NFL tries to appease female fans after purse ban: “Fanicures,” pop-up stores and things that go wrong

A photo of a hand with manicured nails. The nails are blue, red and white in varying simple designs to match the colors of the Houston Texans
Thanks to CoverGirl for my “fanicure” at the Houston Texans game.

Before heading to the Houston Texans game today, I read CultureMap’s article titled,  NFL tries to court back female fans: Does a pop-up lounge with “fanicures” make up for purse ban?. As a marketer, things like this fascinate me, so one of my friends and I ventured into the pop-up store.

The merchandise was exactly what they said, very female-oriented and very trendy. the free “fanicures” were great (thanks CoverGirl!) and the photo booth was fun. Overall, do I think they won back some female fans with it? Maybe. I, for one, at least appreciated the gesture.  And I learned a lot about products now available that I didn’t know about before.

But not everything went well for this special promotion event. There were three broken windows that they might want to address before their next event:

  • There was an hour wait for a “fanicure,” But, they took my cell number and told me they’d text me when it was my turn. Two hours of holding my cell at the game and still no text. So, I went back. Their text feature wasn’t working, but the woman organizing the fanicures told me she’d fit me in next and she held true to that.
  • The CultureMap article said they wouldn’t be selling purses. Ironically, they were.  Just don’t try to bring the purse you buy there into the stadium. They don’t meet the NFL Bag Policy guidelines.
  • The photo booth was a lot of fun and we had a good time partaking in that.  But, when we got our printout, we had no where to put it to keep it safe. The printed photo strip was longer than our allowable bag size, so it wouldn’t fit anywhere.

Overall, I think this was a great event in the long process of winning-back female fans and the broken windows were pretty minor considering. Best of luck to the NFL and GO TEXANS!

Put down the camera and enjoy the moment

A male pointing his camera at an object that we can't see
From flickr ginnerobot

Not too long ago, I read an article by Clifford Pugh on Culture Map titled, How Instagram is ruining New York fashion week: Shows are meant to be savored, not shot and it got me thinking. I like fashion, but what intrigued me more was what he had to say about how our incessant need to photograph every little thing and how doing so was robbing us of those moments that we should be enjoying.

This may not be true for everyone, but it is for me: The more photography, videography and visual imagery becomes part of my job, the more obsessed I’ve become with obtaining the “perfect shot.” I will wander around looking for the perfect lighting, the perfect person to represent what I need, etc. and then take hundreds of photos in a single hour. Obviously, if it’s for my work, that’s what I do, but this obsession has crept into my personal life as well.

So, last week, while I was on vacation, I tried to put down the camera. Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I didn’t. And, admittedly, my obsession and her talent led one of my friends to take one of the best portrait shots I’ve seen in a very long time. But, there were a few times during the week that I was able to stop myself, put down the camera, and just soak the image in.

Reading Clifford’s article reminded me that sometimes the true beauty of something cannot be captured in a photograph, it can only be captured in a memory.

Hotel Derek: How a water bottle can leave a lasting impression

A water bottle with a label with the Hotel Derek logo, a card around the top with the word enjoy on the envelope
Hotel Derek water bottle with the enjoy tag
The card that was inside the envelope. The card reads, "Hotel Derek invites you to return for a second "mixer" of your choosing with this $25.00 dining or hotel accommodation credit. Valid through June 31, 2013
The card that was inside the envelope.

This past week, I attended a CultureMap mixer on behalf of the Houston Holocaust Museum’s Next Generation group. The mixer was at Hotel Derek, a very stylish classy hotel in the Galleria area of Houston. The hotel pulled out the usual marketing tricks to appeal to young professionals; they brought-out samples of their best food, hosted us in a small event room, discounted our valet parking etc. But they did do one thing that I didn’t expect.

I got home and starting gathering my things to go into the house when I saw a water bottle. That’s pretty common in my car, but I didn’t remember putting one there, so I looked closer and realized Hotel Derek did, and it had a card on it that said, “Enjoy.” Inside the card, was an invitation of $25.00 credit, to come back and visit them again soon.

Using the vehicles that came out of the garage before mine at the valet stand as a barometer (not fool-proof logic, but good enough for this), the young professionals who attended the event were mostly affluent, they have discretionary income, and they like upscale and trendy atmospheres. This makes them a perfect target audience for Hotel Derek. The hotel knew it and took the initiative to go the extra mile and leave a lasting impression.

Congratulations to the marketing department at Hotel Derek. You did a great job!