Friday, August 19, 2005

The best environmental ad I've ever heard

I just stumbled across this one today.

Crazy fact: more people die from air pollution than car accidents.

Creative Wonders link

Shake it like a polaroid picture

I haven't watched Much in a year now, but I doubt much has changed. Every rap/hip hop video opens with a shot of a cell phone with the logo prominently displayed. Then there is the electronic cameras, speakers and instruments.

But it doesn't stop at the visual product placement - the lyrics to rap songs are filled with brand name placement. Rap music is the most commercial of all ventures, despite its anti-commercial, anti-consumeristic and anti-establishment origins.

A favourite company of mine is Agenda Inc. that actually keeps tabs on the number of product placements per song, artist or album. With a system called American Brandstand, they calculate the number of ads a product will receive on the Top 20.

Kanye West won out in 2004 as the most consistent brand-dropper in the Top 20, citing 19 brands in 4 songs: Avis, Boost, Cadillac, Cartier, Cool Whip, Ensure,Geico Insurance, Hennessy, Jacob the Jeweler, Lexusx2, Mercedes, MTV, Nike x2, Pepsi, Rolex, Toys R Us, Versace

Overall Cadillac won out as the most mentioned brand in hip-hop in the Top 20 in 2004 with 70 mentions.

So what are rap stars drinking? Hennessey
What are they driving? Cadillacs and Mercedes
What were they wearing? Gucci

Curious to know what the brands Eminem is pushing?...its all here

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

American Beverage Association wants less pop in schoools

The American Beverage Association on Tuesday recommended limiting the availability of soft drinks in schools across the country, saying the industry needs to help fight the increasing rate of childhood obesity.

ABA President and CEO Susan Neely was to formally announce the organization's policy recommendation Wednesday at the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Seattle.

"Childhood obesity is a real problem," Neely told The Associated Press. "The individual companies have been doing several things to be part of the solution and there was an agreement among all of our leadership that we needed to take another step and take it as an industry."

Neely argues soft drinks aren't inherently bad but she wants parents to have the assurance that their children aren't drinking an excessive amount of sweetened drinks at school.

The association's board voted unanimously Tuesday to work with school districts to ensure that vending machines stock only bottled water and 100 percent juice in elementary schools. But most elementary schools already are soda-free, the association said.

Under the group's recommendation, middle school students would have access to additional drinks, like sports drinks, no-calorie soft drinks and low-calorie juice drinks. Middle schools could have additional machines with soft drinks and full-calorie juice drinks available for organizations that may hold meetings at the school, but the beverages couldn't be available during school hours.

High school students would have access to all types of drinks, including soda, but no more than 50 percent of the vending machine selections would be soft drinks.

"Parents tell us they'd like help in determining what products are sold in schools, and we're listening," Dawn Hudson, president and chief executive officer, Pepsi-Cola North America, said in a statement.

The association's recommendation isn't binding, but Neely said the 20-member board represents 85 percent of the bottlers involved in school vending.

Pepsi and Coca-Cola already had guidelines in place that prevented the sale of soda to students in elementary schools.

"These guidelines mark a commitment by the industry to provide schools with beverages that offer variety, nutrition and fewer calories, and are very similar to the Coca-Cola System's current guidelines in the U.S.," said Don Knauss, President and COO, Coca-Cola North America.

An estimated 9 million schoolchildren ages 6-19 nationwide are overweight, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since 1980, the number of overweight children has doubled, and the number of overweight adolescents has tripled, according to the

Individual school districts around the country have responded to the problem, with many starting to get rid of soda and candy in vending machines and replacing them with healthier items.

Several states have considered or enacted laws establishing nutrition standards in schools, including whether students should have access to vending machine soft drinks.

Of the 38 states that considered legislation this year dealing with school nutrition, 15 enacted legislation that addressed the issue in some way, said Amy Winterfeld, a health policy analyst with the state legislatures group.

North Carolina this year passed a measure similar to the beverage association's recommendation. That law extends the soda ban currently in place in elementary schools to machines in middle schools. No more than half of the beverages offered to students in high schools from vending machines can be sugared soft drinks. Bottled water also must be offered. Diet soft drinks still can be sold in middle schools.

According to the state legislatures conference, annual obesity-attributed medical expenses in the United States were estimated at $75 billion in 2003

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


eek. we've been flooded. the office will be out of commission today as a broken water main has left my office in 2 inches of water, and the rest of the office in not much better shape.

what could this flooding mean?

is it a purge? a cleanse? a washing out of the old and bringing in of the new?

personally I see some parallels to the ark, especially since I am writing about double points days at pharmasave.

or else just some bad luck.

Monday, August 15, 2005

LOHAS is moving mainstream

America Online Inc. founder Steve Case is investing $20 million in a producer and distributor of yoga and Pilates videos, part of his ongoing bet that activities once associated with a new-age lifestyle are going mainstream.

Case is going into business with Jirka Rysavy, chief executive of Gaiam Inc., who lives in a cabin outside Boulder, Colo., with no running water and an outhouse for a master bath. Rysavy said he and Case had "an alignment in mission."
Steve Case says he thinks products for such things as yoga and Pilates are no longer new-age, but rather are becoming the norm.

Gaiam, based in Broomfield, Colo., is pursuing a market defined as "lifestyles of health and sustainability," known as LOHAS. The Natural Marketing Institute says that market includes 50 million Americans, about a sixth of the population.

That shopper is more likely to be female, over age 45, and with a high level of education, though not necessarily a higher-than-average income, the NMI reports. According to the LOHAS Journal, which is owned by Gaiam, those buyers spend $226.8 billion a year on feel-good products such as organic produce, hybrid cars and acupuncture sessions.

Case met Rysavy at the annual LOHAS conference in Marina Del Ray, Calif., in April, Rysavy said.

"We believe we're nearing a tipping point as more and more people seek healthier, more balanced lives," the vacationing Case said in a press release, commenting on the deal with Gaiam.

Gaiam is the latest investment Case has made through his new investment vehicle Revolution LLC, which he launched earlier this year with $500 million of his own money. Since then, Case has spent most of his time scouring for deals in the healthful lifestyle market. To date, Revolution has spent roughly $145 million in the health and wellness field, buying controlling stakes in Miraval -- Life in Balance, a Tucson, Ariz., resort and spa company, and Wisdom Media Group Inc., a radio and television company focused on health and wellness that was recently relaunched under the name Lime: Healthy Living With a Twist.

Lime has 6.5 million cable subscribers, a Web site and a 24-hour channel on Sirius Satellite Radio. It plans to roll out wireless alerts consisting of reminders and daily inspirations, said chief executive C.J. Kettler. As part of Revolution's deal with Gaiam, Gaiam will provide programming to Lime and produce videos of Lime shows.

Gaiam DVDs are distributed by major retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart, and Rysavy estimated that the company has more than 50 percent of the market share in yoga and Pilates videos. Last year, the company reported revenue of $96.7 million.

In addition to DVDs, the company sells its yoga bricks and balance balls through high-end retailers such as Whole Foods Markets and Bed Bath & Beyond, but keeps them out of discount stores such as Sam's Club in order to avoid, as Rysavy puts it, "polluting the brand."

The infusion of capital from Revolution will help Gaiam boost its core DVD business by financing the company's planned $40 million acquisition of video and DVD company GoodTimes Entertainment Ltd., Rysavy said.

While Rysavy is optimistic about the LOHAS market, Case knows a sure thing is rare when it comes to investing. The 2000 merger of AOL and Time Warner Inc. proved to be ill-fated after AOL became the subject of multiple investigations and shareholder lawsuits. Case, who was forced to step down as chairman, remains on the board of Time Warner.

However, LOHAS consumers offer something snarky bloggers and fickle investors don't, Rysavy said: "Once they're introduced to the lifestyle, they're very loyal."