Friday, January 28, 2011

Hybrid Words

I think it is very clever when marketers merge two words to coin a new concept – portafuel; a portable and nutritious meal or snack. The hybrid word that has piqued my interest of late is “merchantainment.”

Read On:
At the close of 2010, Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation was named Luxury Marketer of the Year. They won the award based on their multichannel marketing strategy that resulted in double-digit growth. The company consistently delivered creative messaging and effective call to action to maintain their luxury aura. CMO David Lauren indicated: “We operate on the principle of “merchantainment” – the blending of culture and commerce. The key concept underlying our philosophy is that the luxury shopping experience is not just about the transaction, but immersion too.” The company’s well crafted, integrated “merchantainment” campaign was further enhanced by their use of the latest technology in digital channels including mobile.
Today’s query: Is the principle of “merchantainment”, the blending of culture and commerce only applicable for luxury products? Answer: Not really. Polo Ralph Lauren will get credit for coining the hybrid word “merchantainment”, but we are beginning to witness the concept evolving in other industries. One example is CKE Restaurants (Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s) launch of Happy Star Rewards, a GPS-enabled loyalty program that rewards users for checking in at the restaurants' locations across the U.S. Now their guests will be able to download the rewards app from an iTunes App Store or Android Market to check in. Four check-ins earns the user a spin on “The Wheel of Awesome” for discounts, gift cards, prizes, etc. A consumer who orders Hardee’s 2/3 lb. Monster Thickburger® (two 1/3 lb. charbroiled 100% Black Angus beef patties, 4 strips of bacon, 3 slices of American cheese and mayonnaise on a sesame seed bun) for 1,320 total calories, 860 calories from fat, might not subscribe to the culture of luxury, but definitely to the culture of fast foods.

The principle of “merchantainment”; sounds like smart marketing to me.


  1. Jimmy,

    Does this mean that we will see half-naked Abercrombie and Fitch models in front of McDonalds as part of a cross-promotional merchantainment program?

    If so, I will just take my Tums now.


  2. Experience is critical in a service industry especially. Now he have a 'name' for it. Woo hoo. :)

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  4. I predict that although clever, that these "merchantainment" events will be an anomaly rather than a mainstream tool. I wonder what their actual participation in these elaborate events is? Look at JayZ's book where hundreds of clues were planted around the country and book readers had to figure out the answers in person or via the web. Who has time for that? Fun for the marketing company who invents it, but a chore for everyone else. I will be watching closely...