Ice cream’s recipe for success not a big secret in difficult times

By Robert Klara


Worried about a double-dip recession? Why not have a double dip on a waffle cone, instead? Never mind that 9 percent of us can’t find jobs and recent college grads might as well use those liberal-arts degrees as wallpaper. The local ice-cream shop is doing just fine. (In fact, maybe they’re accepting resumes!) The National Ice Cream Retailers Association recently told Time magazine that some of its members have clocked sales spikes of 25 percent over last year. Unilever, which owns sweet and drippy brands like Good Humor and Ben & Jerry’s, posted Q1 ice-cream sales up 7.4 percent. You don’t need an MBA to figure this one out: Ice cream is an affordable way to feel good when everything else sucks. Enough said. This might explain the spate of branding news on the ice-cream front lately.

Starbucks, which started chillin’ last year with the introduction of an ice-cream line, just rolled out its eighth flavor on July 23. (It’s Peppermint Mocha, and with a MSRP hovering between $3.89 and $4.39, it’s cheaper than some Starbucks drinks.) We’ve got no moles in the Starbucks test kitchens, but the company seems to know exactly what it’s doing with this pint-size strategy. The flavors, which include Vanilla Bean Frappuccino and Strawberries & Crème, not only stick to Americans’ perennial faves (yes, vanilla, chocolate and strawberry are still the most popular varieties according to the International Ice Cream Association) but carry the same drink names you’ll find on the Starbucks beverage board. (Psst, it’s called consistent branding.) Seguir leyendo “Ice cream’s recipe for success not a big secret in difficult times”

Sony, News Corp. extend tradition of watching the news in public

By Robert Klara

SonyAt a time when millions of New Yorkers prefer to listen to their news (or news podcasts) within their own personal digital cocoons, it’s worth remembering that the biggest media events of the 20th century were consumed collectively, in crowds, while we stood on the sidewalk.
When Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, thousands of people found out by watching the famous “Zipper” in Times Square. And in February 1962, when John Glenn became the first human to orbit the Earth, 4,000 people packed the floors of Grand Central Terminal on 42nd Street to watch the event on a 12-by-16-foot screen that CBS had set up over the ticket counter. People could just as easily have gotten this news from newspapers, radio or (in Glenn’s case) TV, but there’s something about sharing the news with a crowd that helps to stamp it on our national consciousness. Seguir leyendo “Sony, News Corp. extend tradition of watching the news in public”