While musing over the richness of human languages recently, I got to wondering how long it would be until we were all basically speaking the same tongue, and what it might sound like. English? Mandarin? Spanish? In any event, it is to be hoped that peaceful commerce will be the catalyst for the evolution of how we communicate, and some stories in recent days indicate how frenzied the rush to do commerce in the Chinese market has become.
Target announced a plan yesterday to open short-lived boutiques -- upscale shops selling unique merchandise -- within its stores that observers say is an attempt to regain some of the merchandizing magic that differentiated the retailer as "Tar-zhay," particularly in the Early Aughts. It is also adding a baker's-couple-dozen shops-within-the-shop for a decidedly non-boutique operation, Apple.
Karlene Lukovitz neatly sums up the issue that has landed Hostess Brands -- union labor, it says -- back in bankruptcy court in her story below. The financial troubles of the maker of such American classics as Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Hostess Cup Cakes and Wonder Bread (Builds Strong Bodies!) et al., has elicited emotional outpouring of grief and nostalgia across the net. What greater imprimatur could a product carry than an endorsement from Howdy Doody, Clarabell and Uncle Bob Smith for people of a certain age.
Switching stations, I heard Mayor Michael Bloomberg's distinctive New York accent layered on a base of Boston on the radio yesterday, and he was in fine pugilistic form: "What do you want to do? Do you want to have people lose their legs or do you want to show them what happens so that they won't lose their legs? Take your poison. Which do you want? You can't have it both ways. Do you want to help people or do you not want to annoy people?"
As is its custom, Apple is an unseen presence at the Consumer Electronics Show, which opened in the Las Vegas Convention Center yesterday. But never has its shadow cast a broader swath over the estimated 140,000 attendees milling about 1.6 million square feet filled with over 2,700 exhibitors than it does this year, David Sarno suggests in the "Los Angeles Times" this morning.
Memo To Aspiring Hollywood Marketers: Make sure you know the difference between marketing a movie and a hamburger. Don't ride into town thinking the local yokels never heard of this here Internet thingy. And don't wear white pants and white Chanel flats to a movie set ("War Horse") awash in muck and manure.
The 2013 Ford Fusion that will be unwrapped at the Detroit Auto Show next week looks "more like the ultraluxury sports car Aston Martin Vantage than the current boxy version" of the mid-size sedan, writes the "Wall Street Journal"'s Mike Ramsey this morning. The radical new design is also said to draw inspiration from the highly praised Evos concept car that Ford showed in Europe late last year.
The Wall Street Journal's lede piece -- of five -- breaking the story about Kodak's imminent filing for bankruptcy protection perhaps provides a macabre parallel between the company's founder suicide and its present predicament.
The lede on an AP story in USA Today claims the Super Bowl is "still the hottest ticket in advertising." But isn't that kind of like saying that the $487.25 that "The Book of Mormon" commands for a prime orchestra seat less than 48 hours before show time is the hottest ticket on Broadway? They may be costly and they may be scarce but that doesn't necessarily mean they're a good deal for most people.
The dispute between Walgreens and Express Scripts over reimbursement rates is at the point where it will affect consumers' wallets. The retailer, which appears to be losing the public relations war, has outlined a plan to assuage its customers and stem "the possible loss of billions of dollars in sales," as John Kell writes in the Wall Street Journal.
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