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On the subject of providing information on food labels, MNB user Mary Ellen Burris raises an interesting point:

“I’ve been trying to address the size of type on packages, in ads, in store…because boomers are often in denial for about 5 years when presbyopia sets in. It’s only when holding things at arm’s length no longer makes words legible that they give in and get glasses.”

Been there. Done that.

We had a piece last week about how other retailers are looking for spokespeople who might provide them with a little Martha Stewart panache…though they’d prefer it to come without the SEC investigation. One MNB user wrote in to note that it is a lot more complicated than that:

“Back in the early 80s, Martin Sloves, advertising guru, once taught me about the value of brand image... he created the Volvo safety aura that sold a hell of a lot of boxy cars. His simple question was say Volvo and what is the word association... say Oldsmobile and what comes to mind.

“Now, find where Martha and the clones might fit try the same thing with retail ‘brands.’ What are Sears, JC Penney, Target, Wal-Mart? Sears was once the brand for choice and quality... sadly no longer. Except for a few of their own brands like Craftsman they have tried to be fashion, low price, electronic.

“Yes, Martha was brought in to help Kmart create an image, but that merchant did not know how to effectively take advantage of the aura. What makes us think others will know how? In the category of large mass merchandiser is there a brand that can support a "Martha" and in turn be supported by such a "crafty person"? Looks like Target would be first choice as they try to support a hip fashion image, but they need research to find out what their brand means to the consumer and what that shopper expects of any ‘leading lady.’

“But does the next Martha have to be in the hands of metal racked knitwear merchants? How would a Martha clone do with Williams Sonoma, Treasure Island, Fortunoff?

“Don't count Martha out, but in her comeback I expect she will be facing some stiff competition from new retail quarters.”

We ran an email last week complaining about the high price of cereal, to which MNB user Dick Lowe responds:

“Go to the bulk food store buy oatmeal, wheat flakes, barley flakes, rye flakes, dried fruit, and unsalted nuts. Mix in a big pan, bag, and serve with fresh fruit and yogurt. Cheaper, tastes better, and better for you!”

Doesn’t sounds very tasty, though…
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