• Dell Clicking With Turnaround Efforts
    Dell's second-quarter sales and earnings figures exceeded Wall Street estimates, signaling that turnaround strategies launched after Michael Dell's return to the company earlier this year are beginning to pay off despite stiff competition. Brent Bracelin, an analyst for Pacific Crest Securities, warns that favorable component prices that have kept PC makers' costs stable may not last. The company is also dealing with an internal investigation into its finances and problems in meeting demand for notebook-computer models in some colors. But Bracelin notes that Dell and its rivals seem to be following Apple's lead by competing more on design and ...
  • HHS Softened Breast-Feeding Ads
    Plans by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department to run blunt ads to convince mothers that their babies faced real health risks if they did not breast-feed infuriated the politically powerful infant-formula industry. It hired a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and a former top regulatory official to lobby HHS and, not long afterward, department political appointees toned down the campaign. Originally, the ads featured striking photos of insulin syringes and asthma inhalers topped with rubber nipples. The revised ads ran with more friendly images of dandelions and cherry-topped ice cream scoops, to dramatize how breast-feeding ...
  • Hot Launch For Miller Chill
    Miller Chill--which launched nationally during June and already has grabbed 0.24% share of dollar sales in the category for the year ended Aug. 12--will roll out a 22-ounce single serve bottle this fall, sources say. Miller also plans to raise the price by 55 cents a case in some Midwest regions effective Oct. 1. Trade sources differ on whether the price increase will push the lime- and salt-flavored brew higher into super-premium-priced territory where six packs of craft and imported brands are tagged between $6 and $8. The yet-to-be-announced increase also could bring Chill on par with a ...
  • Red And Yellow May Win At Beijing Olympics
    The Beijing Olympics next year could spark a trend in the traditional Chinese colors of red and yellow, says Jack Bredenfoerder, president of the Color Marketing Group. Globalization and the increasing influence of countries like China and India also play a role in the popularity of colors. Bredenfoerder says the traditional spice colors associated with India have been in vogue. With that has come a revival of teal, a blue shade that complements them. The Color Marketing Group--a 1,000-member industry association group that includes representatives from General Motors and Kimberly-Clark--has for decades sought to forecast color trends years in ...
  • Antitrust Decision Could Make Booksellers' Merger Possible
    Some analysts say that a federal antitrust ruling involving the combination of Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats Markets last week enhance the chances of a merger between Borders and Barnes & Noble. The merger closely mirrors a potential deal between Borders and B&N and "could be perceived as a potential new precedent and open up meaningful discussions," writes David Schick, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., in a report to investors. The talk of a potential merger of Borders and Barnes & Noble comes as both firms struggle against online rivals, such as Amazon.com, ...
  • NFL Launches Aggressive Offense
    In a TV and online campaign beginning today, the National Football League will counter fans' and marketers' outcry over the criminal behavior of some players by shining a spotlight on what is presented as the good behavior of the many. "We're going to do everything necessary to protect the strength of our brand," says Lisa Baird, senior vice president for marketing at the NFL. The commercials feature five players--selected for their marquee names and clean-cut images--and are planned to run through the 2007-8 football season, appearing on television and on Web sites like nfl.com. The origin of the ...
  • Nokia Open To Advanced Mobile Services
    Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo yesterday unveiled plans to launch a slew of services for mobile users--initially in Europe and Asia, and perhaps later in the U.S--called Ovi, which is Finnish for "door." Ovi will be a gateway to music, photos, maps, and other content starting later this year. The scheme includes an online music store rivaling Apple's iTunes. It is aimed primarily--but not exclusively--at the 200 million music-capable Nokia mobile phones already on the market. It also features an interactive multiplayer game service accessible to the 40 million Nokia Nseries phones now in use. Early next year, ...
  • New Campaign Unveils Fun Side Of Volvo
    Volvo--whose brand image has long been associated with safety--is launching a global ad campaign next month that aims to capture car buyers by tapping into the fun people have with friends and families. The marketing push includes print and five different TV spots under a new tagline: "Life Is Better Lived Together." In one spot, a daredevil couple rides yachts, helicopters and a Volvo luxury sedan for a breathless meeting celebrating their anniversary. In another, a fleece-clad couple picks up a climber and hikers on an Italian mountainside while the children's song "The Wheels on the Bus" plays. The ...
  • Coors Unit Will Patiently Develop High-End Brews
    Coors Brewing Co., the third-largest U.S. beer maker by sales, has created AC Golden Brewing Co., a subsidiary that will develop "above-premium" beers, according to an email sent to beer wholesalers last week. The company says that it will cultivate the upscale beers at a similar pace to how it slowly built Blue Moon--a Belgian-style wheat ale--over a decade. Blue Moon is now among the fastest-growing American beers. The "patient selling model" will contrast with the "usual brewer process of full-blown, national rollouts that are very expensive and have had only limited success historically," Coors says. In ...
  • Volkswagen, Apple Chat About iCar
    Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Volkswagen's chief Martin Winterkorn met several days ago in California to discuss the possibility of building an "iCar" that would feature products by the producer of the iPod. They plan to meet again, according to VW spokesman Hans-Gerd Bode, who says there are "scores of ideas" but few concrete plans at this point. Market experts say that a compact car upgraded with Apple products would be of substantial interest to young target groups, according to German financial magazine Capital. Electronics, ranging from satellite navigation machines to cup warmers, are increasingly a selling point ...
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