• If You Touch It, Odds Are Better That You'll Buy It
    Now science has confirmed what car dealers ("why don't you take it for a spin?") and pet-store clerks ("let me open the cage so you can play with Fluffy") have always known: You can't touch a product on Amazon.com and savor its essence. In fact, an experiment by researchers from Ohio State University and Illinois State University recently revealed that in many cases, simply touching a coffee mug for a few seconds creates an attachment that led people to pay more for the item. The results were published in the journal Judgment and Decision Making. Researchers ...
  • Dell May Move Quickly Into Smartphone Market
    Dell is preparing a move into cell phones as early as next month, sources tell Justin Scheck and Yukari Iwatani Kane. A group of engineers have been toiling away in a secret lab in the Chicago area focusing on smart phones that use Google's Android operating system and Microsoft's Windows Mobile software. Dell may still abandon the effort, however, and a spokesperson says, "We haven't committed to anything." The move would put Dell into direct competition with Apple's iPhone and Research In Motion's BlackBerry. A former Motorola employee, John Thode, heads up the phone effort, as well as ...
  • Diet Coke, Heidi Klum, And A Tagline From Way Back When
    I've never liked the taste of Diet Coke. But when I read Brandweek's headline this morning: -- "Diet Coke Brings Back 'Just for the Taste of It'"-- I can honestly say that I felt some warm and fuzzy synapses firing in my brain right around the medial prefrontal cortex, just like a story I was re-reading yesterday suggested I might. The 2003 piece by Clive Thompson in the New York Times Magazine looks at a study that purportedly proved that perceived brand image shapes influence. In short, people preferred the taste of Pepsi in a taste ...
  • Hertz Taking A Spin With Car-Sharing Program
    Hertz Global Holdings has launched a car sharing service in New York, London and Paris called "Connect by Hertz." It hopes to capitalize on both consumer demand for alternatives to car ownership and the current weakness of its rivals, according to Mark Frissora, the company's chairman and CEO. "People can't buy cars today," Frissora tells AP, referring to the current lack of consumer credit. Like existing car-sharing companies, rentals are charged hourly; the annual membership fee includes insurance, gas, roadside assistance, maintenance and use of a universal key card. Another trend, according to a ...
  • Git Yer Super Bowl Ad Previews Here, Previews ...
    See what your fellow marketers are paying $100,000 a second to promulgate this Sunday. ABC has videos of spots from Heineken, Pedigree, Go Daddy and more. Stuart Elliott leads the Business Day section of the Times this morning with a round-up of the financial and societal zeitgeist surrounding Super Bowl XLIII advertising. Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, makes his second appearance in "Around the Net" this week, which I believe is a modern-day record for an academic. Calkins tells Elliott: "Advertisers have to strike a delicate balance ...
  • Grocery Stores Fight Back Against Food Prices
    Safeway, Supervalu, and others are deploying more private-label goods, among other things, to outwit the likes of Kellogg and General Mills. Jeffrey Noddle, CEO of Minneapolis-based Supervalu, is telling analysts to expect a "battleground" over the next six months as he pressures manufacturers to adjust their prices, Matt Boyle writes. And if they refuse? "In almost every category, you have other vendors to look to," according to Noddle.
  • Larry Fitzgerald Scores EAS Full-Page Ad In 'USA Today'
  • Starbucks Closing More Stores; Adding Value Breakfasts
    Starbucks will close 300 more underperforming company-operated stores worldwide -- about 200 in the U.S. -- in addition to the nearly 700 it announced last year. Up to 6,000 positions could be eliminated. At the same time, it says it will open 140 stores -- 60 fewer than its previous target of 200. Taking a cue from fast-food rivals, Bruce Horovitz reports, CEO Howard Schultz says the battered chain plans to roll out value breakfast deals in March that, for the first time, will bundle drinks and food at a discounted price. "We've heard those of you calling for more ...
  • Netflix Founder Reed Hastings Talks About Its Genesis
    It all started with a sour experience -- as so many good business ideas do -- and turned into lemonade. In 1997, Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings got hit with a $40 late fee for a VHS-tape rental of "Apollo 13." But DVDs were on the way, they proved easy to mail, and his rental-by-mail business was off the ground. Initially, the concept was not subscription-based. Hastings decided to try a free trail for prospective subscribers and got a 20% conversion rate to paid, which was good enough to keep going. Now Netflix gets up to 90% renewal. ...
  • Buffalo Wings May Be In Short Supply But Velveeta Is Not
    After scrolling dozens of newswires all day yesterday, I ventured into the city to view a taping of the sole source for news for so many others, "The Colbert Report," and sure enough learned about a looming shortage of chicken wings for Super Bowl Sunday. "Wing-Ageddon," as Colbert puts it, may be upon us but rest assured that "Velveeta-Ageddon" is not. There's plenty of it to go around this Sunday, and Kraft is doing its utmost to spread the word. "On Sunday, thousands of women across the country are expected to welcome friends ...
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