Although Hurricane Irene advanced at a mere 14 miles per hour over the weekend, a much slower pace than typical coastal hurricanes, it stretched over 260 miles from the center in some directions, affecting the populations of 12 states- possibly the greatest number of people ever threatened by a single storm in the United States. While it did not wreak as much havoc as originally anticipated, many states are continuing to battle raging floodwaters, far-reaching power outages, and immense structural damage to buildings and homes. The hurricane took at least 21 lives in nine states, but the full extent of devastation has yet to be determined. On behalf of Pinnacle, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the storm.
In Manhattan, authorities far overestimated the impact of Irene, which many New Yorkers affectionately refer to as, “Hurricane I-rain.” Citydwellers stocked up on food, water, batteries, and other survival tools at the end of last week when a state of emergency was declared. Fortunately for the city that never sleeps, a lost weekend of sales and the costs of repairing storm damage appear to be the only casualties.
And on a sunnier note, Manhattanites can put their promotional umbrellas back into their coat closets to save them for another rainy day!
If you’ve ever been to the emergency room with a less-than-life-threatening affliction, you know that there’s a good chance you might have to wait upwards of an hour before seeing a doctor. Well, not anymore, thanks to a new technology that allows hospitals to publicize emergency wait times via text message.
How does it work? Patients on the way to the hospital can text a designated number and, within seconds, receive a message that contains a list of local hospitals and their current emergency room wait times.
In recent years, some hospitals have used digital billboards or designated websites to publicize this pertinent information. Billboards are costly, however, and require that organizations have a large enough budget to spend on such technologies. While websites offer a cost-effective solution, they are not nearly as ubiquitous or practical as text messages. In order to find out the wait time from a website, patients must either waste precious time looking up the information before they leave the house – or have a smartphone and a driver so that they can access the site while en route.
The Georgia License Plate Design Contest reopened for voting on Monday, easing concerns that a misunderstanding about an optional “In God We Trust” sticker marred the outcome of the original results.
Of the eight semi-finalists, three designs featured the sticker on the bottom of the license plate while the other five displayed a county name, just like the current Georgia plates. According to officials, it was not clear to voters that the “In God We Trust” label would be an optional addition to the winning plate. Thus, to mitigate confusion, the Department of Revenue decided to showcase the eight individual designs with a blank placeholder to represent where individuals would display the sticker of their choosing.
A few weeks ago, the President & CEO of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) put out the following video blog about the association’s new initiative to develop and implement a system of generally accepted brand valuation standards – a system that, he says, our economy currently lacks.
In the video, Bob Liodice discusses the relationship between marketing and brand value. He is a firm believer that investing in the former is essential for the growth of the latter “If we don’t invest in marketing activities,” he says, “we could be damaging our brand value.”
The video comes in the midst of efforts from the Obama administration and the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children to cut back on the amount of junk food marketing and advertising initiatives specifically geared toward kids. Strict new guidelines have been proposed that could potentially cut current food & beverage advertising expenditures by 20%, reducing total sales by businesses in this industry by $30 billion in as little as a year. Of course, there would be job losses to go along with that dollar amount – 378,000 jobs over a four-year period, according to the ANA.
However, these brands won’t only be losing money and manpower. As Liodice notes in his video, marketing efforts directly relate to brand power, so if marketing initiatives are cut, brand value will also take a hit. He says that “we know empirically that strong brands means strong operating results, which means higher shareholder equity…organizations that have strong brands have a higher stock market value than those that do not.” Putting restrictions on how and to whom members of the food & beverage industry can advertise might not just affect these companies’ employees and profits, but our economy as a whole.
At an American Diabetes Association meeting this past Sunday, researchers announced that while diet sodas may be free of calories, they are not free of health risks.
In a study held by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonia, researchers followed the health of 474 diet soda drinkers for 10 years. After the testing period came to an end, they found that the participants who drank diet soda increased their waist size by 70% more than those who completely avoided low-calorie and calorie-free soft drinks.
What concerned the authors even more were the health risks they found to be associated with drinking diet sodas. Previous studies have suggested that chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other health risks may be directly correlated to an individual’s waist size. In hopes of supporting this claim, the UT Health Science Center research team tested the correlation between diet soda consumption and diabetes in mice. They found that the mice that consumed food laced with aspartame (the sweetener in some diet sodas) had higher blood sugar levels than the mice that ate normal food, which means that the artificial sweetener aspartame could very well contribute to the development of diabetes in humans, too.
This week mathematical enthusiasts around the world recognized June 28th as National Tau day. While March 14th (3/14) has long been acknowledged as Pi Day due to its numerical resemblance to the first three numbers in the decimal expansion of pi, proponents of tau insist the holiday be more appropriately referred to as “Half Tau Day.”
Tau advocates, or Tauists, assert that tau equals approximately 6.28, which is twice as much as pi, and therefore believe that the number itself is more significant than pi alone. Efforts to replace pi with tau have been ongoing for about ten years but it was Michael Hartl who brought widespread attention to the movement in June 2010. In “The Tau Manifesto,” a dedication to one of the most notable numbers in math, Hartl explains that pi is not factually incorrect, however, it is a “confusing and unnatural choice for the circle constant.” Pi is the ratio of circumference to diameter of a circle but tau is circumference divided by radius. Simple enough, right?
The All England Lawn Tennis Club is celebrating its 125th year as the official host of the Wimbledon Championship. The Tennis Club isn’t being shy about their achievement, either. In celebration, Wimbledon has opened its doors to several commemorative events as well as produced a variety of memorable promotional products featuring the 125th year logo.
The dedicatory products have been spotted all over the tournament. Every one from ball boys and girls to line judges can be seen wearing the promotional apparel, stylishly adorned with ‘125 Years’ or the new 125th Wimbledon logo.
People often claim that their “sweet tooth” causes them to pile on the pounds, but a recent diet study has proven that a salty tooth is actually the biggest contributor to unwanted weight gain. The results of the major study, which were featured in yesterday’s New England Journal of Medicine, identified potato chips as the most substantial source of weight gain over contenders like ice cream, sweets, soda and French fries.
Want to learn how your brand can earn brownie points (pun intended!) with end users by selecting nutritious promotional snacks?
The blue pop culture icons adored by children of the 80s are coming to the big screen this summer in the appropriately named film, “The Smurfs.”
With a cast of stars including Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria and Katy Perry lending their voices to the fictional characters, one would think that some basic Hollywood advertising tactics (and perhaps some Smurf-shaped custom plush toys) would suffice to guarantee the film a box office success. But Sony Pictures, the studio producing “The Smurfs,” has taken its marketing campaign to new levels, and has painted the entire town of Juzcar in the south of Spain blue.
How many times have you found yourself in a drug store spending hours comparing each and every sunscreen product on the shelf? Well, by next summer, you’ll be able to reclaim those lost hours of blank staring. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration are forcing sunscreen producers to change their product labels. With the change in effect, consumers will know exactly what they are getting, no more false claims.
Currently, SPF ratings depict the amount of time the product protects the body against harmful UVB rays, the rays that cause sunburn, but your sunscreen should protect you from both UVB and UVA rays. However, only sunscreen labeled, “broad spectrum,” actually protects the body from both UVB and UVA rays; and both rays contribute to skin cancer and premature aging. What is really startling is, currently a sunscreen can be labeled “broad spectrum” but have minimal UVA protection. Under the current policies, consumers have no way of knowing how much full protection they are receiving from their “broad spectrum” sunscreens.
The new regulations target this issue. Sunscreens that do not offer adequate UVB and UVA protection will be required to prominently display a warning label stating, “these products have not been shown to prevent skin cancer.” Products that do meet the new “broad spectrum” qualifications and have a SPF rating of 15 or higher will have a label clearly affirming that the product reduces the risk of skin cancer and premature aging.