, and lenders raising the bar for access to credit, but more and more, women are making a go of running their own farms.

What kind of neanderthal, in 2018, would make it harder for women farmers to get credit and equipment? After all, as Sandra Cotter says above, if they don’t run these farms, who the hell is going to feed us?

MNB reader Jeff Gartner wrote:

Thanks for sharing the Land O’Lakes She-I-O spot, it was really well done both conceptually and in execution. 

I've conducted marketing research for a Land O’Lakes competitor, and it's just amazing how they have dominated the butter case for decades and decades. 

BTW, is it just a coincidence you included this in your column today, the day after yesterday's Supreme Court hearing? And another BTW, I believe her and I don't believe him.


I’ll quote the great Robert B. Parker: “Coincidence exists, but believing in it never did me any good.”



Regarding the new Amazon 4 Star store in New York City, MNB reader Michael Sharpe wrote:

I wonder how long it will be until we see the Amazon dollar store.

Don’t bet the over.



Last week, we took note of a BusinessInsider report that Walmart has filed for a patent application on a “shopping cart that would track things such as shoppers' heart rates and temperatures and how strongly they're gripping the handle … the cart would use this data to figure out whether shoppers are stressed and when they might need help.” The story says that “employees would be alerted to check on customers who seem to be internally freaking out, based on the shopping cart's analysis.”

One MNB reader responded:

Very funny and yes the bad scenario possibilities are endless.  However, I love this idea of increasing customer service in the aisles with data that could actually have employees approaching the right people who really want help.  Now they just have to back it up by having enough people to go around with the motivation to leave their other duties and help the customer.

And from another:

I hope they have a camera….this technology could really elevate the “Walmart Customer Pictures” one always sees on the interwebs.

And MNB reader Tim Heyman wrote:

It might throw me into a surprise heart attack to find a Walmart employee in an aisle to ask for help!

No kidding.
KC's View: