• Year Of The Brand Influencer
    Daniel Newman, author of "The Millennial CEO," writes that this year nearly 50% of brands' social marketing spend went to Facebook advertising and less than 10% to influencer outreach and blogging and that, therefore, brands spent five times as much on Facebook ads as they did on creating owned content and driving earned media.
  • Mercedes-Benz Breaks Record
    Mercedes-Benz expects to set new production and sales records for 2013. The world's oldest carmaker produced 1.49 million vehicles, which would be the third year in a row setting a new mark. The Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy is already showing tangible results as sales around the world topped 1.4 million units.
  • Old Spice Star Isaiah Mustafa Speaks, Shirtless Of Course
    As films start to roll out from Old Spice's "UK Gentle Man Hunt," the Old Spice guy, Isaiah Mustafa, talks about what makes an ideal British gentleman, wearing scarves and sashes but no shirts, and the komodo dragon ad. "I look at Steed from the Avengers, I look at Bond. But when I think of the quintessential British gentleman, I think of someone who is never at a loss for words, who can display qualities like compassion but also strength with a very simple gesture."
  • Cracker Barrel Disses Activist Investor
    Cracker Barrel fended off a request from Sardar Biglari, who has 20% stake. Biglari, chairman and CEO of Biglari Holdings, sent a Christmas Eve letter of intent to CEO James Bradford asking that Cracker Barrel put itself up for sale. Biglari also lamented Cracker Barrel's "Duck Dynasty"'s merchandise flip-flop: the company pulled items after Phil Robertson's anti-gay remarks, only to reinstate the products 24 hours later.
  • Burger King's $1 Menu Efforts
    Burger King, the No. 2 burger chain, this year expanded its budget lineup, calling it King Deals Value Menu. The company is adding limited-time $1 items, the Rodeo Crispy Chicken and Rodeo Burger, items Burger King has offered previously in Europe and South America. In Canada and the UK, Burger King has used the "King Deals" name for daily-discount menus where a different sandwich is spotlighted each day.
  • TV Commercials Try To Cope With Disruption
    "Advertising is changing at a pace that is even faster than most advertisers want to admit," says Karel Vinck, managing partner of Duval Guillaume, a Belgian ad agency. "At this moment this disruption in our society is still small, and what most advertisers see is people starting to skip video." Nielsen estimates that half of the homes in America have DVRs.
  • E-Cig Brand NJOY's New Year's-Themed Anti-Smoking Ad
    Electronic cigarette brand NJOY has launched a UK television campaign to promote the use of NJOY King e-cigarettes as a New Year's resolution for adult smokers. The message is that the brand offers an alternative to tobacco products. The idea is that smokers should make a New Year's resolution to kick tobacco and move to NJOY. "Everyone who loves you wishes you didn't smoke. So do we," is the message.
  • RV's Make A Comeback
    Sales this year of recreational vehicles are expected to be up 11% from last year to 316,300. Meanwhile, 2014 looks like another good year, as sales could top 335,000, the most in six years. While demand for more expensive motorized vehicles has been slower to recover than in previous expansions, 2013 marks a turning point, per Richard Curtin, director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan.
  • American Express Hit With Deceptive Marketing Bill
    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which last year made Amex pay $112.5 million for business practice malfeasance, is adding another $70 million to the bill, including $59.5 million in refunds to customers. At issue this time is deceptive marketing of "add-on" products for Amex's credit cards. These include things like payment protection and credit monitoring services.
  • 7-Eleven Wants Online Retail Empire
    Seven & I Holdings Inc., the parent to U.S. division 7-Eleven Inc., recently sent 50 department heads to America in an effort to turn the company's Japanese brick-and-mortar stores into an online retail empire. Seven & I CEO Toshifumi Suzuki asked the department heads to visit retailers such as Macy's Inc., shopping malls and Internet companies -- who use omnichannel integration -- to see how 7-Eleven Japan can marry a physical store presence with an online presence to boost sales.
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