Wikipedia, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal
It's Black Friday. I know because the clock radio seared the fact into my cerebellum with a hokey advertising skit this morning (I can't remember who was advertising what, having hit the snooze button). Of course, we've been seeing headlines and hearing reports about Black Friday for days, and not just in the trade press. Since when did such an inside-baseball term become part of the vernacular? It's as if people other than surgeons were walking around talking about traffic "infarctions" on the way to the mall. Wikipedia is helpful, as always, and hopefully reliable on this one. …
Kai Ryssdal conducted an interesting interview Wednesday evening with Brian Yeagar, who has written a book about craft beers called Red, White and Brew: An American Beer Odyssey
. At the end of the piece, Ryssdal mentions that the Big Three, er ... Big Two brewers have ventured into "craft-brew-seeming concoctions" (he had been sampling) of their own. Are they responding wisely to a competitive threat? "I actually think that it may come back to bite them," Yaeger responds. "They might turn on people who are Budweiser die-hards and let them realize that there is …
Wall Street Journal
Credit Suisse analyst Christopher Ceras is predicting a "November slaughter" in overall automotive sales figures when they are released on Tuesday. Unlike downturns in the past, sales of luxury autos in the U.S. -- which include everything from a Lexus to a Lamborghini -- are just as bad as in the mass market, Kate Linebaugh reports. They dropped 30% last month from a year earlier -- on par with the 31.9% decline for the overall market, according to Autodata Corp. Morgan Stanley analysts expect the luxury market will be "significantly worse" in coming months. J.D. Power estimates that sales …
Rita Chang writes that recent reports popping up in the blogosphere have it that Microsoft is looking to create a smart phone that builds on its Zune music player. Makes sense that they're up to something. They didn't acquire Danger -- the handset company behind T-Mobile's Sidekick QWERTY phone -- for nothing, after all.
The New York Times
It all has to do with getting the brand name out there.
Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
With advertising budgets under pressure, marketers are reaching out to loyal consumers with targeted ads instead of relying on the traditional yuletide blitz of advertising to the masses, Emily Steel reports. Retailers such as Sears Holdings, JCPenney, Target and Gap are tapping statistical models and other technologies to send specific consumers promotions based on what is potentially on their shopping lists. Although companies have been tracking customers for years, recent technology enables them to link all the data points together to create campaigns that take full advantage of the information that's has been gathered. Acquiring new customers is five to …
You've got to cross-file this in your "Only in America" folder. Here's the basic scenario, as reported by Emily Bryson York: Taco Bells sends an "open letter" to 50 Cent in July offering to donate $10,000 to the charity of his choice if he drives to one of their locations, raps an order, and changes his name -- for the day -- to 79, 89 or 99 Cent. But 50 Cent (once known as Curtis Jackson) nurtures his endorsements as carefully he does his don't-mess-with-me image. He sues, maintaining that the Taco Bell offer gave the appearance …
As expected. But don't expect 50 Cent to change his name to 119 Cent for the day either. Right? Hmmmm.
Blockbuster is offering a digital media player called MediaPoint for free to subscribers who pre-pay $99 for the first 25 DVDs served on it. DVDs rented after the 25 are used up will cost $1.99 to $3.99, but there is no monthly subscription fee, says Chris Nuttall on FT.com's techblog. The announcement sets up a battle with Netflix, whose current box costs $99 and allows monthly subscribers to its postal service to stream the content of more than 10,000 DVDs to their televisions at no extra charge. Netflix is also part of the new interface for the Xbox 360. …