Posted by Dale Buss on December 18, 2013 12:39 PM
Don't look now, but burgeoning domestic oil and gas production is beginning to create all sorts of new and potential "trickle-out" effects, pressures, and opportunities for brands. Just ask General Motors and ExxonMobil.
American consumers' rising sense of "energy security" likely has contributed to the fact that sales of GM's behemoth, old versions of the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe SUVs rose by 8 percent and 24 percent, respectively, for the year to date through November, at a time when compactness and ever-improving fuel economy have become the bywords of the US auto industry.
That performance also has helped give GM excecutives the confidence to go ahead with plans for launching significantly upgraded Suburban and Tahoe versions in 2015 and to raise list prices on the new models from $1,000 to $3,000 above current models, to around $46,000 and higher, according to Automotive News. The new versions will boast a major redesign, more amenities and improved fuel economy, and GM expects them to defend the company's whopping 44 percent share of large-SUV sales in the United States.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 18, 2013 11:52 AM
In the race for last-minute holiday retails sales, Best Buy took the social route, teaming up with Google to host a Google+ hangout Tuesday night. The effort came just one week after the retailer launched its +Post Ads.
The Hangout, which included tech gurus from YouTube, Machinima.com and Best Buy manager Dan Duvalian—the guy in the blue employee shirt in the company's commercial—offered a menu of products that correlated with the ongoing conversation. Users that RSVP'd for the Hangout were able to comment and ask the panel questions via the #UltimateShowroom hashtag.
"It’s a fun, new and creative way for us to interact with our customers," said Best Buy spokeswoman Carly Morris. "We know tech products are on so many wish lists this year, and by working with Google, we get to literally 'hang out' with our customers to talk about these products and give advice on what tech gifts to give this year."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 18, 2013 10:47 AM
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store aficionados long have realized the importance of the "Old Country Store" part to the appeal of the establishment along Interstates across most of the United States. And now some Wall Streeters are expressing new appreciation for a business model that has kept the Lebanon, Tenn.-based chain on a strong growth curve.
The restaurant is a staple mostly for wayfarers in Flyover Country, with more than 600 stores in 42 states, providing welcome signage to many travelers in and through America's heartland who love to come in, sit down within the glow of its wood-burning hearth, and consume comfort food such as biscuits and gravy and 24x7 breakfast.
Not only that, but apparently enough investors also have understood the appeal of Cracker Barrel, this year bidding up its shares by about 65 percent, or triple the gain of the S&P 500, Motley Fool said.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 18, 2013 09:27 AM
American Airlines will pay Cantor Fitzgerald $135 million in a settlement based on loss and damages from the Sept. 11 attacks.
General Mills sees quarterly results miss on lower US sales, rising costs.
Apple draws praise for holiday ad about loner teen and still talks with China Mobile about iPhone deal as it makes new Mac Pro available tomorrow.
20th Century Fox uses part of Walter Mitty budget to help Philippines typhoon victims.
ABC tilts toward female viewers as it remains light on sports.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveils new logo.
AMC is sued by The Walking Dead creator over payouts.
BASF steps up investment in US.
Boeing names chief of defense, space and security unit as new COO.
BP writes off $1 billion on Brazilian well but makes major find in Gulf of Mexico.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 17, 2013 08:20 PM
Pantene is doing its part to capture lighting in a bottle (er, shampoo) after a local Philippines TV ad garnered global attention thanks to a certain bigwig at Facebook 'leaning-in.'
After garnering support for its message of feminism from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg—author and leader of the Lean In movement—Pantene has decided to expand the campaign beyond the island nation. The video, Labels Against Women, has already earned over 8.2 million views on YouTube after Sandberg called it "one of the most powerful videos I have seen illustrating how when men and women do the same things they are seen in completely different ways."
The ad “makes a powerful statement about the way career women are regarded in society—as bossy, aggressive and neglectful of their families" the UK's Guardian notes. “In contrast the male figure is depicted as powerful, dedicated and successful.”
P&G is reportedly buying ads in the US on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and others, including Pantene's websites worldwide, where its "Be Strong & Shine" campaign adds a #ShineStrong hashtag to the video's original, #WhipIt. It's all good news for Pantene, which has been losing market share in the US but has retained its global haircare title with $3 billion in sales.
But not everyone is enamored with Pantene's 'feminist' message—especially women.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 17, 2013 07:37 PM
It seems to be tech week in Washington, D.C., as some of the country's top technology leaders met with President Obama to discuss several topics, including security and goverment surveillance.
Since the Edward Snowden/NSA scandal broke earlier this year, consumers and tech innovators alike have been concerned about the government's practices of monitoring emails, social media activity, and phone conversations—behavior that was deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge this week. According to The Verge, the President plans to discuss the economic effects of such unauthorized leaks, as well as how the government can further work with the tech sector to create jobs, and most importantly, how it can help to fix Healthcare.gov. The White House is even hitting up kids for ways to better use technology to learn.
15 leaders, including Apple CEO Time Cook, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, as well as other high-level representatives from Zynga, Google, Etsy, Netflix, Dropbox, AT&T, Comcast, and Yahoo! were among those in attendance.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 17, 2013 06:19 PM
Big Pharma would probably just like to take an aspirin, but the pain from pressures on its traditional business practices won't go away. GlaxoSmithKline just yielded to those pressures in a huge new way by announcing that it will stop paying doctors for promoting its drugs and eliminate prescription sales quotas for its detailers.
While the industry is under pressure by shareholders to deliver financial results with fewer blockbuster drugs and more price undercutting than ever from generics, the action by the UK-based drug giant appears to be a reaction to another challenge: from regulators and a public that have grown suspicious of its overall marketing practices. Glaxo is under investigation for major bribery in China and last year reached a $3 billion settlement with the US government over charges that it provided misleading information on certain drugs.
Now, Glaxo also will stop payments to health-care professionals for attending medical conferences, amid other moves designed to boost its overall transparency.Continue reading...
tech in the spotlight
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 17, 2013 05:43 PM
As the year readies to close out, it's time for many-an-annual list of best ofs, worst ofs, and 2014 look-aheads. So in due fashion, IBM has released its 5 in 5 annual technology predictions, highlighting what the company thinks will come to the forefront in the next five years.
“We try to get a sense of where the world is going because that focuses where we put our efforts,” Bernie Meyerson, VP Innovation at IBM, told VentureBeat. “The harder part is nailing down what you want to focus on. Unless you stick your neck out and say this is where the world is going, it’s hard to turn around and say you will get there first. These are seminal shifts. We want to be there, enabling them.”
Among the expected innovations in cloud computing and 'smarter' cities, IBM expects there to be significant changes in the way the medical community treats illness, and how our digital lives are made more secure.
Here's the full list of innovations that IBM expects:Continue reading...