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New Study Supports Food Advertisers’ Negative Role In Childhood Obesity Epidemic

December 5, 2012 Leave a comment

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A new study, published online November 30 in the Journal of Pediatrics, finds obese children are more vulnerable to food advertisements they may see on television. This influence exacerbates the dangerous state of health that children in this weight range are already in.

“I think it raises the question, and it’s a difficult question, of how ethical is it to advertise unhealthy food products to children, especially when we see that obese children are potentially more vulnerable to this type of advertising,” study author Dr. Amanda Bruce, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The study was small, as researchers compared a group of 10 healthy weight children to 10 obese ones between the ages of 10 and 14. Scans of the children’s brains were taken with MRI machines while the chilgren were shown 60 food logos and 60 non-food logos. Food logos included popular brands like Pepsi, Cap’n Crunch and Cheerios, while non-food logos included the CBS Eye and Mercedes. The researchers wanted to measure the kids’ brain activity when viewing the ads.

Children were also surveyed before and after the study to gauge their hunger and self-control levels. Obese children experienced grater brain activation in the pleasure and reward centers of the brain while children with healthy weights experienced more brain activation in the self-control centers.

The study’s authors say companies spend more than $10 billion annually on food and beverage advertisements to children. 98% of the products that make their way to the television screen are high in fat, sugar, or sodium.fat-kid-300x209

U.S. childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past 30 years, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than one-third of all U.S. kids are overweight or obese, setting themselves up for health problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

In June, the Walt Disney Company announced it would ban all food and beverage products advertised, sponsored or promoted on the Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney and other Disney-owned online destinations intended for children 12 and under that do not fit certain nutritional standards by 2015.

Categories: Uncategorized

Dell Launches New Social Media Strategic Unit

December 5, 2012 Leave a comment

255_logo_dell The PC giant is launching its own social media services group that will compete with the likes of Dynamic Signal, Salesforce, and IBM

Over the past year, Dell has been providing social “listening” and strategy services to 10 major clients on a test basis. Dell now plans to expand its services to new and existing clients.

avaya-customer-service-agent2Dell has been making conspicuous strides to become a more service-oriented company. In 2009, Dell acquired IT services provider Perot Systems for $3.9 Billion. Dell’s services division currently houses 42,000 employees, with many who transferred from Perot.

Dell’s move to become more service oriented was no surprise to Peter O’Neill, a principal analyst at Forrester. He noted that Dell competitors such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM are moving in a similar direction with their business models. This shift comes largely due to the fact that enterprise buyers of PC’s are fiercely loyal to their brands. Technology between competitors is so similar that brand switching comes with more problems than benefits, making it hard for PC companies to increase their market share based on hardware and software sales.

Although serious stride have been made in earnest to provide new services and value to their customers, more must be done to stay on top.

The business of social “listening” — monitoring and reacting to what is being said in social media — is a baseline service already offered by myriad agencies, startups and big enterprise and consulting firms, such as Accenture. If Dell wants to add related activities such as community management, lead generation or the infrastructure to manage brands’ social-media presence, it may have to make an acquisition, Mr. O’Neill said.

Categories: Uncategorized

“Project Glass” and Augmented Reality

December 4, 2012 Leave a comment

I was at a wedding this past weekend. My father had told me that as a marketer, I should chat with a lawyer who worked at Citrix. Citrix is an IT company at the forefront of program and device integration. Their clients benefit from products that allow their employees to work from almost anywhere, and from whatever device they have on hand at any given time.

When dinner was served at my table, another guest asked the lawyer what he thought would be the next big change that would come to the workplace. Without hesitation, the lawyer responded, saying, “Project Glass”.

Project Glass is an initiative by Google to develop “wearable” computers that display images on the eyeglass lenses. This device is based on the concept of “augmented reality”. This technology supplements the viewers’ regular vision with relevant information and statistics of everyday objects, people, and places. For instance, if you are at a baseball game, you can look at a particular baseball player you are unfamiliar with and have a display show up that gives you his batting average and other vital sports statistics.

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Augmented reality is not a brand new concept. The Nintendo 3DS already incorporates this technology, as well as several iPhone applications like Yelp, a social venue rating site.

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While B2B business integration possibilities are still left to the imagination, it is clear that such technology is revolutionary, and will change the way we work and live. Google is not the only technology giant to make a wearable computer equipped to supply augmented reality to consumers. Apple and Microsoft have recently filed patents that will contribute to similar devices. It is only a matter of time when information and play can be beamed straight to us with a simple glance.