The Top Stories Of The Year
If you measure success by the number of clicks you get –- and who doesn’t nowadays? -- here are the top “Top of the News” stories in 2012 as determined by your look-sees. It’s hard to draw any concrete conclusions from the results other than the fact that Disney is always a good word to work into a headline
Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a land you’d hardly recognize for its lack of a ubiquitous commercial message, a creative product looking to be published, shot or produced or might sometimes stand on its own two (or three) merits, such as quality, entertainment value or capturing the zeitgeist. Not so much anymore, and in talking to analysts at the Sanford C. Bernstein Annual Strategic Decisions Conference 2012 Wednesday, Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger made that abundantly -- he hopes -- clear.
Consumers may be in the last days of the Golden Age of Unlimited Data Downloading as other carriers follow Verizon’s lead and reconfigure the way they charge users who are increasingly using smartphones -- and other devices such as tablets -- for activities other than simple phone conversations, which have fast become a quaint relic of other recent centuries. (Ever try to get a teenager to respond to a phone call?)
The Lumia is upon us. Microsoft, Nokia and AT&T -- three fading stalwarts looking to regain some ground on iOS and its devices –- have formally unleashed the Windows-based Nokia Lumia 900 with fanfare that includes “international superstar Nicki Minaj [bringing] a building in Times Square alive and [creating] one of the biggest LED displays ever seen,” as the press release puts it.
Portly Paula Deen, the doyenne of sumptuous Southern cooking served in heaps, went on the “Today” show yesterday morning and revealed that she’d waited three years to reveal that she has Type 2 diabetes because she wanted to have a plan of action in place before she did. Within a minute of admitting to Al Roker that long-circulating rumors about her health are true, she was referring viewers to Novo Nordisk’s “Diabetes in a New Light” website.
The parents of a 14-year-old Maryland girl who died of cardiac arrest last December after drinking two 24-oz. cans of Monster Energy drink –- the equivalent of about 14 cans of regular soda -- on two consecutive days are suing the company for not warning consumers about the potential risks related to its drinks.
Facebook says that its revamped brand pages introduced late month, which offer advertisers “more capabilities to create splashy, media-rich pages” at no cost, are “off to a strong start,” reports Reuters’ Alexei Oreskovic. Eight million brands –- “from carmakers to rock bands” –- already have taken advantage of the new format, which allows advertisers to offer coupons and promotions on their pages, and encourages customized pages highlighting milestones and achievements.
Psssst. Here’s a not-so-well-kept, but seemingly oft-ignored secret: If you try a double-reverse end-run around people’s privacy, there’s a good chance somebody’s going to spot the duplicitous maneuver and throw you for a loss. Cases in point: a couple of breaking stories this morning.
You know price resistance is palpable when Procter & Gamble, for all its analysis of the consumer’s psyche, can’t pull off a 9% increase on a product that only the most ardent shoppers remember what they paid the last time they were in the aisles.
Walt Disney chairman Robert A. Iger, who today will announce with First Lady Michelle Obama a new set of nutritional standards for products that advertise with the company’s child-focused media outlets, says the company’s motives are not altruistic. “This is about smart business,” Iger continues and Brooks Barnes reports in the New York Times.
Perhaps the most comprehensible rationale proffered over the past few days for Kraft’s decision to rename its global snack company Mondelez International, Inc. is that the domain name Mondelez.com was available. Judging by the reaction of many commentators to the announcement made on Wednesday, JustPlainIdiotic.com would have fit the bill quite nicely, too.
For good measure, I’m going to throw in my personal favorite story -- with thanks to the deadline gods, because I would have continued to report it for hours if it, like all the others, wasn’t due in the queue at 7:45 a.m.
Motivational speaker, author and corporate trainer Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar died yesterday in Plano, Texas, “after a short bout with pneumonia.” He was 86. The erstwhile cookware salesman was a “man of a million motivational maxims who bucked up and cheered on three generations of Willy Lomans over a 40-year international speaking career,” Mark A. Kellner writes in The Washington Times.
May we all live as zestfully in 2013 as Zig apparently did, right to the end.