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A company called Summer Soles says our feet are sweating sooooo much in this heat that we'd do ANYTHING to stop it. Naturally, the company sells peel-and-stick fabric sole inserts which whisk away foot sweat. Hey, somebody's gotta do it.
Here's the second of two part of my post on wine maker Fred Franzia: If Franzia isn't quite a pariah in Napa Valley, he's close. He prefers "maverick," known for his straight-talking complaints about what he calls a snooty wine business, indignant over the high cost of wine for no real reason other than greed, and an approach to the American consumer that severely restricts the industry's overall growth.
Sure, I'm the Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, but every now and then I get to cover stories from that other newsmaking valley just north of here: Napa Valley. We're working up a story on Fred Franzia and when it comes to the wine business, he's probably not a name you easily recognize. There's Mondavi; the Gallos; and yes, Fred Franzia. He's either revered, or reviled, depending upon whom you talk to in the wine world.
It is the biggest launch in Kohl's history but the company does not want to discuss it. That was what Kohl's press person told me when I phoned to ask if there were any events planned around the September 9th launch of their first major guest designer clothing line. With the massive launch of the Vera Wang designed "Simply Vera" collection, you would expect that Kohl's would be backing up their bet on Vera with a media onslaught. But that's not the case.
Imagine there is a sports star and he's absolutely obsessed with your product. Sure he has some major issues here and there, but he's a fan favorite. And he can't live a day without your product. Would you take a chance on him? How could you not? In an era where it's sometimes hard to believe that athletes really use the products they pitch, John Daly is what they call a breath of fresh air. He loves Diet Coke.
I love the way press releases are written. Here are two very different ones. First, the press release making the biggest stretch: REESE'S® PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA CREME CUPS PAY TRIBUTE TO ELVIS PRESLEY. This is promoting--ok, I'm not kidding--new "Collector Edition Reese's Elvis cups" which feature "the unique flavor combination of peanut butter and bananas made famous by Elvis' love of peanut butter and banana sandwiches, a Southern favorite." COLLECTOR EDITION? Look for them to be bid up like crazy on eBay!
Talk about the American dream. I went to the Perry Ellis showroom yesterday in midtown Manhattan for an exclusive conversation with company CEO George Feldenkreis. Normally, George and his son Oscar Feldenkreis (President & COO) work out of the Miami, FL corporate headquarters, but the two were in town to celebrate the company's 40th anniversary and to ring the closing bell at the Nasdaq.
If you're watching CNBC today, you'll see my piece on the battle of shoe brands in China as the Olympics approaches. (You can also see it on CNBC.com right now or in clip below). Anyway, unfortunately there's only so much to fit in in "television time" and I had three great interviews with top executives from Nike, adidas and Li-Ning. So I thought it would only be fair if I could run the best parts of the three interviews in the blog.
Matt Murphy, who caught home run ball No. 756, wasn’t the only winner on Tuesday night, so too was Kragen Auto Parts, whose rotating sign was behind home plate when Barry Bonds hit the record-breaking shot. Eric Wright of the sponsorship evaluation firm Joyce Julius & Associates told me this morning that he believes Kragen will receive in between $5 million and $6 million in equivalent advertising time for being associated with the moment...
Tiger Woods is the only athlete who will come close to earning $100 million in endorsements this year. But the actions of two of the companies he had deals with questions whether Woods is worth the price companies pay. Last week, American Express signed a deal to become the official card of the PGA of America and the USGA and in the process decided to end its deal with Woods after a 10-year relationship with the brand.
Yesterday, I wrote about how a company called Plan B. found out that 71 percent fewer fans showed up on discounted beer night. This surprised me a little bit, but not some readers. From Larry Rascak:Personally I would avoid discount beer night like the plague, simply because I would not want to be at a ballgame (or in the parking lot, or driving home) with the sort of people who would go to a game just to drink a lot of cheap beer. Is this really that big a surprise?
If you're a big fan of Tom Glavine and you are happy he won his 300th game last night, you might as well get his 300th win tie. Oh yeah, it costs $1,000. Tie company Vineyard Vines is making 300 of the ties, which will be sold exclusively at www.rallyfoundation.com. The entire cost of the tie will be donated to the Rally Foundation, which raises awareness and funds for childhood cancer research.
When Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault, we saw a few nifty entrepreneurs come up with T-shirts to try to cash in on the news. There were the Kobe Bryant T-shirts were made to look like a jersey, with Kobe's number on it and "Colorado Prison League" on the front. One supporter made a "Free Kobe" shirt. But never in the history of sports have we seen the cottage industry that has become Michael Vick dogfighting T-shirts.
With the market as up and down as it is these days, my schedule has been just as much of a rollercoaster ride! I'm behind on responding to some of the interesting notes that have made their way into my retail detail inbox. So this Friday I decided to catch up! Retail detail reader Mark Coleman raised a good question about cause-related marketing and the type of Super Saturday fundraiser events that I wrote about a few days ago.
I can't help but comment on Viacom's earnings. On Thursday, the media giant beat Wall Street estimates, thanks largely to the filmed entertainment division's profit quadrupling. But the studio (Paramount and DreamWorks) is a much smaller part of the company than the 'Media Networks' division, which includes MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Spike TV, etc. I'd say Viacom's largest challenge moving forward is growing its ad revenue on these cable networks...
I think that things are going to get worse before they get better in the retail. I took a look at short interest in a few big retail names today and was surprised to see just how many investors were betting AGAINST the stores that cater to the mass market consumer right now.
One of the most surprising things about being here in Beijing is the absence of Yao Ming. I thought he'd be everywhere. Sure, he made his name in Shanghai, but I thought he was the pride of China. Well, apparently not. Aside from a Coca Cola ad on an occasional billboard and a wildlife poster, Yao isn't a force here.
So Star Jones finally admits she had gastric bypass surgery. Really? People, it's like denying you had a facelift, collagen, or breast augmentation. WE KNOW. 177,000 people had gastric bypass last year, nearly double from 2003, making it one of the fastest growing plastic surgery procedures. So is PhotoShop. Check out Kelly Osbourne--I'll have what she's having.
This past weekend, I attended the annual SuperSaturday event in Water Mill, New York. Well-known in the fashion world and to vacationers in the Hamptons, this is essentially a high-end tag sale/sample sale of designer goods to raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.
This job really does beat working for a living. I've just had the opportunity to drive a car worth, gulp, $435,000. That's about twice the price of your average home in the U.S. these days. The car is a new Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe (pronounced coup-AY). Drophead is a fancy name for convertible. The car will start selling in September, and the first year is pretty much sold out. Yeah. Sold out.