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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Will be out of town from Saturday 7/31 to 8/7

Just fyi, I will be going on a cruise to Alaska from this Saturday (7/31) through next Satrday (8/7), and will be out of town.  Consequently, no demos will be scheduled for next week.  Also, while my company wants me to do a demo on the 7th, I do not know how soon I will get back from the cruise that day (will be at the mercy of the cruise schedule, as well as traffic going back), and so I will probably be sitting that demo out unless if I can get back in time that day.  If you are curious about demos coming up with other demonstrators, feel free to inquire with your local grocery store(s) for upcoming events this weekend.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Featured Product for this week: Nabisco: Triscuit Thin Crisps

If you like crackers, you will probably love the demo coming up this week: Nabisco's Triscuit Thin Crisps















Product Features:
Nabisco Triscuit Thin Crisps: Toasty Delicious, Thin, Grabbleand made with 100% Whole Grain! Thin Crisps! Always Good ~ Triscuit Thin Crisps -Original, Parmesan Garlicand Quattro Formaggio!


Delicious baked-inflavor! No artificialingredients! 100% Whole Grain!

Lightly woven texture in a bite-size shape! Easy to pick up and enjoy any time, any place!

Discover all of the wonderful Triscuit flavors along with recipies and wine pairings for simple snack ideas perfect for any occasion at http://www.triscuit.com/!

Personal thoughts:
I've had these products before and make excellent snacks for parties, lunch, etc.

Upcoming demo info:
Date: 7/30/10
Time: 10:30 am to 4:30 pm
Location: Clearview Albertsons in Snohomish

Note: I was also scheduled to do two other demos on 7/29/10 (Thursday) and 7/31/10 (Friday), but I had to get out of those two demos since I am working at Kohl's tomorrow instead and on Saturday, my family is going on a cruise to Alaska. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This Week's Featured Product: Tropicana 50 Mango and Blueberry

If any of you are thirsty, tomorrow I am going to be promoting the Trop 50 juices. Currently I am scheduled to promote 2 flavors:
Trop 50 Pineapple Mango
Trop 50 Pomegranate Blueberry
(could not find amazon links for those)

Youtube videos on Tropicana 50

Product Features
  • Indulging taste
  • comes with coupons
  • It is supposed to have less sugar than other juices
  • No artificial sweetener (such as splenda)
  • comes with vitamin c
Personal thoughts:
I have not tried this kind of juice yet, but I am sure it can make a good breakfast drink.  Also, I find orange, cranberry juice, etc good for making smoothies.  So it could be a good fit if you are a smoothie drinker.  Kids will probably like this kind of drink too.  I will offer more info after tomorrow's demo.

Your thoughts:
If you have tried the Trop 50 juices, I would love to hear your comments and thoughts about Trop 50 juices?  What did you like about it?  What did you not like about it?  Who would you recommend it to?  Etc.  Be sure to use the comment link below this post to add your comments.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

See how Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew got the whole of Chicago talking.

By the way, are you curious about what other people think of the new Starbucks VIA ready brew? Check out ths youtube video here (posted by Starbucks).

Product Review: Starbucks' VIA Ready Brew

Starting with this post, I will start reviewing some of the products that I have been demoing.  Up till now, I've mainly been sharing what is written in the sales letters I've been given by the companies I work for (btw, the products I am assigned to promote are chosen by my employers and I do not have any say in the matter).  For my first product review, I will talk about the new Starbucks VIB Instant Ready Brew.  I got lots of  sample product (came in the sales kit) and was able to keep some left overs and try some myself and am happy to share with you my own opinion about the product.  Note: this is a completely unbiased opinion and is based on what I know about the product.

Want to get some ofthe Ready Brew stuff?  Here are some conveniant product links from Amazon.com (clicking on the referral links should redirect you to the Amazon.com website):















Overview of the product

Starbucks VIA ready brew is a relatively new product made by the Starbucks Coffee franchise (famous for its coffee shops and coffee and espresso products) that is geared almost exclusively for coffee drinkers who like strong starbucks style coffee.  Sure there are other instant coffee brands out there, such as Foldiers, Maxwell House, and others, but with the ne Starbucks VIA ready brew on store shelves, the instant coffee business is about to get alot more fierce.  Sure, the traditional instant coffee brands are popular and taste almost like regular coffee, but people who like strong coffee with extra flavor will love the new Starbucks VIA Ready brew drink.  The Ready Brew usually comes in packets and can either be purchased in grocery stores (like Albertsons), online (such as Amazon, see referral links above), or at Starbucks coffee shops and is pretty easy to make.  With the sample version, you would heat up hot water in a mug and pour a whole packet of the instant coffee (for smaller cups, it is suggested that only a half of the packet is used since adding the full packet would make the coffee taste extra strong, more like a straight up shot of espresso).  After you make the coffee, you can add sugar, cream and other condiments you use for flavor.  BTW, there are plenty of recpies with the instant coffee drinks (I was passing out recipe booklets by the way and saw recipes for lattes, mochas and other coffee drinks with the ready brew stuff).  It is bound to be popular to people who are "on the go" as it makes it possible to make good coffee in significantly less time than it would be to brew coffee.

What I liked about the product
  • Tastes much like a coffee drink you would buy at your local starbucks coffee shop 
  • Easy to make
  • It does not require a coffee maker or espresso machine (can be useful for making espresso drinks for those of you who do not have an espresso machine)
  • The strong coffee perks me up better than a regular foldiers coffee does.
  • Also, when there is no coffee available in the morning (I share a coffee maker with my parents), I can easily make a good cup of coffee using the coffee drinks.
  • It can be served hot or iced (the coffee beans dissolve as easily in cold water as it does in hot coffee)
Things you might not like about the product:
  •  It is best for people who like strong coffee.  If you prefer a more mild blend, then you are probably better off with a traditional blend (such as foldiers, maxwell house, etc).  It does have an acquired taste too.
  • You will need to be mindful on how many packets you use in a serving.  It is recommended that a half of a packet be used for every 4 oz of water (so for an 8 ounce coffee mug, one packet should do).  The coffee can taste too strong or weak if you are not careful on how many packets you use.
  • It is not recommended for children or people who do not like getting good jolts of caffine (it is almost tastes like espresso). 
This product is ideal for:
  • strong coffee drinkers (if you like lattes, espresso, cappaccinos, etc you will probably like the Starbucks VIA ready brew)
  • People on the go (saves you time brewing coffee as well as extra cash stopping at a coffee shop or espresso stand on the way to work).
  • People who need a caffine boost (especially while on break at work, between jobs, etc).
  • Starbucks fans
  • Latte (and similar espresso drink) drinkers
  • Can also be useful for people looking to make a coffee stand.  You can make quick coffee for people and charge $1 or $2 for each cup you make for people wanting coffee (such as at a carwash, business park, etc).  It can save you from having to buy a coffee maker or espresso machine.
Have a comment or testimonial about the Starbucks VIA Ready Brew?  Post it in the comments section of this blog.  I would live to hear your thoughts on the drink. 

Affiliate Spotlight: Walmart

Starting today, as a part of this blog, I will talk about some of the affiliates I serve.  Affiliates are companies and merchants that a website or blog can link to (such as this one) through a special referral link and earn commissions simply by referring customers and leads to the advertiser's company.  By the way, there are plenty of reputable companies with affiliate programs, including: walmart, amazon.com, ebay, google (particuarly with their google adsense program), Microsoft, and plenty of others.  For today's spotlight, I will Talk about Walmart
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Wal-Mart

Search for:

Walmart Clareview - Entrance
Information about Walmart
Walmart is a very popular retailer and offers a huge variety of products, food, services, as well as other cool stuff.  In fact, during my first year doing demos through New Concepts in Marketing, most of my demos had me going to the Walmart in Marysville, WA (close to where the Tulalip Casino is).  Walmart is similar to Target, K-Mart, Fred Meyer, and similar stores.  They are usually big, come with many departments to meet most consumer needs (such as an electronics department, apparel department, gardening department, a MC Donalds, an Arcade section and plenty of other stuff.  Super centers, such as the one in Marysville may also have grocery sections in them as well.  They have things just about for anyone.
Latest commercial on youtube

Featured promotions at Walmart (according to their profile page page on Linkshare), note: that this is not a full list of promotions they have (they have a lot of links to post, but I don't feel like listing them all, though if you want an exhaustive list, feel free to email me at ryansjones@hotmail.com and I'd be happy to send you an exhaustive list, same goes with my other affiliates).:

Products I have demoed at Walmart
For those of you who are curious, here are some products that I demoed at Walmart during the early days in my demo career:
1. Nescafe
2. Febreeze
3. Swiffer Wet Jet
4. Mr Cleen
5. Swiffer sweep and vac
6. Activia yogurt
7. Deodorants
and plenty of other products
BTW, Advantage Sales and Marketing does serve Walmart Stores (in addition to Albertsons), so there is a chance I could do demos at Walmart down the road.

Latest news about Walmart on MSNBC:
Residents Fight Against Proposed Walmart - apparently, residents do not like a Walmart that is being built near Houston.

350 Walmart jobs up for grabs - it appears a Walmart store in North Carolina is hiring for 365 jobs

For more news on Walmart, please visit http://www.msnbc.com/ and search walmart.

Comments and Testimonials about Walmart: I will leave it up to you to share your experiences with Walmart. To share, be sure to leave a comment or testimonal about Walmart in the comments section of this blog entry.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Change of plans for this weekend

Sorry about the short notice, but I found out that I actually have two demos coming up:

1. Tomorrow (Sunday), I will be demoing tortilla chips, potato chips, and french onion dressing at the Albertsons in Monroe.

2. Monday, I will be promoting several products at the Monroe store

Will talk more about the products later this week.

Hope to see you all there.

Friday, July 16, 2010

No demos scheduled for this week

Sorry to tell you this, but I am not schedule to do any demos this week, and so I don't have any products to showcase.  The schedule does vary each week and some weekends are going to be bussier or slower than others.  If you want to learn about others upcoming demos, feel free to inquire at your local retailer.  Alternatively, if you go to Costco, there are usually demos going on there.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Changes for the Starbucks demo tomorrow

Assuming you all read my last few posts, you know I was scheduled to promote the Starbucks VIA ready brew at the Albertsons stores in Clearview, WA (just south of Snohomish) today as well as the Albertsons store in Monroe tomorrow.  Today's demo was a little rough draft for the demo tomorrow.  While I did generate some leads, I think there will be some things I will do differently for tomorrow.

1. Using a coffee maker instead of the microwave as listed in the event manuel. Instead of using a Microwave and Carafe to heat up the water, I will just bring a coffee maker instead and brew hot water that way.  I might also mix some of the coffee into the hot water that way as well (I will try not to make it too strong).  I tried using a microwave today, but the caraffe would not fit into the microwave and so I had to use measuring cups instead (heated up water in a liquid measuring cup I borrowed from the bakery department and poured it into the caraffe).  Later, on in the demo I tried using the coffee maker in the deli to brew hot water, but I had a little mishap as it starting brewing as I was pouring water in it, even though it was not yet set to brew.  Bringing a coffee maker should address that problem tomorrow.

2. Looking into the feasibility of making iced coffee.  One of the complaints I got about today's demo was that the coffee should be iced since it was a hot summer day today.  The event manuel did not call for making iced coffee, but I will see what I can do for tomorrow, depending on consumer traffic and interest levels tomorrow.  I can't make any promises about this, but I will see what I can do.

3. Pouring coffee packets in the coffee pitcher.  Will make it easier for customers to help themselves to the coffee.

4. Passing out extra coffee packets during the last hour of my demo.  I tried that a little today and seemed to be popular among customers.  I might also let people opt to taking one of the sample packets to use later.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Recipe of the week: Making a Starbucks style caffe latte

Given the theme of two of the demos coming up this weekend, I thought that I would take a moment and share with you a popular recipe in the Seattle area inspired by Starbucks, the Caffe Latte.  Now, there are imitation versions of lattes by Foldiers and similar coffee brewers (usually those powdery mixes that are supposed to taste like lattes or cappuccinos).  Of course, in this blog post, I will share with you how to make a good starbuck style latte (the real thing of course).  Making espresso is not difficult and is actually pretty easy to make assuming you have an espresso machine.

First off, you will need to get an espresso machine if you do not have one.  It does not have to be expensive or fancy.  In fact, I will list a few here from Amazon and Walmart in case if you looking for one to buy.
















Once you have gotten an espresso machine, you will also need some espresso roast coffee beans (most grocery stores carry them), though regular coffee can do if you want to go cheap (such as foldiers coffee) though it will not be as good quality as espresso roast.  Now that you have an espresso machine and ground coffee beans, you are ready to make espresso.

Ingredients needed:
- a few scoops of ground espresso beans
- water (can use tap water)
- milk (I use low fat milk or 2% milk, but you can use just about any kind of milk you want, including soy milk if you don't want regular milk).  If you want a creamy lattee, you can also use half and half instead.  You will also need a liquid measuring cup or small pitcher to steam the milk in.
- Optional: Chocolate syrup (if you want to make a mocha instead) or any other flavorings (most grocery stores sell flavored syrups like the ones you see at espresso stands).
- Optional: cream and sugar
- In case if any of you want to make a spiked latte: Kahlua, Bailey's Irish Cream, Grand Mariner, etc

To make it (based on the machine I have):
- put the coffee beans in the scoop like coffee filter/dispenser device (the thing that the coffee comes out of)
- poor water in the water compartment of the espresso machine (with mine, there is a lid that covers the water compartment)
- Turn on the espresso machine and set it to brew (with my machine, you can simply turn the knob to the brew selection), the machine will start.
- Within a few minutes, the espresso will start brewing into either shot glasses (depending on what kind of machine you are using) or a pitcher (mine has a small pitcher that the coffee pours into)
- You will need a good size mug to put the coffee into (say a beer size mug), pour the espresso into the mug
- pour milk in a small liquid measuring cup, put the steam dispenser into the milk (I try to have it so that the tip of the steamer is fully immersed into the milk).
- turn on the steamer (with my machine, you can just turn the knob to the steamer setting) and the steamer will start steaming and whipping the milk.  If you want to make a cappuccino, you can have the steamer whip the milk for a few minutes.
- Pour the whipped milk in the coffee mug and you are good to go.  You can also pour chocolate syrup in the coffee if you want to make a mocha or a similar flavored syrup (such as vanilla, hazelnut, irish cream, etc) into the coffee for a flavored latte.

Want to make an alcoholic latte?  Just follow the instructions above, but for the flavoring, just pour in the liquer of your choice.  For a "traditional irish coffee", you will probably want to put a shot or two of either bailey's irish cream or irish whiskey in your coffee, along with some cinnimon and it is good to go. 

Want a visual demonstration on making espresso?  Here is a youtube video on how to make espresso

This week's featured product: The Star Bucks VIA Ready Brew

If you are a starbucks coffee lover, you will love two of the demos I am scheduled to do this weekend (see previous post for dates and times)

Watch Starbuck's official commercial for the beverage:















Starbucks ready brew is Starbuck's answer to Foldiers Instant coffee.  Usually when having coffee, you have to use a coffee maker or espresso machine (a must have if you are looking to make Starbucks style lattes, mochas, etc) to brew coffee. 

Product Features (according to the sales letter I got)
  • Rich, aromic instant coffee that tastes like a freshly brewed cup of Starbucks coffee with aroma, body and flavor that you would expect at Starbucks (btw, there is a Starbucks coffee shop right by both Albertsons stores I am scheduled to work at).
  • 100% natural roasted coffee, and is not supposed to have any byproducts or chemicals
  • With Starbucks VIA ready brew, all you have to do is add hot water to brew delicious Starbucks coffee in your own cup any time, any where.  This can be useful for those of you who are "on the go".  Instead of having to brew coffee (which can take a little while), all you have to do is pop hot water in the microwave, add the instant coffee mix to it, add cream and sugar (if you want) and it is ready to go.
Personal thoughts about Starbucks VIA ready brew

Personally, I usually don't drink instant coffee (have both a coffee maker and espresso machine at home), but Starbuck VIA ready brew is bound to attract loyal customers who recognize the Starbucks brand.  I do happen to live in the Seattle area, and if you are familiar with Seattle, you should probably know by now coffee is a huge business here in Seattle (if you want to check and be sure, just got to just about any town center within 30 miles or so of Seattle, especially in the downtown area and you will find Starbucks, Tullies, as well as many other coffee shops and espresso stands around the area, and you will see what I mean, even McDonalds has joined in the coffee shop business as of 2008).  If you need a quick caffine boost or need to perk up, feel free to come by any participating Albertsons stores to get a free sample of the Starbucks Ready Brew samples.

Demo Features:
  • giving free samples of Starbucks VIA Italian Roast and Starbucks VIA Columbia flavors
  • giving out coupons (btw, Albertsons does have a rewards card program, similar to that of Safeway and QFC, and so Albertsons card holders can save a little extra on the featured products)
  • Giving out recipe cards
Be sure to stay tuned for more upcoming demos.  BTW, if there is a specific product you want featured, feel free to let me know and I will suggest it to my scheduler.

Upcoming demos for this weekend (July 9 through July 11)

Here is my demo schedule as posted at the company website (advantage sales and marketing):

Tomorrow (Friday):

Location: Snohomish Albertsons (the one off of SR 9 in Clearview)
Time: 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Product Featured: The Starbucks VIA Ready Brew
Will be giving out free samples of starbucks instant coffee.  I am also supposed to pass out recipe cards and coupons.   This demo can be popular for coffee lovers (btw, there is a Starbucks coffee shop in the same parking lot as Albertsons).

Saturday

Location: Monroe Albertsons
Time: 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Featured Product: (same as Friday)

Sunday
Location: Snohomish Albertsons
Time: 12:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Featured Products: Shoppers Value Wavy Potato Chips, SV Tortilla Chips, SV Mini Pretzels, Lipton Recipe Secrets - French Onion Dip
Daisy Sour Cream (16 oz)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sun Butter anyone?

Today I was given an interesting product to promote at the QFC store off of SR 99 near Lynnwood: Sun Butter.  I would have talked about it earlier, but I was on vacation until yesterday (went to Priest Lake, Idaho) and so I was not able to announce the demo earlier.  Anyways, here are my thoughts about the product.















Sun butter is basically like peanut butter, but is made with sunflower seeds.  BTW, sun butter is not the only "peanut butter" product that is not made with peanuts, as there are similar butters with almonds, coconuts (saw one at the store today), walnuts, etc. 

Positive aspects about the product
  • tastes like peanut butter
  • is said to be healthier than peanut butter, which can be nice for people looking for diet foods
  • can be a good substitute for people allergic to peanuts (though it does contain soy beans)
  • can be good with sandwiches, etc
  • Can be popular for people who like sun flower seeds
Negative aspects
  • People did not seem to be as wild about sun butter as they are about peanut butter (based on what I saw at the QFC I was demoing it at).
  • Does have an acquired taste (people used to peanut butter will have to get used to sun butter to like it).
  • Tastes better when served with something (like bread, crackers, etc).  I had to just let people sample the product straight up and they thought that it would have been better when offered with something.
Related products you might like as well
Nutella can be popular among kids and can be a dessert item.  It is made with chocolate, milk and hazelnuts.  BTW, I demoed this product several months back at a QFC store near Redmond (near Overlake Church)










Other products