Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Thom Forbes, October 30, 2007, 12:11 PM
  • Meow Mix Acatemy Offers Feline Events To Humans Promo

    More than 50,000 people have experienced the 11-city Meow Mix Acatemy tour that wraps up this week in San Francisco. The tour features a variety of cat-themed events for people, including "Cat-isthenics," a place for visitors to exercise like a cat in cubbies, an arts and crafts station where people build toys for their cat and "Cat Scratch Fever," which teaches pet owners how to scratch like a DJ.

    More than 50,000 samples of the Meow Mix wet food have been distributed. Meow Mix also donated a pound of cat food to local animal shelters and collected consumer information for future marketing. Proceeds from the tour's bookstore, which sells Meow Mix-branded merchandise, will also benefit local animal shelters.

    People can visit http://www.MeowMix.com to watch video highlights of tour events, or take an online Cat Aptitude Test. The campaign also includes a sweepstakes where five grand-prize winners will receive a "Think Like a Cat" weekend in Napa Valley, Calif., hosted by celebrity chef Cat Cora. Read the whole story...

  • Maturing Fashion Brands Need Reinvention Womens Wear Daily

    Burberry, Coach, Gucci, Lacoste, Dior, Diane von Furstenberg, Guess and J. Crew are textbook cases of brands that have reinvented themselves and enjoyed tremendous success in a second life. They could offer lessons to others, such as Gap, Liz Claiborne, Anne Klein, Bill Blass, Halston and Tommy Hilfiger, all of which had overwhelming success during their heydays, but have lost their way.

    Hiring the right designer is often viewed as the critical component to reengineering a brand. Total attention must be paid to the brand in an effort to return to its essence and reason for being successful in the first place, experts say. They also say it's easier to reinvent a brand when it's not a public company. Often the pressures of Wall Street won't allow a brand the luxury of starting over or taking on a new identity.

    But some brands just hit the market at the right time and no amount of reinvention can resuscitate them, nor can they flourish in the same channels as they had previously. These brands often need to consider different channels of distribution, or a "time out." Read the whole story...

  • Febreze Targets Students With Online Campaign Ad Age

    Procter & Gamble has kicked off "What Stinks," an online and viral campaign for its Febreeze fabric-refresher spray that's aimed at college students. Recognizing that the campus is a far cry from where the marketer has thrust its marketing efforts in the past, Febreze and Grey--its longtime ad agency--decided a mainstream-marketing approach likely would fail.

    WhatStinks.com--an interactive Web site all about Febreze spray--is housed within Facebook; P&G also plans media buys and banner ads on the popular social-networking site. The brand swaps its "It's a breath of fresh air" tagline for college-oriented ones such as "Febreze ... Because surprise! Your parents are visiting!" It also adds a mascot in the form of a gigantic Converse-wearing nose.

    Other features of the site include: the "Dank Game," a video game where players are armed with bottles of Febreze to attack dirty socks and boxers, and a "What Stinks" news feed. The marketer is also invading campuses with a Febreze-branded comedy tour featuring the improvisational troupe Upright Citizens Brigade.

    Read the whole story...

  • Consumer Product Safety Chief Nixes More Funding The New York Times

    Nancy Nord, the acting chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, has asked Congress not to approve the bulk of pending legislation that would increase the agency's authority, double its budget and sharply increase its dwindling staff. Her opposition to important elements of the legislation is consistent with the deregulatory approach of the Bush administration.

    The measure is an effort to buttress an agency that has been under siege because of a raft of tainted and dangerous products manufactured both domestically and abroad. Nord--who before joining the agency had been a lawyer at Eastman Kodak and an official at the United States Chamber of Commerce--criticized the measure in two letters sent to the Democratic leaders of the committee.

    Some of Nord's complaints are similar to ones that business groups and manufacturers have raised, including that the legislation would be unnecessarily burdensome. But in other areas--like whistle-blower protection--her complaints went beyond those of industry. Read the whole story...

  • Google Phone Will Face Hurdles The Wall Street Journal

    In order to make it easier for cell phone customers to get a variety of extra services on their phones--from maps to social-networking features to video-sharing--Google will have to overcome resistance from wireless carriers and deal with potentially thorny security and privacy issues.

    The search giant is expected to announce advanced software and services within the next two weeks that would allow handset makers to bring Google-powered phones to market by the middle of next year, people familiar with the situation say. The most radical element of the plan is Google's push to make the phones' software "open" right down to the operating system. That means independent software developers would get access to the tools they need to build additional phone features.

    While many software developers are likely to cheer Google's open wireless platform, there are potential risks for consumers. If Google isn't careful, sensitive user information could end up in the wrong hands, leading to spamming, stalking or other invasions of privacy. Read the whole story...