• Honda Pushes Safety In New Marketing Effort
    Honda wants to join Volvo as an automaker best known for safety, so it's promoting it as an essential part of its public image. The campaign--known internally as "Safety for Everyone"-- is showing results, with some of the auto industry's best scores on government and insurance industry crash tests. Honda is offering front and side-curtain air bags and antilock brakes on most of its offerings--from the smallest cars to trucks--emphasizing that buyers need not pay top dollar for such protection. It has also redesigned the frames of its vehicles to better spread out the impact of a crash. That ...
  • Radio Campaign For Philly Targets Gay Brits
    The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau is launching a campaign today that targets gay men in the United Kingdom. Through satellite radio network GaydarRadio, more than 2 million unique listeners every month will hear Ben--a 30ish gay character from London--report every Friday about his travels in four-minute snippets. Ben initially intended to stay in Philly for three weeks, but because he's finding so much to do in the "birthplace of America," he's staying for 10 weeks. Ben's travelogue also will urge listeners to log onto PhiladelphiaUSA.travel/ben to read journal postings and watch online video reports of him partaking in ...
  • Nissan Gets Cute To Reach Young Women
    In order to make its new Pino minicar appeal to young female consumers in Japan, Nissan Motor has purposely avoided focusing too much attention on the car itself. Instead, television and print ads portray the Pino as just one item--such as plushy animals, furry seat cushions and heart-shaped decals--in a collage of accessories. The Pino pamphlet--designed to read like a comic book--shows a group of fashionable youths eating cupcakes and showing off manicured nails that match the Pino's star upholstery pattern. Nissan's strategy is to target a narrowly defined audience. The Pino, named after the character Pinocchio, is aimed ...
  • Consumers Sweet On High-End Chocolate
    The market for premium chocolate--or chocolate that costs more than $8 per pound--is increasing by about 14% per year, according to research firm Mintel. Americans spent $2.05 billion on such high-end cocoa last year. Chocolate lovers are snubbing typical childhood favorites in favor of premium products that carry pedigrees, such as a high cacao content, a lack of preservatives and, in some cases, even a specific country of origin. And exotic bonbons and truffles now boast ingredients like olive oil, fig, chili pepper and even wasabe. The push is being driven in part by a surge of information ...
  • Loyalty Cards Get Mixed Grades
    Supermarket executives in the Seattle area say that loyalty cards have done wonders to promote customer loyalty and marketing efforts since they first began arriving in the area a decade ago. But industry analysts say the results are a mixed bag. Consumers "feel almost hostage by these cards," says Blaine Becker, marketing director with the Hartman Group, since they don't see any benefit beyond savings. And many shoppers--including the advocacy group Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering--say they don't appreciate having to swap their personal information to get the sale price on ice cream, lunch meat and salad ...
  • Wal-Mart Enforces Ethics With Ex CIA, FBI Operatives
    Renowned to outsiders for its elbows-out business tactics, Wal-Mart is known internally for its bare-knuckled, no-expense-spared investigations of employees who break its ironclad ethics rules. It has assembled a team of former officials from the CIA, FBI, and Justice Department. Kenneth H. Senser, a former top official at the CIA and FBI who runs Wal-Mart's security department, has a staff of roughly 400. They investigate allegations of misconduct, guard Wal-Mart executives and prepare for potential crises of all kinds, from hurricanes to terrorist attacks. Besides the highly publicized case of marketing executives Julie Roehm and Sean Womack, the team's ...
  • WPP's Sorrell Settles Libel Suit For £120,000
    Sir Martin Sorrell accepted what he claimed were "record" damages totaling £120,000 ($235,415) in the libel and privacy trial that has captivated the London advertising and marketing community for two weeks. Sorrell had testified that an anonymous blog made him sound like a ruthless criminal with Mafia connections. As part of the settlement, he was forced to concede that his former colleagues--Marco Benatti and Marco Tinelli--were not personally responsible for waging the Internet campaign against him. Both sides claimed victory after all the acrimonious wrangling and revelations at the High Court. Sorrell insisted that his decision to go to ...
  • Mohegan Sun Inserts Pop-Up Game Into Newspapers
    Readers of the Saturday, April 7 editions of The New York Times and The Boston Globe will find inserts with a 20-inch by 22-inch pop-up board game for the Mohegan Sun casino resort in southeastern Connecticut. The game includes pop-up hotels, plastic spinner and game pieces that are miniature versions of print ads. The executions feature people shopping, gambling and dining. The back of the game includes a montage of Mohegan Sun attractions and details about Project Horizon--a $740 million expansion that will include a House of Blues luxury hotel and new shopping and dining experiences. "The idea ...
  • Analysts: Circuit City Layoffs Could Backfire
    Facing larger competitors and falling sales, Circuit City announced yesterday that it was laying off about 3,400 store workers--about 8% of the company's total work force--and replacing them with lower-paid new hires as soon as possible. The laid-off workers, who will receive a severance package, will have a chance to reapply for their former jobs, at lower pay, after a 10-week delay. Analysts and economists say the move is an uncertain experiment that could backfire for the chain. Morale could sink, and customers could avoid the stores. Also, knowledgeable customer service is one of the few ways Circuit City ...
  • Nintendo Game Creator Depends On "Wife-Ometer"
    Nintendo has been aiming to expand the gaming audience, but the means that Shigero Miyamoto adopted to gauge the mass appeal of games are quite interesting, yet simple (kind of like the Wii). The creator of Mario and Zelda calls his secret weapon the "wife-ometer." "The wife-ometer measures one variable--the interest level of my own wife," Miyamoto says. With "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" and "Animal Crossing," he says, "the wife-ometer went up just a little bit." Eventually, the hit title "Brain Age" "turned her into a true gamer." Nintendo's corporate mission when making games ...
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