Thom Forbes, Jan 28, 2008, 11:45 AM
  • Target Tells Blogger To Go Away The New York Times

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  • Next For Reinvention: The Art of Selling The Wall Street Journal

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  • Marketers: Recession Is Here The New York Times

    Since September, Wal-Mart Stores has built its advertising approach upon the tagline "Save money. Live better." Wal-Mart CMO Stephen Quinn says that the company is no more prescient than economic gurus, but it saw the pressure that rising gas process was putting on its core customers last spring and reacted accordingly.

    Many companies have followed Wal-Mart's lead, with campaigns speaking as if a recession were already under way. A campaign for Sammies, a new sandwich line at Quiznos, stresses the low price as much as the low calorie count. "Uncertain times call for a very certain rate," assert ads for North Fork Bank that offer a seven-month CD at 4.25%. Nissan is pitching the fuel economy of its 2008 Altima sedan, rather than style or performance.

    The willingness of Madison Avenue to act as if a recession is under way may seem confusing, because advertisers usually reduce their spending during downturns. Over all, ad outlays have fallen in previous recessions -- 6.5% in 2001 compared with 2000 and 1.2% in 1991 compared with 1990. Read the whole story...

  • Tennant Battles Cheap Imports With Innovation The Wall Street Journal

    Tennant--a big name in the small market for industrial floor-cleaners--faced stiff competition from cheap imports and a slowing economy in 2002. That October, Chris Killingstad, then the recently installed head of North American operations, visited a trade show and decided that every product looked alike. He convinced management to place a big bet that it could outsmart its competitors with innovative products.

    It worked. In 2006, Tennant had a profit of nearly $30 million, up from just over $14 million in 2003. Along the way, the company has had to persuade customers to buy machines that clean in markedly new ways and sometimes had to bet heavily on products that showed promise but needed more funding to exploit their potential.

    Killingstad became president and CEO of Tennant in 2005. The company's decision to push innovation over cost-cutting mirrors that of several other successful U.S. manufacturers. Like home-appliance giant Whirlpool, motion-and-control-device leader Parker Hannifin and others, it gambled a substantial portion of its resources to developing products that anticipate and solve customers' needs. Read the whole story...

  • ARF Study: Experiential Marketing Boosts Purchase Intent Brandweek

    Purchase intent--a customer's stated interest in buying a product--rose 11% to 52% among consumers who attended brand-sponsored events, including sports championships, walkathons and theme parks, according to a new survey released by the Advertising Research Foundation.

    ARF studied 12 companies--including Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay and State Farm--that ran events. Harris Interactive polled about 5,000 consumers online afterwards to get the results. Sports-related events have the greatest impact, according to the study, especially for business-to-business events. The purchase intent among consumers who interacted with a brand at such events rose 34%.

    Of the 2,000 consumers polled who attended trade shows in the spring or summer, 20% said they would have bought the brands that were exhibiting regardless of their attendance at the show. But purchase intent rose to 54% when customers interacted with the 14 different brands studied. Read the whole story...

  • Realtors' Ads Defy Reality Of Housing Meltdown Ad Age

    As the housing market continues to deteriorate with nearly 750,000 Americans in foreclosure, a new $40-million campaign for the National Association of Realtors includes claims that, on average, the value of a home nearly doubles every 10 years, and 60% of the average homeowner's wealth comes from home equity.

    The campaign features two spots. In one, a woman who appears to be a real-estate agent walks through a well-appointed home declaring "opportunities have never been better." For those "on the fence" about buying a house, the NAR "wants you to know that a home isn't just a great place to raise a family; it's also the key to building long-term wealth," she says.

    On the NAR Web site, an "equity estimator calculator" suggests a $20,000 home down payment turns into $124,600 in 10 years for a 623% return. Critics of the commercials think the association should give some thought to placing a warning in the ads similar to those for pharmaceuticals or investment companies, or a responsibility message similar to those from alcoholic-beverage companies. Read the whole story...

  • Old Navy Launching New Image, Logo, Campaign Women’s Wear Daily

    Old Navy is scrapping its family image to target 20somethings. The new strategy is centered on faster deliveries and wardrobe-building collections that change monthly, not to mention a new logo and, eventually, store renovations. There's also a new marketing campaign that focuses on creating a more fashionable image.

    Old Navy's new monthly spring 2008 collections will be previewed to the press Wednesday in Manhattan. The new logo and marketing campaign--described as an integrated package of television, print and online ads, direct mail and in-store visuals--also will be shown.

    The product development cycle time has been halved in an attempt to be more trend-right and to speed deliveries so those monthly collections are ready to go. About half the store will be collection oriented, though items will still be integral to the mix. Dresses and suits, which previously were barely visible in the assortment, will be played up. Read the whole story...