Monday, 28 June 2010
Saturday, 26 June 2010
Coke sees ‘phenomenal’ result from Twitter ads
By Tim Bradshaw in Cannes
Published: June 25 2010
Coca-Cola saw “phenomenal” results from its first experiment with paid advertising on Twitter, the drinks company’s digital marketing chief told the Financial Times.
The US soft drinks company is only the second brand to sponsor a “trending topic”, using Twitter’s “promoted tweets” to go into online discussion about the World Cup this week.
It saw 86 million “impressions” or views of the ads in 24 hours, said Carol Kruse, vice-president for global interactive marketing at Coca-Cola, which is an official sponsor of the football tournament.
Coke also saw an “engagement rate” of 6 per cent, compared with the approximately 0.02 per cent of people who click on a regular online advertisement.
Such enthusiasm from a large advertiser will come as a boost to Twitter’s nascent attempts to generate revenues from its 190m monthly visitors.
“The amount of impressions in such a short period of time around our whole World Cup campaign, to me it was a phenomenal time,” she told the FT. “It made this emotional connection at the time, it was great.”
Social media such as Twitter and Facebook have dominated discussions among marketers and ad agencies in Cannes.
Twitter first introduced its advertising system in April, allowing companies such as Starbucks and Sony Pictures to pay to display their postings on pages of search results for popular topics.
In the second phase of its commercialisation, Disney Pixar last week became the first company to buy an ad within its “trending topic” section.
Unlike search results, this form of sponsorship appears on the main page Twitter users see when they are logged into the service, at the bottom of the user-generated list of the 10 most popular talking points on the site.
Coke chose to become the second company to sponsor a trending topic during Wednesday’s final qualifying matches, which saw teams from the US and England – two of the biggest nations on Twitter – go through to the next stage of the tournament.
“We have formed fabulous relationships with Facebook, YouTube and Twitter,” she said. “We get a lot of first looks and we jumped on that one [promoted tweets] immediately. It is the perfect example of us wanting to learn in this space.”
Coke’s Twitter messages congratulated the England and US teams, linked to videos on YouTube and invited people to “share their celebration” of their teams’ success.
Although Ms Kruse did not reveal how much Coke had spent on the campaign, she indicated that the test had not been expensive compared with other forms of online advertising.
“When it’s something new, it’s hard for publishers to know what the value is,” she said. “We didn’t know how it would work out but we wanted to learn in that space ... They [Twitter] also wanted to learn with us.”
Twitter is “one of the very few vehicles out there that can give you that kind of volume”, said Gaston Legorburu, worldwide creative officer at SapientNitro, an ad agency that works with Coke. Although Yahoo and MSN also provide “potential ... it’s not as relevant”, he said.
Some Twitter users have voiced concerns about the introduction of advertising. But many advertisers are excited about the potential of social networks to amplify word-of-mouth recommendations of their products.
On Thursday, Marc Pritchard, chief marketing officer at Procter & Gamble, told the FT that the world’s largest advertiser was “with Facebook in a big way”.
His opposite number at Unilever, Keith Weed, also enthused about social networks, saying that they provided an opportunity to create a deeper “one-to-one” relationship with consumers that was “something you couldn’t imagine doing with traditional media” such as television and newspapers.
“I think the capability of pulling together vast amounts of people and spreading messages among vast amounts of people is something different and unique,” Mr Weed said. “These guys are running businesses. They will and they must [monetise them] ... How they do it, they have to be careful and they have to be clever.”
However, Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, who was interviewing Mr Weed, said the “jury is still out on the effectiveness of digital on brand-building”, comparing Facebook with letter writing.
“Traditional media seem to us to still be among the best ways of building brands,” he said. “One-to-one communication seems to us to be a more promotional device – less strategic and more tactical.”
Hard times for hard rock as high prices hit ticket sales.
Paul McCartney among stars suffering from drop in live music sales as experts say prohibitive prices threaten stadium rock
On the eve of his latest festival appearance, tickets to see Paul McCartney are on sale for less than face value.
Some of those in the crowd when McCartney plays Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park, London, on Sunday will have paid as much as £269, but today standard tickets were still available, on sale for just £29.99.
McCartney is not the only star struggling to fill gigs. Hundreds of tickets are available for Bon Jovi's nights at the 02 this weekend starting at £25 — half the cheapest original price. Even Lady Gaga is not immune; tickets for her recent Manchester gig were also being sold for half their face value, at £37.50, hours before the show.
In recent years the boom in live music has compensated in part for declining album sales, but experts warn that by charging prohibitive prices performers are risking the very existence of stadium rock.
Adam Elfin, from the First Contact Agency, said stars, managers and promoters were overestimating artists' power and overpricing their tickets. "That might be because their fan base is not as strong as they thought it was, the economy, or the fact that they have played recently and people are asking themselves why they should pay that type of price again.
There has to be some dynamism on the price. Prices are up to five times higher than they were in the early 90s, according to some experts.
Music Industry blogger Bob Lefsetz said that pre-sale deals for concerts, with companies like American Express which reserve a number of tickets as benefits for customers, meant there were often only a small number of decent tickets at a reasonable price for the general public. Fans who do pay full price for a ticket, meanwhile, often see the same ticket sold at a discounted price.The trend reflects a wider problem for the music industry.
While radio once drove exposure, the shift of music into the internet means it is harder for them to work together.
"In the future at best I think we are going to have arena acts playing in theatres, theatre acts playing in clubs — and as a result there is just going to be a lot less money involved, with much less fancy production, less marketing and much less public." said Lefsetz.
Sothebys is expecting a record auction as people reject the unpredictable stock market in favour of impressionist art.
EXPLANATION: Yesterday George Osborne, the Chancellor, announced £6.2 billion of spending cuts, including banning first-class travel for government departments, and scrapping chauffeur-driven cars for specific ministers. The cartoonist imagines what would happen if the Royal Family were forced to make similar economies. Prince Philip, who has a reputation for plain speaking, does not appreciate having to use public transport!
VOCABULARY: Bloody is a swear word used to emphasize something you are saying, epecially something you dislike or feel strongly about something. • I can't get the bloody car to start. • This bloody government has made a real mess of the economy.
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Say Bom Dia to Brazilian Businesses.
Their economy is strong, and they're buying U.S. companies.
By Daniel GrossPosted Friday, June 18, 2010.
"Look out for the Brazilians and the Indians," the CEO of a large Fortune 500 consumer products company told me at a lunch a few months ago. And he wasn't talking about the World Cup. He was responding to a question about where the next wave of foreign investors in U.S. assets will come from. A few years ago, dealmakers were abuzz—and many analysts were fearful—about the prospect of sovereign wealth funds from the Persian Gulf and China shifting their strategies from buying U.S. government bonds to purchasing U.S. companies. Since many of those bubble-era deals exploded, the sovereign wealth funds have become much less aggressive about entering the U.S. market.
But now there are signs that the Brazilians may be picking up some of the slack. Last week, Brazilian meatpacker Marfrig agreed to acquire Keystone Foods for $1.25 billion. As a result, the Brazilian firm will now become a key supplier to all-American fast-food chains like Subway and McDonald's. According to Thomson Reuters, there have been eight transactions since last October involving Brazilian firms purchasing U.S. companies or assets from U.S. companies. And there are likely to be more.
Brazilian firms are in a good position to start investing. Driven by a rising middle class, robust commodity markets, and trade with China, Brazil's domestic economy powered through the economic crisis and the recession. Its banking system, which puts directors on the hook for losses, didn't melt down in an orgy of speculation. The country's large firms have healthy balance sheets, and the Brazilian currency has appreciated against the dollar. And like Brazilian soccer players, who ply their trade in every league around the world, Brazilian executives are increasingly comfortable going global. A KPMG survey of executives from 17 countries that was released in March found that "Brazilian businessmen are the most optimistic in the world regarding the behaviour of global economy next year."
The acquisitions have centered mostly on large-scale, old-economy industries—the type that first gained national scale in the United States on the backs of the railroads in the 1890s: beer, meatpacking, oil, chemicals. InBev, the Belgian-Brazilian beer company, led the way in 2008 by acquiring Anheuser-Busch. JBS, the giant Brazilian meatpacker, bought Pilgrim's Pride for $800 million last fall and then in January 2010 acquired Swift for $1.4 billion. It now has a very large presence in the United States. The same month, Petrobras, Brazil's oil behemoth, bought a chunk of Devon Energy's stake in the Gulf of Mexico's Cascade field. In February, Brazilian resin producer Braskem acquired the polypropylene business of Sunoco Chemicals for $350 million. In April, Banco do Brasil, the big bank largely owned by Brazil's government, which has outposts in Miami, New York, and Washington, D.C., received permission from the Federal Reserve to set up retail banking operations in the United States. "We will open 15 new branches in the U.S. over the next five years and we are also considering acquisitions of small local banks to build our operation," Allan Toledo, vice president for international affairs at Banco do Brasil, told Dow Jones.
This source of investment is much more appealing to U.S. nationalists and editorialists than cash coming from other members of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) bloc. The prospect of Chinese firms buying U.S. technology and oil companies has set off alarm bells in hawkish precincts. The Treasury Department is expressing concern over the notion of a Russian firm buying the ICQ instant-messaging service from AOL. Yes, some foreign policy analysts have worried that Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is too cozy with Iran and Venezuela, but nobody has fretted about well-run Brazilian conglomerates owning well-known U.S. brands. That's a good thing. For America needs Brazilian businesses—and businesses from all over the world—to take a new look at the U.S. market. For all its problems, the United States generally remains the largest single recipient of foreign direct investment in the world. Investments by foreign firms played an important role in last year's recovery. And with the domestic companies and investors deleveraging and hoarding cash, foreign direct investment is vital to fund growth and expansion. Wall Street bankers should begin to learn some Portuguese phrases.
Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2257361/
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
What is Sao Paulo like?
What should you do? What should you avoid doing?
What are the best and the worst things in doing business in Sao Paulo?
Andrew Downie .
Published: June 14 2010 .
With abundant images of favelas and urban violence it is easy to see Brazil as a poor country. But that is only half the story. It is also a nation with the super-rich.
Just ask Carlos Jereissati, the chief executive of Iguatemi Empresa de Shopping Centers, a company that runs 12 high-end malls.
Mr Jereissati has just opened a new shopping centre in Brasília, his first outside São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, and is building five more. The R$790m ($427m) investment is, Mr Jereissati says, in preparation for a future in which more people in more cities will have more money.
“The luxury goods market is expanding in Brazil,” he says. “Brands such as Louis Vuitton, Ermenegildo Zelda and Salvatore Ferragamo are looking for opportunities in cities such as Belo Horizonte, Campinas, Porto Alegre and Salvador.
“There is an expectation of rising incomes and more jobs and a new class of executives and an upper middle class with higher salaries who want these products.”
Crucial to this is Brazil’s recent economic performance. South America’s largest nation was barely affected by the global crisis and is already growing quickly again, by 9 per cent in the first quarter of 2010 compared with the first quarter of 2009.
The crisis hit Latin America’s rich less than their counterparts in other continents and the percentage of ultra-rich is higher than in any other region, according to the 2009 World Wealth Report carried out by Capgemini and Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management.
In 2008, the number of high net worth individuals in Brazil rose to 131,000, surpassing the number in Australia and Spain and taking Brazil to 10th on the world table of super-rich, the report said.
Most of them live in the city of São Paulo, where 70 per cent of the country’s luxury market is concentrated. The second-biggest market is the surrounding São Paulo state, which is home to several cities of more than 1m inhabitants, as well as hundreds of multi-million dollar companies. Rio de Janeiro is third in the ranking.
One notable aspect is how new markets are opening outside the two main cities. In addition to inaugurating a shopping centre in Brasília in March, Iguatemi is planning another in São Paulo and four more in Alphaville, Jundiai, Ribeirão Preto and São José do Rio Preto in São Paulo state.
In the flagship mall alone, seven boutiques have opened since the crisis, including Gucci, Diane von Furstenberg and Christian Louboutin. The Louis Vuitton store there is the highest grossing luxury store of all international brands in Brazil and von Furstenberg said she took in a record-breaking $1m in the store’s first six weeks.
“Sales have been absolutely great,” says Mr Louboutin, whose first shop selling shoes priced in four figures opened last year.
“I thought it would take time for people to realise I have a store but it has been the opposite. Brazil is a big country with a lot of people and there are many women who love to buy beautiful things. I realised this because we had so many Brazilian clients who came to my stores in Paris and New York and Miami.”
Louboutin plans another store in Iguatemi’s Brasília location. Mr Jereissati says the booming domestic market is a lucrative port in the economic storm. In most places, belts are being tightened as fortunes shrink and credit dries up. But credit is freer than ever in Brazil and locals are still spending.
“Brazil gets attention because there wasn’t a recession,” says Vera Lopes, the Brazilian head of the Luxury Marketing Council, a worldwide group of high end brands.
“I get a lot of phone calls from people who want to come and open a store here because they know they can keep selling. Brazil has two advantages. One, sales are strong and two, it’s a market that is still relatively undeveloped,” she adds
As if to underline that fact, China has 85 Louis Vuitton stores while Brazil has just five, says Carlos Ferreirinha, president of MCF Consultoria e Conhecimento, a local consultancy.
He says that sales of luxury goods are worth $6.7bn in Brazil each year and estimates the market will grow by 11.5 per cent this year.
The fashion and accessories sector is the most obvious area for ambitious investors, but top-end vehicles, real estate and beauty-related products, such as spas and resorts, are enjoying above-average growth, he adds.
“You can see how the market is growing and it’s not the same buyers. New people have access, as the number of millionaires grows visibly,” says José Eduardo Brandão, commercial director of Ocean Air Taxi Aereo, a firm that sells private planes and helicopters.
“There is a lot more diversity today,” he says. “In the 1960s and 1970s, it was farmers and cattle ranchers who had private aircraft, now any executive who wants to have a nationwide presence can’t do without an aeroplane or a helicopter.”
Mr Ferreirinha, however, says that growth is still only at the beginning.
“Growth here is fast and continuous because regions outside São Paulo and Rio are growing,” he says. “But I wouldn’t say we are on fire. There is still a long way to go.”
Sunday, 13 June 2010
TRANSCRIPT: “Abby Sunderland is alive and well ... Search and rescuer crews spotted the 16-year-old and her boat early this morning in the Indian Ocean hundreds of miles from land. The boat was still upright in the water but the mast and sail were broken.” (WCBS)
Sunderland was attempting to become the youngest person to sail around the world solo. That was before she encountered 30-foot swells and high winds. And now many critics are wondering if she was too young to attempt the feat.
We are analyzing coverage from WCBS, ninemsn, ABC and The Herald Sun.
First, to Australia's ninemsn — the controversy continues, even though Sunderland has been found.
“People had been very critical of this even before Abby set off on this adventure. One very well respected critic here in Los Angeles likened it to some type of child abuse.”
“They are endangering their rescuers in the southern ocean in the middle of winter. I mean, its great that we have these adventurers out there, but when they go out and do stupid things, and this is stupid, they are endangering the rescuers.”
Sunderland’s father, who was obviously supportive, defended his daughter's voyage and told ABC News that everyday activities can be just as dangerous.
"How many teenagers die in car accidents every year? … Should we stop them from driving a car?"
But one British sailor quoted in The Herald Sun says sailing around the world at 16 is too young and now it's just a popular trend.
"…being the youngest to sail around the world has become the fashion at the moment… When are we going to get 14-year-olds saying 'I want to do it?'"
So what do you think? Should Abby’s parents have allowed her to set sail?
A British scientist says he's the first person in the world to be 'infected' with a computer virus. Dr Mark Gasson contaminated a computer chip when it was inserted in his hand. Sky's Health Correspondent Thomas Moore explains.
The CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs has taken to the stage in San Francisco this evening to outline the company's new products for the year - including the iPhone 4. Fox Business correspondent Connell McShane reports from San Francisco.
The latest Sky News video headlines : Sunday June 13th, 2010.
Saturday, 12 June 2010
Footballers from all over the world are about to take part in the sport’s greatest festival. Their employers may be watching with mixed feelings .
Jun 3rd 2010 .
FOR a month, starting on June 11th, the eyes of half the world will be rolling in exasperation, boredom or indifference. The eyes of the other half will be glued to television and computer screens in living rooms, bars and (admit it) offices, watching soccer matches beamed from South Africa. The FIFA World Cup, the biggest international festival of the most popular sport on the planet, is about to kick off.
Because a vast, global audience is worth a fortune in broadcasting and marketing rights, FIFA, football’s global governing body, can expect a healthy profit from Africa’s first World Cup, even though it recently had to find an extra $100m to make sure everything would be ready on time. Citigroup, a bank, estimates that the previous tournament, in Germany in 2006, yielded $1.8 billion. Most of what FIFA makes is reinvested in the game—for example, in coaching youngsters.
The players in South Africa are employed not by FIFA or the 200-odd national federations affiliated to it but by clubs, chiefly in Europe. Some, such as Lionel Messi, of Barcelona and Argentina (pictured), joined their clubs as boys. There are few other industries in which businesses must lend their employees to a higher authority, but FIFA obliges clubs to do just that. In effect, argues Stefan Szymanski, an economist at City University’s Cass Business School, FIFA and its affiliates can use their monopoly over football to borrow clubs’ best assets (and sometimes return them tired or damaged). Like it or not, the clubs must comply. Mr Szymanski says this arrangement is “a bit like the Mafia”.
Players must be released not only for the World Cup and its qualifying matches, but also for regional tournaments and friendlies (matches unrelated to a competition). Clubs face losing players to international calls from all parts of the globe, not just to their own national teams. The damage to the club can be severe. Michael Essien, a Ghanaian star, has not played for Chelsea, his London club, since being crocked in training for the Africa Cup of Nations in January. It is not the first time he was injured while playing for his country. He is missing the World Cup too.
Over half of the non-Europeans in South Africa play for European clubs. There is even a North Korean, who plays in Russia. European clubs are the biggest employers of the talent in South Africa. Of the 736 players in the 32 final squads, 545 are with European teams; 385 ply their trade in the five richest leagues (though not always in the top division).
The conflict between club and country is one of the oldest in football. But as more money has flowed into the game, players have become much more valuable. Football’s labour market, like many others, has become globalised. Internazionale, the Milanese team that last month won the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s premier club competition, took the field without a single Italian. And the number of important international matches has risen. South American countries have had to play 18 games in qualifying for recent World Cups; for 1990 they played only four.
National calls can be ducked occasionally. It is remarkable how often players sustain a slight injury on the eve of a friendly. A few years ago Europe’s leading clubs seemed to be prepared to contemplate a breach with FIFA. But the success of the Champions League, created by UEFA, the European confederation, has changed this: it provides leading clubs with more games and hence more money. Another factor is that most players gladly pull on the national shirt, especially for a World Cup. Keeping your staff happy is good management.
These days the European Club Association (ECA), founded in 2008, prefers a different approach, “more towards dialogue and co-operation”, says Michele Centenaro, its general secretary. In the ECA’s first year it agreed with FIFA and UEFA on a system of payments for players in the World Cup and UEFA’s quadrennial tournament. For the World Cup, all clubs—not just in Europe—will receive about $2,000 per player per day, amounting to $40m in all. This is styled not as compensation but as “a reward for the contribution to the success of the tournament”. This may be tiny for behemoths like Barcelona or Chelsea, but helps poorer clubs.
There is no similar deal for other regional tournaments, such as the Copa América, in South America, and the African cup. These take place every two years; worse, the African event is in the middle of the European season (though it is now a little more conveniently timed).
Coaches still grumble, but clubs do not want to fight over the African confederation’s main source of revenue. Non-European players are not asked to travel outside the continent for friendlies more than once a season—which explains why teams such as Argentina and Brazil sometimes play in Europe. And clubs gain if their players do well on the international stage and go up in value. But bones of contention remain, notably insurance. It is bad enough having your business’s assets broken by strangers who pay little for the privilege; even worse when you must cover the risk.
The Economist Newspaper International
Brazil sees economy surge by 9%.
Tuesday, 8 June 2010 16:10 UK
Brazil's economy grew at its fastest rate in at least 14 years in the first three months of 2010, official figures have shown.
Its gross domestic product (GDP) surged by 9% compared with the same period a year earlier.
However, higher interest rates and the withdrawal of some tax breaks are expected to cool growth eventually.
Brazil's economy is the largest in Latin America and the eighth-biggest in the world.
Agriculture and industry were among the growth sectors, the government said. 'Confirmation'
Much of Brazil's economy is driven by domestic consumer demand rather than exports - which analysts say means it is relatively insulated from Europe's debt crisis and the projected slow recovery of the US.
"These figures are confirmation of what the market was talking about, a strong first quarter with very strong domestic demand despite the weak external sector," said Pedro Tuesta, senior Latin America economist at research firm 4Cast Inc.
The government said the annual growth was the swiftest pace seen since at least 1996.
Brazil's economy grew by 2.7% on the previous three months - again beating analysts' expectations.
A guide to the growth of the beautiful game's global festival, and to the economics of footballing prowess.