As the year ends, we look back at the most read and shared posts from Unbound Edition's contributors, and a few more favorites chosen by our editorial team. We appreciate your continued readership and commentary and look forward to more dialog in 2010.
Fresh off announcing an unusually strong Q4 and full-year 2009 (particularly by current restaurant industry standards), Chipotle Mexican Grill is looking to build on the momentum with a new marketing campaign to launch in Q2, a new rewards program and new packaging -- not to mention expansion into Europe. For 2009 overall, the fast-casual chain reported revenue up 14% (to $1.52 billion), net income up 62% (to $126.8 million) and diluted EPS up 67% (to $3.95). The sales gain reflected both revenue from 121 new stores opened during '09 and comparable-store sales growth of 2.2% (including a 2% gain in Q4). Like other chains, Chipotle saw some traffic fall-off, but comp-store sales grew as a result of menu price increases instituted in 2008.
The Ford Motor Company earned $2.7 billion in 2009 and said Thursday that it now expected to be profitable in 2010 as well. The profit for 2009, equal to 86 cents a share, was a swing of $17.5 billion from 2008, when the company lost $14.8 billion. It is Ford’s first full-year profit since 2005. The company ended 2009 with $25.5 billion in cash reserves, nearly twice the $13.4 billion it had at the start of the year. It also expects an operating profit in 2010, which is a year sooner than executives had previously said the company would become consistently profitable.
2009 has been a great year for Brand New, with a bottomless source of new and redesigned identities from around the world, and we’ve all had good fun critiquing them in sickness and in health. But it all comes down to this: The Best and Worst. I have gone through all the archives and selected the top 12 in each category. There were some dead-ringers for each category and some that required a little more self-deliberation acknowledging that some identities were left off the list. And just as well, I know my selections may incite some disagreements, which are more than welcome as we bring this year to a close.
Technology is like a dog; each year of it seems like the equivalent of seven human years — at least when you get to the end of it and realize it’s only been 12 months since that now indispensable service first launched. We spent 2009 documenting technology’s disruption of how we live, entertain ourselves and do business. Looking back on the year from the comfortable perch of December, here are the seven most disruptive developments of 2009.
Last year, most Americans felt as if they had been hit in the head by a 4-iron. Wall Street nearly collapsed. The economy plunged into its deepest recession in decades. As housing prices sank, many homeowners realized that they owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth. Millions lost their jobs, and even those who didn’t hunkered down, burying their wallets in the backyard. This year — with more than a few bumps along the way — the situation brightened. With that, here’s a look back at five of the biggest business stories of this year — and what to look for in the next 12 months.
It’s hard to argue that 2009 wasn’t the year of Twitter. Yes, the questions about monetization loomed over the young web company as soon as it started gaining popularity, and they’re still largely unanswered. But people loved this new way of communicating via 140 character messages that go out to everyone who wants to hear them. So much so, that everything else (even money) wasn’t very important.
As we close out the year, it's important to look back at what happened in social marketing in order to plan for the future. There were four key trends in 2009 that CMOs should reflect on, starting at the macro level then shifting down to micro real-time updates.
While the year 2009 was marked as the 'great recession', we won't feel its full effects until 2010. Both marketers and their marketing services agency partners are dealing with reduced resources in terms of head-count and budgets. We won't likely see enough breakthroughs in the marketplace, simply because marketers and agencies alike have to remain focused on 'getting the work out the door'. The only way to 'do more with less' is to align resources toward a single and powerful integrated marketing solution. Individual marketing tactics will simply become marginalized and highly tactical with 'less'.
2009 was a bad year for online advertising, too. This year figures to be the first down year for online ads since 2002, the hangover from the internet-bubble years.Spending on online advertising is expected to come in at $22.8 billion in 2009 in the U.S., down 2.9% from a year ago, due to steep declines in sponsorships, classifieds and e-mail advertising, according to a projection from eMarketer issued today. Banner ads were virtually flat with 2008. The lone bright spot: search, which will grow 4% overall, proving itself the most resilient and counter-cyclical form of online marketing. Video also grew, but it's still too small a category to make a difference in the overall numbers.
The kids virtual worlds space is due for a major shakeout in 2009 as advertisers are expected to pull back on spending in the once red-hot sector, while venture capital funding has almost completely dried up.
Super Bowl commercials cost as much as $3 million this year, but the contest between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers wasn't an advertising blockbuster. Longtime marketers such as General Motors and FedEx pulled out of the game, and marketers were snapping up discounted airtime right up to kickoff. BusinessWeek's advertising and marketing mavens—Jon Fine, Burt Helm, and David Kiley—settled down with a bucket of wings and a dose of disbelief at some of the branding plays they were forced to witness. Behold their picks and pans of Super Bowl advertising, 2009.
With clouds continuing to darken over the economy, marketers are, not surprisingly, focused on the trends of the moment--value, downsizing, staying in. But to maintain the health of brands over the long haul, it's important not to become too distracted by the here and now. When it comes to innovation, it's critical to look beyond the abyss.
Over the last months, we’ve analyzed numerous Web designs, observing emerging trends and weighing the merits of numerous design decisions and coding solutions. In this post, we present Web design trends for 2009: recent developments, new design elements and new graphic approaches. We also discuss situations in which these trends can be used and present some beautiful examples.
You've read the bad news, and no one's denying that it's grim, but surely there are some bright spots out there somewhere? Ad Age decided to go digging for some areas that might provide opportunities for the marketing and media industries to not only survive, but even thrive in 2009. Here are a handful, and we'll be bringing you more throughout 2009.
In tough economic times, can people afford to entertain themselves? This is the question the entertainment industry is asking itself as museums, musicians, publishing houses and movie studios prepare for the next 12 months. We present a preview of some of the most anticipated releases and events of the 2009 cultural calendar.
For marketers, 2009 may be a year of experimentation and changing channels. At the very least they will be thinking hard about shifting dollars to different ad platforms where there could be a better return on investment during the recession.
As 2008 comes to a close, here are the six tech marvels that are ready to explode into ubiquity. And after a year of almost-breakthroughs -- fast-but-spotty 3G; cheap-but-slow netbooks -- we deserve them. After all, this is the future, isn't it?
Restaurants have an overflowing plate of objectives for 2009. In addition to a core focus on delivering ever more value and convenience, they'll be expanding healthy kids' meals, locally sourced menu options and sustainability initiatives, according to National Restaurant Association survey findings included in the association's 2009 industry forecast.