23 February 2020

Week 5: Blog Post 2: The California Liberation Movement PAC social media campaign

Business Name: California Liberation Movement Political Action Committee (CALM-PAC)

Business Description

CALM-PAC is a political action committee founded in February 2020. The purpose of CALM-PAC is “to advocate for and promote the independence of California” from the United States. This purpose includes the potential mutually-consensual unification of the State of California with Baja California in the United Mexican States. CALM-PAC is an actual business registered with the California Secretary of State.

According to the most recent polling in 2017, at least 9 million potential voters in California support nonviolent separation of this state from the United States, and a further six million are undecided and persuadable; this total of 15 million Californians is half the adult population of California. In addition, support for California independence among Californians under the age of 45 is about twice as strong as it is among voters older than 45. Social media postings since the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate refused to hear witnesses against Trump in January 2020 indicate that support for independence California has recently increased dramatically. 
The CALM-PAC logo

In addition, according to allies in Baja California, a majority of “Baja” residents support re-unification of “Gran California” if the State of California becomes independence of the United States. The fact that over 110,000 people cross the border between San Diego County and Baja California every day demonstrates that the San Diego (with 3.3 million people) and Tijuana (2 million people) collective make up the largest divided city in the world.

CALM-PAC was primarily organized to satisfy Google, which does not allow individuals to purchase political advertisements. CALM-PAC was originally going to operate under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as a public charity, engaging in public education and research to advance its purpose, but Google considers any advertisement that mentions “Trump” a “political advertisement.” Google has still not fully-verified my account, but I plan to shift my direction to Facebook advertisements instead.

In using social media and paid advertising, the immediate goal of CALM-PAC is to collect e-mail addresses of people interested in receiving regular e-mail newsletters about events the matter to Californians, who can be asked to donate to the PAC to pay for more advertisements to reach more of the millions of Californians that support independence that have not yet been organized.

As CALM-PAC is being set-up now, it does not have an active social media profile. However, it does have a Facebook page, as well as Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube accounts. CALM-PAC is being developed in coordination with an Internet-based website that will present news, analysis, opinion, and features for Californians, “Your California Today” (YCT). YCT articles will be readily-shareable on social media, which is why it is appropriate to mention it here.

Target Market
People who support California independence, primarily residents of California, but also Baja California, and beyond. Their primary motivation is to feel that they are contributing to the improvement of their community, and even helping to create the world's newest superpower.

Immediate Target 

Californians that support the nomination of Bernie Sanders for the presidency of the United States.

At the recent statewide conference of California independence supporters, a consensus agreed that California Bernie Sanders supporters are the largest group most likely to be inspired to join the movement for California independence. This analysis rests on the fact that Sanders is likely to win the California Democratic presidential primary next month by a wide margin – the most recent poll gives him a 12% lead over Biden, Klobuchar and Buttigieg – and yet he will probably be denied the Democratic Party nomination for president, even if he wins the largest number of pledged convention delegates. Moreover, as soon as Sanders wins the California primary, the national commentators and party leaders are sure to insist that “Bernie” will not be the eventual nominee. This can happen if he is unable to win more than half of the pledged delegates to the national convention, causing the convention to be "brokered" by Party leaders.

This circumstance is expected to, frankly, enrage Sanders supporters and make them even more open to support separating California from the United States, in order to enact the kind of policies that Bernie Sanders has inspired his supporters to expect and demand. Unlike in the United States, a strong consensus exists in California for the enactment a wide range of progressive policies, including universal health care, affordable higher education, restoration of middle and working class spending power, and environmental protection. Meanwhile, the United States Government is accumulating debt at the rate of over $1 trillion annually, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – the federal appellate court that has the most impact on decisions in California on issues like the rights of women and immigrants, and environmental protection – will become a Republican-dominated body if Trump is reelected. If that occurs, our rights are not secure, and our values are threatened. 

Sanders supporters, goes this calculus, have the least affinity for what some call “traditional American values,” and are the most alienated against capitalism. They also skew young, which is a key target market for CALM-PAC. Although Bernie Sanders wants to be president of a united States, his California supporters are not so determined. As a result, they are the most immediate target market for CALM-PAC.

19 February 2020

Week 5: Post 1: Subway and Hungry Bear websites compared

Subway vs. Hungry Bear

Except for price and possibly quality, both companies are in virtually the same market. The primary of both businesses is making sub sandwiches for take-out and fast casual-dining. Both businesses make salads, although salads are an afterthought for Subway, compared to Hungry Bear. Subway, strange to say, seems to have a larger menu, since Subway sells cookies and hot soup, as well as a range of chips and juices. Subway is also the only company of the two that sells sub sandwiches with items like tuna salad and Italian meatballs. On the other hand, Hungry Bear offers items like (spicy) Buffalo Chicken and Philly Steak that Subway does not.

Outwardly, there is very little difference between the two chains, except that Subway lists information about nutrition, catering, rewards and deals (promotional offers), and corporate responsibility in the header of its website, while Hungry Bear lists little more than its menu, location, and store hours.

The principal difference between the two companies is not menu range or restaurant format, but PRICE and the perceived quality. With all of its sub sandwiches priced at $11.99 and above, Hungry Bear sandwiches are about TWICE the price of Subway sandwiches. Even the $8 foot-long chicken sub I bought this weekend in Los Angeles was about 50% less expensive than a Hungry Bear sandwich.

For a 50% to 100% up-charge from Subway, Hungry Bear is implicitly marketing its food on the basis of superior quality. At these prices, Hungry Bear is almost making sub sandwiches into a prestige product. As I have never tried their food, I don't know how much better their products are than Subway, but the price implicitly promises superior quality. They promise "the Best Sandwich you ever had!" but Subway promises customers a good-tasting meal as well. The photos on the Hungry Bear website do not even indicate the actual size of their sandwiches, i.e., their length, as opposed to height and width.

The higher price point of Hungry Bear implicitly differentiates their customers from Subway. Many people would consider the prices at Hungry Bear too high for a choice of sandwiches and salads. Even people who will readily pay $12 for a meal are more likely to choose a different restaurant with "fancier" food. A full meal at Denny's, for example, is about as expensive as a Hungry Bear sub, even after tipping the staff.

On the other side, Subway is not a "slob appeal" business; it has consistently tried to market itself as an "alternative to the burger chains," rather than just churning out "chow" at the lowest possible price. For decades, Subway has tried to maximize profits by remaining affordable to as many people as possible, but it isn't concentrated in low income neighborhoods, nor does it cater to minority group tastes. Subway is not the "Dollar Store" of restaurants.

In conclusion, the two websites are very similar, except that Subway seems more focused than Hungry Bear on assuring customers that their food is nutritious and affordable, and that the company is trying to help the earth. Subway uses green, yellow and white on their website, promotional material, and stores, while Hungry Bear relies on red, white, and black, but the colors of Subway do not convey much about the company besides differentiate it from "the burger chains," all of which rely on some combination of red, white, black and yellow (McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy, Carl's Jr/Hardees., even In & Out and Five Guys). Hungry Bear, on the other hand, focuses their website on trying to convince people that their sandwiches are "the best you ever had" -- i.e., that they are worth the price charged.

Given the similarity in products -- disregarding relative quality -- the customer base of the two companies would be completely analogous -- at least around Vista, California -- but for the higher price point of Hungry Bear. As a result, there is relatively little crossover between the two businesses. If you think the sandwiches at Hungry Bear are worth $12-$13, and you can afford sandwiches at that price, you would probably never go to Subway if you have to choose between the two. If you don't think a Hungry Bear sandwich is worth that much, or you cannot afford to buy any meal at that price, you would never return to their store.