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August 2008

Brand Tags

Noah Brier has a fascinating experiment going on over at BrandTags.net.

Operating on the assumption that brand exists entirely in people's heads - and therefore, a brand is whatever people say it is - he's developed a neat application that let's visitors tag a brand with the first word(s) that come to mind upon seeing its logo. The collective tag clouds that ensue are quite telling.


Here's a snippet of the results for Dunkin Donuts:


The site has garnered over 2 million tags for hundreds of brands (although traffic seems to have peaked back in May, so I'm a bit slow on the draw with this one).

It's an interesting way to monitor sentiment, just as well. Imagine if a brand were willing to post this on it's own site, for a running tally of consumer opinion?

Harvest Moon Festival

On Sunday we strolled over to Chinatown to check out the Harvest Moon Festival.

According to Jim Becker, writing on Michelle Topor's blog (that great foodie who gives the North End market tours), Harvest Moon is the Chinese harvest festival, and somewhat akin to our Thanksgiving Celebration. From her blog:

According to legend, the harvest festival played an important role in establishing the Ming Dynasty as well. From 1280 AD until 1368 AD, China was under the rule of the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty. Under the Mongolians, the Chinese were persecuted an oppressed. It was a pastry that saved them. Officials instructed bakeries to create a pastry to be delivered to all of the Chinese households. People were asked not to eat the pastry until the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, during the family gathering to celebrate the harvest. When they cut into the pastries, they discovered secret messages hidden inside. The messages called upon all of the Chinese citizens to rise up and slaughter the Mongolian oppressors that night during the moon viewing. The Mongolians were overthrown, and the Chinese Yuan Dynasty was established.

Today, these pastries are known as Moon Cakes, and are typically sold year-round at traditional Chinese pastry shops, although they still are strongly associated with the Mid-Autumn Festival.

I took a few pictures while we were there, but Michael Myer has more on Flickr.

Don Draper on Twitter

Don Draper is following me on Twitter.

That's right, the slick-dressing, brooding, womanizing, fictional Creative Director of 1960's ad shop Sterling Cooper has set up his very own micro-blogging account where he responds to the shows fans, talks about the plot (in real-time, corresponding with the latest episode), and drops pearls of wisdom as only DD can ("Here... have a pack of Luckies and see if they don't treat you better").

Kudos to AMC for adding this fun social media element to this already fantastic show.


The Oceanaire Seafood Room

Oceanaire Restaurant Week inspired me to visit the 7-month-old Oceanaire Seafood Room...and wow - I'm glad I finally did.

Set in a former bank building between Boston's Financial District and Government Center, this cavernous space feels like the interior of a 1930s ocean liner (as their site proclaims), with dark wood paneling, brass trimmings, and a fabulously ornate ceiling and crown moldings.


I didn't realize until I sat down to write this post that this Oceanaire is actually one in a national chain (16 in all) - all known for their extra-fresh seafood that is flown in daily from around the world. In fact, our server Don (who was fabulous), informed us that they will not serve anything that has been in-house more than 3 days.

They have a wonderfully old-fashioned cocktail menu (like Sidecars & Harvey Wallbangers), plus an extensive collection of wine and beer.  We started off with a basket of fresh bread with whipped butter (complete with their signature fish logo etching), and a plate of crudités. Because it was Restaurant Week, the chef also treated us to an amous bouche of toast points with a seafood medley on top.

Appetizers consisted of a plate of fresh, grilled calamari and a Caesar salad with nice, big Parmesan shavings (my favorite). Both were excellent, but soon overshadowed by the main event: (1) the "Black and Bleu Mahi-Mahi" - fresh fish in a peppery rub with sweet onion confit and Roquefort butter; and (2) Flounder stuffed with scallops, baby shrimp and Brie. My companion got the latter, and while I couldn't bring myself to try the scallops/shrimp combo, the flounder & Brie were divine (as was my Mahi-Mahi). We barely had room for the desserts: raspberry & lemon sorbet, and a slice of Key Lime pie.

I cannot say enough good things about this place. The ambiance, service and food were all spectacular. There was a lively bar scene (complete with raw oyster bar), large groups, and smaller parties alike (and where we sat, in back, was surprisingly quiet, given the crowd). Even Mayor Menino, who was dining at a table nearby, seemed to be enjoying himself.

Read more reviews on Yelp.

PARTNERS+simons Summer Outing

Yesterday, the whole gang from PARTNERS+simons (well, almost the whole gang - some poor folks couldn't make it) spent the day aboard a paddle boat in the Boston Harbor.

We lucked out in getting the one hot & sunny day out of the whole week, and enjoyed a scenic tour of the harbor islands and coast, from our home base in South Boston over to Charlestown.

The islands have really prospered over the years, and several of them - Thompson, Spectacle, Georges - were hopping with activity. It reminds me that I need to read my friend Chris Klein's new book, Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands, and schedule one or more day trips out there.

Pictures from the cruise:

Barefoot in the Grass

Another clever marketing idea, this time from the UK:

WeHeartStuff reports

Trendy doughnut makers Krispy Kreme have come up with with an ideal solution to those ’stuck-in-the-office-blues’ by offering stressed out city workers the chance to have that feeling of a summer lawn beneath your bare feet all day long. The world’s first grass flip flops can be kept for over four months if looked after and will certainly give you a spring in your step.

Krispy_flops Too bad they're only available in London (and our local Krispy Kreme shut down).

As a further enticement to get said office workers into their shops for donuts and coffee, KK is running a sweepstakes at Share the Summer Magic. Participants can text in photos of themselves outside with their friends, enjoying a box of Krispy Kremes, for a chance to win tickets to London's V Festival (which is brought to you, of course, by yet another brand...).