Monday, August 31, 2009

Usain Bolt Puma Ad

Can we start seeing more of Usain on commercials? I believe this ad is only for the Caribbean stations.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

(BN) General Motors, China FAW Set Up Venture to Make Light Commercial Trucks

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

GM, China FAW Set Up Commercial-Vehicle Joint Venture

Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co., China's largest overseas
automaker, formed a 50-50 joint venture with China FAW Group Corp. to
make light trucks and vans in the country as it aims to offset
plunging U.S. vehicle demand.

The venture between Detroit-based GM and FAW has a total investment of
2 billion yuan ($293 million), GM said in a statement today. The
companies signed a memorandum of understanding in November 2007 and
received Chinese government approval in July, GM said.

The partnership with FAW, called FAW-GM Light Duty Commercial Vehicle
Co., will be GM's third joint venture with a local automaker. General
Motors is betting on China, its second-biggest market, for growth as
demand for its vehicles tumbled 38 percent in the U.S. this year
through July, compared with a 43 percent sales increase in China.

"The competition in this segment is fierce, it's not going to be
easy to make this venture successful," Zhang Xin, a Guotai Junan
Securities Co. analyst in Beijing, said in a phone interview.
"Neither GM nor FAW is that strong in light commercial vehicles."

Trucks and vans will be built at FAW's factories in south China's
Yunnan province and Harbin city in the north east. They have a total
capacity of 100,000 units. The construction of a new plant in Harbin
is under way and will add another 100,000 vehicles to the venture's
total annual capacity by the end of next year, GM China President
Kevin Wale said today.

Sales Forecast

The venture aims to sell between 80,000 and 90,000 vehicles this year
and 100,000 next year, he added. It may export the products overseas
should there be demand.

GM now makes passenger cars in China with SAIC Motor Corp., China's
largest domestic automaker, in an equally owned joint venture. That
partnership, Shanghai General Motors Co., boosted sales 26 percent in
the first seven months to 345,332 vehicles, helped by government
stimulus programs aimed at spurring auto sales.

The U.S. automaker also makes minivans in a venture with SAIC Motor
and Liuzhou Wuling Motors Co. SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co. sold more
than 600,000 units in the first seven months.

"GM is stronger in passenger cars while FAW makes better medium
commercial vehicles," Zhang said. "I'm not so optimistic about
this venture."

Total auto sales in China, including trucks and buses, rose 23 percent
this year through July, as the country surpassed the U.S. to become
the world's biggest auto market.

For Related News and Information: Top transportation stories: TOP TRN
China auto news: TNI CHINA AUT China auto sales: CNVSPSGR HCP M News
on GM: 3341199Z US CN BN U.S. auto industry: TNI USAUT

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Changes will come to SEO Strategies

Microsoft/Yahoo Deals may shake things up for the standard SEO
Strategy - especially for Google factors.

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Check out this product on


I found this product review at and want to share it with you:
Oakley Split Thumps

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Review: Toshiba U505 Is a Butt Ugly Notebook With Performance Chops |

I wanted to share this article from with you:

Review: Toshiba U505 Is a Butt Ugly Notebook With Performance Chops
For a computer that's supposed to be "thin and light" the Toshiba U505 really isn't. It's thick 2.8 inches because of an enormous battery that juts out on the bottom. And it's heavy, at 5.6 pounds. But does it perform? It does! From Christopher Null: Fortunately all is not lost with the Satellite U505: The laptop [...]

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Cool Band at Cajun Steamer

Cajun Steamer in Franklin, Tn

The owner is from Shreveport, La. Great place, good food, and good

(BN) Small-Car Output May Outstrip Consumer Demand as Fuel Costs Fall, CSM Says

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

U.S. Automakers' Small-Car Output May Outstrip Demand

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, primed by government incentives to make fuel-efficient models, plan a 63 percent boost in small-car production capacity by 2015 that may outstrip demand.

The U.S. automakers will be able to assemble 2.71 million small cars annually in North America in six years, rising from 1.66 million now, according to consulting firm CSM Worldwide in Northville, Michigan. Industrywide capacity for the segment will rise to 7.5 million vehicles from 4 million, CSM estimated.

Consumers may not be ready for that many small autos. Based on projections for small-car purchases from consultant IHS Global Insight, U.S. auto sales by 2015 would have to surge to almost twice the current annual record to absorb all of the possible new output.

"Unless the government is doing something we don't know about to raise the price of gasoline, we don't think there's going to be a lot of demand for small cars," said John Wolkonowicz, a Global Insight analyst in Lexington, Massachusetts.

The small-car push is being driven in part by the U.S. requirement that auto fuel efficiency rise about 40 percent to an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2016. Small-car sales climbed to 18.1 percent of the U.S. market last year from 15 percent in 2007, as gasoline prices surged to record highs.

Automakers also are tapping sources such as the Energy Department's $25 billion loan program to develop more fuel- efficient vehicles.

Sales, Gas Prices

This year through July, small cars accounted for 18.5 percent of U.S. sales, according to Autodata Corp. of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. Gasoline for the period averaged $2.17 a gallon, a 39 percent drop from $3.53 a year earlier, according to motorist group AAA.

Global Insight estimated that small cars' share of U.S. sales may rise to 22.3 percent in 2015.

At that percentage, the total U.S. auto market would have to exceed 33 million to absorb the annual production capacity of 7.5 million small cars projected by CSM. The record for total sales of cars and light trucks was 17.4 million in 2000.

"Fuel prices are the No. 1 issue," said Jeff Schuster, an auto analyst at market research firm J.D. Power & Associates in Troy, Michigan. "If they remain in the range we're at, this product push and capacity change is certainly at risk. American buyers tend to prefer larger things and larger spaces."

In the next six years, small-car production capacity will rise 58 percent to 1.35 million at GM, 61 percent to 870,000 at Ford and 83 percent to 495,000 at Chrysler, according to CSM.

By 2013, there will be 46 compact and subcompact car models in the U.S., up from 36 this year and 28 in 2005, according to J.D. Power.

'Betting the Company'

Rising fuel prices will justify the small-car buildup, said Michael DiGiovanni, GM's chief sales analyst.

"That's what we're betting the company on," DiGiovanni said in an interview. "We think it's better to err on the side of high oil than to err to the side of low. Consumers were burned big time in 2008 and they are not forgetting."

When the global economy recovers, U.S. gasoline prices may meet or exceed the record $4.11 a gallon of July 2008, said George Pipas, sales analyst at Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford.

Small cars are "the linchpin of our growth strategy," Pipas said in an interview. "We made this bet three or four years ago before gas even crossed the $3 mark."

Ford rose 6 cents to $7.73 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have more than tripled this year, giving Ford the fourth-largest gain in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

'Clunkers' Boost

Small cars got a boost the past two months from the U.S. government's "cash for clunkers" program, which offered credits of as much as $4,500 to new-vehicle buyers who traded in older, less fuel-efficient models. Small cars from Toyota Motor Corp., Ford, Honda Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. accounted for the top five models purchased through the program.

The segment rose to 22.2 percent of U.S. sales in July, according to Autodata. In the year's first half, small cars accounted for 17.7 percent of U.S. auto sales, a decline from 18.8 percent a year earlier.

"Cash for clunkers is an unnatural distortion that doesn't give us any indication of what people really want," said Wolkonowicz, of Global Insight. "People are buying the deal."

To contact the reporters on this story: Keith Naughton in Southfield, Michigan at Jeff Green in Southfield, Michigan, at

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Good Craigslist Story

About The Brand thought you'd like to see this on

Let me know your thoughts.

Click here to see the page on

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Hitachi DZ-BD10HA

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iPhone Goes to China Without Wi-Fi |

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iPhone Goes to China Without Wi-Fi
Apple and carrier China Unicom have struck a deal to sell iPhones in China later this year, marking Apple's entrance into the world's largest wireless market. China Unicom delivered the news in a press release Friday stating that a three-year agreement had been reached with Apple, and that iPhones would begin selling in the four quarter [...]

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Now Asus Plans An E-Book Reader |

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Now Asus Plans An E-Book Reader
The electronic books reader market is red hot right now and Asus is taking notice. The company plans to introduce an e-reader under its Eee PC brand, according to a report in Taiwanese paper DigiTimes. Asus' new e-reader is likely to be available by the end of the year, according to company president Jerry Shen. The e-reader [...]

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(BN) Economy in U.S. Shrank 1% in Second Quarter, Less Than Economists Forecast

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

U.S. Economy: GDP Shrinks Less Than Forecast as Recovery Nears

Aug. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. economy took a first step toward recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s in the second quarter as companies reduced inventories, spending started to climb and profits grew.

Gross domestic product shrank at a 1 percent annual rate from April to June, less than the 1.5 percent decline projected by economists in a Bloomberg News survey, a Commerce Department report showed today in Washington. Corporate earnings rose by the most in four years, the department also said.

Government programs, including the "cash-for-clunkers" and first-time homebuyer incentives, are boosting manufacturing and housing, indicating the gain in sales that began last quarter will be sustained in the second half of the year. Another report showed unemployment may jeopardize the strength of the economic rebound.

"We're on a pretty decent recovery path," said Bruce Kasman, chief economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. "There was a better mix last quarter with almost every major component of final demand being revised up and inventories being revised down. That puts us in a pretty decent position going into the third quarter."

Stocks dropped on growing concern the 52 percent rally in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was overdone given mounting job losses. The index was down 0.9 percent to 1,018.64 at 11:13 a.m. in New York. Treasury securities were little changed, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note at 3.44 percent, ther same as late yesterday.

Profits Improve

Corporate profits, not included in the advance GDP estimate released in July, rose 5.7 percent from the first three months of the year, the biggest increase since the first quarter of 2005.

The median GDP forecast was based on a Bloomberg survey of 75 economists. Estimates ranged from declines of 1.8 percent to 0.8 percent. Today's reading matched the government's initial calculation issued last month and followed a 6.4 percent pace of contraction in the first three months of the year.

A separate report today showed 570,000 workers filed claims for unemployment benefits last week, down from 580,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said in Washington. While off the peak of 674,000 applications reached in the end of March, the figures compare with an average of 350,000 applications filed during the expansion that ended in December 2007.

Worst Recession

The drop in GDP was the fourth in a row, the longest contraction since quarterly records began in 1947. The world's largest economy has shrunk 3.9 percent since last year's second quarter, making this the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

Today's report is the second of three estimates on second- quarter growth. The figures will be revised again in September as more information becomes available.

Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, fell at a 1 percent pace, less than anticipated, following a 0.6 percent increase in the prior quarter. Purchases were forecast to drop 1.3 percent, according to the survey median.

Spending is likely to increase this quarter. Industry data showed sales of cars and light trucks rose to an 11.2 million annual unit rate in July, the highest since September.

The "cash-for-clunkers" program, which offered buyers discounts of as much as $4,500 to trade in older cars and trucks for new, more fuel-efficient vehicles, produced almost 700,000 automobile sales before ending on Aug. 24, the Transportation Department said yesterday.

Production Gains

General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, both out of bankruptcy, are among firms set to ramp up production as government efforts lift demand.

Smaller stockpiles at companies from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to Macy's Inc. will contribute to a rebound in output as orders rise to stock bare shelves. Inventories dropped at a record $159.2 billion annual rate last quarter, subtracting 1.4 percentage points from growth. They dropped at a $113.9 billion pace in the first three months of the year.

Target Corp., the second-largest U.S. discount retailer, is among companies trimming costs to make up for slower sales. The Minneapolis-based company reported second-quarter profit that fell less than analysts estimated as the company avoided markdowns.

"We continue to conservatively manage our inventories to help us navigate the challenging sales environment," Kathryn Tesija, Target's vice president for merchandising, said in an Aug. 18 conference call.

Sales Increased

A gauge of sales that excludes inventories showed the economy grew at a 0.4 percent rate last quarter, the best performance in a year. Reports so far this month have shown government efforts to thaw credit markets and boost housing may be taking hold.

Combined sales of new and existing homes in July reached a 5.67 million annual pace, the highest level since November 2007, the month before the recession began.

A bigger jump in government spending than previously estimated helped offset the drag on growth from the slump in stockpiles. Federal, state and local expenditures climbed at a 6.4 percent annual pace, the most in more than seven years.

JPMorgan's Kasman cautioned that unemployment claims will need to decline further to confirm his forecast that the labor market will soon improve. He acknowledged that U.S. consumers were likely to lag behind their global counterparts because of the need to repair tattered finances.

"This recovery has a lot going for it, but one thing it does not have going for it is an anticipation of a normalization for consumers," Kasman said. "The economy will do better, but we aren't going to have a full-bodied, strong recovery coming out of what has been a very damaging, deep recession."

To contact the reporter on this story: Timothy R. Homan in Washington at

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

(BN) Luxury Hotel Owner Starwood Joins Hilton in Dropping Stars to Reduce Cost

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

Luxury Hotel Chains Dropping Five-Star Ratings to Conserve Cash

Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Luxury-hotel chains, the biggest losers in the lodging industry's decline, are giving up some of their hard-won stars to save money.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., the U.S. owner of luxury brands including St. Regis and W Hotels, will let some of its properties reduce their level of service -- and number of stars -- until the industry begins to recover, spokeswoman K.C. Kavanagh said. Hilton Hotels Corp. and InterContinental Hotels Group Plc have already cut the ratings for some locations.

"Maintaining stars requires enormous capital investment," said Stephen Bollenbach, who retired as Hilton's chief executive officer when Blackstone Group LP bought the company in 2007. "Ratings aren't based on making good returns on your investment."

Luxury-hotel operators have struggled to attract customers as the recession deters vacationers and forces companies to slash their travel budgets. That should mean lower rates for high-end business and vacation travelers. It may also mean the loss of some amenities, such as welcome gifts, flowers in your room, complimentary newspapers or 24-hour room service.

Hotel operators need to reduce services to conserve cash. Occupancy rates for luxury hotels worldwide fell to 57 percent in the year through July from 71 percent in the same period a year earlier, a bigger drop than for other types of accommodation, according to Smith Travel Research.

The average daily room rates at the most luxurious hotels around the world dropped 16 percent to $245.13, the Tennessee- based hotel-data company estimates. Prices for mid-range hotels fell about 13 percent to $87.12.

Occupancies, Rates Fall

"Consumers want the best deals that they can get," said Jeff Higley, a vice president at Smith Travel Research. "Most luxury hotels are facing occupancy shortfalls, they are lowering rates to entice consumers to come in. There rarely has been a better time to stay at a luxury hotel than right now."

In the U.S., travel guides such as the one provided by the American Automobile Association and the Mobil Travel Guide give star or diamond awards. Internationally, there is no standard classification. Ratings are given in some countries by hotel industry associations.

To qualify for five stars, the highest rating, hotels must provide "an exceptionally distinctive environment offering consistently superlative, personalized service," according to Mobil Travel Guide, which lays out specific requirements. There should be a welcome gift and "something noteworthy and thoughtful" should be left on the pillow during turndown service, while ice buckets need to be glass, metal or stone and there have to be tongs.

'Just as Happy'

Room-service customers who order wine by the glass should be presented the bottle as the wine is poured in the room, and bar or lounge customers must be automatically offered "at least two types of premium quality snacks," according to the guide. If the hotel has a pool, guests arriving for a swim should be escorted to their chairs and offered refreshment.

"A lot of things we all got drunk over can be eliminated and reduced to being less intrusive and hence more economical," said Lewis Wolff, co-chairman of Martiz, Wolff & Co., owner of luxury hotels including the Ritz in St. Louis, Missouri, a Four Seasons in Toronto and Houston and the Carlyle in New York. "If a five-star hotel was downgraded to a four star, most people would be just as happy."

Hilton abandoned the 5-star rating for the Hilton Plaza in central Vienna this year and deliberately does without an official rating at another hotel in the city, said Claudia Wittmann, a spokeswoman for the U.S. company. Wittman said the company abandoned the star rating at its hotels in part because of the different standards required in each country.

Intercontinental Vienna

"It's not uncommon that hotels make the decision that it doesn't make financial sense to keep the fifth star and to instead reposition the hotel," said Mark Woodworth, president of PKF Hospitality Research. "Within the next six months, we will likely see owners of very high-end hotels starting to reposition to a lower price point."

InterContinental also decided not to renew the five-star classification on its only hotel in the Austrian capital, according to Charles Yap, a spokesman for the U.K. company. InterContinental, based near London, operates luxury hotels under its own name and the Crowne Plaza brand. Yap declined to comment on others that may be reduced. Its five-star hotels include the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam and the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong.

The InterContinental Carlton Cannes in France received its fifth star this year.

Business Travelers

InterContinental is trying to cut costs at all of its hotels until business travelers, one of the main sources of revenue, return to the market in greater numbers, IHG Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cosslett said in an interview on Aug. 11.

"If you make small savings, such as the amount of food on the buffet or the different types of apples or even taking the pool temperate down one or two degrees, it does make a difference," he said.

Starwood is also trying to eliminate some of the frills on offer at its luxury hotels.

Adjusting Services

"Given the current economic climate, we may allow an individual property to adjust its services to below the agreed star rating," said Kavanagh. She declined to name any of the hotels.

The properties would be required to return to a grading system as soon as possible, she said. Starwood, based in White Plains, New York, has seven five-star hotels in the U.S., including the St. Regis at Fifth Avenue and 55th Street in New York. The company's five-star hotels also include Le Royal Meridien in Mumbai and the St. Regis in Beijing.

Some luxury hotels have to be subsidized for part of the year to meet all the expenses associated with a high star rating, according to Harry Nobles, the founder of Nobles Hospitality Consulting. "A vast amount of these hotels don't generate all the money they would need to operate on a five-star level," he said.

Nobles formerly worked as an inspector for the American Automobile Association, which runs the AAA Diamond Rating Process, a hotel and restaurant rating system in North America. He now consults hotels on how to get and keep a desired rating. "Owners often have to go into their own pockets during certain seasons to maintain certain levels," he said.

Nobles has seen a number of hotels abandon their five-star ratings to save money, but declined to give any examples. "That would be unprofessional," he said.

Anonymous Inspections

AAA, which awards hotels and restaurants with a diamond rating, performs inspections at luxury properties anonymously, spokeswoman Heather Hunter said. A property's service is evaluated from the time the reservation is made through check out the next day, Hunter said.

There are currently 103 AAA five-diamond hotels in North America, including in Canada, Mexico and Caribbean, according to Hunter. California is listed as the state with the most five- diamond hotels at 19, followed by Florida with 10, and Georgia with six. AAA will release its latest list of diamond-rated establishments in November.

"We have noticed some cutbacks," said Hunter. "But many properties are still trying to cut costs without reducing the rating."

That may prove difficult, according to Nobles, because the slightest drop in service may compromise the high standards a five-diamond rated hotel is required to maintain.

"If you call the concierge at a five-star hotel, the phone needs to be picked up in half a second," said Nobles. "To make that happen, you have to have a lot of staff."

To contact the reporter on this story: Nadja Brandt in Los Angeles at .

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(BN) Court Orders Federal Reserve to Disclose $2 Trillion Loan Program Details

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

Court Orders Federal Reserve to Disclose Emergency Loan Details

Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve must for the first time identify the companies in its emergency lending programs after losing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

Manhattan Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ruled against the central bank yesterday, rejecting the argument that loan records aren't covered by the law because their disclosure would harm borrowers' competitive positions.

The Fed has refused to name the financial firms it lent to or disclose the amounts or the assets put up as collateral under 11 programs, most put in place during the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression, saying that doing so might set off a run by depositors and unsettle shareholders. Bloomberg LP, the New York-based company majority-owned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, sued on Nov. 7 on behalf of its Bloomberg News unit.

"The Federal Reserve has to be accountable for the decisions that it makes," said Representative Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, after Preska's ruling. "It's one thing to say that the Federal Reserve is an independent institution. It's another thing to say that it can keep us all in the dark."

The judge said the central bank "improperly withheld agency records" by "conducting an inadequate search" after Bloomberg News reporters filed a request under the information act. She gave the Fed five days to turn over documents it told the reporters it located, including 231 pages of reports, and said it must look for more at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which runs most of the loan programs.

'Involuntary Investor'

The central bank "essentially speculates on how a borrower might enter a downward spiral of financial instability if its participation in the Federal Reserve lending programs were to be disclosed," Preska wrote. "Conjecture, without evidence of imminent harm, simply fails to meet the Board's burden" of proof.

David Skidmore, a Fed spokesman who said the board's staff was reviewing the 47-page ruling, declined to comment on whether the central bank would appeal.

Bloomberg said in the suit that U.S. taxpayers need to know the terms of Fed lending because the public became an "involuntary investor" in the nation's banks as the financial crisis deepened and the government began shoring up companies with capital injections and loans. Citigroup Inc. and American International Group Inc. are among those who have said they accepted Fed loans.

'Public Interest'

"When an unprecedented amount of taxpayer dollars were lent to financial institutions in unprecedented ways and the Federal Reserve refused to make public any of the details of its extraordinary lending, Bloomberg News asked the court why U.S. citizens don't have the right to know," said Matthew Winkler, the editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News. "We're gratified the court is defending the public's right to know what is being done in the public interest."

The Fed's balance sheet about doubled after lending standards were relaxed in the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. on Sept. 15, 2008. For the week ended Aug. 19, Fed assets rose 2.3 percent to $2.06 trillion as it continued to buy mortgage-backed securities under a program allowing the central bank to purchase non-government securities for the first time.

The U.S. House may vote as soon as next month on a bill to require the Fed to submit to audits by the Government Accountability Office, said Representative Scott Garrett, a New Jersey Republican on the Financial Services Committee.

'Wake-Up Call'

The judge's ruling "is strikingly good news," Garrett said. "This is what the American people have been asking for."

The Freedom of Information Act obliges federal agencies to make government documents available to the press and public. The Bloomberg suit, filed in New York, didn't seek money damages.

"The public deserves to know what's being done with the money," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Arlington, Virginia-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "This ought to be a wake-up call for the public that they need to be far more educated about this."

The case is Bloomberg LP v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 08-CV-9595, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Pittman in New York at

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Financial Times: Nokia enters PC market with Booklet

August 24 2009 3:17 PM GMT
Nokia enters PC market with Booklet
By Tim Bradshaw in London
Mobile phone maker launches a netbook with 3G and WiFi that uses the Microsoft Windows operating system as it strives to braoden its product range

Read the full article at:

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Economic Denial?

This is a great post about the varying outlooks on tomorrow's economy. I'm scared to ask, but what was actually assumed in the past few years that makes this economy the "New Normal"?

Your thoughts

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Matchup

I'm going for Usain Bolt. Advertisers, give him some love!

- Kenyatta Lovett

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Augmented Reality 2.0

I've been fascinated by the progress of augmented reality. It looks like things are moving pretty fast.

Bud Light Ad Revamp

After being down 2.5% (ytd), and struggling to get "Drinkability"
across, Bud Light is preparing for another ad push. What are your

Monday, August 10, 2009

Twitter/Blog Focus

According to some, Twitter should never take away the importance of the corporate blog - view story.

Take your corporate blog to the next level. In the words of Clay McDaniel:

Twitter hasn't killed the blog, just as the short story hasn't destroyed the novel and the compact car hasn't eliminated the pick-up. There are different tools for different purposes, and in this case the goal remains the same: knowing which blog tools are right for the job and, more importantly, how to use both blogging strategies harmoniously to create a lasting relationship with your customers and broader stakeholder communities online.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Perceptual Analysis Mapping for Marketing Strategy

I just ran across an interesting article on perceptual analysis mapping, on the Open Research Corporation site.

It would be interesting to know how many companies make use of this tool in their strategic planning process. Let me know your thoughts.

Urban Farming/Hunger in Detroit

Where do we go from here? -

Friday, August 07, 2009

Monday, August 03, 2009

Brand Durability

Carla Stratfold posted an entry on the Marketing News blog about brands - successes, failures, and revivals. The author makes some very good points related to leadership's role in the branding process. Most organization believe branding is all about what you will do for the customer and their needs. However, branding is almost totally about what you won't do, as it relates to the needs of the customer. Studies have proven how consumers prefer, in many ways, limitations and boundaries during brand experience.

From the leadership perspective within the organization, the pressure to render successful performance measures can often create a conflict with the brand strategy. For instance, it's virtually impossible to purchase a Pepsi at a Starbucks, but recent revenue challenges have opened the discussion about selling alcohol. We as marketing professionals love it when we see unexplainable growth as a result of a strong brand, but we quickly feel the confinement by the brand when the brand attitude suddenly turns bad in the marketplace, due to uncontrollable circumstances. In a way, Stratfold is calling this unfortunate experience a necessary part of the "Durable Brand" process.

Please don't get this twisted with a weak brand position of, "We are America's ____________". I'm referring to real brand attributes that consumers identify with your overall brand. If you are known for making bad products and having bad service, believe it or not, it's actually a strong brand. Everyone has a favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant they frequent, which offers horrible service, bad hours, and good food. The restaurant brand slogan may say, "The Best ___________ In Town", but that's not what you remember about the brand. You remember what they won't do for you as a customer. They won't treat you well, they won't make it convenient for you to patronize them, and they won't let anything come out of the kitchen unless it's the best you ever had in your life. Although the "Best __________ In Town" slogan may be a correct statement, as it relates to their brand, the other boundaries and constraints (bad service and hours) are in many ways more significant to the overall brand than the food. In fact, when you recommended them to your friend, you started the selling pitch by stating the obvious negative stuff, and then you finished with, "but the ___________ is so good, you will want to slap your mama".

There's a saying in golf when you are preparing to hit your ball, "commit to the swing", which means that whatever you have decided to do, considering the challenges, make sure you are fully committed to executing that plan. COMMIT TO YOUR BRAND!

CNBC - Meeting of the Minds

If you are interested in the new debate on healthcare, you should check out the Meeting Of The Minds special on CNBC. Michael Milken is a participant in the roundtable discussion, which is pretty weird for me. Anyway, there are some interesting angles, and I would love to know your thoughts on the discussion.