• FDA's Budget For Reviewing Ads Soars
    The Food and Drug Administration is receiving $6.1 million for the current fiscal year to check the fairness and accuracy of consumer drug ads--up from $2.2 million the previous year and $1 million the year before. It plans to hire more people so it can review more ads. The FDA currently has 13 workers devoted to policing direct-to-consumer ad materials. Six are primary reviewers. The FDA has long been so overwhelmed by drug industry ad materials that only a "small portion" is reviewed, the Government Accountability Office said in a 2006 report. Last year, it received 12,616 ads ...
  • Speedy's Fizz-Fizzing Again In Print, Web Executions
    Speedy Alka-Seltzer--the baby-faced mascot sketched out by Bob Watkins for the Wade Agency back in 1951--has made a somewhat surreptitious return. Working quietly with BBDO, Alka-Seltzer owner Bayer has revived the character on the back cover of Playboy and in an online "Where's Waldo"-type game. He also has a MySpace page. Bayer won't comment on anything to do with the campaign--or whether Speedy will make a return to TV. But the strategy seems to be in line with recent and successful revivals of old Alka-Seltzer slogans such as "I can't believe I ate the whole thing." By the ...
  • Kalinsky's Influence Starts To Show At Nordstrom
    In an effort to inject some hipness into its merchandise, Nordstrom bought a majority interest in Jeffrey Kalinsky's Jeffrey boutiques in 2005 and later hired the founder to liven up its fashions. The influence of Kalinsky's buying is just beginning to be felt at stores, with the recent addition in some locations of designer clothing by labels such as Gucci, Nina Ricci, and Junya Watanabe. Kalinsky could let his imagination run wild when he was just buying for the boutiques. For Nordstrom, he must navigate the fine line between buying provocative fashion to generate excitement and commercial ...
  • Michelin Under Fire For Toyko Ratings
    The Michelin guide has been expanding to new markets to compensate for its declining influence in Europe, where it has lost readership to the Internet and the shifting demands of consumers who no longer want their tastes dictated to them. Michelin says it sells about 1 million guides a year worldwide, of which a growing proportion has been outside Europe. Michelin chose Tokyo to crack Asia because it is the largest and most sophisticated restaurant markets in the world. It awarded 191 stars to 150 restaurants in Tokyo; eight received the highest rating of three stars. That compares with ...
  • Leap Year Day Is Special For Marketers, Too
  • Electronic Arts Offers $2 Billion for Take-Two
  • P&G Unveils Plans To Control Spending
    Most of Procter & Gamble brands will be limited to "zero overhead growth" (or ZOG) where employment won't rise regardless of sales, and its lowest-priority businesses--including an unspecified number of brands P&G will look to divest--will aim for "negative overhead growth" (NOG), according to chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley. The highest-priority businesses--such as China, Central and Eastern Europe, along with beauty care--will be limited to "half overhead growth" (HOG), where overhead costs can rise no more than half as fast as sales. The new austerity doesn't mean P&G will stop hiring, but it does mean it will "create additional attrition" ...
  • Target Wearing Thin As Wal-Mart Rides High Women's Wear Daily
    Two days after Wal-Mart said early spring sales of its private label apparel--where key items cost $10--were "very promising," Target's stock fell yesterday after a Citigroup analyst found fault with its women's offerings. Deborah Weinswig points to a lack of focus in the firm's women's fashions, risk in its credit card portfolio and the perception that Wal-Mart is the discount price leader. Wal-Mart has a number of changes in the pipeline that should keep up the pressure on its smaller discount rival. Over the next several months, it will introduce Ocean Pacific and L.E.I. fashions to its stores, and ...
  • As Prices Weaken, Consumers Head To Surplus Grocers
    Sales at surplus or "salvage" grocers--a little-noticed segment of the food industry--are rising at a time when U.S. consumers face the highest rate of food inflation since 1990. Surplus grocers sell "closeouts," which include products that manufacturers have discontinued, seasonal items that are outdated and goods that are near the date when manufacturers expect freshness to wane. Many also sell products that were damaged in transit but remain edible. Food prices rose about 5% in the U.S. last year. The size of the surplus food-retail segment isn't known. Analysts don't track the sales because most of the companies ...
  • Advertisers Set To Preen On Oscars' Red Carpet
    This year at the Oscars, the advertisers are better known than the movies. Only "Juno" has topped $100 million at the box office among the films that have been nominated for top honors. MasterCard, American Express, JC Penney and Mars' M&Ms are introducing new ads and marketing campaigns during the show. General Motors, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and L'Oreal are among the advertisers that are also returning to the red carpet. And two advertisers--including Unilever's Bertolli frozen foods--will make their first appearance during the Oscars. Marketers say the show remains a magnet because nearly two-thirds of the TV audience ...
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