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A handy tool for trade show exhibitors

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Does your company exhibit at trade shows? A handy tool on, the site of Meetings & Conventions Magazine, can help you quickly determine your ROI. Their online calculator takes in to account such factors as salesperson salaries, display booth costs, travel expenses and number of leads generated to come up with your average cost per lead and cost to close for the show.

What are the odds?

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Have you ever wondered what the odds are that a person may have to visit an emergency room due to a drinking straw accident? Or what the odds are that a person with an income of over $100,000 will shop at Wal-Mart in a given year? Thanks to a new site, Book of Odds, you can finally find out.

The site also lets visitors find, well, odd comparisons based on odds. For example, in the United States, the odds a man who has ever been married or is living with someone has cheated during the relationship are 1 in 4.76 -- the exact same odds that that an adult in the United States never uses swear words in conversation.

Be warned, the odds are good that you'll enjoy spending a lot of time sifting through all the data!

And the Most Valuable Brand Goes to...

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OK, so maybe it's not got the star power of last night's Primetime Emmy Awards, but Interbrand's new list of the world's best brands shines some light on what is--and isn't--working in the recession-ravaged global economy.

According the list, Coca-Cola is again the world's top brand, with a calculated brand value of more than $68.73 billion, followed by IBM with a value of $60.21 billion.

Interbrand cited both companies' commitment to innovation as one of the primary reasons for their continued success -- the beverage giant launched some 700 new products in 2008, while Big Blue received 4,000 U.S. patents during last year alone.

Not all companies faired quite so well. In fact, this year marked the first time in its 10-year history that the combined value of all 100 brands on the list fell. Not surprisingly, auto makers and financial firms took the biggest hit, with Merrill Lynch and AIG falling off the list completely for 2009.

Rounding out the top ten are:
3. Microsoft
4. GE
5. Nokia
6. McDonald's
7. Google
8. Toyota
9. Intel
10. Disney

Meet the Real Mad Men

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I'm a big fan of the AMC drama "Mad Men," the show that chronicles the (surprisingly turbulent) lives of hard-drinking Madison Avenue ad execs in the mid-1960s.

For me, one of the best parts of the show is seeing the creative process evolve at the show's fictional agency, Sterling Cooper, as the characters react to the changing American cultural and political landscape of the time.

Now a new documentary by director Doug Pray explores the work that evolved from the "creative revolution" in advertising dramatized in "Mad Men."

"Art & Copy" features rare interviews with ad icons like original Mad Man George Lois, the creative force behind the seminal "I want my MTV" campaign, and examines some of the best advertising of the past 40 years, including Lee Clow's classic "1984" TV spot for the Apple Macintosh and Nike's "Just do it" slogan.

The film is currently being screened in select cities. For more information, see

Wal-Mart CEO: Expect a Late Christmas

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Speaking yesterday at the 16th Goldman Sachs Annual Global Retailing Conference, Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke predicted consumers will hold off their holiday spending as long as possible, researching potential purchases and comparison shopping to find the best prices, reports Media Post.

"People are putting a tremendous emphasis on shopping smarter -- I'm amazed at how many more people know the price of what they buy, right down to the penny," said Duke. "I don't believe this will change as the economy gets better. The deferral of purchases will be with us for a long, long time."

But with store inventories trimmed to the bone, late shoppers may come up empty-handed.

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