In another instance of activists stepping up pressure on a keystone marketer rather than legislators to effect change, the Human Society has won a major battle in its 11-year effort to improve conditions for pregnant pigs. McDonald's announced yesterday that it would end the practice of confining sows to gestational crates that are barely bigger than they are.
All the pre-Super Bowl hype this year was about how all the pre-game hype for Chrysler's two-minute Eminem spot last year was leading marketers to leak their spots early on YouTube and social media. But the big story this year really turns out to be about a spot that was not seen until halftime of the game itself.
Google has evidently decided that the algorithm to increasing its ever-insatiable share of mind and market involves manufacturing and branding its own hardware. Various media outlets are reporting the existence of a prototype Google home entertainment device that initially will stream music but could be capable of much more down the line.
Fame may be fleeting but it's also swift. If you thought Tim Tebow was a study in the power of an offshoot of the single-wing offense and a lot of prayer to create an instant folk hero, Jeremy Lin is making Tebow look like he's on the slow boat.
If you're not the type enamored of March Madness or fisticuffs on ice, the doldrums between the Super Bowl and Opening Day is usually a good time to catch up on your reading or viewing of refined television series. This year may be different, however, as it looks like one of America's favorite spectator sports -- The Cola Wars -- may be reviving after a period of relative quiescence.
I'm not saying that there are folks who regret canceling their Netflix subscriptions entirely because of its perceived arrogance in raising its prices as much as it did last year. I'm just saying that I've heard some grumblings out there -- call it terminator's remorse -- from people (very close to home) who've discovered that the alternatives aren't quite as good. Now one of consumerdom's favorite villains, The Phone Company in the guise of Verizon, is getting into the fray by teaming up with Coinstar subsidiary, Redbox, to offer another combined service.
In this 30th year of watching the Super Bowl with as much of a professional interest in sales pitches as I have a personal interest in forward passes, all I can say is that I hope the New York Giants keep making it to the game. There may have been a chuckle here and a mild guffaw there (a sensuously naked M&M of either sex will do that to me every time), but the spots collectively left me, and most game-day critics, wondering what all the advance hoopla was about.
The "New York Times" contains a catch-up story today about 20 executive at Goldman Sachs -- "still stinging from bad publicity" --- having interviewed Richard "Jake" Siewert Jr. over the course of several months for the chief communications job that's been held by Lucas van Praag, "a smooth-talking Briton," since 2000. He had been named a partner at the firm in 2006 -- a rarified position for a PR guy.
"Is it just like in the movie?" "Bloomberg's Businessweek" asks, then provides a gallery of "exclusive" pictures from inside Facebook headquarters that confirms that it's pretty much like what you've probably imagined. The penultimate photograph is an ostrich-like stuffed bird astride a stuffed panda bear on a desktop -- an apt analogy, perhaps, of what would have seemed like a very unlikely coupling less than a decade ago: a bunch of 20-something kids hiring Morgan Stanley to underwrite an IPO to raise upwards of $5 billion for a "social network" that was dreamed up in a dorm room.
So who is this Brit who has been hired to run what has arguably been the most innovative retail start-up in recent memory? John Browett, 48, was named yesterday to succeed the much-lauded Ron Johnson, who now heads J.C. Penney, as the company's SVP/retail.
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