Monday, November 28, 2011

What is Cyber Monday and other holiday shopping questions answered

Happy Cyber Monday! Today is the Monday after Thanksgiving, which is one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. Here's how Cyber Monday and other "days" around Thanksgiving originated:
  • Cyber Monday:  the Monday after Thanksgiving. The term originated in 2005 in a press release, "'Cyber Monday' Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year." Research showed that 78 percent of online retailers reported a significant increase in sales in 2004 on the Monday after Thanksgiving. It's not a very productive day in the workplace; on Cyber Monday more than half of the dollars spent online originate from work computers.
  • Black Friday:  the day following Thanksgiving. Black Friday marks the first day of the Christmas shopping season, and retailers offer many deals to get shoppers in the doors. It's typically the busiest shopping day of the year. The term originated in the late 1960s, as a way for the Philadelphia police department to describe the huge traffic jams and crowded sidewalks in the city because of all the shoppers. In the 1980s, a different explanation for the term Black Friday arose:  that the day marked the time during the year when retailers shifted from operating at a loss (in the red) to a profit (in the black).
  • Small Business Saturday:  the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 as a way to encourage consumers to shop at their local stores. American Express also offers many free marketing materials to help retailers promote themselves for Small Business Saturday.
  • Big Wednesday:  Thanksgiving Eve. The night before Thanksgiving is the biggest drinking night of the year. It's a time when college students come home and get together with friends. For those working, there's plenty of time to recuperate before going back to work on Cyber Monday.
Have fun shopping today -- I hope that you find a great deal!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What to do when a reporter calls

The phone rings. It's a reporter from the local television station on the line, and he wants to talk to an executive at your company right away.

What do you do? First, take a deep breath. You don't need to respond right away -- start by asking the reporter some questions, such as:
  • When is your deadline?
  • What is the angle of your story?
  • How will the interview be conducted -- over the phone, in person, via satellite, etc.?
  • Whom else are you interviewing for the story?
Take note of the reporter's answers. Be sure to write down all of the reporter's contact information, and then tell the reporter that you will get back to him in time for his deadline. Then connect with the appropriate subject matter expert and prepare him or her for the interview.

In terms of deadlines, they are critically important to meet -- both for the reporter and for you. If you don't get back to a reporter in time, your organization or client probably will not be included in the story.

Monday, November 14, 2011

'Moves Like Jagger' and other songs about musicians

Maroon 5
"Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 is one of the catchiest songs that I have heard in a while, and it led me to think about what other musicians are distinguished enough to have their names in a song title.

Here are some of the songs that I found:
What other songs that have musician names in the title come to your mind?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Safer baby shampoo on the way

Thanks to a two-year campaign by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Johnson & Johnson has announced that it is phasing two carcinogenic chemicals out of its baby products worldwide:  formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and 1,4-dioxane.

The campaign started in March 2009 when the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a report, "No More Toxic Tub," that revealed that Johnson's Baby Shampoo, along with many other children's bath products, contained two carcinogens that were not listed on labels.

In addition to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the movement involved 40 organizations representing 1.7 million parents, the American Nurses Association and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Between July and October this year, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics purchased and reviewed labels of Johnson's Baby Shampoo sold in 13 countries to see if the products contained quaternium-15, a chemical preservative that kills bacteria by releasing formaldehyde.

The organization found that Johnson's Baby Shampoo sold in the United States, Australia, Canada, China and Indonesia contains quaternium-15, while Johnson's Baby Shampoo sold in Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the U.K. contain non-formaldehyde preservatives.

Another report was released last week, "Baby's Tub Is Still Toxic," and that's when Johnson & Johnson announced that it would phase out the chemicals.

Kudos to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for pursuing the issue and to Johnson & Johnson for understanding the importance of healthy babies.

P.S.  On the topic of different products in various countries, perhaps it's time for Coca-Cola to offer its pop formulated with sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup in the U.S. After all, Pepsi Throwback has become popular. . .
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