In The News

NCA 2019 Conference: All That Jazz 

Posted: August 15, 2018 

Get ready for great education, networking, and ALL THAT JAZZ at the 2019 NCA Conference! The conference will be held July 18 - 21, 2019 in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.



NCA 2019 Conference Theme Is Unveiled

Posted: August 3, 2018

The 2019 NCA Conference will be held July 18 - 21 in Kansas City, Missouri. The conference theme will be All That Jazz

"Kansas City is world renowned for its rich jazz and blues legacy. Jazz in Kansas City was born in the 1920s and continues today in clubs and events held throughout the city. More than 40 area nightclubs feature jazz on a regular basis.

The roots of Kansas City jazz are quite varied. Blues singers of the 1920s and ragtime music greatly influenced the music scene. Settings such as dance halls, cabarets and speakeasies fostered the development of this new musical style. In the early days, many jazz groups were smaller dance bands with three to six pieces. By the mid-1920s, the big band became the most common. Territory bands also had an influential development on jazz. Many great musicians got their start in these bands, traveling up to 1,000 miles between jobs.

While jazz began in the 1920s with a bang, it flourished in the 1930s, mainly as a result of political boss Tom Pendergast. During prohibition, he allowed alcohol to flow in Kansas City. As an entertainment center, Kansas City had no equal during these dry times.

This "wide-open" town image attracted displaced musicians from everywhere in mid-America. Throughout the Depression, Kansas City bands continued to play while other bands across the nation folded. The city was shielded from the worst of the Depression due to an early form of New Deal-style public works projects that provided jobs, and affluence, that kept the dance-oriented nightlife in town swinging."

Read the full article online here.


3 Ways To Make Your Promotions More Interesting

Posted: August 8, 2018

Contributed by Francesca Nicasio, Content Marketing Manager for Vend Point of Sale.

"If you’re like most retailers, promotions are an important part of your sales and marketing mix. Heck, you might already have done a couple of promotions this year.

But when was the last time you made things interesting? When you ran your promo, did you use a hook or theme? Did it include any aspect of gamification?

If you answered no, you may want to start sprucing up your promotions. Research from RetailMeNot found that “most retailers (76%) plan to increase the amount of promotions they are offering in 2018,” which means your promotions are going to be out there in a very crowded market.

So, what can you do to stand out?

Read on for ideas and examples of retailers doing a good job in spicing up their promotions.

Add A Twist

Think of a fun twist to incorporate into your offer. Ask yourself, what would make your promotion more interesting?

The right answer depends on the retailer. For some, gamified promotions are a great way to go, and menswear retailer Bonobos offers an excellent example of gamification in retail. In 2011, Bonobos teamed up with the design network to launch a scavenger hunt in which visitors were tasked to hunt for images of Bonobos signature pants.

The menswear retailer awarded the first 50 people who found the images with a $25 Bonobos credit and free shipping.

The scavenger hunt was a clever idea to engage the NotCot audience. While Bonobos could’ve easily just sent out a generic offer, they decided to make the promotion more memorable.

Here’s another idea: why not offer “mystery” discounts? My local kids’ salon, for example, gives away scratch cards containing discounts of anywhere from 15% off to 30% off any retail purchase. Shoppers had to scratch the cards to find out how much they’re saving.

Promotions such as these immediately stand out because they’re not the types that consumers see every day. Shoppers are bombarded with generic discounts daily, so by having a twist to your promotion (i.e., gamification, mystery, or other hooks) you’ll help your offers stand out."

Read the full story online at


The Magic Behind Boston’s Caribbean Carnival Costumes

Posted: August 8, 2018 

"With scarcely a month before Caribbean Carnival, members of the Soca & Associates masquerade band are busily attending to the construction of their costumes. Master costume builder Ronald “Barney” Blaize is working on the largest — a 30-foot high by 20-foot wide costume for the Soca & Associates queen.

For now, it’s a mass of wire, fiberglass and netting being assembled in the front and rear yards of the Dorchester triple decker at 120 Mt. Ida Rd. that has for decades served as the Soca & Associates mas’ camp, a place where masquerade bands assemble costumes in the months before Caribbean Carnival.

When it’s finished, what will it look like?

Blaize points to a pen-and-ink drawing of a butterfly-like winged creature. Asked whether it’s indeed a butterfly, Blaize gives an answer that gets at the heart of the Carnival aesthetic.

“The thing is about it, it’s in your mind,” Blaize says. “It’s a subliminal message. It creates interest. When you see a costume, it relates to so many things.”

Finished in gold, white and copper tones and replete with metallic foil scales, feathers and sequins, the costume will be worn by the band’s queen with a harness that fits over her shoulders, and the bulk of its heft being borne by a set of wheels behind. The mass of colors, shapes and textures should function as a three-dimensional Carnival-themed Rorschach test for spectators, and more importantly, for the panel of judges who Blaize hopes will give the band a first-place finish in the King and Queen competition, usually held in the week before Carnival." 

Read the full story here.


Only 83 Days Until Halloween!

Posted: August 8, 2018 

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