Five Ideas to Watch, including the Hooters of hair and safety-minded ambulances.
The Hooters of Hair Care
Bikini Cuts, a hair salon in Sandy, Utah, is changing the way men view their barber. Following a strategy that recalls a certain chicken wing chain, the shop's (very male) clientele can look forward to a clip or trim from (very female) stylists who are clad only in bikinis. Despite criticism from city officials and some local residents, owner Bethany Prince has said the shop simply celebrates "summer all year round," and that she has plans to open a second location soon. Clients can also watch sports on a flat screen TV or get a chair massage while waiting for their appointment.
Labels Learn a New Language
In yet another indication of the growing respect marketers have for Hispanic consumers, several California wine producers have begun distributing Spanish-label bottles. Beringer Blass Vineyards now ships cases of white Zinfandel bearing Spanish labels to Texas, Arizona, and California. Those states account for nearly a quarter of the company's sales, says Beringer marketing director Sharon Goldman.
A Black Box for Ambulances
A concept common to air travel is gaining traction on highways. American Medical Response, the Colorado-based ambulance giant, is installing devices in roughly half of its 3,200 vehicles. AMR's recently retooled box sounds an alarm when a driver speeds or rounds a corner recklessly. After 10 seconds, if the driving doesn't improve, a second alarm sounds and the box records the incident. Now, a California company called Road Safety International has begun marketing black boxes to the parents of teen drivers.
Put an iPod in the Jukebox, Baby
Ecast's MP3-playing digital jukeboxes now raise the roof at some 3,000 bars, and the San Francisco firm is deploying 150 new consoles every month. For $1, you can choose a song from 300 albums programmed on a local hard drive, or for $2, you can pick a tune from 11,000 albums hosted on corporate servers. Ecast's quick success is due in part to record labels looking to make money from digital distribution.
Replacing Passwords With Pictures
A new password encryption program replaces letters and numbers with pictures of hearts and dogs. Images scroll on the screen of a PDA or laptop as they might on a slot machine. From a grid of mixed pictures, users select their sequence by tapping the screen or keypad ATM-style. Developer PointSec Mobile Technologies of Mokena, Ill., says the passwords are harder to hack.