business news in context, analysis with attitude

On the subject of the Super Bowl, one MNB user wrote:

While not a football fan, I was on Seattle’s side – but my group of watchers was far more taken aback by the brawl that ensued once all was lost. Yeah, it’s sad to lose, but that was the real buzzkill.
NFL players hitting each other instead of women or children is an improvement only in the technical sense.

And regarding the commercials, another reader wrote:

I agree with you 100%. I'm a die-hard animal lover and laughed out loud at the GoDaddy commercial. But then again, I'm in marketing.

MNB reader Tom Devlin wrote:

I know this may be too late but I have been a critic of McDonalds but to be honest I give them credit and actually enjoyed their love commercial… in fact, in these very tough times from the economy to Isis, I think advertising that makes people chuckle even for 30 seconds are going to win….. While it is not my third place, Mickey D’s does have childhood memories for so many people…  I give McDonalds credit for going this route, they need to change it up and for that I can not criticize them… 

As far as the Harry Cha[pin song, scary I thought the exact same thing about how he died when the commercial was shown.

MNB reader Scott Rickhoff sent me an email weighing in on issue that hasn't yet come up on MNB...until now:

Anti Vaxxers:  If my kid can’t bring peanuts to school, they yours shouldn’t bring measles.

Oh, good. Get me involved in this particular controversy. I don't make enough trouble for myself?

Okay, here goes ... I am astounded by the level of mistrust that so many people seem to have for science, the disregard they seem to have for public health, and how fast they are going to plunge us back into the 1950s. I suppose there is no way to mandate that people vaccinate their kids, but maybe kids ought to be vaccinated before they're allowed into public schools. (Will they start requiring vaccinations at Disneyland? Maybe...)

What really is amazing is that in 2016, childhood vaccinations may well be a political issue.

Had a story yesterday about Jack in the Box launching a new, upgraded "Buttery Jack" burger as a way of nudging its experience up-market.

I commented, in part:

I have to be honest here. I don't have a Jack in the Box anywhere near me, so I can't sample the new products anytime soon. And it's been a while since I've been to a Jack in the Box; it's probably been since college, and I have a vague memory of the milkshakes there being an inexpensive hangover cure.

That said ... I have to wonder if this is the kind of move that McDonald's needs to make. Under five bucks may be a top-tier price in the fast food business, but it seems reasonably affordable as an upscale option ... and a focus on taste strikes me as the best way to go in such a competitive marketplace.

MNB reader George Denman responded:

Jack in the Box recently opened two locations here in Cincinnati and I drive by one every day. Each time I have looked at the site and say to myself, “why go there for another mediocre burger”. But this new menu has changed my mind and I am stopping on the way home. Now if only Five Guys would have a drive through….

And another reader chimed in:

It’s interesting that Jack in the Box is moving “its dining experience a notch more upscale . . .”  Didn’t they try that a few years ago?  I remember them opening a restaurant called JBX that was supposed to be a more upscale, sit-down, experience.  We had one here in Boise (we may have been a test market?).  But the venture failed.  I would love to be a fly on the wall in their headquarters to hear what lessons they learned and how they will approach this new culture change differently.

It so happens that I am currently in Indianapolis, and on the way to the hotel from the airport, I spied a Jack in the Box. I was hungry. So I figured, what the hell.

I ordered a $4.49 Classic Buttery Jack, with "creamy tomato sauce, green leaf lettuce, fresh tomatoes and Provolone cheese," served with melted garlic-herb butter on a bakery-style signature bun. And I can report that it was ... definitely mediocre. The burger itself was kind of tough, and the garlic-herb butter sort of overwhelmed the whole meal; it took a vigorous brushing of my teeth to get the taste out of my mouth. No threat to In-n-Out, or Shake Shack, or even Five Guys, at least IMHO.

Finally, I wrote yesterday about Amazon's college marketing plans with a reference to Thornton Melon, and wondered whether Jeff Bezos can do a Triple Lindy.

MNB reader Mike Franklin responded:

This is a natural and easy transition for Amazon…unlike the Triple Lindy, which has been completed only twice, by one person…and may very well likely be outlawed by the NCAA as too dangerous for athletes.

MNB reader Gary Loehr wrote:

I'm sure Bezos can do a Triple Lindy, but if he gets caught he'll be on double secret probation.

Wow...he worked two college movies into the same sentence. I'm impressed.

Another MNB reader wrote:

Flunk me?  Flunk you!

And, a serious response from MNB reader Andy Casey:

Definitely a win, particularly long term.  For most students, making the transition from college to the real world involves changing everything about their life – clothes, living arrangements, geography – all of which require new things and purchases.  Amazon has the ability to make this transition seamless as students move into the work phase of their lives as well as truly assess and manage the lifetime value of these customers to their business.  This generation is perhaps the first with large scale potential to be customers of a single retailer for their entire lives, regardless of where they live in the world.  Offering new students a free semester or even a year of Prime could pay huge dividends both short and long term.
KC's View: