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2011 Holiday Party in Liechtenstein?


While Americans are quite pessimistic about the current state of the economy and the future…

CNN Money:

In 2010, chief executives at some of the nation’s largest companies earned an average of $11.4 million in total pay — 343 times more than a typical American worker, according to the AFL-CIO.

What’s a CEO to do with all this extra cash?

First they should hire more people…and then to celebrate, why not rent the country of Liechtenstein for a night or two?

Airbnb, a Couchsurfing-like website for properties, has partnered with an event company in the tiny but gorgeous principality of Liechtenstein to offer, well, the country itself for rent.

What’s the price tag?

Renting Liechtenstein, which sports also great skiing, magnificent castles and offshore banks, will set you back about $70,000 a night, but, understandably, the minimum stay is two nights.

Click on the shirt to brush up on your Liechtenstein knowledge. (Wikipedia)

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Filed under: Business, Finance, Random, World, , , ,

Ronald McDonald is back in da house


Not sure if you’ve noticed…but oddly enough, McDonald’s has been popping up in the news a lot lately.

It’s as though their PR and marketing teams are trying to change the greater audience’s perspective of the world’s largest hamburger fast food chain.

Nation’s Restaurant News were the first to report that

The red-headed clown, McDonald’s mascot for decades, will star in several new commercials advertising Happy Meals, encouraging children to visit the HappyMeal.com website, where they can upload pictures of themselves to be integrated into Ronald McDonald videos, a McDonald’s Corp. representative said Friday.

It will be interesting to see if McDonald’s can bring the children of this great tech age, to love the mascot that we all grew up with.

Further, as quoted in the WSJ:

The idea to instill demand directly in children, who will then pressure their parents, clearly works, Mr. Hanft [chief executive of marketing firm Hanft Projects] said. “But the problem with creating these little armies of kids is that you turn the parents against the brand,” he added.

On Tuesday, NYC Councilman Leroy Comrie announced:

his plan to introduce legislation that would ban toys from being included in unhealthy meals at fast food restaurants.

His proposed bill

would prohibit restaurants from distributing toys or other knickknacks geared toward children in meals that have more than 500 calories, 600 milligrams of sodium and 35 percent of calories from fat, excluding nuts, seeds and nut butters.

According to data compiled by Comrie’s office, McDonald’s Happy Meal contains 1,090 calories, Burger King’s Kid’s Meal contains 1,460 calories, Wendy’s kid’s portion meal contains 1,080 calories and KFC’s Kid Meal contains 680 calories.

If you recall my previous post No More Happy Meal toys for you (children in San Fran), in November of last year, San Francisco was the first US city to ban restaurants giving free toys with meals.

But not to end on a completely sour note for Ronald…the company formally announced its plan to hire 50,000 new US workers on April 19th.

McDonald’s said the hiring blitz would increase its U.S. workforce by 7.7 percent to 700,000 — which is no different from prior summer staff increases.

So what have we learned from all of this?  Just like any business in the marketplace, every company (established or not) has to revamp its marketing once-in-a-while (Ronald), and spend money (hire people), in order to compete and stay top-of-mind.

(Note: I tried to find a copy of the commercial online to no avail…so instead I leave you with one from the 80’s).

Filed under: Business, Food, Marketing, , , , , , ,

Are we too dependent on the Internet?


If you have never heard of the company Epsilon, I’m sure you’re well-aware of it now.  Over the weekend, the e-mail marketing company…

  • We are the world’s largest permission-based email marketing provider, sending over 40 billion emails annually
  • We work with over 2,500 clients, including 7 of the Fortune 10 who trust Epsilon to build and host their customer databases

…experienced a massive data breach.

I don’t know about you, but I received at least 5 different emails, from various companies that have my email address on file, alerting me of said breach.  But…not to worry, only my email address has been compromised, or so they say.

What I want to know is…why are all of these prominent companies working with just one email marketing company?  In a worst-case scenario situation, coincidentally oddly similar to this one… wouldn’t it be wiser to not hold so many ‘eggs in one basket”?  So that if a breach were to occur, the accounts would be limited in number…rather than the  possibly millions affected.  Also, most curious, how did this happen?

I’m all for eco-friendly…but maybe it’s time we revert back to pen and paper.

Filed under: Business, Marketing, Tech, , ,

Bringing an April fool’s joke to life


First, a brief history…namely because I was interested in learning the origins of April Fool’s Day.

The modern custom may have originated in France when the Gregorian calendar, which moved New Year’s Day from March 25 to January 1, was adopted in 1582. Those who continued to celebrate the end of New Year Week on April 1 were referred to as fools.         – Encyclopedia Britannica

Fantastic.  Now that we’re all caught up…

One of my favorite April Fool’s jokes of 2011 was Gmail Motion – ‘control Gmail with your body’.

Gmail Motion (click image to enlarge)

In response, a couple of people at MxR lab, within the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, decided to bring Gmail Motion to life.  Check it out!


 

 

Filed under: Business, Random, Tech, , ,

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