Friday, December 27, 2013

You can still reach rich people on tv -- you just need to know where to look.

Over the past few years data has been released showing that television is becoming an increasingly downscale medium.   Here is a blog I wrote about the topic back in 2009.

When you think about it, it make a lot of sense.  Since most wealthy people work full time how could they possibly devote 7-8 hours a day to watching tv?  And then there's the fact that the richer you are the more likely you are to read, so these folks are spending their mornings with The Wall Street Journal.

But, as it turns out, there is a television network that is the ideal place to reach people with household incomes of $100,000+.  Any guesses?  The answer is HGTV.  In the third quarter of 2013, HGTV was the most watched cable network for this target -- during prime time, daytime and weekends.  (Johnson, 2013)

I suppose I should have guessed when I read that Hillary Clinton said her favorite show was "Love It or List It."  I'm not so keen on that one.  But, whenever we're bored my husband will say -- "Let's watch some people buy houses."  So we too are part of the trend.  What about you?

Johnson, K. (2103, November 8)  Canada Has Its Close-Up.  Wall Street Journal.  pM3

Friday, December 20, 2013

So why isn't the FTC doing something about vitamin and supplement advertising?

According to their website the mission of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC for short) is "to prevent business practices that are anticompetitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers..."  Really?  You could have fooled me. 

On December 16, 2013, the Annals of Internal Medicine published an editorial accompanied by two original studies and a review of existing research entitled "Enough is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements."  Why?  Because they don't work.  (Forbes, 2013)

This is hardly new news.  Evidence has been mounting for years.  In 2009, the Wall Street Journal published Jennifer Corbett Dooren's article "Vitamins Fail to Reduce Health Risks for Women," detailing the results of what was then the largest multivitamin study in postmenopausal women conducted to date.  The results of the NIH sponsored study were published in the Feb. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, and they showed taking vitamins and supplements resulted in  "no meaningful benefit."  (Dooren, 2009)

In 2011, Peter Murray writing for SingularityHUB published an article entitled "Studies consistently fail to show benefits of dietary supplements -- experts think it's time to reevaluate," which discussed several studies (Iowa Woman's Health and SELECT) which actually showed increased mortality and prostate cancer for those who took vitamins/supplements versus those who didn't.  (Murray, 2011)

And then there's my personal favorite, posted by Alice on her wholegrainalice  blog in September 2011 entitled "Vitamin Pills Don't Work," which lists, with references, all of the studies published which not only failed to show positive effects for vitamins but also unearthed some negative ones.  (Alice, 2011)

As far as I know the only study to date that has showed a positive result was the 2012 Centrum study of multi-vitamins on healthy 50+ male doctors.  And given the selectivity of the participants included in the study, I think their advertising should carry a  legal disclaimer  -- which of course it doesn't.   (Rabin, 2012)

But that doesn't begin to compare with the hundreds of false ads we see daily for these products.  Ads that lead to $30 billion in sales in 2011.  Even while the public continues to get sicker.  What's the point of funding government agencies to protect consumers when they are clearly not doing anything of the kind?

The FDA says it doesn't regulate vitamins and supplements because they are not drugs.  Really?  If people are taking them to prevent disease and increase longevity then it sounds like they are drugs to me.  But hey,  I'm an advertising maven so I say it's time for the FTC to step in where the FDA has let us down and protect the public from these false claims.  Isn't that what they're supposed to be doing?

Forbes, T. (2013, December 17)  Journal Recommends 'None-A-Day' Multivitamins.  Retrieved December 17, 2013, from,

Dooren, J. (2009, February 10)  Vitamins Fail to Reduce Health Risks for Women.  Retrieved February 10, 2009, from

Murray, P. (2011, October 31)  Studies consistently fail to show benefits of dietary supplements -- experts think it's time to reevaluate.  Retrieved October 31, 2011, from

Rabin, R. (2012, October 22)  Curbing the Enthusiasm on Daily Multivitamins.  Retrieved October 22, 2012, from

Friday, December 13, 2013

Can limited edition caps with a charitable angle convince people to buy Speedo bathing suits online?

As a former competitive synchronized swimmer, I am not sure if I am considered one of the two million performance swimmers in the US, or one of the 21 million fitness swimmers, but either way, I am a Speedo loyalist.  They earned my loyalty by producing superior longer lasting suits, and I still go through three or four each year.  Therefore it didn't surprise me when the other swim suit makers conceded the performance market to Speedo a few years ago.  It also doesn't surprise me that they rarely advertise since having Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin wear your suits during the Olympics basically says it all.

But, Speedo has apparently decided to try to connect with casual water enthusiasts and they are doing it by combining two big Gen Y trends -- limited editions and charitable connections.  Specifically five swimmers have partnered with artists and their favorite charities to design the caps.  Videos describing the process have been posted online and all the typical social media has been employed.  (Mahoney, 2013)

Based on everything I know about the target, the campaign might increase Gen Y sales.  But the goal that struck me as unrealistic was that the company hopes that this will help them to increase e-commerce sales.  Hmm.  This is not a product that lends itself to online sales.  The different styles fit differently so I find I need to try them on before I buy.  I imagine that a casual buyer would be even more reluctant to take a chance.  Net, net, I am not sure that any advertising can achieve this goal and hope that Speedo is realistic about their ability to do so.  Meanwhile though I'll let you know if I see any of the caps at NYU's pool.

Mahoney, S. (2013, December 10)  In Social Splash, Speedo Connects Artists With Athletes.  Retrieved December 12, 2013, from

Friday, December 6, 2013

I hate to be trendy, but I am suffering from tech burnout.

According to a new report from JWTIntelligence, a top trend for 2014 is "rage against the machine."  (McClellan, 2013)  I don't know about you, but I am really feeling it.  For some strange reason it seems like all of my electronics are dying at once.  Some were quite old -- like my 32-bit 2007 HP computer.  But, it doesn't change the fact that I have spent hours installing new machines and downloading software. 

Of course it's not the same version of software that I had before so there has been some tedious relearning involved and the discovery that some of the changes Microsoft made in PowerPoint have hampered my ability to create my yearly calendar.  I can't imagine why they would reduce functionality if not to get me to buy yet more software.  Maybe they should change the name of the company to Scrooge.    

Then there's the fact that my new computers have decided to form a network without even asking me.  I have no idea what's going on or why.  And, I am afraid to mess with it for fear that I will end up erasing files.

Which brings me to my biggest peeve of all.  I was lucky enough to be one of the 38 million people whose Adobe account information was hacked.  They sent me a curt email, barely apologizing and casually suggesting that I change all my passwords.  Really?  It took me hours!  And, I haven't even bought anything from them in years.  When I went on their site to delete my account, there was no way to do it!!!  The only option was to join a line for a live operator.  An hour later I gave up.  So I have settled for corrupting all my information on their site so the next time it gets stolen it won't matter. 

But I have also begun to close all as many of my online accounts as I can and am rethinking all of my online purchasing.  So all those vendors that I have abandoned can thank Adobe for losing my business just in time for the holidays.  In fact, I sincerely hope that they do.

McClellan, S. (2013, December 5)  Consumers Are Becoming Fed Up With Technology And Change.  Retrieved December 6, 2013, from,