Friday, May 28, 2010
Thom Forbes, May 28, 2010, 9:45 AM
  • Congressional Committee: McNeil Hid Motrin Recall From Public Washington Post, Wall Street Journal

    McNeil Consumer Healthcare hired contractors around the country to buy up Motrin IB caplets that were not dissolving properly without alerting regulators or the public about the problem, according to documents released yesterday by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The "phantom recall' by the division of Johnson and Johnson was blasted by committee members, Lyndsey Layton reports.

    "It is a moral outrage for a company specifically marketing its products for children to allow a culture of neglect and irresponsibility to taint the medicines that parents and physicians trust to help children get well," said Rep. Darrell Issa ( R. - Calif.)

    Joshua M. Sharfstein, a pediatrician and deputy FDA commissioner, said 755 illnesses and 37 deaths of children and infants who took the medicines appear to be side effects not related to its quality. "From what we know, we don't have evidence of children who had serious problems because of quality problems," he said.

    McNeil's manufacturing processes are being redesigned and six senior executives have been removed from their jobs, according to Johnson and Johnson executive Coleen Goggins. "I apologize to mothers, fathers and caregivers for the concern and inconvenience caused by the recall," she said. "We will work hard to earn back your confidence."

    Robert McNeil, who launched created Tylenol in 1955 as a prescription painkiller for kids, Tylenol Elixir for Children, and four years later helped engineer the sale of his family-owned McNeil Laboratories to Johnson and Johnson, died last Thursday at age 94, Stephen Miller reports in the Wall Street Journal. Read the whole story...

  • Credit Card Companies Poaching Each Other's Best Customers Bloomberg Markets

    Former South Dakota Gov. William "Wild Bill" Janklow forever changed the credit card business in the U.S. in 1981 when he welcomed Citibank to his state after it removed the limits, known as usury caps, on the amount of interest that banks could charge borrowers. In light of the record write-off of $89 billion in bad debt in the U.S. last year, and issuers dumping risky customers like dogs shedding fleas, Lisa Kassenaar starts her analytical piece by talking with Janklow about the deal he cut with Citicorp CEO Walter Wriston that "transformed U.S. consumer lending."

    It was all hunky-dory for most banks until the bottom fell out. "We have a business that is hemorrhaging money," says Paul Galant, CEO of Citigroup Inc.'s card unit, which lost $75 million on its branded cards last year, as well as an undisclosed amount on plastic it issued under the names of retail stores.

    The lenders are reinventing themselves, and relying less on computer-generated data to assess borrowers. "We have shifted to more judgmental lending," says Susan Faulkner, who heads Bank of America's card operation.

    Card companies have mostly set their sights on the most credit-worthy customers, Kassenaar reports -- a territory American Express successfully staked out a long time back. But, "everyone has more credit cards than they want," points out Elizabeth Warren, who chairs the Congressional oversight Panel of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. "There is no more growth." Read the whole story...

  • Establishing A Correlation Between Doing Good And Doing Well Forbes CMO Network

    Microsoft may have yielded its crown as the tech company with the largest market cap to Apple this week but it's still No. 1 when it comes to inspiration. Inspiration Blvd., a brand-consulting firm, surveyed 1,752 consumers to identify America's most inspiring company. Bill and Melinda Gates' charitable work has had the perhaps unintended consequence of overhauling consumers' perception of the software giant, Laurie Burkitt points out.

    Others in the Top 10, from No. 2 downwards, are: Google, Apple, Ford, Wal-Mart, McDonald's, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Chick-Fil-A, Target and Procter & Gamble.

    "We set out asking whether companies that inspired others were more likely to connect and draw shoppers," say Terry Barber, Terry Barber, chief inspiration officer for the company. "We see now there's a strong link between the message consumers take away and how they act on it." Read the whole story...

  • P&G CEO Bob McDonald Chats About Categories, Markets Smart Money, Adweek

    Dyan Machan takes a look around Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald's office and finds that, like many executives, he's filled it with reminders of his extended family. Crest, Tide, Gillette, etc. But as excellent as his offspring may be historically in the marketplace, McDonald needed a spoonful of Pepto-Bismol to digest last year's results as consumers turned to cheaper alternatives.

    As a result, not only is P&G beefing up its marketing and pushing product development, McDonald is chatting about it. McDonald's says that single-use sizes are a good fit for consumers in developing countries, that the companying is "innovating at every point in the value pyramid," and that its strategy is to grow markets that don't exist. "Most babies in the world don't wear disposable diapers," he points out.

    McDonald tells Machan that in five years the company will have more categories in more countries and that it will have created more categories overall like it did with Swiffer. But he declined to say exactly what the next Swiffer might be. End of Q&A.

    Eleftheria Parpis, meanwhile, reports in Adweek that P&G's Pantene named the winner of its first "Reality Hair Star Contest" with a live TV ad broadcast Tuesday on NBC's season finale of "The Biggest Loser: Couples." It was the kick-off of a re-launch of the hair-care product with the tagline, "Put it to the test." Read the whole story...

  • Ford Hopes To Give The Once-Great Explorer A Second Life New York Times

    Read the whole story...

  • Android Emerges As Big Rival To IPad Wall Street Journal

    Acer and Dell unveiled plans for tablet-style machines using Google's Android OS, Don Clark and Justin Scheck report. Read the whole story...

  • Mercedes Signs Global, Multi-Platform Partnership With Federer NY Sports Journalism

    Read the whole story...