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How do you scale “Members Only” Gilt free excess?

It’s hard enough for the average worker to concentrate on their job responsibilities with easy access to Facebook, Youtube/Hulu and the grand old dame of all workplace distractions, instant messenger . However,  a burgeoning Internet addiction has seized  over 750,000 people as they religiously log on to Gilt Groupe at 12:oo pm EST sharp on a daily basis, to take advantage of  50-70% discounts on high end fashion labels such as Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, John Varvatos, etc.


Even creepy Karl knows to run, not walk to a Gilt Groupe sale!

Founded by two Harvard MBAs, Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, with seed investment from Doubleclick founder Kevin Ryan and an additional $5mm infusion of capital from Matrix Partners; the Gilt Groupe has become a symbol of how yuppies can still keep up with latest trends amidst turbulent economic times.The Gilt Groupe first launched in 2007 and immediately focused on maintaining an air of exclusivity given that one technically had to be “invited” to become a member. The site solely targeted women at first however, has added a men’s section as word of mouth buzz grew and the public’s appetite for bargains grew in inverse proportion to the Dow.

Mayband and Wilson or “A&A” to their employees have leveraged their respective experiences at ebay, Louis Vitton and Bulgari to impressively launch an Internet start up that is generating actual cash flow and reportedly had gross revenue of $20+ MM in 2007. The Gilt Groupe currently holds 25 sales per week and has recently turned to display advertising on contextually relevant fashion/lifestyle sites in an attempt to drive increased membership and awareness of the service.

This recent aggression does raise the question if  promoting to the masses will severely compromise the Gilt Groupe’s core competencies and value proposition. How can this emerging site  force balance expansion and credibility and “jump the shark” so to speak and  avoid becoming e-commerce’s version of NBC’s “Heroes” ? If the masses all become members of the Gilt Groupe or it becomes too accessible, will it no longer be “cool”? Additionally, will the company be able to supply enough product to meet demand or will only the most diligent be able to reap the rewards of bargain basement couture?

Prospective Gilt Groupe Members in 2010?

Prospective Gilt Groupe Members in 2010?

A&A maintain that the inventory is readily available as designer desperately yearn other cost-effective channels to distirbute their products. Additionally, it appears that the Gilt Groupe is adhering to the Web 2.0 mantra of developing “community”.Similar to any smart brand they have  “listened” to their customers and recently offered greater value on shipping rates and exchange policies in addition to enabling the sites with RSS feeds to keep track of upcoming sales.

Word of Mouth has made Gilt Groupe a hit with men as well!

Word of Mouth has made Gilt Groupe a hit with men as well!

Lastly, members of the Gilt Groupe have been continuously incentivized to have members of their social  graph  register and buy as $25 “credit” is bestowed for bringing aboard another paying members. They even have a slick dashboard set up so members can monitor their personal marketing activity, seeing which emails were opened, who registered and what was purchased. The bet here is that Gilt continues these practices and implements voting and sharing tools in the next couple months to take take even further advantage of their rising popularity. In the interim, email me here if you would like to be invited to the Gilt Groupe because daddy needs some new shoes and a sweatshirt too 🙂

Pepsi – The Choice of an New/Old Generation

Another NFL season has come and gone and with it one of the more entertaining Super Bowls in recent memory. The modern day Super Bowl now has three main cornerstones; the game itself, the halftime musical act that MUST appeal  to 75% of United States populace and of course, the multi-million dollar television commercial spot.

This  years commercials were somewhat lackluster however, this may be very well  due to the fact that I ingested 6 different types of animal/species during the game. Cow, shrimp, crab, pig, chicken, salmon were all consumed in a showing of excess so disgusting that it would make Caligula himself blush.  According to Ad Age, Pepsi was the big winner of the day as its ads accounted for 19% of the share of voice among the top 10 most-talked-about advertisers. Additionally, the Pepsi-Cola brand appeared to dominate the increasingly important Twitter conversation. Evidently, anything involving causes early adopters to fire up their Tweetdeck/Twitterifics or whatever the go to app is of the day. The only reason Twitter did not completely shut down was the oversight on Pepsi’s part to not use the election day hologram in the commercial. 


How did Pepsi manage to stand out from all the other brands doing the holiest of Sundays you might ask? Well, first off their spots combined to to fill about six minutes of the available airtime (including other Pepsi brands, Sobe and Doritos). Pepsi which is always trying to fatten up the youth by appealing to the teenybopper generation, ironically used pop culture icons from the past in the majority of it’s spots. Most memorable, was the unintentionally funny comparison of Boy Dylan and the aforementioned Black Eyed Pea’s frontman I’ve got nothing personal against as,  he seems like a nice enough guy and has single handedly tried to revive the Union Civil war hat as a fashion accessory. However, even the most naive teenager or suburban mom  isn’t buying this symbolism. Nonetheless, the ad was effective in the sort of look what’s old is new, what’ new is old way!  According to Paul Simon, every generation sends a hero up the pop charts and loves Rayban Wayfarers!



Union Hat

Of all three I suppose  the Pebsuber spot was the most entertaining as it leveraged both the SNL “Macgruber”skits and an ancient looking Richard Dean Anderson from the original “MacGyver” series. Unfortunately,  this ad also made me reach for the prozac,  because whenever I see a supposedly  handsome, 80’s TV star that look like they are a few years away from dementia; it tends to make me question my own mortality. What’s next ? Tom Selleck using a rascal to get around Hawaii?

So at the end of the day, I guess civil war hat’s off to Pepsi. They accomplished what they set out to do by blending cold hard cash, rock legends and cheesy 80’s action series. However, I do think there’s one 80’s icon ripe for using  to get those kids guzzling delicous, cold pepsi. Words can’t really do this guy/dog  justice so just watch thc clip below. I know “Stylez” for one is probably looking for work.



Desert Island Contest

How did this happen?

I routinely rise at approximatelty 7:54 on weekends and look forward to the below activities with the same enthusiasm that was reserved for getting blind drunk at every opportunity a few years back. The fact that one of the desired activities typically involves old, sweaty men conducting unnecessary stretching exercises and uninterrupted moaning is cause for concern. Actually, make that both activities… Who needs nightlife, when you can combine squash, a steam room and the Sundance Kabuki theatre ?

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Live blogging the Oscars

Jeff, Kaley, Kathleen and I decided to share a few bottles of Chardonnay and do an Oscar’s viewing and betting session. 20 bucks a head, 80 dollar pot fool. Kathleen’s takes best costume with Elizabeth. I bet that Juno will be chasing some female tail at the after party and Wesley Snipes will sleep with women of Asian descent. He’s seated next to Spike Lee who is wearing a douchebag hat. I thought Wesley Snipes was going to jail?


  • Like Derek rising from the ashes in Gauntlet 3, Mitsy enters the Oscar gathering and is placing his bets. He is in tow with Sarah and her dog Lily and brought Ghiradelli’s for everyone. Mitch is a renown gambler and he is a force to be reckoned with. Holy crap, here comes Bluto!
  • Bluto mentions how great the mic that comes out of the ground is and makes the night’s first racist commenting that Jennifer Hudson resembles a cast member of the “Bad Girls’ Club”
  • Kaley makes a great call in spotting Hal Hoolbrooks’s date as one of the “Designing Women.” It’s not the fat one who was starred with Gerald McRaney in “Major Dad”.
  • Is it just me or did Javier Bardem just call his mother a filthy whore in Spanish?
  • Things white people love: a little black girl singing her heart out for a room full of old white people…
  • Owen Wilson presents…how many people instantly think of his suicide attempt…must be awkward to be up there knowing everyone is thinking either of how you tried to kill yourself or that your nickname is the “Butterscotch Stallion”
  • Peter and the Wolf wins. I knew it! I’m back like Randolph and Mortymer in “Coming to America”!
  • Big category…could swing the contest. Rumor has it that Rubie Dee had a torrid affair with the Jesse Metcalfe and were shacked up at the Marmont for the last couple weeks.
  • Shocking!! Swinton in an upset. I think she resembles Ziggy Stardust…bluto kills it by mentioning that she looks like a stork. Jeff comments that she looks like she should have a number on her dress. It looks like something from the Urban prom.
  • Stewart kills it with his ode to Jack’s promiscuity…How much blow is Jack on right now?
  • 4 Chardonnay bottles deep! Kathleen, Jeff and I tied with 6 apiece.
  • Hannah Montana annoys everyone in the room.
  • Yet another performance from Enchanted. Who invited Malcolm Jamal Warner?
  • Freaks and Greek props. Seth Rogen up on stage and gives an award to a dude with ponytail who has a Barry Bonds/LT earring. He also looks like the guidance counsellor from Freak and Greeks. Both Jew presenters kill it, man those jews are funny…
  • Who would you rather have sex with Roseanne Barr circa the pilot of “Roseanne” are Kathy Bates, post menopause? The room is undecided.
  • Julie Christie is was the hottest thing alive back in the day, and ain’t too bad now!
  • Let’s hope Kaly wins best supporting actor…
  • Great promotion for the Nintendo Wii…everybody in the room oohs and aahhs at the size of the screen. No wonder America is the fattest country on Earth.
  • How much pipe has Colin Farrell laid in the fiscal year? The room averages about 75 as an estimation.
  • Who used more botox tonight Nicole Kidman or Renee Zellwegger? Aren’t pregnant women not supposed to use botox. Then again she did date Tom Cruise for a decade and goes out with that country singer who look like a cross between Ellen and Zac Effron.
  • I’m being accused of finding a magical website that supposedly tells you who is going to win best Short Documentary and animated short by Jeff. He is stumbling drunk and sounds even more like Dubya when he as blowing lines through the megaphone he used for cheerleading. Jeff and Kaley are in a Chardonnay fog right now and I would not be surprised if we are approaching a fortnight since Jeff bathed or changed his undershirt.
  • Crap…work starts in ten hours.

The Rock Ness Monster!!

Kathleen, Amanda, Kolby, Andy and I went to the US National Air Guitar Championships a few days ago in LA and it was nothing short of amazing. Almost like a cross between Spellbound and Spinal Tap. The guy with the faux bow tie and the awesome Dazed and Confused cut is none other than the Rock Ness Monster who claimed the throne once again. I mean his name alone is incredible. It was well deserved and my money’s on him at the world championships in Finland come October. Kolby and I were in agreement that the mime air guitarist should have been in the Top 5. We finished the night off at the Rainbow Room where I think the bassist from Ratt cut in front of me for the bathroom line. I can’t believe that the Vog was not in attendance. This is a pretty good video below of the festivities…it takes a while to load but is worth the wait.


Sundays with Morley

After being stuck in traffic for 2 1/2 hours today, finally managed to get some hoop in with Sam and Osvog…we were all terrible. We managed to get some bowling in after as well with Wendy, who has perfected a handstand that she can pull off at any time through her relentless yoga training. Sam, who just turned 30 bowled with a special bandaid made specifically for the blisters on the thumb, and 2 icy hot patches on his knee and elbow (the ones Shaq endorses.) We had the standard white Russians as an ode to the Dude. Sam made the comment of the day below.

Sam: God, I love Sundays when I pay Cordie 40 bucks to give me an hour long rubdown while I watch 60 minutes. (Cordie is his sister)

We are going to mentally prepare for the Olympics by watching the best of Conan O’ Brien while scarfing down Thai. Tune in tomorrow as we stream live.

Sam wanted me to clarify that his sister is a professional masseuse, and that his favorite segments on 60 minutes feature Morley Safer.