With the start of the U.S. Open today, I am hereby declaring it National Ana Ivanovic day. I'm sure the government won't sanction it because she's not an American citizen, but so what? The fifth-ranked tennis beauty is playing Aiko Nakamura today in Louis Armstrong Stadium. All day on CNBC, you'll see the awesome story of Ivanovic, who could be the next force in the sports marketing world if she wins the final grand slam of the year.
On the day that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick pled guilty to charges related to dogfighting, Nike announced on Friday night that it has ended its relationship with its former endorser.
I'm going to be very professional here. I promise. Ana Ivanovic, the 19-year-old from Serbia, is the most beautiful athlete in the world. I know it's all subjective. It's just my opinion. But I have a feeling others, when they have a chance to see her--either in photos or in person will agree.
It doesn’t take much skill to discover who’s now. It’s a little bit better to call who’s next. So I’m doing it right now. Ana Ivanovic is the next Maria Sharapova. And the only thing Maria can do about it is make sure that she has a better record on the court than Ivanovic. Because the marketing momentum of this 19-year-old Serbian seems to be unstoppable.
The one and a half billion dollar stock buyback and earnings of nineteen cents per share were the headlines of Gap's second quarter financial results. The numbers seemed totally secondary on the company conference call though. Not surprisingly, the intrigue was surrounding just what the CEO Glenn Murphy would say about his vision for the company.
Let's just say the Big Ten Network battle between the cable carriers and the Big Ten/Fox team is in full swing. I got many interesting e-mails yesterday and today. The are a couple points that I feel I need to clarify and I'm going to do it in this Q & A to help better answer some questions.
Disney Music Group dominates the Billboard 200 chart with eight titles in the top 50. High School Musical 2 Soundtrack (Walt Disney Records) is #1, Hannah Montana 2/Meet Miley Cyrus (Walt Disney Records/Hollywood Records) is #2 and Jonas Brothers (Hollywood Records) is #8. The Disney Music Group is managing to top the charts while the rest of the music industry suffers thanks to the power of the Disney Channel.
Today, tennis star Venus Williams will announce that she is signing an endorsement deal with Steve & Barry's, the retailer that has made plenty of waves with its Starbury shoe, which it sells for $14.98. The deal from the very start is already the most expansive merchandise deal in the history of tennis. I sat down with Howard Schacter, Steve & Barry's chief partnerships officer, to talk about the line that will be called Eleven by Venus Williams and will launch in November.
You do it, don't you? No, not that "it". The "it" I'm referring to is what I call "drive-texting", where you e-mail or text someone while driving. It's the reason so many of us have become experts (or at least we think we are) when it comes to driving with our knees. Whether it's because we're on our cell phone, fixing our coffee, or putting on make-up, many of us do not pay as much attention as we should when driving.
What comes in glass bottles, cans and two liter plastic jugs and dominates the soft drink world in this part of the U.S.? Nope. It's Cheerwine. If you're from anywhere but the Southeastern states, and better yet North and South Carolina, you've likely never heard of, or tasted, Cheerwine. It has been 'the' drink of choice at soda fountains and hot dog stands (try Hap's if you ever in Salisbury), bar-b-ques and ball games for 90 years.
Since Google bought YouTube last fall it's attracted a ton of eyeballs--51 million users in June alone--but not so much revenue. Google is just now starting to roll out its new ads to try to capitalize on YouTube's loyal audience. Here's how it works. Hit play on a YouTube video, and an ad will pop up in the lower fifth of the screen.
After Michael Bay declared on his blog that he was refusing to direct "Transformers 2" because he was so upset about Paramount ditching the Blu-ray format to be exclusive to HD DVD, Bay has changed his tune. He followed it up with a post saying he'd overreacted, had been convinced by some Blu-ray fans. He says he was convinced to support HD because he learned that HD had cheaper players--around that $200 magic number.
Bob Johnson founded BET, yet he couldn't keep his regional sports network, C-SET, from faltering. Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, yet his ACSN had no chance. The Big Ten is one of the most powerful college conferences in the country, but unless they get real in the next couple weeks with the price that they're charging for the Big Ten Network, this operation will be in the graveyard within the next three years.
Wesson Oil has re-hired Florence Henderson as spokeswoman. The company is supposed to post some of her old commercials on their ConAgra Web site, but I couldn’t find them. What I did find is Henderson’s “tips for cooking with canola oil” (yes, I truly believe these tips came straight from Flo’s kitchen and were not made up by marketing people… no, really, I believe that):
Here's a question: Are you in the market for a new car or truck? It's a simple enough question, but with the economy slowing, and credit tightening up, more and more people are actually putting off buying a new ride. When I saw the latest survey of new car buyers from CNW Market Research, I was not surprised to see that 13% of the people in the market for new wheels are putting off making the purchcase.
Here's an award worth winning! Cintas, which provides bathroom supplies, announced the winner of this year’s “best restroom” contest. The award goes to Jungle Jim’s International Market, a grocery store outside Cincinnati. Get this. The bathroom entrances appear to be portable toilets. But once inside, they all lead to a jungle themed restroom with flowers...
There has always been a carnival atmosphere at a NASCAR event. Hundreds of thousands of people, food, drink, more drink, and all that noise. Throw in 36 or so hard charging cars and the resultant thrills and spills and what do you have? A sales opportunity. NASCAR has always been about 'the sell'. From the sponsorship logos on the cars to the suits the drivers wear.
The University of Oregon announced yesterday that Nike founder Phil Knight will pledge to donate $100 million to the Ducks’ athletic department. It ties the second-largest single donation ever made to an athletic department (with University of North Dakota booster Ralph Engelstad), following the $165 million check Boone Pickens wrote to Oklahoma State in Jan. 2006.
Another battle in the very long war. For years Sony's Blu-ray has been battling with Microsoft and Toshiba-backed HD DVD. And everyone--the studios, the disc and player manufacturers, and consumers--is just dying for one format to emerge victorious and the other format to fall the way of the BetaMax. HD DVD just scored an unexpected win, after Blu-ray had taken the lead. DreamWorks Animation and Viacom's Paramount (including DreamWorks Studio) just committed to releasing their films...
OK, let's be honest. The mid-size car market is not the sexiest one. These cars have often been viewed as "boring". After all, when was the last time you heard somebody say the new Camry gets their blood racing? That said, we are on the cusp of a substantial car war critical to Toyota, GM and Honda. Today, Honda is showing reporters its redesigned Accord.