• Gas Prices Up For Third Straight Year
    Holiday travelers spent a little more on gasoline for the third consecutive year, according to the AAA. Prices rose for four consecutive days after declining 19 of 22 days to a recent low of $3.21 on Dec. 19. The low for 2013, which was also the lowest price since Feb. 2011, came on Nov. 12 when the national average registered $3.18 per gallon. The national average price hit $3.25 per gallon on Monday.
  • The Worst Ads Of 2013
    These five ads, writes Bruce Horovitz, are either stupid, gross, tasteless, insulting, use unacceptable stereotypes. "And virtually all of them insult the intelligence of viewers - even mine." Number five was Kmart's "Ship My Pants" by FCBDraft, Chicago; four was Hyundai's British ad in which a guy tries to commit suicide by piping his car exhaust into the garage, except it's a fuel cell car that emits water vapor.; number three is for a product called Poo-Pourri, which you spray in the bowl before you poop; Mountain Dew's "Lineup" ad, where the company made what has been called the most …
  • Brands Hitch Onto Social Media
    Research firm Mintel has identified a number of social trends. The firm says Clorox' campaign, "Bleach it Away," where it connected to parents already in online conversations to give advice is an example. Clorox sought to make the bathroom less of an off-limits discussion area online, inviting moms to rethink the bathroom as a mini-sanctuary - a similar approach taken by household paper products brand Charmin with its #TweetFromTheSeat campaign.
  • 2013 To Be Best Auto Sales Year Since Recession
    With the New Year fast approaching, there are new signs the auto industry will finish 2013 with a flourish as consumer sentiment continues to improve along with the job market. For December, new light vehicle sales in the U.S. - including fleet - are expected to be 1,406,000 units, up 4.1% from December 2012 and up 13.5% from November 2013.
  • Twitter Ad Share Climbs 52%
    The number of marketers using sponsored tweets increased to 52% this year. Pinterest's new sponsored pins gained 29% share while sponsored blogs declined to 51%. The "State of Sponsored Social" report released by IZEA says only 47% of the 10,000 brand marketers it polled last year used sponsored tweets in their advertising campaigns. It was 39% in 2011.
  • USA Today's Top Five Ads
    The top five ads of 2013 were all over 30 seconds long. In fact, the shortest was a minute long and most were closer to three minutes. The best ads of 2013 were made-to-go-viral videos. They include the Chipotle "Scarecrow" ad, Pepsi Max "test drive" spot and Volvo's truck ad. See them at the link.
  • Via Hopes David Bowie Reads This
    The Via Agency in Portland put avideo together hoping to attract David Bowie's attention and woo him to record a Christmas song written by employees of the ad agency. The agency was kind of thinking maybe the Thin White Duke would step into the studio to voice the song for clients, vendors and friends. David, if you're out there, you can hear it at the link, though it would be a belated Xmas.
  • Shipping Companies Thrive On Online Sales
    Surging e-commerce sales have been a boon to FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service. FedEx delivered a record-breaking 22 million packages on Dec. 2, its busiest day ever. Computer-guided octocopters like the one Amazon is mulling may be on the horizon, but for now the money is good.
  • Cell Phone Companies To End Phone Subsidies?
    The era of cheap or free phones from carriers could be ending along with contracts. The popularity of flexible mobile plans is forcing carriers to find alternatives. AT&T Inc. said it was considering doing away with phone subsidies. Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said subsidizing a smartphone every two years was an expensive undertaking that he didn't think the company could afford.
  • Bubbly Falls Flat
    Economic problems in France have hurt global sales of champagne for the second year in a row. Industry estimates from Reuters showed that sales by volume will drop between 3% and 4% this year after a 4.4% fall in 2012, leaving total revenues flat at best. Cheaper Spanish or Italian rivals in the large British retail market have also put pressure on.
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