Tuesday, May 25, 2010

WHOA, This is Wrong!!!

We are laying off teachers and the county is now charging an extra $5 per child per sport to play, How do they have money to back a fairy tail!


SportsQuest grant request goes to supervisors

May 25, 2010 by Aaron Kremer

Chesterfield County’s Department of Economic Development wants the county’s board of supervisors to help a nascent sports complex with grants and $2 million lease for use of some of the facilities.

The Chesterfield Economic Development Authority is requesting that the Board of Supervisors approve on Wednesday a $2 million grant and a $2.3 million, 20-year lease for turf fields with SportsQuest, a mega sports project near the intersection of 288 and Powhite Parkway.

Steve Burton, SportsQuest’s founder and director, eventually wants to build a Mecca for mainstream and niche sports, including facilities such as a hockey rink, a bike track, a pool and running trails, as well as a venue for concerts. He also wants developers to piggyback on his project with hundreds of millions of dollars in commercial and retail space.

According to an official county agenda, the economic development department is requesting that the county sign a 20-year lease for nine artificial turf soccer fields, four indoor basketball courts and 10,000 square feet for a senior center in exchange for a single payment of $2.3 million. According to the agenda, the funds would be handed over when the lease is signed, presumably in 2010.

Chesterfield County officials did not return several calls placed throughout the day seeking comment. One spokesman returned a call from RBS but said that an official involved with the deal would not be available until Thursday.

Leaders of local youth soccer leagues said that they are excited about more turf fields but that they want to make sure that if public money is involved in a private enterprise, there is sufficient access during tournaments.

Rob Ukrop, president of the Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club, said turf fields will help his and other youth clubs run tournaments because the games can go on in rainy weather. But he said that until the details of the lease are fleshed out, he’s concerned that the clubs might not get full access.

“We currently pay Chesterfield County a user fee, and with a new lease, we think that should give us access to the turf fields without paying another fee,” he said.

Ukrop also said he would like to make sure the existing soccer clubs can schedule the tournaments they need. “We want the county to step in and protect the existing clubs that have had economic impact for years.”

According to the agenda, the deal would require that if the fields are not constructed by Dec. 31, “then SportsQuest must refund the rent and the lease will terminate. SportsQuest will provide a deed of trust on the 114 acre ‘East Campus’ when the fields are being built to secure its obligation to refund the rent until the fields are completed.”

Chesterfield land records show that SportsQuest LLC does not own the land on the East Campus. It is owned by Mark Sowers, an investor in SportsQuest.

The department is also recommending that the county grant $2 million to SportsQuest to assist in construction of the facility, and a second grant within 10 years that for the amount of increased real estate sales tax and real estate tax that would be generated during a five-year period. The county’s proposal estimates that the value of taxes paid and then refunded to SportsQuest could be between $10 and $12 million.

In order to get those grants, SportsQuest must invest at least $100 million for construction and create 500 full-time jobs. It’s unclear how SportsQuest would prove that it had met those benchmarks.

Steve Burton has previously said that the second phase of the project — the West Campus — relies mostly on bond financing, which he said would be completed in the second quarter of 2010. Bonds have not been sold.

The county is also seeking a deed of trust on the East Campus in exchange for the grants, which “shall remain in place as a first priority lien until SportsQuest has fully performed under the agreement.”

The county also wants to see other sources of funding, according to the agenda.

The East Campus, which is visible from Genito Road and sites adjacent to route 288, is being graded and prepared for artificial turf. SportsQuest is planning to host an adult soccer tournament on Labor Day.

FREE FOOD still best way to get people to pay attention!

Ad-Supported Food Lands on Horizon Air Flight

Programs by Air Advertainment Let Marketers Sponsor Snack Boxes

By Michael Bush
Published: May 24, 2010

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Passengers boarding Horizon Air flight 2631 from Seattle to Portland early this morning were treated to an in-flight rarity: free food.

The snack boxes were part of a marketing program from Air Advertainment in which marketers sponsor free meals or snack boxes for all passengers. Brands that take part in the program will be allowed to determine the list of snacks passengers receive. The snack boxes for the debut attempt -- on behalf of Creative Labs, a consumer-electronics company -- include Stacy's Pita Chips, pretzels and a Hershey's chocolate.

Flight attendants will alert all those on board that their meals are being sponsored by Creative Labs. Inside the branded box will be messaging directing consumers to text and e-mail a message to the company or visit Creative's website, where they can access a Facebook contest. Those who text or e-mail Creative immediately after landing will have the opportunity to win prizes or a shopping spree on the company's site.

Passengers can also keep the snack boxes, but in some cases they may receive additional rewards by dropping them off at retail locations.

Ryan Matway, president of Air Advertainment, said the program can be used as both a brand-building device targeting a wide range of consumers on a national basis, similar to a TV commercial, or more like a piece of direct mail or e-mail targeting a very specific group of potential customers on a more regional scale.

Expansion planned
"We can broadcast in a big way to build a brand image or be really razor sharp with accuracy just like in the Seattle-Portland market," Mr. Matway said. He said the demographic of the Horizon airline passenger flying that route is of a very tech-oriented and sophisticated traveler with an income of more than $100,000. "Marketers have asked if they could control all of the flights into the [consumer-electronics show] or sporting events like the Super Bowl," he said.

Mr. Matway said 25,000 boxes will be distributed during the next 20 days on this route. He expects to be on 25 domestic routes by the end of the year, working with at least four major carriers and at least 25 marketers ranging from automotive manufacturers to smaller brands "that just went public."

An executive in the airline marketing industry said it's a lucrative market and a captive audience but doesn't know if the business model is sustainable. "It has all the positives of that audience, but it's carrying a lot of legacy issues from an advertising perspective that are troublesome and have failed miserably in that space before," the executive said. "If you're giving away free meals, that's going to get expensive fast. There's a reason airlines charge for them now."

Mr. Matway said airlines will also stand to benefit from a customer-relations perspective and in some cases, financially as well.

"Carriers are turning an expense into a potential profit center," he said. "Air Advertainment is covering the cost of that food. And in some situations they may be compensated for giving us the opportunity."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010



Pepsi Refresh Voting App


KFC campaign sees 13 percent in-store mobile coupon redemption

By Giselle Tsirulnik

May 4, 2010

KFC 185x185

KFC added 6,000 subscribers to its mobile loyalty program and saw a 13 percent redemption rate for coupons sent to the list over a one-month period.

The database and coupons were part of the fast-food giant’s “Relief Plan” campaign, which was comprised of four distinct weekly offers. KFC saw a significant bump in participation when traditional media outlets were engaged to get the message out – including an email blast to a group of existing subscribers.

“J&A was looking for a way to make KFC’s message more integrated with consumers and increase traffic via exceptional coupon offers,” said Jarrett Klein, national sales manager at Cellit Marketing, Phoenix. “The mobile platform accomplished just that, and brought more dimension to KFC’s overall media mix.”

J&A Integrated Thinking is a full-service agency that has worked with KFC for more than 40 years, providing local marketing services and media planning and buying for 50 markets and approximately 1,500 retail units.

During the campaign, the average store redemption was 13 percent. A whopping 14,000 coupons were sent during the one-month promotion.

A follow-up survey identified which offers consumers preferred over others, enabling J&A and KFC to better hone content going forward. Forty-five percent of the database participated in the survey.

Here are some screen grabs of traditional media promotiong the mobile program:

Method for success
Upon J&A's creation of the Relief Plan, KFC used Cellit’s technology to collect information from participants that would allow segmentation and targeting of users in future mobile campaigns.

Each week, the KFC team at J&A sent out a different mobile offer to the database, rotating through a buy-one-get-one free offer, a percentage-off discount offer and an offer of a completely free lower-value item such as a small drink.

The mobile club was promoted in-store, online and in other traditional media.

KFC stores could track the popularity of the individual offers, as well as specific traffic patterns by store throughout the promotion.

To understand consumer preferences, Cellit designed a post-promotion mobile survey that was sent to all mobile members who participated in the KFC Relief Plan program.

Why mobile?
J&A sought an opportunity to introduce mobile to its KFC clients and test the effectiveness of the medium on KFC’s target audience.

Due to a highly competitive fast-food landscape where the customer is faced with nearly unlimited choices, it was critical that KFC present compelling and competitive offers that break through the quick-service-restaurant clutter and motivate the consumer to action.

Mobile is really changing the fast-food business, according to Neil Strother, practice director at ABI Reseach, Oyster Bay, NY. 

"Fast-food restaurants have been leveraging mobile in several ways: for discovery of nearby locations, coupons and for enabling mobile ordering and purchase," Mr. Strother said.

"Mobile is a good fit for these chains, especially the forward-thinking ones that seek to gain an advantage in a highly-competitive market by providing new tools for on-the-go customers," he said.

Senior Editor Giselle Tsirulnik covers advertising, messaging, legal/privacy and database/CRM. Reach her at giselle@mobilemarketer.com.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rewards for Heroes


Unemployment Hurts Business !!!!

Virginia businesses were in for a shock when the Virginia Employment Commission mailed rate notices for the 2010 tax year.  Established businesses with no claims against them in recent history saw their rate more than triple, increasing from .18% to .58% of their employees' first $8,000 of income.  Most employers understand that unemployment claims related to employees they have terminated without cause will increase their rates, but what's driving the change for businesses without claims?  And, how long will it last?

When Virginia's pool of funds to pay unemployment benefits falls below 50% of the balance it's required to maintain by law, a "fund building charge" is assessed.  That added .2% to the base rate for 2010.

Each year, to the base rate of .1%, the VEC adds a "pool charge" which is "added to compensate for unemployment benefits paid that cannot be assigned to any specific employer."  Bankrupt and out-of-business employers would fit that bill.  In 2009, the pool charge was .08%.  In 2010, it increased to .28%.

Two factors contributed to the depletion of the unemployment compensation funds in Virginia.  First was simply the prolonged recession and its attendant business failures and unemployment.  Secondly, Virginia accepted Federal stimulus funds, the terms of which dictated expanded unemployment benefits.  Eligible recipients are now receiving larger benefits for longer periods of time.  Another dictate of accepting stimulus funds was that these enhancements become permanent.  So these higher rates may stay with us for a very long time!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chronic Illnesses Help

Wow I came across this group called PSI that looks just fabulous. They have a very informative website with information that is beneficial to anyone with questions. There are some really good links as well for information from agencies.

So check out www.uneedpsi.org a great non-profit company that help's people who live with certain chronic illnesses or conditions locate suitable health insurance coverage and access ways to satisfy expensive co-payments.

Here is a salute to them!