In Denver, Sacramento, Atlanta and Cleveland, radio stations owned by the Gannett media conglomerate have adopted "advertainment" - a new programming format that consists of "hybrid shows, which mix entertainment with commercial content (in addition to regular commercial breaks)." In Minneapolis, Gannett affiliate KARE plans this spring to "revamp its chatty mid-morning talk show 'Today,' and put much of that happy talk up for sale," writes Deborah Caulfield Rybak.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the National Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention, and Floridians for Youth Tobacco Education warn that the tobacco industry is increasingly targeting Latino children.
As "part of a cultural shift that increasingly sees health problems as lifestyles rather than diseases," food marketers are targeting the chronically ill "as the new much-reach demographic." Groceries have "heart healthy" sections because there are more than 70 million U.S. residents with heart problems, representing "$71 billion in annual buying power." The nation's 21 million diabetics "command about $14 billion" and "about two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese," writes the Associated Press.
"Time heals a lot of marketing wounds," said the director of the University of Southern California's Sports Business Institute. In June 2003, basketball star Kobe Bryant signed a four-year, $45 million endorsement deal with shoe company Nike. Weeks later, Bryant was accused of sexual assault. Now that the criminal case has been dismissed and a related civil lawsuit settled, "Nike and Mr.
"A humbler Microsoft" is "reinventing itself," writes Advertising Age. "It is enlisting young executives ... in a marketing-leadership program to help it overcome hurdles such as competition from free software; the challenge of competing against itself with new products; and getting consumers to trust the company once blames for security breaches." Microsoft's chief marketing officer, Mitch Mathews, was elevated so that he reports directly to CEO Steve Ballmer.
Mars Inc., the candy company that makes Snickers bars, M&Ms and Dove chocolates, used to spend $1 million per year subsidizing a newsletter which claimed that eating chocolate could prevent cavities. Now it is funding research that says chocolate is good for your heart.
Following up on a story that first surfaced in the gossip pages of the New York Daily News, Michael Hiltzik examines the details of a bizarre scheme aimed at scaring U.S. citizens away from importing cheap drugs from Canada.
In Britain, where the pub industry has successfully lobbied for a relaxation of licensing laws, "The drinks industry is planning a ruthless campaign of economic incentives and psychological tricks to get customers to drink as much as possible when licensing laws are relaxed," report Gaby Hinsliff and Anushka Asthana.
After a survey found that only 10 percent of respondents rated PepsiCo as a company that was "concerned with my health," the soft drink company is launching "a new advertising campaign for its 'Smart Spot' products." Pepsi rates more than 200 of its products as healthier, "Smart Spot" foods, including diet soda and baked potato chips. Pepsi will also launch a pilot project, called "Perfect Storm," later this year, "in a major U.S.