Posts Tagged ‘Economy’

Bordellos on Billboards

June 1, 2008

LOS ANGELES ( — Sex sells, but will it advertise? By Claude Brodesser-Akner Published: June 02, 2008 Photo Credit: Tom Van Dyke Bleak Economy Impels Brothels to Exercise Recent Right to Market          In Nevada, where legal brothels have operated since the late 19th century, business is suddenly a bit slow. George Flint, director of the Nevada Brothel Owners’ Association, said revenue at the 25 legal bordellos for which he lobbies is down 25% to 45%, depending on the location. “We used to say Nevada was immune from recession,” Mr. Flint said. “Not anymore.”           Signs direct drivers to the madam's Wild Horse Adult Spa and Mustang Ranch. But other owners don'tadvertise for fear of backlash.Susan Austin: Signs direct drivers to the madam’s Wild Horse Adult Spa and Mustang Ranch. But other owners don’t advertise for fear of backlash.           One culprit, he said, is diesel. U.S. retail diesel-fuel prices jumped 16.6¢ in the past week to a record high of $4.50 a gallon, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. In rural southern Nevada towns such as Indian Springs, diesel has hit $5.25 a gallon, Mr. Flint said, which means that fueling an 18-wheeler can now cost an independent trucker more than $1,000.           “An awful lot of our customers are truckers,” he said. “It’s the disposable income factor: Money for new wristwatches and gettin’ laid just isn’t there.”

Newsflash! New York Has ‘Upstate’

May 8, 2008

Created by Saatchi & Saatchi NY From AdRANTs by Steve Hall May 7, 2008>>read more.     Who knew? For those who don’t venture outside the five burroughs very often, it might come as a surprise that the entire state of New York isn’t covered with black top. Yes, according to the new Saatchi & Saatchi-created I Love New York campaign, the state apparently has farms, grass, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, vineyards and all kinds of other stuff that’s not made out of concrete. Who knew?     The campaign aims to increase tourism by 30 percent by 2020. Three of the print ads can be seen here.
—What the fuck has the State been waiting for?  Upstate has always been second class; I Love New York [City].  The majority of the New York’s resources have always flowed down state to the city anyway.  I like the attention, wish we did not have to be in a recession to get it.

Starbucks Profits Drop 28%

May 4, 2008

Starbucks CoffeeFrom AdAge By Emily Bryson York Published: May 01, 2008>>read more.     see related post      Retailer, Amid Back-to-Roots Plan, to Roll Out Array of Non-Coffee Beverages     CHICAGO ( — Amid disappointing earnings yesterday, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz sought to quell fears about the company’s future by offering guidance on earnings and store openings through 2011. He also announced an array of new beverage platforms, which some experts say are at odds with Starbucks recent back-to-roots theme.     “While we are not going to use the economy as an excuse, it is important to keep in mind that our second-quarter results do reflect the sharp weakening U.S. consumer environment,” Mr. Schultz said. “Like most other retailers and restaurants, we are experiencing a downturn in customer traffic demonstrated in reduced frequency of customer visits that we believe tie to a real reduction in consumers’ discretionary spending habits.”     Emphasis on economy     Second-quarter net income plummeted 28% compared the year-ago quarter, and same-store sales suffered what the company described as a “mid-single digit” decline. Starbucks warned of lower-than-expected earnings last week. Mr. Schultz repeatedly emphasized that there were “no immediate signs” of an economic recovery.     Not everyone agrees with his economic thesis on the company’s woes.     David Palmer, an analyst with UBS, wrote, “We believe that Starbucks is the worst under-earning company in our coverage. Mismanagement & macroeconomics have led to declining [same store sales]. The questions now are: will the company be able to drive meaningful innovation, and create cost savings?”      Starbucks is hoping that a raft of new offerings will help drive traffic. Starbucks DoubleShot is an energy-drink platform that will be offered in stores as well as bottled and sold through the company’s partnership with Pepsi.     “Entering this category offers us a significant opportunity for us to complement our customers lifestyles and engage in important and relatively untapped demographic for Starbucks,” Mr. Schultz said, citing other energy drinks that have included caffeine.      Fruit smoothies     Starbucks will also begin making fruit smoothies at its locations nationwide this summer. Mr. Schultz called the “protein and fruit-blended beverage” Starbucks’ first meaningful step into the health-and-wellness category. At launch, the beverages will come in two flavors, have no artificial sweeteners, contain 15 grams of protein and no more than 270 calories. He added that Starbucks has been discreetly testing the drinks in certain stores, and received responses that surpassed expectations.      “In our research, more than 60% of customers surveyed said they would come to Starbucks to buy healthy, nutritious beverages, and we are confident we have found the perfect answer to their needs,” he said.     Finally, Starbucks will introduce an Italian beverage platform that Mr. Schultz heralded as his company’s next Frappuccino. “We searched the world over and over and have found something finally that took us back to our heritage.”     The new, low-calorie beverage, which will launch in parts of California this summer but won’t be available nationwide until 2009, will have a “smooth, frozen texture,” and offer a range of options including fruit, dairy and yogurt.     John Moore, a former Starbucks marketer who blogs at, said the slate of launches reads like a TV network with a show in the pipeline that they’re being forced to air.      In the pipeline for months     “Keep in mind these beverages have been in the pipeline for months,” he said, indicating that R&D likely preceded Mr. Schultz’ return as CEO. “And it wasn’t until the end of January is when we became knowledgeable the about the company was getting back to its roots.”

Listening to him is painful and makes me squirm.

April 30, 2008

Ron Edmonds President Bush speaks during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 29, 2008. APFrom, April 29, 2008 by Scott Neuman click to read more or listen.    
Bush Blames Congress for High Energy Prices Saying that Americans were “understandably anxious” about the economy, President Bush blamed Congress for high energy and food prices. The president said lawmakers blocked his proposals to address the problems. –Am I the only one that feels embarrassed every time our C+ President opens his mouth?  Even if what he is saying true–but how can you know that?  Listening to him try to use the English Language is painful and makes me squirm.  The real joke is on the corporations who will pay him to speak after he leaves office.

Poll: 93% Want Cars to Run on Something Else

April 29, 2008

From AdRANTs by by Angela Natividad Apr-28-08 click to read moreBecause the Germans Are Experts on What the People Want     Volkswagen has broadened its talk show host campaign, featuring Max the talking ’64 veedub, with the debut of What the People Want.     The site lets people submit simple yes-or-no polls. When you respond to one, you get to see how many people want what you voted for. Stuff we’ve learned: 66 percent of the people want free candy and endless sunshine. 93 percent want cars to run on something other than gas. 42 percent want to live forever.

Grocery Store Company saves on fuel

April 23, 2008

From the Arizona Republic by Luci Scott – Apr. 23, 2008 10:40 AM click to read more.
The Chandler-based supermarket chain Bashas’ has been hit hard by the soaring price of diesel fuel that runs its fleet of 97 over-the-road 18-wheelers.     To combat fuel costs, the company recently installed on its tractor-trailers and eight other trucks a device distributed by another Chandler company that cuts fuel consumption as well as reduces emissions. The combustion catalyst system, a device installed into the air intake of the engine, makes fuel burn more efficiently.     “What we know we’re saving right now is 4 percent, with the potential of up to 10 percent,” said Tim Handrick, Bashas’ fleet maintenance supervisor.     Commercial diesel prices this week were $3.96 a gallon, and Bashas’ uses 30,000 gallons of diesel a week. Every week, the company buys four loads of 7,500 gallons each.     “We were taking a fifth load a week,” Handrick said. They were able to cut back after installing the combustion catalyst system, as well as modifying some routes and scheduling to save fuel.     “We were consuming 37,500 gallons a week, and between rerouting and this (device) and making sure drivers aren’t idling their trucks, we were able to take that fifth load out of the equation,” he said.  The Catalyst Injection System is made by Emissions Technology.


Oil Has Two Potential Futures, Shell Strategist Says

April 23, 2008

China Photos People buy diesel oil at a gas station on November 19, 2007 in Wuhan of Hubei Province, China, the world's second largest oil consumer. Getty ImagesFrom NPR Morning Edition, April 22, 2008 click to read more. · As oil prices hit $117 a barrel this month, a forecast from Shell Oil outlines two very different possibilities for the future of the world’s energy supply. Looking out to the year 2050, Shell strategist Jeremy Bentham says demand will go up, while oil supplies will be harder to find. But how nations and companies react is harder to predict.     “We anticipate that you’ll begin to see a plateauing of easily accessible conventional oil and gas around about the 2015, 2020 type of period,” Bentham tells Steve Inskeep.     Bentham outlines two outcomes — one a “scramble” and the other a “blueprint” scenario — for addressing energy needs.     In the scramble scenario, he says, “a focus on supply security drives a lot of decision-making.” For example, China is worried about its future supply of oil, so it decides that it needs to be friendly with Iran. Or the U.S., worried about its supply of oil, holds intensive talks with Saudi Arabia.     “That can kick off a dynamic where the tensions are perceived to be a fight between nations and hence a scramble for supply. The demand side is postponed, in terms of being managed, in that scramble outlook,” Bentham says.      So, a fear of shortage of supply builds up, and the steps to manage the whole energy system holistically aren’t taken, Bentham says. Instead of considering conservation or alternatives, people just grab for oil and other forms of energy.     The “blueprint” scenario, on the other hand, recognizes that forces can combine to affect change. “You see emerging coalitions coming together at the state level but also cross-border” to find solutions, Bentham says.     He points to climate-related legislation in California as an example.     “A set of interests were recognized among technology entrepreneurs and farmers and shrewd politicians which led, in this country in 2006, to the climate-related legislation in California,” he says.


Austin plans: build 100’s of apartments and cut hiring plans

April 22, 2008

About 75 percent of the commercial space in the Triangle is spoken for and some say the new land is ripe for more retail or a hotel.From Austin Business Journal by A.J. Mistretta Staff Writer Friday, April 18, 2008 click to read more.     Land at Triangle up for grabs GLO seeks developer to build out tracts near blossoming Central Austin mixed-use project.     The Texas General Land Office is offering up for lease two remaining parcels within the 33-acre Triangle tract, a move that will likely lead to more retail and residential units and possibly other uses at the Central Austin development.     In particular, Burnham says Simmons Vedder is eyeing the 3.7-acre site that would likely allow for about 250 apartment units and roughly 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail if a vertical mixed use zoning change is approved. He says the earliest his company could begin construction would be spring 2009.      Meanwhile, a nearby Hospitals cuts hiring plans by 400 jobs
From Austin Business Journal by by Kate Harrington ABJ Staff Monday, April 21, 2008 – 5:21 PM CDT click to read more.     The Seton Family of Hospitals has slowed growth plans for fiscal year 2009 — trimming its plan for 800 new jobs to 400, in order to deal with rocky economic times, according to a letter attributed to Seton CEO Charles Barnett.    The letter also says that the entire organization will need to look at cutbacks in growth for the next year. Barnett further mentions that two planned executive positions budgeted in 2009 – vice president of safety and vice president for organizational development – will be eliminated. Barnett writes that the system has also already made some reductions in overtime and premium pay.

As Economy Slips, Yacht Sales Skyrocket

April 4, 2008

Tree Hugger Reports ABC news to accompany (what seems like) a paid advertisement for WallyIsland: As Economy Slips, Yacht Sales Skyrocket.