• Enclave Is A Hit, So GM Cuts Production
    The tight supply of Enclaves--a so-called crossover utility vehicle that has become a breakout hit for General Motors this year--is no accident. GM is keeping a tight rein on production in an effort to avoid past mistakes that forced it to offer discounts and cheapened the image of the company's brands. In the past, when GM had hot models, it usually built as many as it could, and almost always ended up with lots filled with unsold vehicles. "Nothing destroys the value of a new product faster than over producing," says GM Vice Chairman Robert Lutz. ...
  • P&G Raising Prices; Results Disappoint Wall Street
    Procter & Gamble disappointed Wall Street by reporting fiscal first-quarter organic sales growth of 5% today, below that of key competitors that reported so far. The company also announced price increases--mostly driven by higher commodity costs--including a 5%-12% hike on Olay and Ivory cleansing products and a 5%-8% increase on Pampers diapers. P&G's beauty business, with organic sales growth of 4%, dragged down overall company results. Olay, long a major driver of P&G's skin-care growth, slowed to mid-single digits last quarter, though Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley promises new product initiatives for the Regenerist and Definity lineups by early next ...
  • Reynolds Targets Freezer Enthusiasts With New Wrap
    Reynolds is introducing Handi-Vac Vacuum Sealer--a $9.99 portable device that reduces freezer burn by vacuum sealing foods for storage or freezing--with its largest launch ever via TV, Internet, print, and FSIs. But its "Fight freezer burn tour" could be a secret weapon, says Michael Curtin, vice president-innovation, Alcoa Consumer Products. He expects that in-store demos will "create excitement." "We are targeting "freezer enthusiasts," not a typical demographic," says Curtin. He defines them as "people who really use their freezers because they like to have food on hand." TV spots feature Pat and Betty, the popular spokespersons ...
  • JWT's Jeffrey: Where's The Loyalty?
    The advertising industry has entered an era of "rampant promiscuity" in which client, consumer and agency have all become "brand sluts" without loyalty to one another, says JWT worldwide chairman and CEO Bob Jeffrey. But companies such as Apple, Whole Foods and Harley-Davison--as well as "non-brand slut" and JWT clients De Beers and JetBlue--are swimming against the current, he says, and have "reignited the primacy of the brand." Speaking at Nielsen Business Media's Next Big Idea Conference in Los Angeles, Jeffrey challenges the notion that consumer choice and consumer-generated content equate to being in "greater control." Instead, he ...
  • Edwards Blames Soaring Drug Prices On Ad Costs
    While introducing components of a broad healthcare plan at a stump speech in Laconia, N.H., on Sunday, Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards proposed to ban direct-to-consumer advertising of new pharmaceuticals until after the drugs have been on the market for two years. "You've seen these ads. You know who's paying for them, right? You are," Edwards also reportedly told the gathering. He went on to claim that medicine makers spend "twice as much" on marketing and administration as they do on research. That's not true. U.S. drug makers shelled out more than $55 billion on medical ...
  • Google Phone Will Face Hurdles
    In order to make it easier for cell phone customers to get a variety of extra services on their phones--from maps to social-networking features to video-sharing--Google will have to overcome resistance from wireless carriers and deal with potentially thorny security and privacy issues. The search giant is expected to announce advanced software and services within the next two weeks that would allow handset makers to bring Google-powered phones to market by the middle of next year, people familiar with the situation say. The most radical element of the plan is Google's push to make the phones' software "open" ...
  • Consumer Product Safety Chief Nixes More Funding
    Nancy Nord, the acting chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, has asked Congress not to approve the bulk of pending legislation that would increase the agency's authority, double its budget and sharply increase its dwindling staff. Her opposition to important elements of the legislation is consistent with the deregulatory approach of the Bush administration. The measure is an effort to buttress an agency that has been under siege because of a raft of tainted and dangerous products manufactured both domestically and abroad. Nord--who before joining the agency had been a lawyer at Eastman Kodak and an official ...
  • Febreze Targets Students With Online Campaign
    Procter & Gamble has kicked off "What Stinks," an online and viral campaign for its Febreeze fabric-refresher spray that's aimed at college students. Recognizing that the campus is a far cry from where the marketer has thrust its marketing efforts in the past, Febreze and Grey--its longtime ad agency--decided a mainstream-marketing approach likely would fail. WhatStinks.com--an interactive Web site all about Febreze spray--is housed within Facebook; P&G also plans media buys and banner ads on the popular social-networking site. The brand swaps its "It's a breath of fresh air" tagline for college-oriented ones such as "Febreze ... Because ...
  • Maturing Fashion Brands Need Reinvention
    Burberry, Coach, Gucci, Lacoste, Dior, Diane von Furstenberg, Guess and J. Crew are textbook cases of brands that have reinvented themselves and enjoyed tremendous success in a second life. They could offer lessons to others, such as Gap, Liz Claiborne, Anne Klein, Bill Blass, Halston and Tommy Hilfiger, all of which had overwhelming success during their heydays, but have lost their way. Hiring the right designer is often viewed as the critical component to reengineering a brand. Total attention must be paid to the brand in an effort to return to its essence and reason for being ...
  • Meow Mix Acatemy Offers Feline Events To Humans
    More than 50,000 people have experienced the 11-city Meow Mix Acatemy tour that wraps up this week in San Francisco. The tour features a variety of cat-themed events for people, including "Cat-isthenics," a place for visitors to exercise like a cat in cubbies, an arts and crafts station where people build toys for their cat and "Cat Scratch Fever," which teaches pet owners how to scratch like a DJ. More than 50,000 samples of the Meow Mix wet food have been distributed. Meow Mix also donated a pound of cat food to local animal shelters and collected consumer ...
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