Consumer Reports "Naughty and Nice List" Holiday Party, BLT Prime, New York
November 22, 2010
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Consumer Reports threw a party last night. I know, a Consumer Reports party doesn't sound very sexy, but you know what is sexy? Knowing which companies use marketing tactics that affect consumers positively. This year, Consumer Reports compiled their naughty and nice list, not necessarily reflective of each company as a whole, but focusing on specific policies.
On my nice list is BLT Prime, the restaurant where the party was held. BLT Prime, I love you. The mini meat discs, cute little stuffed tomatoes, little triangles of buttery crispy grilled cheese were so neatly arranged on their trays with nary a drip or dribble to be seen. The waitstaff was pleasant, smiling, and devoid of grouches. Guests pounced on the mini crab cakes and teeny slabs of Hanger steaks while sipping dark glasses of red wine. I could also smell the distinct pine tree scent of gin (gurp!).
I saw Attention's John McCartney to the right of the crudité table. He was talking with TVNewser's Alex Weprin, who two years ago I never saw, and this year we keep running into each other.
I wandered off and found Matt Fields, Melissa Valentine, and Jon Valentine of Consumer Reports, and Jennifer Icklan of CNN, who was with her dude, Matt Eckert. I also met Grant Hansen, Senior Mobile Product Analyst at Consumer Reports and his ladyfriend Julie Gottlieb. Keeping on eye on the small but friendly crowd were Rachel Zuckerman, publicist for Consumer Reports and her other half, Chris Peifer.
The world is a small place, made smaller by trade pubs, PR shuffling, and digital inbreeding, so I shouldn't be surprised when I run into people like PRNewser's Tonya Garcia, whose boyfriend is MediaPost writer Karl Greenberg's brother. Did you follow that? I'm sure I messed up the order there. Maybe. Tonya was talking with McCartney and another Attentioner, Jordan Jubela, who reminded me of someone famous but I couldn't pinpoint it. Maybe Pauly Shore's doppelgänger.
In the middle of cocktails, Ken Weine gathered the guests around to explain the list, which isn't about vilifying companies, "the most important thing is we're getting marketers to think about how they're affecting consumers."
Before heading out I stopped and chatted a bit with eMarketer's Tobi Elkin, who used to write for MediaPost in the past, and oddly for Just An Online Minute in one of its past lives. We were joined by Ellie Behling, writer at eMedia Vitals and fellow Ohioan. I also met the crew from ABC News Radio, Jason Wesalo, Andrew Kalb, and Ryan Kesller.
If you want to see who will be getting chocolate and who will be getting coal from Santa's little consumers, check out the Naughty and Nice list and see if you agree. The nice list inhabitants are wonderful logical benchmarks while the naughty are, well, surprising. Like Macy's delivery fees which are based on dollar amount, not size and weight. Macy's saw themselves on the bad guy list and gave this statement, which Matt Lauer read aloud on The Today Show during Consumer Reports' Tod Marks' appearance: "We ackowledge the system isn't perfect. We're working on developing an alternative...The sliding scale method is common in the industry...we use it so customers can easily see what the shipping charge will be before deciding to buy the item" and went further to say they have promotional shipping deals.
I guess this means we're in full holiday party season. I've already begun my stomach-expanding exercises so that I can eat as much turkey and stuffing as possible without detonating.
Holiday party season is upon us, with the first two weeks of December already packed for Just An Online Minute coverage. If your holiday party falls after December 9th, send those invitations on to email@example.com!