Red Bull, Sri Lanka, Lunar Landing, Trump Approval, Kroger, Naples

MRD July.png

What I am watching today = April 22, 2019

Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics


✔️ Actor who played a president is elected Ukraine’s leader

✔️ Gallup presidential job approval: Trump +6

✔️ Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts enters 2020 Dem race

✔️ Tiffany announces Beverly Hills pop-up restaurant

✔️ Naples, Florida, metro tops US in wellbeing


Ross Rant: Red Bull wasn't created by economists

"Marketing is the science of knowing what economists are wrong about."  -- Rory Sutherland

As a means to beat Coca-Cola, no economist would approve of an expensive beverage, served in a small can, and tastes awful.

An economist using logic, facts, and numbers would never greenlight Red Bull.

But Red Bull has changed the global beverage market forever and altered the way Coca-Cola operates permanently.

Austria beating Atlanta is the playbook of how products and ideas will win going forward.

Energy drinks have transitioned from being a niche product to one of the fastest growing segments in the global drinks market. The global energy drinks market now stands at $55 billion and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7% from 2018 through 2023.

How troubling is this for Coke? 

Consider the first energy drink under the Coca-Cola brand will launch in Europe this month.

Coca-Cola Energy, which will debut in Spain and Hungary, features caffeine from naturally-derived sources, guarana extracts, B vitamins, and no taurine – sounds like Red Bull but with a Coca-Cola taste. 

And not surprisingly, Coca-Cola Energy will be offered in 250-ml cans, just like Red Bull.

The economists of Atlanta are following the entrepreneurship of Austria.

Economists assume most decision making is driven by logic. 

This is flawed.

Using logic to make a decision is called System 2 thinking. 

But most decision making is driven by emotion. 

This is called System 1 thinking.

Facts and numbers don’t drive our decision making. 

Facts take a back seat to emotional responses. 

Numbers with no context and color are no match for actual experiences. 

Great marketers understand the power of ubiquitous and unconscious System 1 decision making to sell products or shape ideas.

Sutherland believes, "Once you reach a basic level of wealth in society, most problems are actually problems of perception.”

The role of a business is to create value by solving problems for customers.

As I move through life, it is clear you don’t always need to solve difficult technical challenges with massive and costly technical solutions.

You need to communicate with a customer to see things from a different, more indirect point of view.

Acknowledging the importance of perception well better position your brand and improve communications.

When it comes to entrepreneurship and thought leadership, one is bigger than two.


Marc A. Ross specializes in thought leader strategy for executives and entrepreneurs working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.


Sri Lanka Easter attacks: Sri Lankan officials believe an Islamist militant group was behind the Easter morning attacks that killed at least 290 people and wounded another 500.

Attackers may have had help from Isis: The Times reports, the Sri Lankan authorities has this morning blamed a small, little-known local Islamist group, National Thowheeth Jama’ath or NTJ, for the Easter Day bombings. 

Actor who played a president is elected Ukraine’s leader: WSJ reports, Ukrainians elected a comedian with no political experience as their new president Sunday in a damning verdict on their ruling class five years after a violent pro-Western revolution, exit polls showed.

Comedian who played a president on TV will be president of Ukraine: NYT reports, Volodymyr Zelensky won a landslide victory, making an actor with no government or military experience the commander in chief of a country at war.

Wolfgang Münchau: Realism is set to strike the EU over the Brexit timescale: Germany is gaining a wider consensus on a hard deadline. Macron is winning the argument.

Nikkei: Solomon Islands' next prime minister faces choice over Taiwan ties

Taipei's few remaining allies waver in the face of China's investment promises.

The parliament of the Solomon Islands will hold a vote Wednesday to choose a new prime minister against a backdrop of political strife regarding the South Pacific country's diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

China to showcase growing naval power with parade at sea: FT reports, event aimed at building ties with other militaries and inspiring national pride.

Trade deal alone won’t fix US-China business relations: WSJ reports, even as a US-China trade accord apparently nears completion, rattled businesses on both sides of the Pacific are skittish about rushing back in to revive the once-booming investment activity between the two countries.


To survive trade battles, China manufacturers deploy every weapon they can: Reuters reports, manufacturers in China facing trade barriers are deploying an array of moves to try to keep foreign customers - giving discounts, tapping tax breaks, trimming workforces and, occasionally, shifting production overseas to skirt tariffs.

FT: Fatal fever ravages China’s pig farms and shakes global food markets

Pork prices forecast to soar as deaths from disease expected to reach 130m.

Jokowi's election win sets up Indonesia political free-for-all: Nikkei reports, playing field has been leveled for politicians with ambitions for 2024.

US plans to eliminate sanctions waivers on Iranian oil: FT reports, fuel prices rise as China, India, and Japan among nations pressured to find other sources.


Driving is so 1980s: In a challenge for Detroit, teens put off getting their licenses and buying cars. About a quarter of 16-year-olds had a driver’s license in 2017, a sharp decline from nearly half in 1983. 

AI could boost our intelligence, but will we misuse it?Theoretical neuroscientist and entrepreneur Vivienne Ming believes it’s inevitable, but warns that our use of AI could have unintended consequences.

A new race to the moon? US wants to lead the way: Half a century after the first lunar landing, a new race to the moon may be underway. The United States is out to win again. What are the Russians hoping for? And is there a role for the rest of the world?


Gallup presidential job approval: (Apr 1-9)

Trump approval: 


Trump disapproval: 


Spring 2019 Harvard IOP youth poll results

By election day 2020, the Millennial and Gen Z generations will represent more than a third of eligible voters. As indicated by the unprecedented youth turnout in the 2018 midterm election, the youth vote is likely to play a historic role in the upcoming primary and general elections. The poll finds that political engagement is heightened compared to this point in the 2016 contest.  

- The youth vote -- especially young Democrats -- is poised to play an even more significant role in 2020 than in the 2016 presidential contest.

- Generational conflict between young voters and Baby Boomers is brewing.

- Protecting the environment is now central to both domestic and foreign policy agendas of young Americans

- Half of young Americans experience anxiety, and it is correlated with views related to state of our nation.

To defend against Trump, aides wield the pen as a shield: NYT reports, the Mueller Report made clear that Trump is not fond of written records of meetings and conversations, some of which have now come back to haunt him. Note-taking has become a way for aides to protect themselves from Trump.

Democrats see grounds for impeachment in Mueller report as Trump allies claim exoneration: LAT reports, Rudy Giuliani says there is nothing wrong with accepting help from Russia, while Rep. Adam Schiff says Trump's actions were worse than Watergate.

Top Democrats leave open option of Trump impeachment after Mueller report: Reuters reports, top congressional Democrats left the door open on Sunday to the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump, but said they would first need to complete their own investigations into whether he obstructed justice in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.

Why American CEOs are worried about capitalism: Fearing a backlash against business if a Democrat wins the White House, some chief executives are pushing for pre-emptive reforms.

US billionaires worry about the survival of capitalism: For the first time in decades, US politicians and members of the business elite are debating whether American-style capitalism has a future.

Business leaders voice support for climate activists who shut down capital: Business leaders have voiced their support for Extinction Rebellion, the environmental protest group that shut down parts of London last week, calling for an “urgent redesign” of global industry in a letter to The Times.

Trump’s washing machine tariffs stung consumers while lifting corporate profits: NYT reports, new research shows how a move meant to aid domestic manufacturers instead padded profits and raised prices on a wide variety of laundry items.

"Estimates that consumers bore between 125 percent and 225 percent of the costs of the washing machine tariffs. The authors calculate that the tariffs brought in $82 million to the United States Treasury, while raising consumer prices by $1.5 billion."

Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts enters 2020 Democratic presidential race: WSJ reports, the Iraq War veteran, who unsuccessfully opposed Nancy Pelosi, is the 19th Democratic candidate to join the campaign. 

Rep. Moulton (D-MA) is a fourth tier candidate.

Current Caracal Global 2020 Presidential Candidates ranked by tier

Gallup: Climate change concerns higher in the Northeast, West US

- Southerners, Midwesterners less likely to say global warming has begun

- Worries about global warming higher in the East and West


FT: FCC chair opposes China Mobile’s effort to enter US market

Ajit Pai urges telecoms watchdog to vote against company’s application next month.

Renault launches new Nissan integration bid: Japanese automaker set to reject proposal from alliance partner.

Kroger is adjusting operations and investing in technology to try to hang on to customers who no longer like to buy their food in stores. 

Flashback: Ross Rant: Cincinnati, we have a problem: Jeff Bezos has long sought to redefine, refocus, and recalibrate the consumer shopping experience. It isn’t so much that Bezos wants to sell more high-end kombucha or grass-fed beef — he wants Amazon to own more and more of consumer spending while at the same time providing endless options, lower prices, and frictionless delivery.

Bed Bath & Beyond has announced a series of changes to its board, including the appointment of five new independent directors, as the retailer faces pressure from activist investors to turn around its operations. 

FT: US airline JetBlue ups ante in battle for transatlantic

London to New York route is fiercely competitive and littered with failures.

LAT: Tiffany & Co. announces Beverly Hills pop-up restaurant

 to integrate public transport data in Southeast Asian mega-cities.

Samsung Electronics delays Galaxy Fold media events in China: Reuters reports, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has postponed media events for its Galaxy Fold planned for this week in Hong Kong and Shanghai, a company official said, days after reviewers of the foldable handset reported defective samples.

Reuters: Huawei says launches 'world's first' 5G communications hardware for autos


Naples, Florida, metro tops US in wellbeing for fourth time: Gallup reports, for the fourth straight year, the Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida, metro area had the highest wellbeing across 156 U.S. communities, based on data collected in 2017 and 2018 as part of the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index. Salinas, California; Boulder, Colorado; Santa Rosa, California; and Ann Arbor, Michigan round out the top five metro areas.

Enjoy the ride + plan accordingly.


Marc Ross

Based in Washington, DC, I specialize in thought leader communications and global public policy for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.

Clients hire me to ghostwrite, engage influencer networks, manage media relations, produce events, audit their communications infrastructure, consult on hiring, provide issue briefs and news generating talking points, as well as manage end to end communications projects where I assume a role of project leader and general contractor.

I work independently but provided access to a substantial global network of collaborators with expertise in websites, graphic design, audio, video, polling, data analytics, and research.

Using the latest tactics of an American political campaign with expertise shaped by being a practitioner of global business communications, I help clients tell their story and build trusted relationships with all necessary stakeholders.

Successful communications are all about STOCK = strategy, tactics, organization, consistency, and know-how.