Archive for January 2010
So Google's got a new phone now. Internet coverage is predictably hyperbolic, though Scott Anthony smartly puts the phone's potential to make waves into the future tense, and the New York Times' typically giddy David Pogue was downright snarky in his review. Nevertheless, the tech industry is atwitter with a fresh new rivalry. Mac versus PC is so last decade. Now, it's "Hello I'm an iPhone." "And I'm a Nexus One." I vote for Rainn Wilson playing Google in the commercials.
Coca-Cola today has a market capitalization in excess of $100 billion because the perceived value of its brand is significantly higher than the sum total of all the assets of the company. In my years with Procter & Gamble and Heinz, I have come to realize that no matter what the product or service, the key principles for building a great brand remain the same. By staying true to these seven principles, a marketer can weather economic highs and lows while building an iconic brand for target consumers.
The coverage of Google's Nexus One "superphone" - officially unveiled today - was swift and almost universally positive. The HTC-designed device looks beautiful, its functionality sounds fantastic, and by all accounts it looks like a viable competitor to Apple and Research in Motion in the smartphone market. In this case, however, there's more to the story. Google's distribution approach has the potential to dramatically accelerate a broad disruption in the mobile phone market where the balance of power shifts from carriers and retailers to device, software, and applications providers.
When it comes to rebrands, few were more ridiculed in 2009 than the Sci Fi Channel's much-ballyhooed switch to Syfy, a respelling that prompted an outcry of negative feedback from hardcore fans and marketing gurus alike (including our very own Adages, which asked, "Is Arnell involved in this somehow?") But unlike the ill-fated redesign of the Tropicana logo that Peter Arnell oversaw last February and that Pepsico eventually pulled, the switch to Syfy is so far a success, with the network logging its highest-rated year, quarter (fourth) and series ("Warehouse 13") ever after its July 7 rebranding. The newfound ratings momentum also seems to have had a halo effect on its ad dollars, which were already up to $264.8 million by November 2009. That means the network is on track to surpass the $274.9 million logged in measured ad spending it recorded for all of 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
Investor Warren Buffett waded into the rancorous battle for Cadbury PLC, issuing a rebuke of Kraft Foods Inc.'s just-sweetened, nearly $17 billion takeover offer for the British confectionary company. As Kraft's largest shareholder—with a 9.4% stake—Mr. Buffett's holding company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said it wouldn't support the issuance of new shares to pay for a Cadbury deal.
The car business has been notoriously slow at embracing aspects of the Internet since the beginning. Social media is no exception. In 2010, more in the industry from manufacturers down to dealers will learn to engage in social media or be left behind.
The first ten years of the new century may go down as the decade to forget. Terrorists attacks, devastating natural disasters, scary increases in CO2emissions, Wall Street scandals and two market crashes. The stock market is down 26% since 2000, median household income is also down, and unemployment is up. The price of oil has more than tripled, health care costs have spiraled out of control and there appears to be no end in sight to corporate bankruptcies and the mass exodus of loyal employees.
News Corp has unveiled its biggest restructuring of Dow Jones since its $5.6bn takeover of the financial information business in 2007, merging its consumer and enterprise divisions. The reorganisation will see the departure of Clare Hart, president of the enterprise business, who had driven a more web-based strategy for a business dependent on distributing its newswires content over the terminals sold by Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg.
Special K, the 54-year-old Kellogg brand, has in recent years aimed at women with its “Special K Challenge,” which recommends replacing two meals daily with cereal and curtailing snacking to lose up to six pounds in two weeks. The popularity of the plan led the brand to expand to nine flavors and develop noncereal products like frozen waffles, protein bars, crackers, shakes and powdered drink mixes that can be substituted for cereal at mealtimes or eaten as the two daily snacks the plan permits. Despite all those products to sell, a new series of Special K commercials, by the Chicago office of Leo Burnett, part of the Publicis Groupe, features none of them.
Kraft Foods Inc. sweetened its hostile takeover offer for Cadbury PLC on Tuesday, offering to tweak the cash-and-share mix of its $16 billion bid, but Cadbury and some of its investors quickly dismissed the new bid as still too low. The new offer follows an agreement Kraft reached to sell its U.S. and Canadian frozen pizza business to Nestlé SA, the Swiss consumer giant, for $3.7 billion. Kraft said it would use net proceeds from the deal, which it estimates at 60 pence (97 U.S. cents) per Cadbury share, to give Cadbury shareholders a "partial cash alternative" to its existing offer, which had been made up of 60% Kraft stock and 40% cash.