Brand Makers: Mauro Porcini

Mauro Porcini
Chief design officer at PepsiCo Inc.

What is the best way to discover agencies?
I often discover agencies through conferences. At a conference, agencies may be showing their best practices. Even if they aren’t on stage, they are part of the conversation. During the two, three, four days of a conference, I exchange ideas, see how the agencies think and see how they really work and think—on stage, in the audience or over conversations at lunch or dinner.

How do you manage all the pitches that you receive from design firms?
Ah yes, I do have a never-ending list of e-mails from agencies. So I apply a tough filter. When we have a need for an agency for a specific project, we may consider a firm from the e-mails we receive nearly every day. We have too many choices.

In a company like PepsiCo, we have a team of very experienced people and they have people who they’ve developed good working relationships. So, very often we fish in our network of agencies.

What are the top three characteristics of great design firms?
They have a portfolio filled with beautiful and meaningful relevant packaging that stands out against their competitors, are business savvy and able to deeply understand the strategic profile of the consumer, and a humble but self-aware approach that fosters openness.

The ability to engage the company in a healthy, meaningful conversation is so important. Unfortunately, I’ve been observing many design firms that have almost an arrogant attitude. Agency people must be able to engage other people with a humble, positive, meaningful, open kind of approach. This is extremely important. It’s all about a partnership. But I still want them to be self aware of the great work they do.

Please describe your dream agency.
A firm that can do amazing aesthetic design work and the ability to understand consumer insights—both the articulated and the unarticulated needs and wants.

This agency’s people would be able to play as a team—the ability to be collaborative. This is extremely important—especially when you hire very talented senior people—sometimes these very talented senior people may focus on themselves and not to be able to play as a team. This is absolutely unacceptable in both my own team as well as the teams we are hiring.

Any other tips that you’d like to share?
At the end of the day, it’s always about people. Processes, tools and frameworks are extremely important to enable these people to be successful in their projects but they’re just tools. The metaphor I always use is, give a brush to Picasso or Andy Warhol or give it to your grandfather; with the same brush, those three individuals would do completely different things.

What are your pet peeves?
I sometimes see firms and the design leaders do not listen to the brands. They tend to think, “Oh, the corporation does not understand what we’re trying to do, the axis of the design we’re bringing to the table.”

Most of the time, these brands have amazing business leaders and business talents who push back on solutions for very specific business reasons. I encourage my staff and the design firms that we work with to be open minded and listen to what you’re being told. Try to understand why there’s pushback.

I’ve heard so many times, throughout my career, complaints that ‘this marketer is telling me that absolutely we cannot use,’ for example, ‘white on the background.’ My response is instead of complaining, tell me why he or she didn’t want white. Go and ask why until you get the real reason. You may find out that the marketer was right and white doesn’t work for X reasons or you may find out that somebody said 10 years ago that white didn’t work and it became a rule that doesn’t make any sense.

Talking so much about process, process, process and strategy that the firm overlooks the aesthetic quality of its performance. This is something that is driving me crazy in the design world! I’m starting to find design leaders who are amazing strategists but the quality of the design work—the aesthetic work is very poor. On the opposite side, there are, unfortunately, many firms that have a good aesthetic and style but are weak from a strategic standpoint.

What are the top three criteria that you use to select design firms?

1          The quality of the portfolio

2          The ability to think strategic

3          The approach and the attitude of the firm

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Golf Packages Myrtle Beach

Golf Packages Myrtle Beach

Everyone knows that buying things in bulk is the smarter way to shop. When it comes to golf getaways, paying for lodging and the use of multiple courses can be very expensive. In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina many golf courses are available that provide packages to make your golf trip more affordable. Not only are the appropriate accommodations provided to you, but you will also be spending your time in a historic city known for its beauty and charm. This city is extremely family oriented, providing plenty activities for your family to enjoy while you kick back and enjoy your weekend golf package.

Why choose a golf package in Myrtle Beach opposed to any other city? This city is known for their long list of golf courses, adding up to almost 100 different courses. With so many courses to choose from, you will never get bored. The courses are given different ratings depending on their type of difficulty and are bundled in to packages to suit the needs of pleasure or serious golfers. As the price of each package increases, so will your experience of this popular vacation spot.

These golf packages each include the use of multiple courses accompanied by beautiful lakes and gardens unique to Myrtle Beach itself. When purchasing a golf package the courses are made available to you at all hours of the day during your stay. You have the option to choose when you play each course and what time you wish, without having to golf with a set schedule. This allows for free time to enjoy the serene setting and kick back with your friends and family by the pool.

Packages include much more then the all day access of the courses. Depending on your personal package they will include things such as breakfast or lunch. When playing golf for hours at a time driving to a local restaurant will be the last thing you want to do. Enjoy your meal for free at one of the delicious dine-in areas provided only at Myrtle Beach. Some packages will even include a free nights lodging in buildings that are only minutes from the ocean and other entertainment.

Take advantage of the golf packages Myrtle Beach offers and have a vacation of a life time. Packages are designed to help you save money, while receiving the best treatment as drinks are handed to you while you golf. Don’t worry about not being able to find a package that suits you because each package allows you to choose between many different options. Come to this city known for its large amount of vacationers and experience the relaxed environment first hand.

Myrtle Beach Golf Packages

Myrtle Beach Golf Vacations

Gives input and advice on golf packages in Myrtle Beach.

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8 Eco-Friendly Lunch Packing Tips

8 Eco-Friendly Lunch Packing Tips

Today I was in a local toy store and saw a lunch box for children with a sticker price of …honestly, what’s that all about?  Do people really pay for a lunch box?  I don’t care if that lunch box lasts me all year; I’m still not going to pay for it! 

Truth be told, if we all take a step back in our own homes, we will find a few different options we can use right there to pack lunches every day; we just need to get creative!

FYI-follow these tips for money saving and eco- friendly lunch packing tips:

1-Reuse baskets, tin cookie containers, gift bags or small coolers as lunch boxes.

2-Purchase small ice packs to keep lunches cool and from spoiling OR freeze water in a plastic water bottle, leaving ½” head room, and use to keep lunch cool.  The extra bonus is the ice will be melting and will provide your child with fresh and cool water at lunch.

3-Instead of plastic baggies, purchase wax eco-friendly bags, or reusable nylon snack or sandwich bags.

4-Utilize a small, flat plastic container or Wrap-n-Mat for sandwiches or wraps.

5-Small glass jam jars work really great for everything from cut vegetables to yogurt to trail mix.

6-Send along a cloth napkin for use as napkin and/or placemat.

7-Stainless steel or BPA free plastic water bottles replace the need for juice boxes or sugared drinks.

8-Send a little love note from home in your child’s lunchbox.  If he/she can’t read, a small picture or smiley face will do the trick.

About the Author

Nichi Hirsch Kuechle supports moms during pregnancy, birth, postpartum and beyond as a health coach, craniosacral therapist and birth & postpartum doula in Minneapolis.   She publishes a bi-monthly e-newsletter called Natural Family, which offers tips, ideas and resources for naturally raising your children.  She also teaches a variety of live and virtual workshops.  You can get Nichi’s New Parent Tool Kit, for free, by going to:


It includes a hospital-birth checklist, home-birth checklist, a list of her favorite natural baby care items, creative ideas for helping siblings adjust, and much more.  Get yours today, while it’s free!

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How to Simplify your Living Expenses

How to Simplify your Living Expenses

Here’s the thing: I’m a New Yorker. And in New York, it is amazingly difficult NOT to spend a lot of money, just on the basics! As a student of Harv Eker, I am trying to limit my expenses to 50% of my after-tax income, and I have to tell you, that is really hard to do. Harv isn’t the only one to suggest this either: almost every money-management guru gives the same advice. Simplify your expenses.

The fact is, if you want to become financially free, you must do two things: increase your passive income and decrease your expenses. Once your passive income is equal to or greater than your expenses, you are financially free. The concept is simple enough — and in other articles I address creating passive income (the easiest and fastest way to do this would be by renting your rooms). But how do you simplify your expenses? Especially when you look around and you don’t see a way HOW? Here are a variety of ways you can still live a decent life and be a bit more frugal at the same time.

Food & Toiletries

By far, making lunch at home was one of my biggest savings! I made lunch and snacks and bought them to work.
Instead of buying shower gel, go back to soap bars. They last longer and are much cheaper.
Don’t wash your hair every day, and when you do wash your hair, only wash it once. That saves lots of shampoo.
I made my own coffee at home — or cut it out altogether and put that money aside in your financial freedom jar. One guru calls that the “latte factor.”
As a nation, we eat out a whole lot more and buy convenience foods to just heat in the microwave — but these can be expensive. Cooking may take time, but it does save you lots of money.
Buy generic! I was so opposed to this, and one day I ate some potato chips that my boyfriend bought. Seriously? They didn’t taste different from the name brand. Try it. Ok, some things may be non-negotiable, but you’d be surprised what is. Your grocery bill will go way down.
Take the effort to cut coupons, take advantage of sales, and go to discount warehouses, like Sam’s Club or Costco.

Heat & Electricity

If you don’t already have one, get an electric thermostat with a timer, so you can change the temperature automatically during specific times of the day. Lower the temperature when the family is out of the house.
Use space heaters and lower the heat in the rooms you use. Use an electric blanket at night.
There is plastic covering you can get at the hardware store and cover your windows. That keeps the heat in the house.
Make sure your boiler and hot water heater are maintained properly.
Wear layers of clothing and keep the heat lower.
Use kitchen and bathroom vents sparingly in the winter
Replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescents
Wash laundry in cold or warm instead of hot
Use a clothesline instead of using the dryer
Use a ceiling fan instead of an air conditioner.

Cell Phones, Internet, and Communication Utilities

Avoid pre-paid cell phones, even if you just want the phone for emergencies, unless you are careful to use a plan with minutes that don’t expire. You pay exorbitant rates per minute.
Never underestimate the minutes your teen may use. Be careful not to get the lowest plan. Constant overages are very expensive overall.
You don’t necessarily need a home phone if you have a cell phone. With free nights, weekends and long distance, you may save considerably. Be careful with phone plans that have low rates, because the taxes add significantly to the bill.
For your Internet connection, you don’t have to get the highest rate of connection speed. For the average user, you won’t be able to tell the difference and that can save you a month.
If you switch to broadband, don’t keep your dialup (unless you travel often outside the country or in rural areas). Also, drop paying for AOL. All AOL features are free if you have broadband.


If you really wanted to be extreme about it, you could cut entertainment out altogether. But that’s not really practical, so here are some ideas.

First, if you think FREE, you may not get free, but you do end up with “cheap.” Cheap doesn’t mean less fun, either. Sometimes you can have MORE fun.
If you live in a city, just try walking around. In New York, I have found impromptu concerts by street musicians or just sat in the park and people watched. You’d be amazed how much fun you can have!
Instead of eating out or going to bars with friends, host a potluck at home or just have friends over for drinks. It’s much cheaper to buy liquor than to buy drinks at the bar.
For movies, go to matinees or the movie (some communities have them). Yes, those movies are second-run, but hey, it’s worth financial freedom to me. You can also always rent movies.
Cable. When times are tough, the cable needs to get going. It can get so expensive! If you do need it for the reception, get basic and then rent movies. Buying a great DVD player and renting movies is cheaper than cable in the long run. If you rent rooms in your home like I do, keep the cable — it’s a perk for your tenants that are worth paying for.
Take your kids to the bookstore and hang out.
Find free community shows, like Shakespeare in the park or fireworks.
Take the kids on the subway trip — as far as you can and go explore. In New York, take the train to Coney Island.
In the summer, there is always a local food festival or street fair.
Get your kids involved in a community group, like a theatre. They develop skills, make friends and have fun.


For kids, don’t go over the top with the brand names, especially since the kids will grow out of them quickly.
For adults and older teens, don’t buy really trendy clothes that will only last one season. Buy classical fashionable clothing that will last, and get trendy with accessories.
Buy shirts and ties or blouses and just one suit — accessorizing is cheaper.
Buy a few pieces of quality clothing as opposed to lots of cheap clothing. They will last a lot longer.
This goes without saying, but buy clothing in the off-season and on sale. You will save a tone of money.


A gas saving tip I just learned: put your car in cruise control whenever you can. It has cut my gas bill in HALF.
If you live in a metropolitan area, try walking around the city as opposed to taking a bus or a train. In New York, you can even get there faster sometimes! 🙂
Maintain your car — tire pressure, oil changes, everything. Preventative maintenance is way cheaper than repairs.
Never use cheap gas – use quality gas and the correct octane for your car. It may seem more expensive, but it’s cheaper in car repairs in the long run.
Don’t be afraid to walk, even in the winter. It’s great exercise and it saves a ton of money. Bring a backpack with you for grocery shopping if you need only a couple of things.

The Change Jar

I have a change jar. Every time I pay for something, I always use bills and get the change. I put the change in the jar. You wouldn’t believe how much money you can save! This money could be entertainment money, allowance for the kids, put it in a savings account or saved for emergencies. This change jar has saved my butt many times over the years, and is a great way to have “found” money at the end of the month.

To Your Victory,

A. Annika Smith

Annika Smith is dedicated to teaching others how to be not only financially free, but also wealthy and happy. Want to be rich? It’s easier than you think. Follow the exact path Annika took to massively improve her life by checking free information at

Copyright © 2006. All Rights Reserved.

You are free to distribute to anyone you wish as long as it is forwarded in its entirety and nothing is changed.

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Thermos Lunch Jars

Thermos Lunch Jars

Practically all vacuum insulated containers ought to stay out of the dishwasher and microwave. For most effective results, preheat or pre-chill with scorching or chilly water for 5 minutes prior to putting sizzling or chilly foods in the container.

The Thermos brand FUNtainer Straw Bottle and Food Jar, sold at, comes in fun kid-friendly designs such as the Spiderman products pictured below. The food jar holds 10 ounces and has a stainless steel exterior and interior with double wall insulation. At 4 inches in diameter and 5.38 inches high, it fits neatly in a lunch box. It also keeps food hot for five hours and cold for seven. The 12-ounce bottle contains a pop-up straw, holds 12 ounces of cold liquid and measures 7.25 inches in height. Price: . Shipping varies.
Insulated Container with Spoon

With its retro/futuristic design, the Thermos Food Jar from (see photo below) features a large white spoon that conveniently locks into the jar’s handle. At 10 inches tall, the jar holds 3 ? cups of liquid, which it keeps hot for 12 hours or cold for 20 hours. Available in red or blue. Price: . Shipping varies.
Insulated Stainless Lunch Jar

Designed as an insulated version of the Japanese bento box, where a variety of healthy foods are tucked in a compact container, the Mr. Bento Stainless Lunch Jar from features four microwavable inner bowls in an insulated outer container. Chopsticks, a chopsticks holder, and a carrying bag complete the package. The main bowl holds 15.2 ounces, side bowls hold 10.1 and 6.8 ounces, and the soup bowl holds 9.5 ounces. Price: .99. Shipping is .95.

Insulated food containers are a hungry student or worker’s best bet when it comes to keeping hot food toasty until lunch time. Perfect for soups, mac-and-cheese, pasta, and even hot dogs, these containers are designed to fit into a lunch bag or lunch box and resist leakage. For kids, thermoses should also possess an easy-open lid.

You may also be interested in reading about insulated food jar and marc jacobs fragrance.

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