• Peltz Re-engages As Kraft Heats Up Social Engagement
    All the recent activity at Kraft Foods finally caught my fancy this morning, quite a few days later and many dollars shorter than it evidently has reengaged Nelson Peltz' affections. The activist investor, who once had a 2.4% stake in the company, agreed not to take a controlling interest after it added two new board members that he supported, as Financial Times reports. He "began shaving away his Kraft stake" after the company started pursuing Cadbury, which it eventually bought, last year.
  • Cost Of 'Life-saving' Drugs Underlies Debate
    Debates are raging over the long-term effectiveness of certain drugs in fighting advanced cancers, with compelling patient experiences on both sides of the issue making for some gripping testimony. But you really don't have to look to hard to find the "elephant in the room" that's driving the debate because nearly every story mentions it in one form or another. What price are we willing to pay "as a society" to extend a life for what may turn out to be an average of, say, a few months?
  • Pepsi Wakes Up And Shakes Up
    Reacting to a shakeup in PepsiCo's top beverage marketing ranks last week, one reader commented in Ad Age: "Hopefully, Pepsi will get back into the sugar water business, not the world peace business." It looks like he's getting his wish with a new campaign that's now breaking (although in all logistical probability, the spots are the doing of the departed regime). Reads the subhed in the Wall Street Journal's lede article this morning: "Criticized for Taking Eye Off Ball and Focusing on Healthy Foods, Company Plans Summer Ad Splash."
  • 'Cars 2': Entertainment Or Merchandise Mover?
    The promotional buzz for "Cars 2" started many, many weeks ago -- both in the media and at retail -- but should hit full pitch now that it has zoomed its way through an opening weekend. Despite a lot of yellow and red flags from critics (and, in fairness, a rave or two), the movie grossed $68 million on its opening weekend. That's more than its 2006 predecessor "Cars," which grossed $60.1 million out of the box and went on to earn $462 million worldwide, Michelle Kung reports in the Wall Street Journal.
  • Harry Potter Mounts The Digital Broomstick
    Talk about a Panglossian way to spin a shrewd business proposition: Publisher Weekly's Julia Eccleshare writes that author J.K. Rowling "has created Pottermore, a free-to-use Web site taking readers right into Hogwarts, as a way of thanking her fans and paying them back for their contributions to the book."
  • Nokia Maps A Future In Location-based Advertising
    After wandering through a seemingly aimless adolescence as a telecommunications company, Nokia thinks it has found itself again. Its new direction: location-based advertising. It will be doing so by expanding its partnership with another somewhat large-but-dorky adolescent, Microsoft.
  • How Soon Before Consumers Burn Out On Grisly Labels?
    Even as the government yesterday unveiled jarringly grisly images that it will require cigarette makers to display on their packages, experts warned about the hula-hoop syndrome. The message may be effective in driving people to try to quit killing themselves in the short term but, over the long term, they could "get complacent about the omnipresent warnings," as Melissa Healy puts it in the Los Angeles Times.
  • Winning Cannes Like Taking Candy From The Rabble
    The Cannes Lions often jolt us out of our own jingoistic POV, reminding us that the rest of the world sometimes doesn't see everyday life exactly the way we do, even when it comes to proclivities that are seemingly universal.
  • Fore! Here Comes Rory McIlroy!
    I did not watch a single hole of the U.S. Open over the weekend but you'd have to have been playing astronaut Alan Shepard's favorite course to not realize that an endorsement superstar was aborning during its four days. Rory McIlroy -- a 22-year-old with a head full of curly locks and a story line that includes a dad who tended bar at a country club in Northern Ireland and a mom who worked the night shift at a Belfast factory to help him realize his dreams -- set 12 records en route to winning his first major tournament in …
  • Tang Takes Off Globally; Now A Billion-Dollar Brand
    I don't think I've guzzled Tang, or been in the company of anyone else drinking it, from around the time that the astronauts first stepped on the moon. Or didn't, if lunar conspiracies be your pitcher of Tang. But it has not been standing still, particularly in recent years. Kraft announced yesterday that Tang had become its 12th brand to reach a billion dollars in annual sales, joining Cadbury, Jacobs, Kraft, LU, Maxwell House, Milka, Nabisco, Oreo, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia and Trident in the sales stratosphere.
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