Defensive Strategy

P&G’s Olympic Shocker

16 Feb 2010  

The 2010 Winter Olympics are turning out to be quite surprising, at least in terms of the advertising. Topping the list is P&G, which this weekened unveiled a new advertising campaign that represents a huge strategic shift for the company. P&G has long been one of the world’s best examples of a company with a […]

Super Bowl

The $200 Super Bowl Ad

11 Feb 2010  

Stuart Elliott, from The New York Times, wrote in an article earlier this week that the cost to produce one of the Doritos spots that ran on the Super Bowl was less than $200. $200. That is an astonishing figure. I spent many years at Kraft managing brands such as Miracle Whip and Taco Bell.  […]

Defensive Strategy

Toyota’s Nightmares

3 Feb 2010  

Here is a nightmare to think about. You are driving along in a car when it suddenly and for no apparent reason starts speeding up. You can’t stop it; the car just goes faster and faster. You try to get it to slow down but you can’t. The brakes don’t work. You weave in and out […]

Brands in the News

Healthcare: Here’s a Better Idea

28 Jan 2010  

“But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know.”                                                             President Barack Obama Last night President Barack Obama asked people to let him know if they had a better idea […]

Brands in the News

The End of Free Content at The New York Times

20 Jan 2010  

You don’t have to attend Kellogg to know that it is hard to make a lot of money by giving things away.  Selling products for nothing might make you feel good and it will often attract a crowd, but it is not a smart way to run a business.  There isn’t any profit in that particular business […]

Defensive Strategy

A Good Deal on Pizza

12 Jan 2010  

Last week Nestle announced that it was buying Kraft’s pizza division for $3.7 billion.  Since that time a number of people have commented that the deal was not a smart one for Nestle. I disagree completely; I think the deal is a brilliant move by Nestle. Nestle is the clear leader in frozen meals in […]

Brands in the News

Smart Phones Wars: Not Going to End Well

7 Jan 2010  

It seems like everyone is launching a smart phone these days. Earlier this week Google started selling a smart phone.  Today Dell rolled out a new one.  Motorola is still aggressively promoting the Droid.  Apple keeps investing in the iPhone.  RIM is spending heavily on Blackberry.  Palm, Samsung and Nokia are still in the game.  HP and Cisco […]

Career Advice

A 2010 Resolution

1 Jan 2010  

I am not big into resolutions, but I think we all could benefit from this one: do not repeat Tiger’s mistakes.  It is now becoming quite clear that the Tiger brand machine is coming apart and it will be a long time until it recovers.  Yesterday AT&T announced that it was dropping Tiger Woods, following the lead […]

Brands in the News

Diminishing Returns

28 Dec 2009  

The good people at Kohl’s would be wise to consider the law of diminishing returns and slow the pace of email promotions. I’m always happy to sign up for promotional programs.  I sign up in part to learn about good deals.  But I mainly sign up to see what people are doing in terms of […]

Defensive Strategy

Timing is Everything

14 Dec 2009  

I spent the last week in Turkey teaching a course on branding.  While I was there a major snowstorm descended on Chicago. So I followed the storm, from a distance, by frequently checking the Chicago Tribune web site.  And as the snow flew, who bought all the advertising space on the Chicago Tribune home page?  It […]

Defensive Strategy

Tiger Sponsors Laying Low

9 Dec 2009  

It is always delightful when theory and reality align.  I spend a lot of time in my courses at Kellogg discussing marketing theories.  I also spend time explaining why the theories don’t always work.  Every situation is unique, and sometimes companies violate basic marketing rules and succeed nonetheless. In the Tiger Woods case, the theory […]

Defensive Strategy

GM: CEO Churn and Branding Problems

2 Dec 2009  

Yesterday General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson stepped down.  Apparently the GM board, concerned that things were not changing quickly enough under his leadership, asked him to step aside.  Fritz was CEO for less than a year. Churning through CEOs is not the way to fix GM. General Motors has many, many problems.  But perhaps the toughest […]