On a recent visit to a London showroom my mother – a Saab driver since the mid-90s – traded in her SE900 Turbo for a new Mercedes CLK 250.
At first glance the two cars seemed to offer the same attributes: Both were black, both convertible, with leather seats and walnut dash, and both appealed to the luxury market.
Had her car not been a bit on the ‘mature’ side, half of me would have wondered why she was keen to swap.
For the Mad Men of international advertising and marketing there is no better event to see and be seen at than the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in the south of France. It's wall to wall agency CEOs, account managers, clients and all the important creatives from around the globe.
There is no doubt that this is an industry in flux. With companies connecting directly with their customers over the web and the most popular online videos being made by somebody who forgot to turn their camcorder off, the people who hold the marketing purse strings are rightly questioning the impact of that big budget photo-shoot and international campaign.
But with change comes opportunity, and this year opportunities seem to be in abundance.
Hong Kong, China (CNN) - From a suffocating drought to massive flooding, torrential rains in China continue to bombard the country’s commodities markets, erasing thousands of hectares of crops and driving local food prices to historic levels.
More than 1.6 million people have been evacuated across China as of Wednesday, and the country’s Ministry of Civil Affairs estimated the total direct economic losses at 32.02 billion yuan ($4.9 billion), CNN’s Helena Hong reported. At least 170 people have been killed and another 83 have gone missing since flooding began earlier this month, state officials said.
Aside from the loss of human life, 1,000 businesses have been destroyed and more than 400,000 hectares (roughly 1 million acres) of crops have been expunged by the recent slew of flooding, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Corn prices in particular continue to swell amid concerns that rising flood waters will ruin most, if not all, of the recently planted crop across central China, Bloomberg reported.
Hong Kong, China (CNN) – Foster’s iconic slogan “Australian for beer” may soon be plastered over with one in Chinese, Japanese or Spanish.
SABMiller’s unsolicited attempt to buyout Australia’s number one brewer underscored its $10 billion offering as an undervaluation. And that’s knocked the beer goggles off other competitors.
They’re now sidling up to the bar to see if Foster’s is the cool refreshing beverage that could sweeten their portfolio too.
But can you imagine a Foster’s owned by China’s Qingdao, Japan’s Asahi or Mexico’s Grupo Modelo, which makes Corona? It’s possible, but SABMiller says hold on. The world’s number two brewer says it’s still in pursuit and the party’s just begun.
New York (CNN) – In just over a week Ben Bernanke and his colleagues at the Federal Reserve will turn off the life support system that has kept the U.S. economy alive for the last two years. How will the markets respond? It’s anyone’s guess.
Optimists, like former White House Advisor Laura Tyson, say the economy - though still fragile - has healed enough to breathe on its own. The Fed has been clear about its intentions to end its program of buying treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities, the market had time to prepare and the withdrawal of quantitative easing should end without much drama.
But executives at Pimco, the world’s largest bond fund, disagree. CEO Mohammad El-Erian is sticking by the firm’s bearish and controversial call that the end of quantitative easing will spark a sell-off in U.S. treasury bonds. I talked with both Tyson and El-Erian ahead of the Federal Reserve’s June meeting and he gave the following assessment.
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