• Staying Calm In The Storm Of Paradoxes
    Ah, the paradoxes of everyday life. Ad Age reports that McDonald's plan to build coffee bars in the chain's 14,000 locations is being crimped by the squeeze on credit. In the midst of all the stories telling us how hard it is to borrow a buck or two, however, I received an unsolicited email this morning from Bank of America telling me that my credit line has been increased. It looks like BoA is feeling bullish about golf, as well as my ability to pay it back. It has become the presenting sponsor of the PGA's Chevron ...
  • More Paradoxes From The Front Lines: Pfizer, Wendy's AC/DC
    The Journal tells us that Pfizer is set to announce that it is halting its development of medicines for heart disease -- "a field that includes its cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor and other medicines that fueled the company's dominance of the pharmaceutical industry for more than a decade." It will focus on more lucrative areas like cancer and Alzheimer's disease. The Journal also reports that Roland Smith, president and CEO of the new Wendy's/Arby's Group, plans to reverse the previous' management's strategy of courting 18- to 24-year-olds and will instead aim Wendy's marketing at customers ages ...
  • Analyst's Report Squishes Apple Shares
    Apple's shares plunged 18% Monday -- the sharpest sell-off of the company's stock in eight years -- following an analyst's downgrading of the stock based on a survey suggesting that sales were cooling off. But Philip Elmer-DeWitt points out that the survey is open to different interpretations, and that "Mac purchases have been trending up even as computer purchases across the board have been slumping." While sales are indeed cooling, Elmer-DeWitt suggests that RBC Capital analyst Mike Abramsky's report may have caused an overreaction in the marketplace. Can you imagine a marketing campaign that ...
  • Starbucks Brewing New Non-Coffee Products
    Even as McDonald's (see above) and others try to beef up their coffee offerings to compete in the caffeine-crazed world that Starbucks has wrought, the Seattle-based behemoth is moving on to new products to fuel growth. The latest -- "Starbucks signature hot chocolate - will be unveiled today in North American stores. "What got us to this place is no longer going to be exactly the model as we're going forward," says Michelle Gass, Starbucks svp senior vice president of marketing. And chocolate has great power to detour people into a cafe, according to Rachel Antalek, Starbucks' director of ...
  • WPP's Hold On Wachovia Account Adds Up To Three Days
  • Arbitron: 35% Of Those Who Sample Buy The Product
  • Retailers Rely On Captive Brands To Drive Loyalty
    Elaine Wong reports that competition among retailers like Walmart, Walgreens and CVS is driving creation of "captive brands" that are manufactured by a third party but are sold exclusively at their respective outlets. "If there's something we have that other retailers don't have, it's an opportunity for us to build loyalty," says Walgreens's Tiffani Bruce. Walgreens's three-year-old BioInfusion, for example, has grown to become one of the top brands in the hair care category. It sits on the shelf alongside Procter & Gamble's Pantene, which contends with the Cristophe line at CVS and Equate at Walmart. P&G has taken ...
  • Cheap Chic, Led By Captive Brands, Gains Globally
    Whether it's fashion, food, or any other product category, cheap chic is clearly a global trend, says Barry Silverstein. Aldi supermarkets, with 7,000 stores across three continents, won the 2007 Quality Food Award for eight of its gourmet store products. European design house Moschino features a line of clothing, accessories, and perfumes under the brand name "Cheap and Chic." India's Tata Group has extended cheap chic to its line of Ginger hotels. Silverstein leads with the success of Target in cultivating an image of "cheap chic" to differentiate itself, and points out its emphasis on cultivating relationships with name-brand ...
  • Food Marketers Responding With Value Campaigns
    Amidst all these efforts by retailers to dress up what used to be seen as generic store brands, the big food marketers are coming out with value campaigns of their own. In part it's a defensive move against losing market share to private labels, writes Julie Jargon, but it's also a response to how consumers have changed their behavior as the U.S. economy has soured. Kellogg is launching a new advertising push for old standbys such as Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies, while Campbell Soup is about to roll out a multimedia campaign to promote its condensed soups as ...
  • Friction Was Constant In Wieden, Starbucks Relationship
    Reading between the lines of last week's coverage of Wieden & Kennedy's decision to end its four-year relationship with Starbucks, it appears that the agency was frustrated by the marketer's response to its ideas. Evidently, the relationship was tense from the start, Ad Age reports, but Dan Wieden and Howard Schultz were close friends who always patched things up before they reached the breaking point. Not this time. Much of the fault lies with the mercurial Schultz, according to Rich Silverstein, co-founder of Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. "He does not appreciate advertising," he says. "Any agency that ...
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