• Automakers Snapping Up Online Avails
    More than most marketers, automakers seem to have discovered the power of the Internet. So far, more than 80 percent of all available 2006 ad space on independent, third-party auto research sites has been bought, compared to less than 50 percent of the same inventory a year ago. Media buyers and auto-research publishers say the trend reflects the auto industry's growing appetite for online advertising and a decrease in spending in more traditional mediums, since many 2006 automotive budgets are expected to be flat. Because of demand, cost-per-thousand-consumer prices for 2006 ads on the third-party auto sites have jumped an …
  • Sorrell Says U.K. Ad Spending Looks Bleak
    The New Year could be a bleak one for media companies in the U.K. advertising industry, according to WPP Group boss Sir Martin Sorrell, He told The Times of London that companies dependent on advertising will fare poorer than those in France and Germany, where spending is expected to improve. Ad spending in the U.K. has been down since the spring, and some execs say the drought is the worst since the early 1990s. Sorrell also warned that the outlook for spending in the U.S. also was not bright.
  • Boutique Agency Focus of National Attention
    Is Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in Sausalito, California, the next Crispin, Porter & Bogusky? The latter is the Miami-based ad agency that has reigned as the industry's hottest creative shop for the past few years. But the former is a relatively unknown agency that may be on the verge of receiving nationwide attention after capturing the coveted BMW Mini ad account. The agency is one of a new generation of boutique shops poised to make a splash in 2006 as major marketers increasingly hire smaller shops. Companies like as Coca-Cola, Unilever and Procter & Gamble have shown they are …
  • Ford Links with Magic Johnson for New Urban Market Web site
    Ford Motor Co. is enlisting the aid of former basketball great Earvin "Magic" Johnson to target urban car buyers. The company has launched a custom-designed Web site for its Lincoln brand designed to connect with urban consumers in an engaging and relevant way as part of a larger strategy to reach the urban market. The site opens with Johnson providing a personal, guided introduction and site tour. Included on the site is Lincoln advertising activities and major events, along with links to Johnson properties like the Magic Johnson Foundation. Reader column, auto reviews and articles on after-market customization are also …
  • AT&T Dials Up Media Plans, Breaks Biggest Ad Blitz Ever
    AT&T Inc., the telecommunications giant formed by the merger of AT&T Corp. and SBC Communications, is breaking the biggest ad campaign in the history of either company. The blitz comes as the telecommunications market undergoes consolidation and as consumers begin dropping traditional land-line connections for the kind of wireless phone services that neither marketer has dominated. The "Your world. Delivered," campaign was created by GSD&M and Rodgers Townsend.
  • New Law Creates Wave Of Fat-Cutting From Food Products
    Processed food companies are eliminating trans fats--the least healthful kind, according to dietary experts--from many items, in anticipation of a new food-labeling law that goes into effect on Sunday requiring companies to declare how much of the "bad fat" is in their products. "I don't know of a company that didn't look at reformulation," said Stephanie Childs of the Grocery Manufacturers of America. Among those making the change were Kraft, which reduced or removed trans fats from 650 products; ConAGra, which performed fat surgery on 120 items; and the manufacturer of that favorite Girl Scout cooky, the Thin Mint.
  • Marketers Question Price-Cutting Trend For Flat-Panel TVs
    Sales on flat-panel TVs are expected to double this year--but some are wondering if the price-cutting driving this increase will cause major problems for marketers of this popular item. "There was no need to [cut prices]. Demand was up. Supply was up," said Peter Weedfald, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Samsung Electronics America Inc. Besides a drop in profits, "the risk of fast price cuts is that demand will outpace supply and manufacturers will leave money on the table," according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • Dunkin' Donuts' "Fred The Baker" Dead At 83
    Michael Vale, the actor known for making "time to make the donuts" in Dunkin' Donuts' long-running ad campaign, died Tuesday. He was 83. The campaign featuring Vale as "Fred the Baker" ran for 15 years until Vale retired in 1997. Ironically, the donut-promoting actor died of complications from diabetes.
  • Marketers Discover New Ad Venue: School Buses
    City buses have long served as mobile billboards on which marketers can advertise their goods and services, but for the most part the familiar yellow school buses carrying kids to and from classes have remained pristine and banner-free. But that's changing as marketers seek new outlets for their messages and school districts are becoming desperate for new sources of revenue. In the past year, districts in Arizona and Massachusetts have allowed marketers to paste ads for real estate agencies, a toy store, and an ambulance company on their buses, and more such deals are reportedly about to surface in Michigan, …
  • Consumer Electronics Show to Embrace Branding, For A Change
    In the world of consumer electronics, marketers know that engineering and technology reign supreme and marketing usually takes a supporting role. But at next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the concept of branding products through marketing campaigns is moving closer to center stage. Part of the reason is that new products--such as the Apple iPod--have enjoyed huge successes through marketing efforts and other, more established brands like Sony want to employ marketing tactics to reassert themselves. "There's been a shifting of brands in the consumer-electronics space, along with a devaluation of traditional brands, and all of a sudden …
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