Talk about a trusted name adding value to a generic product: Just by transferring a measly $5 billion from wherever he keeps his Money Market with Free Checking account to purchase a piece of Bank of America yesterday, Warren E. Buffett issued a "seal of approval" that sent the latter's stock price soaring by 10% in subsequent trading.
It was "more a question of when than if," as one webcast commentator put it this morning but still, the news that Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple is reverberating around the Internet like the massive bombshell it is. Jobs recommended to Apple's board that "we execute our succession plan" and appoint COO Tim Cook, the longtime No. 2 man, to replace him.
In a massive, multi-city event that was kind of like announcing you've tweaked the taste of vanilla, Toyota yesterday unveiled the first major update since 2007 to its Camry, which has been the best-selling car in the U.S. for 13 of the last 14 years. It is the seventh generation of the vehicle, which launched as a competitor to the Honda Accord in 1983.
It looks like government regulation is doing something that free market forces hasn't: it's bringing two competitors together to produce a product that's good for consumers, good for the environment and -- the motivating factor, of course -- potentially better for each company's bottom lines.
I am going to confirm what New York Times advertising/marketing columnist Stuart Elliott all but officially proclaimed with his column this morning: We are smack dab in the middle the Annual August Advertising Doldrums. While news-generating brand marketers of the world cavort on Cape Cod and other likely destinations, Elliott grinds it out with an entertaining column on ad-related entertainment headlined, "Summer Diversions to Fill the 'Mad Men' Void."
Hewlett-Packard Co dropped a few bombshells yesterday. The fact that it is shelling out more than $10 billion to acquire U.K. software firm Autonomy, which makes software that helps big business keep track of corporate data such as emails, phone calls and other detritus, was almost lost in the revelations that it is getting out of its Web OS-based tablet and smartphone business and is looking to shed its market-leading -- but low-margin -- PC business.
Okay, I admit it. There are some things I'm totally clueless about even when they're right in front of me. All the controversy over the "new" Abercrombie over the years is one of them; the "Jersey Shore" -- in reality, as well as in reality television -- is another. Now they've come together by seemingly agreeing to stay apart and I'm totally mystified by the expansive, global news coverage of the event.
In the silver-lining department, at least you can better afford to be wide awake as the economy tanks, the political system grinds to a halt and global warming does a number on an already inadequate global food supply. J.M. Smucker Co. yesterday announced that it was lowering prices on Folgers and Dunkin' Donuts brand coffee by an average of 6%.
You've got to wonder if Wal-Mart executives weren't thinking of themselves when they first saw the spot "Stuck," which broke last April. Created by The Martin Agency, it opens with Crisco, Blue Bonnet, Pam and a Stanley Saw moving down a checkout conveyer belt. It then shows a pair of red-haired brothers with impish faces, one of whom peers out sheepishly at his dad from between the rungs of a stairway banister.
"If you know what's good for you ... " is a phrase that's fraught with threat. It implies that even if we do know what's good for us, our actions suggest otherwise and may carry dire consequences. But even if we do know, deep down, what's good for us, we often don't know how to achieve it.