Food Stalls: Kimono Koi Crepes Marketing Mix

•December 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

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Why is there another line at UBC? During a raining and cold day nevertheless! The answer is because of Kimono Koi Crepes! Now the questions is how did people know about this? The answer to that is: Facebook! An event was created on Facebook and thousands of students were invited by their friends and friends of friends. I was invited by a friend, brought three more friends with me to the event and we waited for 40 minutes. Ridiculous? I think so. This is the power of social media at work! You can be a small business like the Kimomo Koi Crepes food stall and still gain thousands of customers without spending a single cent on advertising.

Small businesses like these don’t have many funds to invest in large-scale marketing campaigns unlike Coca Cola or Apple. They usually have a quota of how much to sell per day and only see those, taking only cash. Many people in Asian countries make their profits through small businesses like these. In fact, food stalls and night markets are very famous tourist attractions in places like Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. Now, they are slowly penetrating the North American markets. Over the last couple of years, I have gradually seen the amount of food stalls we have in Downtown Vancouver increase in numbers and variety. Many hotdog stands are replaced by Chinese take-out, Japanese tapas, and fresh seafood. The key to the marketing strategies of food stalls are the use of location and consumers. Word of mouth and social media are their most important assets.

Now let’s briefly investigate the marketing mix of Kimono Koi Crepes.


Kimono Koi Crepes just sell crepes: savory and sweet. Each crepe is freshly made right in front of your eyes and they are made to order. They are then filled to the brim with fruits, cakes, ice cream, cookies, whip cream and sprinkles or the savory stuffing. Finally, each crepe is wrapped in bright pink paper and taped off like an ice cream cone. The packaging is both easy for the customer hold and very price efficient for the owners to purchase. The average crepe is sold for $6.75 tax included. It is a rather ridiculous price for just a crepe, especially if you have been to France where you can buy a delicious crepe off the street for $2.00. They are selling their exotic flavours and decorative creations. Furthermore, Kimono Koi Crepes is selling a service: making your crepe on order. Each crepe seems like it is individualized. Furthermore, since they sell in Downtown Vancouver, they know that their consumer base isn’t too price sensitive. At events like UBC, they are using their products to appeal to university students as well as the fact that they are here for a one time exclusive event.


Kimono Koi Crepes has a regular corner in Downtown Vancouver, right in front of the exit for the Canada Line Skytrain. It’s a pretty brilliant choice of location as they can catch the flow of people when they get on and off the skytrain. Furthermore, it is a very central location. The smartest choice in my opinion, is choosing a corner with a lot of space so people can line up without being pushed against other people. Other food stalls tend to choose Robson Street to set up their stalls. This is a key location as well but often I am less inclined to buy from those stalls because it is in the middle of a very narrow high traffic zone. Occasionally, Kimono Koi Crepes, has events at other high traffic locations like: UBC or the Steveson Winter Market. It is an effective way to get their name out to consumers located in different areas. Kimono Crepes has a very short supply chain. They sell their product directly to their customers. In this way, they can provide very friendly and personalized service and have full control over how their product is presented as well as its quality.


The street cart itself is a promotional feature to Kimono Koi Crepes. Decorated in bright pink, it so very eye-catching. Their website is simplistic; they simply list their location, menu and contact information. They predominately use social media and reply on consumer word of mouth to advertise their product. Customers can add them as a friend on Facebook as well as like the Facebook fan page. Furthermore, they keep consistent updates on their Twitter account to notify followers where they are and what they are doing. I saw the owner updating their Twitter on his Blackberry and taking photos of the line to post on Facebook when I was in line for my crepe. He was very friendly and made a point to have a in depth conversation with me and my friends which made the 40 minute wait worth it. Furthermore, at the UBC event, they had their money collection at a separate table. You went and bought a ticket for your crepe first then lined up for your crepe. It made things go a little faster and at the same time most people wouldn’t just leave the line because they already paid for their product. They have a very effective Point of Purchase strategy as well. If you were just contemplating if you should get a crepe, going to read the menu allows you to see the plastic food models on the stand so if you were unsure of what your crepe would look like, you can see. Furthermore, you are so close that you can smell the aroma of crepes being made. That’s enough to make anyone’s stomach grumble!

All in all, when you own a small business such as this, it is time to get creative!


Creative Ad Placements

•December 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

When I saw Isabella Bertold’s Escalators! post, I was hooked. The effectiveness of creative ad placements, I think, is in drawing attention to the product or service. It doesn’t necessarily motivate people to make a purchase but it certainly shows people: hey we’re here. When we see creative outdoor advertisements are just clever ad campaigns, we think ‘hey that’s pretty cool’ and go on to show some friends. It lingers in most people’s minds for a while and when we see an actual product, we will remember the creative advertisement. It won’t necessarily make us buy the product over one we are familiar with but if there is a sale on it or free samples, we become more inclined to try it.

I found a couple of creative advertisements I found at airports. (Click on the images to enlarge them to read the words.)

The Power of Value-Based Marketing

•December 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Step 1: Watch this

Step 2: Then, watch this

Step 3: Finally, watch this

Step 4: Now let’s compare…

Video 1 was the typical Herbal Essence commercial playing on sexual innuendos but at the same time, it convey their message: use Herbal Essence for a totally orgasmic experience, you definitely don’t want to miss that. It is witty but at the same time, very typical and not too innovative.

Video 2 was also a Herbal Essence commercial. It is my dad’s favourite commercial and probably the only one to have ever caught his attention. It is very creative playing on the fact that bikers have long hair. They are trying to tell their consumers that Herbal Essence isn’t just a girly product, it can be used by anyone, entice anyone to use it; therefore, you have to try it! I thought that this was the best shampoo or hair product commercial I had ever seen until I saw…

…Video 3. Pantene’s commercial blew me away. I wasn’t expecting anything like it as Pantene usually produces sophisticated and polished commercials highlighting the quality of their products. This brought value-based marketing to the next level. This reached out to everyone’s hearts and tugged at our heartstrings. Using such a touching story, it was simply conveying its timeless message: you can shine. The simplicity of the message is what I feel catches the audience. The contrast of the complex story just to convey such a simple message. It’s inspirational, moving – a phenomenal video. The Herbal Essence commercials seem so insignificant and shallow compared to this brilliant creation.


American Apparel: From No Sweat to No Cool

•December 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Jess Tang’s American Apparel blog post caught my attention. I wasn’t actually aware that American Apparel used the average everyday woman or man as models. Personally, I have never taken an interest in AA because their advertisements are racy in a very inappropriate and demoting way. Their images basically scream: sex sells. To me, in a very perverse way, they were successful in catching people’s attention with their average girl-next-door models posing in these sexy poses.

When the company first started, it was recognized for having a positive corporately responsible image. They weren’t truly sweatshop free but that’s how they promoted their products. It reached out to people who wanted were very concerned about doing the right thing. It was showing the message: hey we can be profitable and ethical at the same time. In addition, many consumers at the time associate being sweatshop free as not outsourcing therefore the products are of better quality. Their designs were pretty new at the time. They brought back the hipster and the bagging tops versus the tight leggings. Consumers bought into it because it seemed very futuristic, very “cool.

Now, only a decade later, they have lost their popularity. BrandChannel calls it an American Branding Tragedy. Their hipster designs are no longer “cool”. That it because, “cool” doesn’t last. As we are in the era of value-based marketing, and becoming increasingly focused on what is the value this product or service can offer me, “coolness” will not survive. Being “cool” is only a temporary thing, it does nothing to enhance the future, it holds no substantial value to consumers. At the same time “sex sells” is still rather true but in the world of value-based marketing, this notion will becoming less and less profitable and people will start to turn away from these campaigns.

Better Watch Out! The “Gmail Killer” is on its way…

•November 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Facebook is taking their messaging function to the next level. Check out this article: “Facebook’s New Message: Abandon Email, All Ye Who Enter Here”. The style of the video introducing how the new Facebook messages will work was basically a copycat of the “Google Docs” we saw in class. Clear-cut, concise yet very detailed, Facebook is really taking ideas from all successful product launches and putting a new spin on them. I’m waiting to see how successful this new transition will be to capturing all audiences, even those that currently use different forms of communication.

On a side note, check out this: Google vs. Facebook Offices – Which one would you rather work at?

Genericide: Good or Bad Marketing?

•November 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’ve always wondered whether or not brand names that have evolved to become generic names consider themselves successful in their marketing. When I get a cut, I look for a “Band Aid”. When I don’t know something I “Google” it. When I send a parcel, I buy “bubble wrap” to stuff in the box. When I want to relax, I slip into the “jacuzzi”. If I need to write a reminder down, I reach on my desk for a “post it”. These are all typical products and services that we call by brand name rather than their generic name. I’ve always found this extremely interesting so I did some research to find a list of brands that have evolved to become generic product names. At first, when I thought about it, I felt that these companies would probably consider themselves successful when people speak of and associate the product synonymously with their brand. How much better can it get if you are the owner of Band-Aid and everyone calls any kind of adhesive bandage by your brand name? At the same time, I could see drawbacks to it. As everyone associates any product similar to the one you produce, your brand, your product, they may be buying cheaper alternatives. These alternatives may not meet the standard required for your product and if the consumer has a negative experience with it, they will associate it with your product. If I use an adhesive bandage and I get a rash from it, I would probably stop using all adhesive bandages because I would think that I am allergic to band-aids regardless of whether it was from the brand Band-Aid.

The Power of Inception

•October 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I was deceived. “By what?” you may ask. The answer to that is: by my own perceptions. I was shopping at Town Shoes on the weekend and I found a pair of leather boots I wanted to try on. When I asked the saleswoman bring me a size, she gave me a draw card to fill out for the monthly gift certificate draw at the store. Then when she brought me the shoes, she asked if I was on Facebook. I confirmed that I was and she said, “Perfect! Add us on Facebook and you can enter a contest to win 52 pairs of shoes! That’s one pair a week for a year!” I was ecstatic after that so I kept it in mind to be sure to check out the Town Shoes Facebook page.

When I did, I discovered that it wasn’t really that easy to enter the contest. I initially thought filling in my name and adding their page would be enough. I was wrong. The contest was to make a shoe-fessions video professing your love for shoes and of course helping them advertise their company at the same time.

I was outwitted by Town Shoes. They not only kept me busy thinking about them when I was waiting at the store, they planted a small idea into my head about a contest and with the contest details, they are baiting me to make a video to help them promote their brand!