• Where There Are Fat People, There's Opportunity
    Although consumers take a great deal of responsibility themselves for weight gain, about three quarters believe that advertising encourages them to eat less-healthy food and that food companies should provide healthier fare, according to a new Nielsen Consumer Insight report. But fast-food companies "get off surprisingly easy," the report says, "and are not seen as nearly as important a player in the obesity blame game as food companies." The Holy Cow revelation of this story is the shift in attitude since the last study in 2006. Way back then, 82% of American adults acknowledged an individual's responsibility in weight gain …
  • A Look Inside Disney's Toys-Of-The-Future Project
    Bruce Horovitz provides a fascinating inside peek at Disney's formerly top-secret toys-of-the-future swat team dubbed -- take a gulp of coffee now and grit your teeth -- Toymorrow. The eight "big thinkers" of Toymorrow brainstorm about gadgetry that mix technology and play. Their mission? "To toss some serious pixie dust in the face of the economic meltdown," of course. Meanwhile, you may recall from Thursday's Times, Disney is also hoping that "Tinker Bell Spreads Fairy Dust on Sales ." Depending on your disposition, this sudden reliance on dust generated by sprites can be viewed as either another market opportunity, …
  • Jim Stengel Promoting Purpose-Based Marketing
    As Marketing Daily blogged back on Oct. 17, Jim Stengel, the widely respected, 25-year Procter & Gamble advertising veteran, is opening a new venture Monday that will promote "purpose-based marketing," which he says is about defining what a company does -- beyond making money -- and how it can make its customers' lives better. He is also writing a book, with the working title "Packaged Good," that will expand on the idea. Stengel tells Suzanne Vranica that Pampers was able to gain market share a few years ago through a repositioning that utilized the concepts of …
  • Attention Beer And Pickup Spacecraft Advertisers
    Ken Harvey, a retired Pro Bowl linebacker for the Washington Redskins, is trying to gin up interest in a new sport he calls Float Ball. It's a combination of basketball, football and, well, free-floating dance. Among its scoring opportunities is a feature where you pick up a person holding a ball of certain color and throw him, or her, through a hoop. Did I mention that the Float Ball league will be played in outer space? Perfect for Disney's three-eyed alien (see story above). There are a few financial and logistical details to be worked out -- like …
  • Wal-Mart Looks To Expand Direct-To-Employer Drug Pilot
    Kimberly Morrison reports that pharmacy benefit managers could soon find themselves contending with Wal-Mart to broker prescription drug prices. The retailer is looking to expand a two-month-old pilot project it has with Caterpillar to negotiate drug prices for its 70,000 employees. Like many companies, Caterpillar had relied upon pharmacy benefit managers like CVS Caremark or Express Scripts to negotiate drug prices. "Any time Wal-Mart is getting into your business, there is reason to be worried," says Scott Alaniz, an analyst with Boston Mountain Money Management.??
  • Kmart Kick-Starting 'Black Friday' Two Days After Halloween
    The retailer, part of Sears Holdings, says it will offer "Early Black Friday" deals exclusively in the home-electronics category to help customers kick-start their holiday shopping, Natalie Zmuda reports.
  • Burger King Quarterly Profit Rises 2%
    High costs cut into profits but Burger King says same-store sales in the U.S. and Canada rose 3%, helped by its value menu items and its breakfast and late-night menus. New products -- including the Steakhouse Burger and a new Kids Meal featuring Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Fresh Apple Fries -- also did well.
  • Tony Bennett Centerpiece of Bloomingdale's Holiday Promotion
  • Your Business Method Patent Has Just Been Invalidated
  • Grocers Want Increased Trade Allowances, Price Stability
    As I was typing up the announcements of higher-than-expected profits and/or earnings at major packaged-goods companies Wednesday, coupled with reports of a consumer-credit squeeze and grocery shoppers' intentions to purchase more private-label goods, one thing crossed my mind: How can this be? It turns out that Wally, my ever-practical and accommodating A&P manager, and his peers and bosses have been asking the same question. Julie Jargon and Cecile Rohwedder report that retailers, too, "find food prices hard to swallow" and are "demanding change." Some are rejecting price increases; others want increased trade allowances so they can promote …
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