• Skype's IPhone Software Will Compete With Wireless Carriers
    EBay's Skype unit will release a version of its Internet-based phone software for Apple's iPhone Tuesday that will pit the company's VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) technology more directly against network operators such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless, Geoffrey A. Fowler and Amol Sharma report. It allows free calls to Skype users on computers or supported cell phones with Wi-Fi, or they may call landlines for a typical fee, of 2.1 cents a minute. Skype COO Scott Durchslag says the iPhone product is part of a strategic push toward cell phones, as opposed to the calls from computers, ...
  • Harrah's Leveraging Employees As A Marketing Medium
    Harrah's is launching an "Everybody Plays a Part" initiative that uses its 30,000-plus employees to convey the message that "gaming is a very social experience," as Harrah's CMO David Norton puts it. The campaign began with an employee rally at Harrah's Atlantic City properties earlier this month, Elaine Wong reports, and will roll out to casinos across the U.S. in April. Individual units can put their own spin on the theme. The goal, Norton says, is for employees to brainstorm ideas behind the scenes (such as, "What part do you play?" and "How do you build upon that ...
  • Mars Rolling Out Fling With Plenty Of Double Entendres
    Mars is preparing to launch Fling, its first new candy brand since Twix nearly 20 years ago, with a campaign that positions it as "Naughty, but not that naughty." The low-calorie chocolate bar is aimed at women. Fling looks a bit like a light version of Twix, Rupal Parekh and Emily Bryson York report -- two five-inch-long "fingers" that weigh a little more than an ounce. Each has a crisp layer of merengue wafer, topped by a whipped truffle, then dipped in chocolate. It's available in milk chocolate, dark chocolate and hazelnut. The first commercial from ...
  • Analysts Applaud Sara Lee's Makeover
    For the past four years, Sara Lee has been busy transforming itself into a more profitable, cohesive, and efficient enterprise -- and several investment pros find the makeover quite enticing, reports Gene Marcial, who writes the "Inside Wall Street" column for Business Week. In making a clear investment in innovation and marketing, "Sara Lee has been executing well," says analyst Timothy S. Ramey of investment firm D.A. Davidson. The company has been selling or spinning off product lines that are less profitable, and committing more attention to brands that it thinks have the best potential to grow ...
  • Peugeot Citroen Dumps CEO Christian Streiff
    Citing "exceptional difficulties" in the car industry, Peugeot fired CEO Christian Streiff on Sunday. Top-level executives at Peugeot had denounced Streiff, 54, for having a "high-handed and abrasive" style, according to media reports. Some observers say he lacked a clear strategy, writes Javier Espinoza, amid speculation that the company is vulnerable to a takeover. Streiff will be replaced in the interim by managing board member Roland Vardanegam, who will act as chairman until June, when Philippe Varin, currently CEO of steelmaker Corus, takes over.
  • AT&T's Pretend Family Gets Tougher On Watching Phone Costs
  • Trade Shows: Where Brands Make A Stand
  • Wal-Mart Celebrates The Decade Of SpongeBob
  • Microsoft's New Message: PCs Are Cheaper Than Macs
    Microsoft has finally jumped on the value-messaging bandwagon, Rupal Parekh reports, in a 60-second spot dubbed "Laptop Hunters" that emphasizes the affordability of PCs. Microsoft's comparison-shopping approach signals a more aggressive play against the admittedly cooler - but usually more expensive - Apple products. Ad agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky talked to people shopping for a new desktop or laptop and asked them what they were looking for. Then they offered consumers $1,000 for the right to document their shopping trips. The first spot in the series features a young woman named Lauren who is seeking a large-screen ...
  • Snapple Riffs On 'Stuff' In Relaunch Campaign
    Kenneth Hein writes that Snapple's new campaign, which riffs on the word "stuff," would have made George Carlin proud. The new ads debut March 30 with the tagline, "The best stuff on Earth just got better." New merchandising displays will appear at convenience stores, grocery and major retailers throughout the U.S. Snapple.com is also being revamped. The brand, which has long claimed to be "Made from the best stuff on Earth," says that its "stuff" has gotten better. New TV ads play up the fact that Snapple is now made with natural sugar and includes "healthy green and tasty ...
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