Retail Industry Election Day Promo Bests

Thursday November 6, 2008
Obama swept the Electoral College, and election day promotions
swept through the retail industry yesterday. Which retailers won the popular
vote for their promotions? Here are some of the outstanding nominees.Most Unlikely and Unrelated Election Day Promo: Free tattoo
eradication session at New Look Laser Tattoo Removal, Dallas Texas

Which was higher? The number of old boyfriend and girlfriend names that
were removed from skin yesterday or the number of Republicans who were removed
from the House and Senate? The race was too close to call.

Best Patriotic Promo: Free red, white and blue dessert at Park 52
Restaurant, Chicago, IL

Red velvet cake with white cream cheese frosting and fresh blueberries
doesn’t really sound appetizing, but not everything related to politics is easy
to stomach.

Most Melodic Election Day Promo: Half price tickets to “Guys and
Dolls” at Portland Center Stage, Portland, OR

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of musical theater – I get the
connection.

Best Tasting Election Day Promo: Free slice of cheesecake
at Eli’s Cheesecake, Chicago, IL

If you’ve ever eaten Eli’s cheesecake, then you
know.

Most Erotic Election Day Promo: Free adult toys at Babeland, New York,
Los Angeles, Seattle

Different people deal with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat
in different ways. Viva la difference!

Most Healthy Election Day Promo: Free flu shots at 280 polling sites
in 42 states

There’s nothing like getting jabbed with a needle to punctuate an
historic moment!

Consumers were treated to free Starbucks coffee, free Chick-fil-A sandwiches, free Krispy Kreme donuts, free Ben and Jerry’s ice cream,
half-price haircuts, discount clothing, free yogurt, free pizza, free ribs, free
beer, free cupcakes, free car washes and free bus rides. The day was festive.
The energy was high. For a brief moment in time, the entire nation seemed to
feel the empowerment that comes just from participating.

There were many takeaways with these giveaways for retailers. It was easy to
see that people are looking for a reason to be happy and looking for an excuse
to celebrate. So, if consumers already have the idea in their head that
Christmas is going to be a bust, then retailers would do well to give people a
different reason to be merry and a different excuse to celebrate.

November is National Peanut Butter Month, and November 14th is the official
birthday of the teddy bear. December 10th is Nobel Peace Prize Day, and December
15th is National Firefighters Day. There are plenty of offbeat promotion
possibilities to be found in the minor holidays that are usually ignored. Be
different, capture headlines, get noticed, and make sales. It’s a winning
formula that worked well for one president-elect we all
kno

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Nov 2, 2008
NPR Weekend Edition
Saturday Hosted by Scott Simon Visits the Chicago High School for Agricultural
Sciences
 
Weekend Edition Saturday

 

 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=96039969

Chicago High School Raises Crops, Career
Hopes

by Scott Simon

Bounty From The City

Butter pickles, fresh salsa and applesauce are just some of the
products grown, made and sold at the Chicago High School for Agricultural
Sciences. Students operate a farm stand.

Future Farmers of Chicago?

From left, students Corinna Gonzales,
Melissa Nelson, Dantrell Cotton and Ryan Shelton consider their experiences and
future careers.

Dantrell Cotton, studentDantrell Cotton, a junior,
says the school has changed the
way he sees the
world

Student Sara Schneider waters poinsettias.

Student Sara Schneider tends to hundreds of poinsettias, expected to
bloom in time for the holidays. They’ll be sold at the farm
stand.

Students grow different varieties of squash to sell.Different varieties of squash entice
at the school’s farm stand.

Weekend Edition Saturday, October 25,
2008 · On Chicago’s southwest side, the intersection of 111th Street and
Pulaski Boulevard is just about as urban as bus exhaust. There’s a pizza parlor
on one corner. Heavy trucks trundle past, carrying heavy things like cars, steel
and cement.

But if you listen carefully to the cacophony of car horns and
bus splats, you may hear Lucy, chomping on grass like a pig, which she is — a
Vietnamese pot-bellied pig of 350 pounds and then some. Lucy is also the
resident mascot at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, a public
school and a 72-acre working farm. Its 600 students grow corn, milk cows, farm
fish and run a stand where their own apples, pickles and cookies are for
sale.

First and last, it is a public high school, with students
clustering to gossip and teachers reminding them that they’re in class — even
when their class is in a barn. They sit on the rails of a corral and gossip
about a goat — a real goat — they’re worried looks too thin.

Dr. Joan White is the school’s teaching veterinarian. Her
patients include two horses: Dalia, who has arthritis, and Splash, “who has
Wobblers syndrome,” White says. “Both of them would have headed somewhere bad,
but we use them to teach husbandry, anatomy, teaching basic skills.”

Ag High, as it’s called, opened in 1985. It’s the second
agricultural high school in the country — and one of the first steps toward
Chicago’s long effort to rejuvenate its public schools with innovation and
experimentation.

Students must apply to attend, and some travel more than an hour
each way each day. They take the full academic load of English, history, science
and language classes. But they also spend part of the day in classes and
enterprises distinct to Ag High, such as tending the greenhouse, which right now
is planted with hundreds of poinsettias. These will bloom in time for the
holiday season and will be sold at the school’s farm stand.

Students also mind five tanks of tilapia. The fish will be sold
to restaurants, and the little flecks of waste that they swirl through their
tank is sprinkled on the soil of basil plants. The basil is harvested to make
pesto produced by the school and sold at the stand.

Remember when schools used to have bake sales? Junior Krystal
Anderson works the farm stand, selling pesto along with “applesauce, butter
pickles, salsa, zucchini bread, applesauce cakes and cookies.”

Anderson plans to become a food inspector. She says the high
school isn’t just about growing and baking, but about the business — big
business — of real agriculture. She has partnered with her friend, Heather, on
their own line of products.

“It’s called K&H Goods,” Anderson says, “and so … we
decide what are we going to be making, how much we are going to make and what
are we going to be selling the product for.”

A Working School, A Working Farm

In Richard Johnson’s Ag Finance class, students debate as
passionately over what to sell at the farm stand as some students argue about
rap versus hip-hop:

“Pumpkin pies are filthy. Sweet potato pie, just an idea,” says
one student.

“I’m tired of eatin’ everything zucchini,” says
another.

Amid these debates about the farm stand and livestock, the voice
of principal William Hook over the P.A. system reminds that Ag High is, of
course, a working school. Most of his daily announcements — about the homecoming
dance, football scores and detention — blaring through the hallways could be
transmitted in more traditional schools.

“There will be detention on Saturday starting this week,” he
says. “You must meet at the barn at 8 a.m. and work for the duration of your
detention. Thank you, and have a good day.”

Hook thinks the mix — of city and country, academics and
enterprise, classroom and street cred (or, in this case, field cred) — strikes a
balance in learning. Instead of having students choose between a college track
or a vocational track, “We show that you can do both,” he says. “You’ll have
students out sixth period in pre-calculus class, and then in seventh period
they’re out laying sod. I think that they learn just as much from doing either
one of those things. And I think that’s one of the things we do really well
here: We prepare them for college and we prepare them for the world of
work.”

‘Ag Is The Future’

A group of students who are city kids confessed it had not been
their life’s ambition to attend an agricultural high school. Several said their
parents were eager for them to apply, because the school is academically
distinguished. And, it’s notably safe: The metal detector at the school entrance
didn’t seem to be in use
.

Ryan Shelton, who hopes to go on to college in New York and
become an actor, is one of those students who needed to be won over. He says the
school has made him a “more well-rounded person. And when you’re in that field
of entertainment, one of the things people look at is whether you have that
quality, that ‘it’ factor, diverse.”

Dantrell Cotton, a junior, says the school has changed the way
he sees the world. “Ag is all around us. It branches off to thousands of
occupations,” he says. “No matter what happens economically, that’s one of the
industries that remain the same. And ag is the future. Agriculture is the
future.”

Some students confide that friends in their urban neighborhoods
mock them as “farmers.” Those friends don’t understand farming as a modern,
scientific and cosmopolitan enterprise that teaches improvisation and
persistence.

“A lot of people don’t understand what we get at this school
that nobody else does,” says Melissa Nelson, another junior. “Because what other
school can you be like, ‘Oh, yeah, we were out in the field and then the tractor
broke down so we had to walk back’?”

The farm stand has many students with special needs working the
shelves and helping customers. The teacher who runs the stand, Richard Johnson,
used to have a family lawn mower business. But he was intrigued by education,
and when the Chicago Public Schools began to open the door for teachers with
professional backgrounds in business, arts or the military, Johnson signed on.
He now holds forth in what may be the only Chicago high school with bales of
hay. Last week, when a customer wanted to rent some for a Halloween party, a
couple of Ag students saw an opportunity.

“So, after they made the deal, the kids called me and said,
‘Hey, Mr. Johnson, we got $45. And they’ll bring [the bales] back on Wednesday.’
Entrepreneurship at its best. Not like working at White Castle,” the teacher
says. “You have to make decisions. I think the skills we teach, the
entrepreneurial skills, they transcend … agriculture.”

By the way, one especially posh local restaurant buys tilapia
from Ag High. But the school won’t disclose the name. It seems the chef doesn’t
want customers to know that the fish in their tilapia with smoked mushroom aioli
and ginger-flavored vegetables isn’t plucked fresh from the Nile but is trucked
in — all the way from exotic 111th Street.