• Penney's Revitalization Plans Hit By Consumer Resistance
    It's usually good news when you pick up steam faster than you expect but not always. Former Apple retail wunderkind and current JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson announced yesterday that the retailer's plan to transform itself was "way ahead of schedule." But it seems to have hit an oncoming locomotive called consumer resistance that is asserting its right of way on the same track.
  • Everybody's Weighing In On 'The Weight Of The Nation'
    There seems to be a general consensus that Americans eat too much and don't get enough exercise. Most people agree that obesity among children and adults has reached crises proportions. That's where the agreement ends. What to do about the situation -- if anything -- has become as controversial as those other three topics that mother told you not to discuss -- sex, politics and religion, of course -- if you just want to get along with your neighbors."The Weight of the Nation," an HBO documentary that launched last night with Parts 1 and 2 and will continue tonight with …
  • Thompson: A Cautionary Tale About 'The Brand Called You'
    Personal Branding has been around since at least forever -- how else to entice that mate back to the cave? -- but Tom Peters famously put a concept on it for the business world in a "Fast Company" piece he wrote in 1997 titled "The Brand Called You." Well, the brand called Scott Thompson has left the battered brand called Yahoo in a slightly more tattered state than he found it after departing yesterday following a firestorm over a resume claim that his bachelor's degree from Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., was in computer science as well as accounting.
  • JPMorgan Has A Whale Of A PR Problem
    While I can't say I wished I was in the room as Jamie Dimon and his advisors crafted their explanation yesterday of what has gone so very wrong at JPMorgan Chase recently, I'd love to listen to the tape of their strategizing about how to tell the world that some character straight out of a 19th Century seafaring novel named "the London Whale" wasn't the minnow "in a teapot" as he'd previously dismissively indicated during an earnings call on April 13.
  • Vidal Sassoon Put 'Ooh, La, La' Into Hairstyling, Fashion
    Vidal Sassoon -- the man and the brand -- is one of those names that immediately evokes images from the lost decades. The first that comes to my mind is Mia Farrow and the haircut he gave her for "Rosemary's Baby." The second is of a simple but stylish shampoo bottle (originally brown, no less). The third is of his raffish pitches in television commercials: "If you don't look good, we don't look good." He was an embodiment of hip Carnaby Street in the era of hippie sensibility, and beyond.
  • 'Better' Results Aren't Good Enough For Wendy's
    In this "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" world of ours, the headlines tell us that Wall Street is "disappointed" with Wendy's first-quarter results, the company is scaling back on its expectations for this "transition year," its "W" cheeseburger promotion offered too steep a discount -- cannibalizing sales of pricier menu items -- and its marketing was self-admittedly weaker that its competitors.
  • Abbott Pleads Guilty To Misbranding; Will Pay $1.6 Billion
    Abbott Laboratories became the latest drug company to swallow the bitter -- but evidently palatable -- pill of paying a huge fine for marketing a drug off label. All told, it will pay $1.6 billion in combined civil and criminal penalties and plead guilty to one criminal count of misdemeanor violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for "misbranding" the drug Depakote.
  • Disney's 'Avengers' Has A Super Marvelous Opening
    Captain America is not a doddering relic of Nazi-smashing days after all -- at least when, through Hollywood special-effects and marketing magic at its best -- he's teamed with the likes of a magnate/genius inventor/smart-aleck with a funky goatee who tools around (and above) town in a suit of Iron, a hulking, raging, green superhero with anger issues and a few other well-meaning misfits (including a gorgeous heroine, of course) who join forces with a Norse god who pulled the protection of Earth as his day job to beat back a nefarious extraterrestrial force led by a weaselly villain who …
  • Not Everyone's Thrilled By MJ's Commercial Re-Run
    Michael Jackson is hardly the first celebrity who has posthumously sung the praises of a brand but one wonders exactly what the folks at Pepsi are thinking in enlisting a dead man to endorse a product that has been perennially in pursuit of a new generation since 1963.
  • GMO Food Fight Heats Up In California
    Supporters of a bill in California that would require marketers of foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs) to state so on their labels delivered a petition yesterday with nearly a million signatures asking that a referendum on the issue be included on the ballot this November. The odds are good that it will be: There are nearly twice as many signatures as are required to force a vote.
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