"I am trying to focus on the positive side." --Citigroup CEO Charles O. Prince III after recent high-level management shakeups and amid continued lackluster financial results, as reported by The New York Times.
Every year at Hispanic street festivals across the country, millions of immigrant and U.S.-born Latinos throw back beers, enjoy live music, and feast on everything from empanadas to fresh mangoes. Now Goldman Sachs (GS) wants to join the fiesta. Over the next five years the company's merchant bank plans to spend as much as $50 million buying up marketing and advertising companies that cater to the growing Hispanic population in the U.S., even acquiring street fair operators along the way.
Virtually every ad conglomerate has a Hispanic unit. But Goldman will be the first to unite a group of Hispanic marketing and entertainment outfits into a holding company that will serve as a single stop for big brands hoping to navigate the promising but increasingly complex market. Even some competitors concede Goldman is on to something. "Clients are all asking for integrated services," says Carl Kravetz, president of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies and CEO of Los Angeles-based cruz/kravetz:ideas.
At the outset, Goldman is looking to snare one of the 30 to 40 independent Hispanic ad agencies that annually generate between $25 million and $100 million each in billings, plus a research firm and a festival producer. Goldman will be majority shareholder with management handled by Latin Force, a marketing consultancy. The idea is to tap into second-generation Latinos. Young and bilingual, they consume mostly English-language media but still retain aspects of their parents' heritage.
By 2010 the number of these "New Generation" Latinos could reach 15.4 million, according to the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C. Practically all growth in the coveted 18- to 34-year-old demographic comes from Hispanics, according to Pew. "The Hispanic market is getting so complicated and confus-ing," says Goldman Managing Director Kevin Jordan. "That's the reason to build a company like this."
He persuaded the public to hate the soak-the-rich estate tax by redubbing it "the death tax." His insights nudged voters to support Newt Gingrich's 1994 Contract with America. Can pollster and spinmeister Frank Luntz get Corporate America to forgo bizspeak? "If you're eBay (EBAY) CEO Meg Whitman, why must you say that you're 'encouraged by the fundamentals that underlie usage growth on the Net' when you could say that you're happy that more people are using the Internet?" asks Luntz in his new book, Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear (Hyperion). "The message is targeted to CEOs," Luntz told BusinessWeek. "Start speaking the language of Americans." He advises corporate clients via Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research, an Omnicom Group (OMC) unit.
And what thoughts can Luntz offer the embattled GOP? Awkward language can't explain all its woes, he says in the book. "There was Iraq." $by
By Hardy Green
In late December, the FDA issued an 800-page report concluding that meat and milk from cloned cattle are safe for consumption, and asked for comments. Here's one from Steve Mower: "They're delicious."
Mower is marketing director for Cyagra, a small biotech company in Elizabethtown, Pa., that has been participating in cloning trials for the FDA. Cyagra raised 11 naturally born cows and 11 copycattle (same breed, age, sex, and weight). After receiving the same diet for 60 days, all were slaughtered, and cuts of beef from each were sent to an independent lab. Cyagra researchers say tests found the cloned meat to be indistinguishable from normal beef.
And so do the palates at Cyagra: Complying with a voluntary ban on selling cloned meat, and loath to waste the food they raised, the scientists sold cuts from the standard cows to a butcher and rented a meat locker to keep the rest. Now they regularly pick up a cut of clone to bring back to the office for Friday lunches. "We started with the steaks, which we grilled all summer, and now we have hamburger," says receptionist Shirley Trimmer, who does the cooking.
Don't expect to enjoy Frankenburgers yourself anytime soon. While bets are on the FDA's giving final approval this year, the report has its critics. Itrelies on results "from just about 100 animals" in all, says Joseph Mendelson, legal director of the Center for Food Safety, an environmental consumer group. Besides, creating a cloned cow costs at least $16,000. For now, livestock owners say, almost all will be used as breeding stock.
Get ready for a good ol' fashioned Texas shoot-out. Next month, Toyota's (TM) new factory in San Antonio will start turning out the company's new Tundra pickup. With the Tundra, Toyota finally has a full-size truck that can compete with the Big Three.
An earlier, smaller model never sold well, garnering just 5% of the Texas truck market, far behind Ford's (F) 36% market share and GM's (GM) 32%. But the new Tundra, priced from $22,300 to $42,000, is much larger and sports a brawny V-8 engine--just the kind of beefy pickup Texans love. And the new factory will be able to crank out 200,000 Tundras a year, a 50% increase.
Ford is shooting back. On Jan. 23, Chairman Bill Ford showed up at San Antonio's oldest Ford dealer, Jordan Ford, to open a new showroom. And to stir up passion for its new F-Series truck, Ford is putting a Texas flag badge on the side of the pickup and offering oodles of discounted chrome. It invited 14,500 of its truck owners to a free concert in San Antonio featuring country singer Toby Keith. Ford has even started a program to give out a "Built Ford Tough" award to the state's high school football player of the week.
The Texas pickup war could get ugly. Ford recently made a TV ad showing that most of the workers at the construction site for Toyota's new plant owned Ford trucks. The spot, though, never ran. Explains Mark Grueber, Ford's strategic marketing manager for the Southwest: "We have to act like we're the leader."
Myspace is hot. iTunes (AAPL) is hot. So, of course, is Google (GOOG). Run them through the Web 2.0 blender and you get Midomi.com, a song search engine-cum-social networking site created by Melodis, a Sunnyvale (Calif.) outfit co-founded by four Stanford University grads, led by CEO Keyvan Mohajer.
Can't remember a song's title? Hum, sing, or play a few bars into a computer mike or mobile phone, and Melodis technology can name that tune--a feature it's pitching to music e-tailers. To showcase that technology, the startup--slated to unveil itself in late January--created Midomi.com as a kind of virtual karaoke bar.
Those who sign up as members can sing any of more than 10,000 tunes into the search engine, then see a menu of versions sung by other Midomi-ites (versions they can rate). Or they can buy commercial versions for 99 cents a pop from Passalong, a music seller. The searchable tunes include everything from Maroon 5's She Will Be Loved to Hava Nagila. The number of tunes should explode, the site's co-founders say. "We're letting the world create our database, just like with Wikipedia," says Mohajer. After touring the site, 20-year-old New Yorker Rachel Cohen effused: "It's like American Idol at home." If you build it, they will hum.
Mr. Clean, Procter & Gamble's (PG) iconic floor cleaner, strode out to the driveway in 2004 when P&G launched Mr. Clean AutoDry, a car cleaning system that attaches to a hose. Now the bald muscleman will rule over a car wash P&G will open this spring near its Cincinnati headquarters. P&G says it's testing an opportunity it sees for a more upscale auto wash: This one will include a caf?, widescreen TVs, a gift shop, and a soap gun kids can shoot at cars going through the line. The facility, which won't use AutoDry (it will be sold in the gift shop, along with Swiffer dusters), is also envisioned as a lab for observing consumers and developing product ideas.
Anguished twenty-somethings contemplating various career options should check out Brazen Careerist for syndicated columnist Penelope Trunk's take on the "quarterlife crisis" (a condition affecting stalled college grads that usually involves "takeout pizza" and "obsessive" instant messaging, according to Trunk). This humorous blog also tackles such universal dilemmas as how to politely turn down a job offer and how to properly manage one's appearance, including an amusing account of Trunk's own misadventure hiring a personal stylist.
With transplantable hearts, lungs, livers, and kidneys in short supply, the federal government says about 7,000 people die annually while awaiting donor organs.
Now two economics professors, David Harrington of Kenyon College and Edward Sayre of Agnes Scott College, have come up with an economic theory to explain the organ shortage.
In their view, the problem begins with cadavers donated to medical schools. Laws have long been on the books allowing the schools to compensate families of donors. Typically, the med school covers the cost of cremation after a cadaver has served its purpose. That's roughly a $1,000 benefit for the donor's survivors.
But a 1984 law, the National Organ Transplant Act, prohibits any similar incentives for donating the organs of individuals at the time of death. The result, Harrington and Sayre say, is that there is a financial motive to bestow a whole body. And med schools won't take cadavers if organs have been harvested from them.
The cremation benefit really has an impact, the economists say. In an article appearing in the winter issue of Regulation, a Cato Institute publication, they show statistically that all else being equal, people are more likely to donate their bodies to medical schools in states where cremations are more expensive. Their next task is to check whether organ donations are lower in those states. Meanwhile, they note, medical schools in the U.S. have a surplus of cadavers. Tulane University School of Medicine, for example, consistently gets more cadavers than it needs. (It reroutes some to other medical schools.) Some schools have even had employees illegally selling surplus body parts to "body brokers."
Harrington and Sayre argue that allowing organ donors to get the same compensation as whole-body donors would help stop such illegal trafficking and create an ample supply of transplantable organs to save the lives of the critically ill.
The National Kidney Foundation has opposed any kind of compensation to families of donors, calling it dangerously close to the frightening practice of paying living people for their organs. But Harrington and Sayre argue that increasing the supply of organs from the newly deceased would satisfy most of the demand and thus actually dry up the illicit trade in organs--mainly kidneys--from living people. Says Harrington: "We're suggesting that market incentives are a pragmatic response to a pressing problem."
If you were to ask Congress to make one important fix on immigration, what would it be? --Eva Rodriguez
"I'd ask for a comprehensive solution --an earned path to citizenship, expanded visas to reunite families, secure borders, and vigorous labor and civil rights protections for all workers." -- Andy Stern, president, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
"I think Congress should be forced to consider the impact--environmental impact, cost impact --before passing legislation that could add more than one hundred million people in the next five decades." -- Nancy S. Anthony, president, Fernwood Advisors; chairman, Federation for American Immigration Reform
"A guest worker program, protection for employers who play by the rules, and better ways to help employers screen out unauthorized workers. This might protect law-abiding companies from government raids." --Sam Rovit,president and CEO, Swift & Co.