BLOG ARCHIVE FOR: December, 2007


And to all a good…

Christmas. Hanukkah. Las Posadas. Kwanzaa.  Or as they used to say on Seinfeld, Festivus!  

Whatever you're celebrating this holiday season,  may the holidays find you in the peace and warmth of friends and family.

Travel safe if you're venturing from far from home and remember that patience and kindness make all the difference during the stress and hustle and bustle of the holidays. 

All the best to all of you in the Zone in 2008!


Rich and Jay at your fingertips

You can now hear some of Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel’s classic speeches at

About 20 speeches delivered by Rich and Jay during their Amway years are now available by visiting Resource Center,  clicking on the Business Resources tab, and selecting “Classic Speeches.”

As Amway approaches 50 years of providing opportunity to people around the world, the insights of the company’s founders are as relevant as ever.



Ice, Ice, Baby

An ice storm made its way through West Michigan yesterday, making the morning drive treacherous and closing some schools.  We had some staff members out of the office (either with kids who are home for the day or because they encountered problems on the way in — one spun out and wound up in a ditch.)  While the radio personalities called the roads "tricky," in some cases they were a little terrifying!

I found myself watching the news alerts to see if evening events were cancelled for my kids' school.  There was a girl scout meeting last night that I wasn't sure I had the energy to lead.  No such luck.  We spent an hour with a full troop of scouts talking about upcoming cookie sales and completing work on a sewing badge (we completed the teddy bear hand puppets we cut out at our last meeting.)  I was able to impart some useful life skills (the girls can now sew on a button and sew a seam and felt they had accomplished something.)  But my mind kept racing to what I needed to get done once the day was done!

I enjoy my time with my troop, but this time of year there's nothing l like more than the gift of time.  You rarely ever hear anyone complain about meetings getting postponed or cancelled.  Rather, there's a sense of elation and freedom about a free hour or two.  Not having to rush to something.  Getting something else done.   Or just taking a moment to yourself.

This time of year there never seems to be enough time to get everything done.  Work. Holiday shopping. School programs. Community service. Parties.  A free evening is a rarity — and a rare treat.  Which is why the idea of putting things on ice — on hold — for a period of time is such an appealing idea.

I'm trying to see what I can ice for the next couple of weeks — what can wait a bit and what can't.  Because there are some things you don't want to miss this time of year — because once the holidays are over, we won't see them again for another year!


Hannah Montana, Marketing Phenom

Last night's Hannah Montana concert at the Van Andel Arena was an example of corporate marketing to kids in action.

First, there's Hannah/Miley Cyrus herself.  She's a Disney Channel creation and production.  Disney owned the pre-show entertainment and showcased its stable of young, talented teens and young adults through music videos. You could see Disney recording artists Ally and AJ, Corbin Bleu, and the cast of High School Musical, among others. 

But that wasn't the first marketing touchpoint.  Outside the arena a group of sharp twenty-somethings with messenger bags were passing out samples of Lemonheads, which they said were Miley's favorite candy.  These folks filled my kids' coat hoods with samples — we easily carried in 70 or 80 packs of candies.  My children, after being assured it was OK to take candy from these strangers, asked why they would give away so many.  My answer?  The sooner they emptied their bags, the sooner their jobs were done! 

Once inside the arena, there was a flier on every seat with information on how to see photos from the concert and create their own Hannah Montana Concert Memory Book, sponsored by HP.  During the pre-show videos, there was a spot saluting teachers, with Miley Cyrus encouraging people to join OfficeMax in an adopt-a-classroom program to outfit schools. 

Midway through the performance, Miley told the audience they were helping make a difference because $1 of every ticket purchased was going to support  City of Hope.

On the way out, we got a flier about Disney channel stars appearing at Saturday's  Grand Rapids Griffins hockey game.

This was the most sophisticated marketing effort I've seen at a concert, even during tours underwritten by a national sponsor.  My kids and niece didn't flinch at any of this, since they've been marketed to practically since they were born.

The concert itself was a blast.  Yes, thousands of screaming fans (mostly girls under the age of 10.)  Miley Cyrus delivered a strong, upbeat performance as Hannah Montana and herself.  She had a solid band behind her and eight dancers who brought a lot of energy to the stage.  It was very refreshing to see a show where kids were dressed like kids (the most skin shown on stage was a few inches between Miley's cycling shorts and her above-the-knee socks) and the dancing was fun and energetic rather than something you'd want to shield your children's eyes from.  

The Jonas Brothers as opening act and mid-show entertainment while Hannah turned into Miley were OK — they're cute teenage boys who sing a bit and jump around the stage a lot.    I considered them the screaming warmup for Hannah.

There was unprecedented gridlock downtown an hour before the concert and parking issues, but it was something I know my girls and their cousin will never forget.  After all, I remember my first big concert (Jackson Browne) and how excited I was to go and be part of the music and energy.  Stop snickering right now….it was the '70s and I was in a moody, mellow teenage sort of place.  It was a phase, which is exactly what Hannah Montana will be for many who attended the show — a sweet memory of childhood in the new millenium. 


Hannah Hysteria!

This evening the top selling concert in the country comes to our humble hometown…yes, that’s right, Hannah Montana is coming to Grand Rapids.

For those of you who don’t have anyone under the age of 13 in your household or perhaps haven’t been exposed to any news lately, Hannah Montana is a top Disney channel show about a girl who’s a geeky student by day,  a pop star by night.  The show is cute and of course there’s the whole secret identity thread that gets Hannah, or her by-day persona, Miley, into all sorts of trouble.  Hannah/Miley is played by Miley Cyrus, daughter of country crooner Bill Ray of “achy breaky heart” fame.

I’m taking my daughters and neice to the show.  This morning they put on their Hannah Montana shirts and literally danced out the door this morning singing the Hannah theme, “Best of Both Worlds.”  I can’t imagine how they’ll get through the school day because every time the name “Hannah” is mentioned they start shreiking.

As for me, I’ve got earplugs and Advil.   I’ve heard from coworkers who went to previous Hilary Duff and Britney Spears shows  (when Britney was appropriate for pre-teens to see)  that the screaming is non-stop.

I’m excited because the kids are so excited.  I still  remember how it felt to have a kind of crush on a pop star, although I was never able to see David Cassidy or Bobby Sherman when I had their pictures from Tiger Beat taped to my wall.  I sang into my hairbrush in front of the mirror while I spun 45s with a penny sitting on the arm so the record wouldn’t skip.  I never even came close to seeing any of my idols live, although I was always glued to the television whenever they were on American Bandstand.

My husband suggested several times that we could sell our tickets for a tidy profit and take a vacation with the proceeds.  Not a chance.  While the tickets are commending a hefty price as the local concert sold out in a matter of minutes, experiencing this with my girls will be priceless.


Backstage at Studio 1A

I was able to join Steve Lieberman for his Today show spot on Monday to promote Quixtar's participation in the Today Show Holiday Toy Drive.  As many of you know, we're midway through our Achievers event in Hollywood, Florida, and took some time out to travel to Manhattan to be part of the program.

We were  pretty excited because we heard Brad Pitt was going to be on the show.   What we didn't realize until that morning was that Brad Pitt was going to be on the show, all right, but live from New Orleans launching the "Make it Right" program to rebuild Ward 9. 

On Monday we made our way past the crowds lined up for spots on the Plaza to Studio 1A, where presidents, heads of state, and just about anyone who's anyone has gone for live interviews on the Today Show.  So, no Brad Pitt, but we saw the woman who was struck by lightning in the lobby after her interview.   Jim Cramer of "Mad Money" fame was in the upstairs green room before his spot to hawk his new book.  We sat next to the guys in Chanticleer and watched them all go through makeup and wardrobe. There were models in there as well getting curled and teased and made up for a fashion segment.    

The Quixtar shot was outside.  The shots you see on the Today show are deceptive, because viewers may have thought Al Roker and Steve Lieberman  were near the tree at Rockefeller Center.  The outdoor staging area is actually across the street and the tree is across the plaza,  a good distance away.  The area they shoot in is about the size of  a tennis court.  In our case, Matt Lauer and  Al Roker did the news intro at one end of the shooting area while Steve waited by the sleigh at the other.  Once they cut away to news, Al walked over to the sleigh for our spot.  The talent is in constant motion, from one location to another, as they move from news desk to set to outdoor shots.

As anyone who saw the spot knows, it was over in the blink of an eye.  But our involvement isn't about exposure.

Don't get me wrong…we were grateful for the opportunity to appear on Today.  But we are even more fortunate to be able to help thousands of teen girls enjoy the holidays through our gift.  We're very proud of the commitment our industry has made to help make the season brighter for needy boys and girls and the more than $7 million in cash and product Direct Selling Association companies donated to the cause this year.        


Quixtar on Today

As many of you know, Quixtar Managing Director Steve Lieberman appeared on NBC's  Today Show around 9 a.m. Monday, December 3 to discuss the $500,000 worth of NAO never accept ordinary cosmetics and accessories Quixtar donated to Today's annual holiday gift drive.

Steve was on the air live from Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan with NBC Today Show Weatherman Al Roker.  While the appearance was brief, it did showcase Quixtar's ongoing involvement in the Today show drive to help make the holidays brighter for kids in need.

Quixtar donated about $500,000 worth of NAO products to help make sure teen girls aren't forgotten this holiday season.  Teen girls and boys and infant donations are typically the lowest in such drives.

This gift brings Quixtar's three-year giving to more than $1.5 million.  And, this was part of Quixtar's One by One Campaign for Children program.  Globally, Quixtar and Amway have given more than $39 million to childrens charities since the program began in 2003.