Keeping up with the Crawleys (of Downton Abbey)

More and more consumers these days want to live the Manor Life. Call it the Downton Abbey Effect: demand for the well-staffed home is on the rise, according to agencies and house managers alike. Clients are calling for live-in couples, live-out housekeepers, flight attendants for private jets, stewards for the yachts and chefs for the summer house.

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Brilliant Sponsorship Promotion


How to get maximum promotional benefit from a sponsorship, especially one involving funding free admission to a museum or event? ING came up with a brilliant idea. As an offshoot of sponsoring free admission celebrating the reopening of the Netherlands’ Rijksmuseum, they recreated a living version of one of Rembrandt’s most famous works – The Nightwatch, in a major shopping center. The video of the live tableau went viral gobally, seen by over 4 million people on You Tube. The promotion is part of an ongoing collaboration between the museum and ING dating back to 2005. It includes the central museum and an annex in Schiphol Airport, the only airport in the world to have a museum.  Account holders are offered a 50% discount by showing their card. Congratulations ING.


Buying Local Accelerates Well Beyond Food

kwe blog csaBuying local is taking on new, exciting permutations, going well beyond food and beverage with farm to table restaurant menus and shares in food coops. Shops are finding it an effective strategy to set them apart from the big box retailers, not only offering distinctive merchandise, but also, a chance to tout their support for local businesses and jobs. There’s even a specific URL to promote buying local, and one I just came across in South Florida ( ) Even here, though, department stores are realizing the benefits of featuring local as in designers and foodstuffs. On a recent trip to Paris, I noticed in Galeries Lafayette’s shoe department , one of the largest in the world, the grouping of French designers in what was “prime real estate” — the center of the floor.  And now we have the latest twist, C.S.A.s (Community Supported Agriculture) have turned  to community based art. 

For a set price ranging from $50 to $500, you can buy a monthly “package” of art, pre- selected, and all from local artists. The program started four years ago in Minnesota and has now spread to other cities, from Pittsburgh and Miami to Brooklyn, Lincoln, Neb. and Fargo. Money from the shares pays the artists who are usually chosen by a jury to produce a small work in an edition of 50 or however many shares have been sold. It’s a way to support local artists in the short term and introduce potential new buyers to artists who will hopefully buy larger works. It’s a surprise which artists will be featured in a delivery. The C.S.A programs have taken off with different themes — in Philadelphia it’s folk art and contemporary; in Michigan, art and food; in Pittsburgh there’s also a performing arts version which features plays, concerts and other events. Next up? Art and design in Brooklyn. All of this buying local phenomenon can only be helped by the new trend with the nation’s largest newspapers taken back by local owners who are more in touch with their community and will be more dependent on them to make the papers a success.

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Digital Strategies for Luxury Brands, #4

Here’s the fourth of nine digital strategies for luxury brands:

Be cultural tastemakers. Culture and the arts are an important part of the affluent lifestyle. Recognize and guide consumers to cultural excellence. (Grey Goose Iconoclasts: sponsor Grey Goose and the Sundance Channel produced a series of episodes, which pair two “creative visionaries” who discuss their lives, influences, and art, most of whom are longtime friends with the other person featured).


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Superheroes still have a bright future in film. The proof: the movie of Bryan Singer , X-Men: Apocalypse has attracted many moviegoers to happen to lead the world box office this weekend for its first week of operation with more than 103 million dollars in revenue. He dethroned Angry Birds and Captain America: Civil War .
This new component, which takes over from X-Men: Days of the Future Past , the story of the first mutant, Apocalypse. It has absorbed many powers, becoming both immortal and invincible, worshiped as a god.

Waking up after a sleep of thousands of years and disillusioned by the world he discovers he meets powerful mutants, including Magneto, to end the human race and rule a new world order. Professor X and the young team of X-Men will join forces to face their most dangerous enemy and save mankind from total destruction.

Scottish actor James McAvoy takes on the role of Professor Xavier opposite Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender in X-Men: Apocalypse, which was filmed in Montreal under the direction of Bryan Singer.

Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, James McAvoy, Tye Sheridan and Nicholas Hoult in a scene from X-Men: Apocalypse. In this film shot last year in Montreal, the X-Men must join forces against the Apocalypse extinguishing plane (Oscar Isaac), the first mutant of the world.

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Twilight, Midnight in Paris & Movie-Inspired Travel

Travel inspired by movies may not have started with Twilight, but the number of tourists choosing their destination based off a film has rose steadily over the past several years to 40 million in 2012. This is according to Brussels-based leading independent research agency TCI Research who recently released the results of its global benchmarking survey, the TRAVELSAT Competitive Index.

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Restaurateurs Move in on Museums

Cafe d'art, a museum restaurant, makes special cakes for each museum exhibit

Cafe d’Art, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo

Leading restauranteurs in the US are finding new business opportunities in restaurants in museums. The concept isn’t new. Gourmet magazine featured a terrific article on the world’s best museum restaurants. These include everything from Nerua in the Guggenheim in Bilbao whose chef is a disciple of il Bulli and the Cafe Capaman at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris to the Cafe d’Art in Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo which makes cakes that tie in with museum exhibits.New York restaurant guru Danny Meyer has had his award winning Modern at the Museum of Modern Art for a number of years. Now, in the past two years the trend has accelerated as museums see these restaurants as an added service, generator of “buzz”,  and source of additional revenue. The Whitney recently opened Untitled, the New York Historical Society has a new eatery run by noted Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr and the hot Little Italy restaurant Torrisi Italian Specialties is said to be opening an eatery next to the downtown Whitney museum.The trend isn’t confined to Manhattan. At MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Montreal chefs Hugue Dufour and Srah Obraitis have opened the M.Wells Dinette where they serve up salt cod brandade and Black Forest Charlotte. Sounds like a “win win” for all.

Hotel Artists in Residence Programs


John Hardy's Bambu Indah has an artist in residence program.

John Hardy’s Bambu Indah has an artist in residence program.

In W magazine this month they describe three hotel artist in residence programs around the globe where the appeal can not only be spending time with a famous artist, but also, taking classes and seeing up close and personal the creative process. Probably the most elaborate is the accessory designer John Hardy’s eco luxe compound, Bambu Indah in Bali which features a design factory, showroom, green school and Javanese houses along with studio space. Most recently they launched an artist in residence program with artist Teresita Fernandez. In high season, St.Barth’s Eden Rock Hotel hosts several artists in residence including Richard Prince, Will Cotton, and Donald Baechler. They also have art making lessons for guests and friends. In the Loire Valley in France, the former wine country estate of Aleaxnder Calder is home to famous artists like Sarah Sze and Rachel Harrison for three months at a time. At a former client hotel in the Caribbean years ago we hosted Jennifer Bartlett as an artist in residence. Not only did the guests enjoy it, but the resort had taken several paintings as a barter and today they’re worth millions of dollars. Makes good business as well!

Hotels tap DJs, Dance Music

WHO is a hotel’s most important employee? The general manager, concierge, or chef might come to mind. But at many newer, hot properties, especially boutique hotels aiming for a younger crowd, the answer could be completely different: the DJ.

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Update: Film-induced branding, marketing

Branded content is described as a fusion of advertising and entertainment into one marketing communications product that is integrated into an organization’s overall brand strategy intended to be distributed as entertainment content with a highly branded quality. We’ve seen the signals of a more proactive use of visual tools such as film and we’re calling it Film-induced branding (we’ve broadened the term film-induced tourism describes the effects that film and TV-productions can have on travel decisions).

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