• In The Cart: The First Lady, Wal-Mart, Sugar
    Michelle Obama has been anything but sequestered this week. First, she and Jimmy Fallon-in-drag showed off their "mom dancing" moves to celebrate the third anniversary of her Let's Move initiative Friday night. Then she presented the Best Picture award to "Argo" on the Academy Award telecast. This morning, she makes "The Business Case For Healthier Food Options" in the opinions section of the "Wall Street Journal."
  • Home Sales Gain But Gloom Lingers
    You'd be forgiven if, after glancing at the business page headlines this morning, you are left wondering what's up, besides home sales, because everything feels like it's down but nobody wants to believe it.
  • Whither Nook If Riggio Buys B&N?
    The storyline is that William J. Lynch, Jr., the CEO Leonard Riggio brought in to develop its Nook e-book reader and, oh-by-the-way, run his chain of bookstores, never really cared for retail. So an 8-K SEC filing yesterday confirmed reports over the weekend that Riggio is putting together a proposal "to buy the struggling bookseller's 689 stores in an effort to save them from a stormy future in the public markets," as Michael J. de la Merced puts it in the New York Times.
  • Paul McIlhenny, 68, Spiced Up Tabasco Branding
    The official press release about the death Saturday of Paul Carr Polk McIlhenny, CEO and chairman of the family-owned company that makes and markets Tabasco Sauce, tells us that he not only fostered new products such as Buffalo Style Hot Sauce, broadened distribution to 165 countries, expanded the name of the condiment with co-branding ventures such as Slim Jim and merchandising like the "popular" neckties, but he also was an ardent defender of the Louisiana's coastal wetlands, an epicure who co-wrote a popular cookbook with Barbara Hunter celebrating 125 years of Tabasco, and he mixed it all up with an …
  • Another Heavy Dose Of Fat, Sugar And Salt
    This Sunday's "New York Times Magazine" cover story, "The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food," stirs up the debate over just how sincere some major food and beverage companies are about being part of the solution to the obesity crisis. Online since Wednesday, it is excerpted from "Salt, Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us," which will be released by Random House Tuesday.
  • Sony Puts Its Game Face On
    Sony revealed a lot about the state of the videogame industry yesterday without actually showing its forthcoming PlayStation 4, which it seems to expect to be ready for this holiday season at a price as yet undisclosed.
  • Marketing Makes Strange Bedfellows
    In a world where a company that runs private prisons puts its name on a college football stadium, we shouldn't be surprised to see an automobile company offer solar panels for homeowners as an incentive to buy its vehicles. Should we?
  • Jerry Buss, 80, Brought 'Showtime' To Hoops
    Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, who died yesterday at 80 after a long fight against cancer, didn't really reinvent basketball, as the "Wall Street Journal" headline suggests. Points are still scored by tossing an inflated orb through a "basket," after all. But he did overhaul the way professional basketball is packaged and sold -- currently making his team the most valuable in the NBA, according to "Forbes," after years of trailing the New York Knicks --and he transformed the exploding profession of "sports marketing" along the way.
  • Can Carnival Weather The PR Storm?
    None of the listed antonyms for triumphant -- defeated, failing, losing, unsuccessful -- seem to adequately convey what headlines and news anchors everywhere were calling a "Carnival public relations fiasco" late last week as its Triumph was towed to port. Every scatological joke, and picture imaginable got posted in social media along with passengers' harrowing tales in the mainstream outlets.
  • Buffet Adds Some Relish To His Brands
    Warren Buffet tossed another haloed brand into his shopping cart yesterday, adding 50% of Heinz to all the other All-American staples he's backed or owns outright. Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway and private equity partner 3G Capital, which will be in control of operations at Heinz, will pay a record $23 in billion at checkout and will assume another $5 billion in debt. Berkshire itself is shelling out $12 billion - more than $4 billion in cash -- for its 50% stake.
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