retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday we took note of a Star Tribune story about how Best Buy is working with the Wunderman Thompson marketing agency and UnitedHealth Group's Optum unit (which is a pharmacy benefit manager and care services business) to "launch a paid fellowship program with the BrandLab that will train college graduates and help diversify the marketing and advertising industries."

At the core of the program is a desire on the part of all three businesses "to boost equity, inclusion and diversity within their organizations," and comes at a time "when corporate marketing departments and advertising agencies nationwide have acknowledged that people of color are severely underrepresented in their ranks."  The program, seeded with $1 million from the three companies, will start by rotating 16 people through the three companies, working in internships designed to give them a broad level of exposure to different disciplines, such as "brand and digital marketing, art direction, design, copywriting and media practices …The end goal is to place all LabFellows graduates in full-time positions."

One MNB reader responded:

I love the fact that companies want to highlight and offer up opportunities for those that have interest and otherwise may not have received them.  As we get older (and hopefully wiser!) we owe that to those that are following us.  As far the definition of diversity, I have always encouraged my kids, my friends and my co-workers that it’s better measured by “how one thinks” as opposed to gender or the color of your skin.  I’m not naïve to think that there are still people who discriminate based on race or gender.  I get it; however, I’m going to continue to be “diverse” by purposefully including others in my life (both work and personal) that do not necessarily think like I do… regardless of their race, gender, age etc….

Reacting to yesterday's MNB/In Conversation piece with Mike Sarrielle:

Great interview.  The message conveyed, to be honest, made me think of past comments made on certain issues and how they have become more frequently negative, as this past year continued.  No excuses, the increased negativity is not to be blamed on Covid.  The blame is placed on how I handle it.

This interview reminded me of my somewhat lost philosophy from when I was young, “It’s not about how many times you get knocked down, but more about how you get up again.”  So today, it’s time to get up again. Look more towards finding the positive views which hopefully will nudge others to do the same. Negativity is easy and infectious.  Positivity is much harder, but even more infectious.  Thanks for this eye-opening reminder.

Got the following note responding to my enthusiastic callout of the new CNN series, "Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy":

I share your enthusiasm for the Stanley Tucci “Searching for Italy” show you FaceTime’d about.  My wife and I have loved it.  In fact, we honeymooned on the Amalfi Coast and in Rome (the locations of the first two episodes) almost nineteen years ago, and this brought back great memories for us.

In addition to the wonderful experience with the food, as well as how the show explains the ties to the local history and culture, what struck me was how the show emphasizes the importance of the relationships that food creates: with the person cooking the food, serving the food, growing the food, the location it’s grown and made, etc.  I know for myself, and I suspect this is true for many others, one of the lessons of COVID has been the how important relationships are to life, and I think this extends to food, as beautifully demonstrated in this show.

As you suggest, taking the lessons from this, and showcasing food as a vital experience is a great opportunity for retailers, and one that can’t be duplicated online very well, in my opinion. 

Sunday at 9 pm EST on CNN.  I know what I'll be watching.