I just returned from a Pathmark supermarket in Port Chester, N.Y., where I was reminded of how marketers struggle to create news and events to bridge the six caissons of marketing -- Memorial Day, July Fourth, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It would seem that this year's "March Madness" campaigns might be a bridge too far for most.
My first stop was Mountain Dew's "Don't Miss the Madness" display. Unfortunately, I did almost miss it because the display and a very expensive, backboard-dealer loader were hidden behind a much-larger stack of Schweppes Ginger Ale and 7-Up.
Meanwhile, over in the beer aisle, Dick Vitale's life-sized cardboard cousin stood over the coolers for Coors, hawking, "It's tourney time baby!" The presence was quite large, but the Coors product was nowhere near.
Grolsch and Killian's decided to go off strategy (and off season) with football tie-ins, while Miller went with a sweepstakes for a weekend on Broadway; its only tie-in to the basketball tourney was placing a ballot box on the top of its 8-foot display.
Guinness emerged the winner by leaving the category fray and building its display in the refrigerated meat section next to the age-old, mid-March favorite: corned beef. It stuck to its heritage and mission to put the Irish back in St. Patrick's Day. And it broke through the clutter with a very simple cross-ruff in a quiet place -- away from the madness.