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Ad Age’s ‘Hottest Brands of ’09’ Report

I love ‘best of’ reports at the end of every year.

Here is Ad Age’s report on “America’s Hottest Brands of 2009.”

(Make sure you read the Pabst Blue Ribbon article. I warn it will make you thirsty…and it’ll insight a strong desire to visit the nearest seedy, hole-in-the-wall bar where there’s two pool tables and solely Metallica on the jukebox. Not a damned thing wrong with that.)

I particularly found the report on theqBolt Bus interesting. Greyhound took a huge leap of faith; ditched it’s century-old brand and created a new one, called the Bolt Bus. Pretty gutsy.

More than just re-packaging an old concept, they recreated the bus riding experience for modern consumers/travelers. They now offer consumers amenities that are RELEVANT. Free Wi-Fi on buses; seat back electrical plugs; scalable pricing that encourages people to ride Bolt because more riders make ticket prices go down. There is even a $1 seat option.

They conducted some PR efforts, which the article doesn’t detail, along with street team activities, which I think is brilliant. Everyone always goes to the Web these days. (Always fun to look away from the herd and consider doing something that’s not the norm…).

What really intrigues me about the Bolt Bus is that it’s essentially the same product/service that Greyhound offered for 100 years. BUT – Greyhound had the insight and confidence to look at their business plan, adjust it to meet the needs of modern demands, then let those changes inform its marketing plan. Pretty simple. Pretty brilliant. Also, pretty much a goldmine: ridership passed the 2 million mark in one year. Nice.