• Muhtar Kent Reaffirms Coke's Strategy As He Becomes CEO
    When Muhtar Kent -- the 55-year-old protégé of Coke chairman and CEO E. Neville Isdell -- takes over as CEO on Tuesday, he will stick to the current strategic plan emphasizing closer cooperation with retailers, improved marketing and aggressive expansion into juice and other drinks. Kent acknowledges that he faces stronger headwinds than were expected when his appointment was announced, but insists that the beverage industry is better positioned than many other businesses to weather economic difficulties. He says rapid urbanization and blossoming of the middle class in big emerging nations are juicing demand for on-the-go beverages. Working closely ...
  • Newfangled Milk Jug Leaves Consumers Crying Over Spills
    A new milk jug adopted by both Wal-Mart and Costco has no real spout, and its unorthodox square shape makes consumers feel like novices at the simple task of pouring a glass of milk. "I hate it," says Lisa DeHoff, a cafe owner shopping in a Sam's Club in North Canton, Ohio. The redesign, experts say, is an example of the changes likely to play out in the American economy as higher costs for energy and materials demand that many products be redesigned for greater efficiency. The jugs are cheaper to ship and better for the environment. Not to ...
  • FCC Considering Revision Of Product Placement Guidelines
    While weaving products into programs is a technique as old as TV itself, inserting logos, endorsements and name-brand goods into viewers' favorite shows has steadily attracted more interest among marketers as more viewers gain technology that lets them skip past commercials, or watch TV programs in new venues that use fewer ads. As a result, the Federal Communications Commission is examining the requirements for identifying product placements, and considering whether the rules do a good enough job. FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein has pushed for a revision of the current rules -- advertisers' in-program appearances are typically cited briefly before ...
  • Wal-Mart's Logo Getting A Makeover
    Wal-Mart will begin replacing logos on the front of its U.S. stores with a new design beginning this fall. Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Gardner says the change will reflect changes customers already have seen in some store signs and advertisements. Gardner says he has no other information about the change. However, The Wall Street Journal reports that the new look will include eliminating the hyphen in the company's name, now shown as a star at its more than 3,600 U.S. stores. It reportedly will show the company's name in white letters on an orange background, followed by a small starburst. ...
  • Rhapsody Music Store Will Challenge Apple's ITunes
    A new online music store from Rhapsody America -- a joint venture of RealNetworks and Viacom's MTV Networks -- will feature songs that aren't constrained by anti-copying measures in an effort to challenge the dominance of Apple's iTunes. In May 2007, Apple broke new ground when it began selling music without copyright restrictions from EMI Group. But it hasn't been able to strike similar agreements with the other three major labels. Rhapsody will also announce that it will supply streaming music services and download stores on other Internet sites and services, such as Yahoo, MTV and popular social networking ...
  • Unilever CMO Simon Clift Speaks His Mind
  • Word of Mouth Looking For A Measurement Standard
  • Music Artists' Streetwear Lines Struggle As CD Sales Slide
    With record sales plummeting and hip-hop's popularity on the wane, many music artists' lines are struggling. Part of the reason may be that hip-hop had to become more mainstream in order to grow -- focusing less and less on urban specialty stores and more on department stores such as Macy's and Dillard's. That, in turn, alienated those consumers who wore it because the look was considered to be cutting edge. Once-notorious rappers like LL Cool J now are doing collections for retailers like Sears, which will introduce an LL Cool J-branded junior, young men's and children's wear for back-to-school selling. ...
  • Much-Hyped Steve & Barry's Seeks Turnaround
    Even as Steve & Barry's was inking high-profile licensing deals and attracting national media acclaim, small vendors across the country -- along with overseas apparel manufacturers -- say they were going unpaid, or enduring months of lag time between payments. The chain, with about 275 stores across the U.S. and sales approaching $1 billion, has hired Conway, Del Genio, Gries & Co. -- the same turnaround firm as Sharper Image and Linens 'n Things, both of which have since filed for bankruptcy. With their deeply discounted prices and celebrity endorsers, childhood friends Steve Shore and Barry Prevor of ...
  • Why InBev Thinks It Can Make Budweiser A Global Success
    InBev Thursday began a hostile bid for Anheuser-Busch, saying that it had filed suit in Delaware Chancery Court seeking to confirm that Anheuser shareholders had the right to remove all 13 directors without cause. It says, however, that its "strong preference" is still to begin a constructive dialogue with A-B's board to achieve "a friendly combination." Its reputation as a thin, watery brew puts Budweiser at a disadvantage in Europe, but beer industry experts see better chances in Asia, where tastes run toward lighter beers. InBev's central argument for why it can succeed globally with Budweiser and Bud ...
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