The Girl Scouts: they stand for wholesome, educational, and fun childhood activities. Right? Generally, yes, and even without coating every visible surface with pink sparkles. A new set of Barbie-themed activities and patch for the Daisy and Brownie levels (kindergarten through third grade) has horrified some critics, who think that the toy-maker’s influence is bad for girls’ self-image. [More]
Here I am, a single woman with a career, lying around on heaps and heaps of money. But since I don’t have kids of my own, who can I spoil with all these riches? The nearest available child might do, but the travel industry is betting I’ll throw down my dispensable income to visit my nieces and nephews so I can ply them with presents like any childless aunt would. Heck, maybe I’ll take them to Disney World.* [More]
One of the perks of being a professional athlete is that you get paid the big bucks to endorse products, based on the premise that your fans will buy anything you put your name on. But one report says those lucrative endorsement deals are often tied to unhealthy foods marketed toward kids. [More]
It seems like a very long time ago that the phrase “Black Friday” referred to the day after Thanksgiving, an important but scary day in the retail calendar that kicked off the Christmas shopping season. Isn’t that still supposed to be the case? Not according to marketers, who have now expanded Black Fridays to every month of the year, because why not? [More]
Maybe they sent out the wrong mailing at the wrong time. Maybe they’re planning way ahead. Or maybe Gabriel’s local Hyundai dealership is putting whatever random crap gets people to open messages from them in the subject lines of their e-mails. In Gabriel’s case, it worked. He opened it. [More]
Even though some early studies have showed that Gmail’s recent effort to put all of our marketing e-mails in one folder for us hasn’t really affected response rates for the businesses that blast us with e-mails, some companies are desperate to persuade us to keep them in our inboxes. Desperate enough to walk us through changing our e-mail preferences. [More]
Back in May, Gmail introduced a new way to sort our inboxes, automatically assigning messages to different tabs. The default setting sticks marketing emails into a “promotions” folder that you can ignore entirely if you want to. Seems like a great idea…unless you’re the person sending out those e-mails. [More]
Visits from the Tooth Fairy are, by their nature, a commercial transaction. Many families buy or make special under-pillow holders that make it easier for the overnight visitor to find the teeth she (or he) is after and leave behind some cash. What the Tooth Fairy lacked was a coordinated marketing campaign with an online game, books, costumes, toys and other merch. Until now. [More]
As the Mid-Atlantic settles in for what must be the 623rd straight day of searing-hot temperatures, the folks at JetBlue are learning that maybe they shouldn’t rely on Mother Nature to cooperate when planning a promotional discount. The airline has had to pull the plug on an ill-conceived weather-related offering after too many people signed up. [More]
It’s sparkly, it’s clear or it’s colored, it’s cut in more ways than one person could dream up, it sits on your finger like a golf ball or a just-the-right-size bauble, it’s a girl’s best friend — twinkling alongside many a wedding proposal has been a diamond. And a lot of the time, these chunks of bling cost a pretty penny. So why do we do have this shiny ritual? (And someone please explain how a diamond can be a best friend? It can’t even talk.)
The thing about oxygen is, we all need it to survive and thus, we all agree it’s a pretty good thing. No one’s like, “Oh yeah, oxygen? I’ll pass.” As something that is essential to our existence, companies have caught on to its universal appeal and have increasingly been marketing products promising infusions/boosts/bursts/whathaveyou of oxygen that ostensibly are good for your skin, because oxygen is so awesome. [More]
Comcast is a cable company. But what is Xfinity? Initially, we thought it sounded like a great name for a porn company, but it’s actually the brand name of the various products that Comcast offers. Of course, there’s XFINITY Internet. (Yes, they use all caps.) Cable television is XFINITY TV. Home security systems are XFINITY HOME. Phone service is called XFINITY Voice. Despite Comcast spending $640 million in the last two years advertising the brand, experts say that most consumers still don’t really understand what “Xfinity” represents. Their solution? More ads.
We’d like to believe that the packaging for this HDMI cable is the victim of poor translation or some kind of misunderstanding. We sincerely hope that no one working in the consumer electronics industry believes that digital video is susceptible to viruses, those viruses cause noises, and that you can fend them off with a nice coating of Mylar. But we’ve had to deal with the public, and know better.
I just got back from a long-overdue visit to the local vision-correction emporium, where I learned that for all these years, I’ve been fumbling through life only able to see 480 lines of resolution through my contact lenses. But now there are HD contact lenses. Bausch & Lomb’s PureVision2 HD lenses have been out for some time now, and I’m just learning about this upgrade to reality now.
Verizon really wants Sean to sign up for FiOS. Really, really wants him to sign up. He’s happy kicking it old-school with a regular old copper landline, and dumping the barrage of FiOS ads in the trash. So it was interesting when he got a letter apologizing for nonexistent “service issues” in his area and urging him to upgrade to the newer, shinier fiber optic network. The letter assures him that he can totally keep his current phone plan at its current price – even though the equivalent plan under FiOS is cheaper.