follow the money
Posted by Shirley Brady on January 10, 2013 05:02 PM
Along with adjusted net income of $1.2 billion, American Express delivered a surprise in its fourth quarter earnings report today: the elimination of 5,400 jobs as part of a global reorganization of its business units, with over $400 million in severance and its business travel unit taking a big hit.
The company has endured more than a decade of downsizing under CEO Ken Chenault: 7,700 jobs in 2001; 6,500 jobs in 2002; 7,000 jobs (10% of its workforce) in 2008; 4,000 jobs in 2009. This round of cuts, as Wall Street Journal reports, represents "its biggest retrenchment in a decade," and will shed 8.5% of its workforce.
“Against the backdrop of an uneven economic recovery, these restructuring initiatives are designed to make American Express more nimble, more efficient and more effective in using our resources to drive growth,” said Chenault. “For the next two years, our aim is to hold annual operating expense increases to less than 3 percent. The overall restructuring program will put us in a better position as we seek to deliver strong results for shareholders and to maintain marketing and promotion investments at about 9 percent of revenues.”
More details on the restructuring and impact on the company — which just launched a #foraliving recruitment campaign on Twitter and YouTube — from its press release:Continue reading...
in the spotlight
Posted by Dale Buss on December 6, 2012 09:55 AM
President Obama lobbied a group of big business leaders in Washington this week with his views about the looming fiscal cliff. But at least one of the most important heads of a major American business, Ford CEO Alan Mulally, was taking no guff either from Obama or from the leaders of the Senate and House with whom the president is deadlocked — and apparently willing to push to the edge, if not over it, in a political stand-off.
"It's a concern to all of us, because this is a very, very fragile recovery," Mulally said on MSNBC this week. "It's just so important that we come together on a plan to deal with both the revenue side, but also the expense side, because really what we're talking about is keeping the economic development going. That's the most important thing about this issue."
And while so far the U.S. auto industry has more than carried its weight in the nation's sluggish economic recovery, Mulally said that he couldn't guarantee that it would be able to post continued sales increases if Obama and Congress don't deal quickly and decisively with the fiscal cliff.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 27, 2012 05:01 PM
"Don’t leave home without it" is becoming "Don’t leave home at all." Or, at least, "just yet." American Express is kicking the tires on interactive television and branded content with its own video-on-demand channel, participating in a year-long test with interactive TV provider BrightLine and the Mindshare agency to launch what's being called the largest advanced TV campaign to date.
The AMEX Channel, which quietly launched in September, is available in more than 50 million households through five pay TV service providers — AT&T's U-verse service, Cablevision, DirecTV, Dish and Verizon FiOs —and through smart TV platforms, namely Internet-connected TV sets sold by LG and Samsung.
The advanced television ad test is being trialed on TV as the primary screen, with apps for tablets and smartphones as second screens. Viewers can access the channel via interactive banners, channel guide listings and overlays that appear next to American Express commercials, using BrightLine-based technology. The video-on-demand channel offers video clips, games and information and promotions like AmEx's annual Small Business Saturday shopping day after Black Friday.Continue reading...
games people play
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 9, 2012 02:27 PM
"Halo 4" launched globally this week, becoming the biggest launch in the history of the franchise, selling 3.1 million units on its "opening day." The release even surpassed The Avengers, and expected to break all previous day-one entertainment sales records for the year.
Hundreds of thousands of fans lined up at 10,000 stores in more than 40 countries to be among the first players, with movie-style "premiere" events held in Seattle, Paris, London, Berlin, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and Sydney. They featured private screenings of the live-action digital series “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn,” photo opps with the Master Chief, and meet-and-greets with the game’s creators, Microsoft Studios’ 343 Industries, the internal Microsoft group tasked with maintaining the Xbox exclusive franchise.
“‘Halo 4’ marks a rebirth and a new beginning for one of the most beloved and iconic franchises in the modern history of entertainment,” stated Phil Spencer, corporate VP of Microsoft Studios. “Over the past decade, the ‘Halo’ franchise has become a bona fide pop culture phenomenon, and ‘Halo 4’ promises to take the franchise to a new level and set the stage for the next decade of ‘Halo.’”
For those non-gamers, the “Halo” franchise began with “Halo: Combat Evolved” in 2001 and the record-breaking, critically acclaimed franchise has sold more than 46 million copies, grossed $3 billion worldwide, and driven more than 5 billion hours of gameplay by people connected to Xbox LIVE. Even American Express partnered with Xbox to tap into gamers.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 7, 2012 09:03 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama wins re-election, defeats Republican Mitt Romney soundly in electoral votes and with slim popular-vote margin, and puts "Forward" campaign slogan to the test.
American Express and NBC Universal try to create "TV commerce."
Del Monte reminds consumers that its canned products meet their needs.
eBay reaches out to auto buffs with new channel.
Famous Dave's plans expansion, mostly in California.
Financial Times seen as going on the block.
Ford pins hopes on Lincoln MKZ to refresh luxury brand.
Goldman Sachs partners pocket $22 million.
Kevin Bacon helps rebrand UK's Everything Everywhere as EE.Continue reading...
games people play
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 5, 2012 10:02 AM
In the challenging world of gaming console marketing, American Express has launched a co-branded experience that combines activity-based advertising and digital partnerships, building on AMEX's success with Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter.
The blue chip brand is taking its Card Sync technology to Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE’s “Halo 4” to unlock content and offers for U.S. cardmembers and for U.K. cardmembers.
Cardmembers can sync their Card to their Xbox LIVE Gamertag on their Xbox 360 console by logging in here (U.S.) and here (U.K.) to receive an Access Code, real-time, to enter in the American Express digital experience tile in the Game Marketplace in the Games section of the Xbox 360 dashboard, then share their Xbox LIVE Gamertag to be directed to the offer dashboard.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 8, 2012 11:16 AM
A whole lot of cash changes hands in the Walmarts of the world every day. About 85 percent of the company’s daily transactions are done in cash.
After all, many of the discount retailer’s customers don’t necessarily have credit or checking accounts. That’s something that has led Wal-Mart's corporate execs to try and figure out ways to help serve that market’s financial needs, even if it means creating a whole new system of payment.
That's why Walmart is teaming up with American Express to roll out a prepaid financial-services product called Bluebird that "will allow for deposits by smartphone and mobile bill paying, with no minimum balance or monthly, annual or overdraft fees." The tagline — "Loaded with features, not fees" — emphasizes the fact that this is a move to help consumers who are struggling to pay their monthly bills, let alone go shopping.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 8, 2012 09:02 AM
Avon's Jung to leave board early, shifting focus to new CEO.
Mondelez creates Oreo and Cadbury Dairy Milk hybrid chocolate bar, acquires Italian biscuit maker from Danone.
Foxconn faces more unrest at iPhone factory as new battle brews between Apple and Samsung.
BAE deal with EADS is questioned by major shareholder.
Baxter looks to its medical-product pipeline to sustain growth.
Budweiser donates to military families via tie-in with Major League Baseball.
BuzzFeed bets on online sharing of sponsored content.
Coca-Cola India signs Bollywood star Salman Khan as brand ambassador.Continue reading...