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Alibaba IP-OMG: Putting the Potentially Biggest IPO Ever in Global Perspective

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 17, 2014 05:53 PM

Most media coverage of the hotly anticipated Alibaba Group IPO (NYSE ticker: BABA) has focused on the company's eponymous story, riffing on how its stock valuation speaks to thievery and treasure. But the story of Ali Baba was, at its heart, one of double-crosses and massive bloodshed—after all, all 40 thieves are killed and Ali Baba's brother is quartered and stitched back together to cover up the ruse. Find meaning in that.

As a former longtime China expat, I know firsthand that Alibaba.com and Taobao (tmall.com) are both extremely useful. They are the perfect match, with the former helping funnel money to manufacturing workers nationwide and the latter helping them spend it. But a valuation of nearly $22 billion on its first day? What the heck does Alibaba do anyway? And more important, is it replaceable?Continue reading...

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Surprise, Surprise: Greek Yogurt Dominates IRI's Pacesetters List

Posted by Dale Buss on March 11, 2014 03:58 PM

Greek yogurt, Kellogg's Special K brand and Procter & Gamble emerged as some of the biggest winners in new CPG products last year according to the annual New Product Pacesetters report produced by Information Resources.

Dannon's Light & Fit Greek was the single biggest new food or beverage product of 2013 in stores tracked by the Chicago-based market research firm, with $145 million in first-year sales, while Yoplait Greek 100, another diet-conscious Greek variety, came in at No. 2 with $135 million. Another new yogurt line, Muller Yogurt (a joint venture of PepsiCo and Germany's Muller), placed No. 6 on the food and beverage list with $96 million in sales.

Their dominance of the list shows that yogurt, and especially Greek-style yogurt, still has vast room to grow several years after Chobani jump-started the segment. Dannon and Yoplait managed to apply a Greek label to the low-calorie yogurt trade where they already dominated. And Yoplait—the General Mills brand that began in a distant third place among major brands in the Greek-yogurt derby—showed that there's still plenty of potential in the category to make even a game of catch-up worthwhile.Continue reading...

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Google Zeitgeist 2013: From Mandela to the Harlem Shake, World Still Wondering 'What is Twerking?'

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 18, 2013 05:49 PM

Google's Zeitgeist, its annual snapshot of the search world, has arrived. By processing two of every three internet queries, the search giant is able to capture an accurate snapshot of trends ranging from the most-searched people to the year's top risers. And this year's compilation is the most global yet—over 1,000 Top 10 lists from 72 countries. 

Global icon Nelson Mandela captured the list's top spot, with users delving into the life of the South African political activist all year long, coming to a peak after his recent death. Death, in fact, is one of the biggest drivers of curiosity, with searches for recently deceased actors Paul Walker and Cory Montieth making the Top 4. But the world isn't all doom and gloom: tech, including Apple's iPhone 5s and Sony's PlayStation 4 made the Top 10, as well a cultural dance phenomenon, the Harlem Shake. 

Important global events weren't far behind though."Tragedies like the Boston Marathon, the 6th trending term globally, and Typhoon Haiyan, No. 2 on our global events list, also captured the world’s attention. And our human desire to help came through, with [donate to the Philippines] ranking highly around the world," wrote Google's Amit Singhal in a blog post.Continue reading...

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Which Comes First, Consumer Spending or Advertising? Right Now, Neither

Posted by Dale Buss on September 13, 2011 01:04 PM

U.S. ad spending has been losing momentum along with the general economy. Of course it's a giant chicken-or-egg question to some extent, but it's axiomatic: As consumers continue to lose confidence in the present and future course of the economy, brand marketers are more apt to go along with their more cautious mood by cutting ad spending — rather than trying to talk consumers out of their funk with more marketing.

So it doesn't come as a huge surprise that WPP's Kantar Media unit finds that ad spending expanded only 2.8 percent in the second quarter compared with 4.4 percent in the first quarter, when there was more hope among advertisers and consumers that a genuine U.S. economic recovery was underway.

Some of the biggest brand advertisers and categories have led the way in slowing growth of outlays, Kantar said, and they may not be finished retrenching yet. "The whole world is nervous — and nervousness usually leads to contraction, both for consumers and advertisers," Bob Jeffrey, chief executive of WPP-owned JWT, told the Wall Street Journal.Continue reading...

by the numbers

Survey Says: New Figures for Mobile Payments, Online Ads and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 13, 2010 05:18 PM

Consumer spending: Americans spent an average 10% more in April, versus a year ago, according to Gallup. The average daily expenditure ($66) was partially due to higher gas prices and didn't include "normal" household bills or big-ticket purchases such as cars or homes. [Mediaweek]

World Cup: Soccer fans are set to increase spending on food, drink, newspapers and betting during the FIFA World Cup. [BBC]

E-happiness: There are positive links between access to technology and feelings of well-being, a global study of 35,000 reveals. [BBC]

Mobile payments: The market's poised to soar. [GigaOm]

Tablets vs. e-readers: Half of consumers plan to buy one - once they hit $200. [VentureBeat]

Email shift: Yahoo is still #1 but losing ground to Gmail. [Silicon Alley Insider]

Web ad revenue: The first quarter saw a 7.5% increase in online ad revenue over Q1 2009, setting a quarterly record $5.9 billion but down from its peak. [IAB]

Display ads: Americans received one trillion display ads in the first quarter, when Facebook showed more display ads than Yahoo did - a first. [comScore]Continue reading...

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