Earlier this week, I caught myself glancing at the display for a tablet-computer-other-than an iPad at my local Costco.
We're all looking for good news this week, and producers and editors feel our pain. They, too, have 401(K)s, own homes with plunging market values and nurture work-in-your-pajamas schemes that will have a hard time gaining funding in this climate. But some of the cheery things they're coming up with make me think that the news must be even glummer than the headlines would have us believe, and that's pretty glum.
The new reality in Detroit has bred a new business mantra: As General Motors goes, so goes General Motors.
The Justice Department and four states have accused the second-largest for-profit college company in the U.S. of running a boiler-room operation to illegally recruit students who received about $11 billion in financial aid that they were allegedly not entitled to receive. The civil lawsuit was filed in Pittsburgh, the headquarters of Education Management Corp. (EDMC), which operates 105 schools in 32 states and Canada under four names -- Art Institute, Argosy University, Brown Mackie College and South University.
There are intriguing stories out there this morning about two international brands that heretofore I've been only vaguely aware of -- one struggling, the other growing; one high-end, the other decidedly low.
Bowing to shareholder activists, Kraft's CEO changed her "bigger-is-better" mind yesterday and announced that the company would break up into two so-far unnamed entities -- one that will market sugary goodies like Oreos, Trident gum and Cadbury's candies and the other to move the cash-cow, middle-aisle stuff like Mac & Cheese, Jell-O and Maxwell House coffee, Anupreeta Das, Gina Chon and Paul Ziobro report in the Wall Street Journal. Which executives will run what -- CEO and CMO, for example -- was unannounced.
Can the news get any worse? "It's China or bust for Frederick's of Hollywood," the New York Post glumly informs us.
Aw, c'mon. This is what Perdue has come to? A press release that announces "Perdue Survey Reveals Busy Americans Devote Extra Time to Putting a Great Meal on the Dinner Table" and a Facebook contest to "find Americans' best chicken dishes"?
It seems perverse to declare a day in which the richest country in the world will reach agreement to avoid defaulting on its obligations as a "slow news day," but there you have it. What's the marketing angle, other than the fact that we'll be averting "devastation" of the consumer economy?
Consumers may say that they want to eat healthier foods that are produced locally but the big question is whether they'll put their money where their mouths are. For a variety of reasons that basically come down to scale and climate, lettuce sold in a Walmart in eastern Connecticut has traditionally traveled from somewhere sunnier. That's changing. And, perverse as it may seem, high energy prices are helping.
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