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stuck in neutral

Mercedes Don't Run Over 99%ers, 1%ers Run Over 99%ers

Posted by Abe Sauer on November 3, 2011 02:37 PM

A month ago we questioned why Mercedes-Benz, "the elder statesman of auto luxury, has opted for downright aggressive, almost violent, messaging and imagery." The ad in question (top) had been in heavy rotation.

Well, it seems Mercedes' marketing is reality, as reports from Oakland claim an aggressive Mercedes driver aggressively displayed his aggression by running over two Occupy protesters.Continue reading...

stuck in neutral

NBA Lockout to Cost Sneaker Brands $500 Million?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 31, 2011 03:04 PM

The NBA lockout didn’t sneak up on anybody. The league and its players have been saving their dinero and locking horns for years in preparation for the political maneuverings such massive negotiations seemingly require. But still, sneaker retailers and manufacturers seem surprised that their cash cow may have disappeared — even it just briefly.

Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at the worldwide market research company NPD Group, predicts that “Basketball shoe marketers such as Adidas, Nike and UA (Under Armour), and national retailers such as Foot Locker, could lose up to $500 million in sales if the 2011-12 NBA season is wiped out,” according to USA Today.

It is hard to believe that one quarter of the $2 billion basketball-shoe industry would simply run off since so many people are actually playing the game and would still need footwear, points out Matt Powell of sporting goods industry analyst SportsOneSource. He notes that “basketball sneaker sales were not badly hurt by the 1998-99 lockout and that 70% of the basketball-shoe industry is dominated by a guy who hasn’t actually played pro since 2003: Michael Jordan.Continue reading...

stuck in neutral

NASCAR Races to the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, Crosses Line?

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 9, 2011 03:01 PM

The "scandal" of whether or not NASCAR drivers failed to take advantage of an invite from President Obama for political reasons has largely blown over.

But one event NASCAR is certainly not failing to take advantage of: The 10th anniversary of 9/11.Continue reading...

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stuck in neutral

Ford Loses Mojo, J.D. Power Says, While Toyota Gets Some Back

Posted by Dale Buss on June 23, 2011 05:00 PM

The influential annual Initial Quality Survey of U.S. auto manufacturers by J.D. Power & Associates is out this afternoon, and it’s got some crisp verdicts for specific brands: Ford is stunningly in the dog house, while Toyota has drawn some relief.

Ford swooned to 23rd place in the 2011 rankings of brands, as graded by consumers for quality issues within three months of ownership, from a heady 5th-place finish last year. Interestingly, the main culprits in Ford’s fall were two technology sub-brands that it has been promoting vigorously over the last year: Sync and EcoBoost.Continue reading...

stuck in neutral

Japan Crisis Roils Automakers

Posted by Dale Buss on March 31, 2011 11:00 AM

Among the many medium-term ripple effects from the disaster in Japan are the disruptions it has only begun to cause for automotive brands in the American market – and in others worldwide – as automakers cope with breaks in supply of the many components and complete vehicles made in that country.

A continuum of effects is developing. At one end are, for example, U.S. Mazda dealers, who have had to suspend orders for their vehicles built in Japan. At the other end is Ford, which can’t paint more of its F-150 trucks in the U.S. in its Tuxedo Black now because of a lack of pigment for the color that is supplied by Japan.

There’s no telling yet how all this is going to sort itself out in the availability of models for various brands in the U.S. market. Some data will emerge in the industry’s monthly sales report for March, scheduled for Friday. But this saga will be unfolding over the next several weeks and months.Continue reading...

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stuck in neutral

Recall Watch: Toyota Still Trying to Outrun Accelerator Flaws

Posted by Dale Buss on February 24, 2011 05:00 PM

No wonder Toyota has been keeping a relatively tight rein on major new marketing initiatives until very lately: It wasn’t finished airing its dirty laundry, and there was no sense further exposing a brand that remains highly soiled in the eyes of many Americans.

Just days after hatching its biggest new ad campaign in awhile, dubbed “#1 for a Reason,” Toyota added to its woeful safety-recall saga again on Thursday by announcing yet another recall of more vehicles — almost 2.2 million — related to its problem of stuck accelerator pedals.Continue reading...

stuck in neutral

J. Crew Investors Hope to Block Sale

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 1, 2011 11:30 AM

Back around American Thanksgiving, J. Crew announced it was being sold to a consortium that would keep current CEO Mickey Drexler in place as part of a $3 billion buyout.

The news may have been welcomed on Wall Street, but a group of investors felt they were getting the old soft shoe routine from management about the sale. Not convinced it was a fair and open bidding processing, a $10 million lawsuit was filed to protest the proposed takeover by private-equity firms TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners LP.

J. Crew officials, including Drexler and president Jenna Lyons, also the brand's creative director, had hoped to settle, but their offer to appease disgruntled shareholders has just been squashed. Now, it's up to Judge Leo Strine of Delaware's court of chancery to decide.

health matters | stuck in neutral

Cialis Soars, But Zestra Can't Get Arrested

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 14, 2010 12:45 PM

You've probably seen those Cialis commercials featuring loving couples, romantic settings, 4-hour erection warnings and his-and-hers bathtubs.

Or maybe you've seen the amusing spot for Trojan's Fire and Ice condoms, featuring a couple's chat with a very informed cashier at an all-night pharmacy.

And then there’s the venerable Viagra, whose commercials may run the gamut but certainly defined the category and made life easier for brands aiding sexual dysfunction.

Make that brands aiding male sexual issues. Ads for Zestra, a product that enhances sexual arousal for women, have been hitting a glass ceiling in the US. According to today's New York Times, ads such as the one above for Zestra are "meeting resistance from TV networks, national cable stations, radio stations, and even Web sites like Facebook and WebMD."Continue reading...

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