Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 28, 2013 04:06 PM
The Sundance Film Festival has a solid history of showcasing interesting films that have gone on to be big hits, like Little Miss Sunshine, Reservoir Dogs, The Usual Suspects, Clerks, and Hoop Dreams.
But it's looking like Jobs — which stars Ashton Kutcher portraying Apple founder Steve Jobs' quest for glory — may not be one of them.
The film, which closed out the 2013 festival last week, received mixed reviews. The Guardian's Ed Gibbs gave it two out of five stars, calling it “an overly reverential and saccharine view” of Jobs, who died more than a year ago.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on December 10, 2012 02:19 PM
Take that, Hamburglar and all your little mischief-making fiends: McDonald's may already be back in the U.S. just one month after poor sales brought about the departure of the head of its U.S. operations.
McDonald's surprised the restaurant world by announcing a 2.5-percent jump in comparable-store sales in the United States, after analysts had expected a U.S. drop in sales of as much as 1 percent for the month.
The chain attributed the unexpected rise to the "ongoing popularity" of its breakfast in the U.S. along with "balance across everyday value offerings, premium menu options including the limited-time Cheddar Bacon Onion sandwiches, and the beverage lineup," according to McDonald's press release. Holiday cheer, despite stepping up around Thanksgiving, didn't really move the needle on sales.Continue reading...
in the spotlight
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 6, 2012 04:22 PM
Outsourcing jobs has been a topic that kept coming up over and over again during the battle for the US presidency this year. And for good reason. American companies have been moving their manufacturing jobs elsewhere for eons, ia fact that wasn’t exactly helping the nation’s economy recover from a bruising recession.
Apple, which has manufactured most of its products in Asia for years, is doing an about-face following its bruising over labor rights at its Foxconn manufacturing plant in China. Now CEO Tim Cook tells NBC's Brian Williams (in an interview that will air Thursday night) that Apple will manufacture an entire Mac line in the US starting next year.
“I don’t think we have a responsibility to create a certain kind of job,” Cook told Bloomberg Businessweek in its new cover story on his first year helming the brand. “But I think we do have a responsibility to create jobs.” Cook estimates that the company has created more than 600,000 jobs in America since 1980 (WSJ.com does a nice job summarizing Apple's US manufacturing history.)
Perhaps this is a way for Cook and Apple to give a little back to America. The New York Times reports that Apple is planning to shell out $100 million for American manufacturing next year. It currently manufactures some parts of the iPhone in the US. It's also, of course, a way for Cook to carve his own brand and legacy apart from his predecessor and old boss, Steve Jobs.
“My own personal philosophy on giving is best stated in a [John F.] Kennedy quote, 'To whom much is given, much is expected,’” Cook told Businessweek. “I have always believed this. Always. I think that Apple and Apple’s employees have done enormous good and can do even more.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 5, 2012 05:07 PM
Citibank continues its long slog back from the financial crisis with a new CEO, but soon without 11,000 of its workers. The leading bank brand said today that it would save an estimated $1 billion a year by reducing global workforce by around 4 percent, mostly in technology and support jobs.
Most of Citi's problems haven't been in the back offices, however, but in the executive suite. It has lagged its peers in recovering from the crisis, and its CEO during the worst period, Vikram Pandit, was pushed out by directors recently in favor of Michael Corbat, the new CEO.
Corbat's first steps to reorganize the company involve cutting most of the related jobs in Citi's consumer-banking unit, where the bank expects to sell or scale back operations in Pakistan, Paraguay, Romania and Uruguay. It plans to focus instead on 150 higher-growth markets.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on December 5, 2012 11:14 AM
It turns out that Fresh & Easy was neither, in the end.
Tesco, the third largest retailer in the world, has announced that is ready to pull up stakes and close its 200 Fresh & Easy supermarkets in California and Nevada after a largely unsuccessful five-year run.
As Tesco CEO Phil Clarke put it about why the US grocery store brand is "under strategic review," "It just became clear to us that the journey to sustainable returns was going to take too long. ... It's likely but not certain that our presence in America will come to an end."
Tim Mason, deputy chief executive in charge of the U.S. business, has left the company, effective immediately, after 30 years of service. But as we reported back in July, the writing has been on the wall for Tesco's US expansion.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 4, 2012 03:01 PM
The heads of more US restaurant brands are taking out their frustrations on Obamacare, with David Overton of the Cheesecake Factory becoming the latest. And even if you agree with their plaint, their actions prompt the question: Are they only hurting themselves by making a campaign out of their oppostion to the Affordable Care Act and to the new costs it places on their chains, however onerous they may be?
Instead of promoting, say, his chain's holiday campaign to give away 2013 cheesecakes on Facebook, Overton aired his grievances on CBS This Morning, saying that "for those businesses who don't cover their employees [with health insurance already], they'll be in for a very expensive situation." He noted that the Cheesecake Factory already provides some health insurance, but he warned that the costs of complying with Obamacare would be passed on to customers by the industry.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 3, 2012 04:05 PM
AOL Inc. calls itself the "brand company, committed to continuously innovating, growing, and investing in brands and experiences that inform, entertain, and connect the world." Now the brand company is without a branding head.
Jolie Hunt, AOL's chief marketing officer and communications head since July, is leaving the company less than five months after being hired away from head marketer at Thomson Reuters. According to the Wall Street Journal, the travel-loving Hunt's departure comes one week before AOL unveils a $10 million branding campaign and marks the fourth top AOL marketing and communications executive to leave this year. The company announced back in February its intention to launch a branding campaign to get consumers to care about AOL again.
Hunt — who was responsible for "AOL’s global communications strategy, including internal and external communications; social media; corporate social responsibility and cause related initiatives; corporate events (and) AOL’s global brand development, partnerships and consumer marketing initiatives" — had previously served as SVP and global head of brand for Thomson Reuters.
In June, Maureen Sullivan, the SVP of brand, marketing and communications, was reassigned to GM of women's content and lifestyle brands. Instead of of filling the CMO role, AOL is now looking for a new chief communications officer, as AOL CEO Tim Armstrong told Ad Age today. Hunt's departure and the restructuring have yet to be announced, meanwhile; the only exec announcement was a new business development head for three of its tech properties.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 3, 2012 11:20 AM
After a tumultuous year for News Corporation which has seen the company rocked by an ethics scandal, Rupert Murdoch has named longtime lieutenant Robert Thomson head of global publishing as his company prepares to separate its entertainment and news/book publishing assets into Fox Group and News Corporation, respectively.
As part of the move, News Corp. is folding its digital magazine app that was its Greg Clayman-headed iPadazine, The Daily, which will cease publishing on Dec. 15. While it will no longer exist as an iPad app, The Daily brand will survive as a news channel on properties such as NYPost.com. Now Clayman will oversee digital for News Corp. as part of the executive shuffle involved with separating the company.
First announced on June 28th, the pending company split will group News International's UK titles, the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, the Australian and other News Ltd papers and its HarperCollins book publishing entity under the News Corporation umbrella, while the entertainment properties will fall under the Fox Group. Thomson will run News Corporation while Chase Carey will serve as President and COO of Fox Group with James Murdoch as Deputy COO.
“This is an incredibly exciting time, for me personally, and for our companies’ ambitious futures,” stated Murdoch. “The challenges we face in the publishing and media industries are great, but the opportunities are greater.”Continue reading...