The American Medical Association (AMA) has changed its policy and this week voted to ask for an end to Direct-To-Consumer prescription drug advertising on television. It’s a category that Advertising Age says spent $4.8 billion in measured media last year.

A rule change from the Food and Drug Administration in 1997 allowed pharmaceutical companies to use TV advertising for the first time, but doctors were not happy about it at that time, and never fully warmed up to the idea. An AMA spokesperson said this week’s vote “reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially driven promotions and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices.” Previously the AMA’s policy had been that as long as the commercials were accurate and educational it had no objection to the use of the medium.

Part of the problem could be that some of the most heavily-advertised drugs are also the most expensive. A recent AARP publication notes that Humira, for example, has a monthly co-pay among Medicare Part D plans available in New York that ranges from $799.97 to $1163.30, so advertising can ignite a consumer demand for a drug that will be not affordable to many people.

Trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) of course has a different outlook on the question, saying the ads inform viewers about diseases and treatment options. A spokeswoman for PhRMA said “Providing scientifically accurate information to patients so that they are better informed about their health care and treatment options is the goal of Direct-To-Consumer advertising. Research shows that accurate information about disease and treatment options makes patients and doctors better partners.”

Putting television advertising for DTC drugs in perspective, the Washington Post has reported that television took 61.6% of the dollars pharma companies spent in all media last year (up from 52.6% three years ago). But the dollars spent on measured media still are just a fraction of drugmakers’ total marketing. In 2012, when the companies spent $3.5 billion in DTC advertising, they also spent $24 billion directly promoting drugs to doctors.


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General Motors will be the first U.S. manufacturer to import a Chinese-made vehicle, the Buick Envision SUV that will go on sale early next year. The Wall Street Journal says GM and the UAW discussed the idea in their recent contract negotiations and “appear to have come to an understanding.” In a different note about GM and the union, Automotive News reports the two have re-started contract negotiations to work out new details that will satisfy skilledtrade workers, who voted down the proposed new contract, so the old contract has been extended again to November 20……Jeep will introduce the Jeep Wave program for some of its higherprofit models, including amenities such as free routine maintenance, complimentary loaners, discounts on accessories and road trip interruption insurance coverage…… Sears will give members of its Shop Your Way program a Members Private Night on 11/22 with access to Black Friday doorbusters……Even the high end of the department store business is looking a little lethargic: Nordstrom quarterly same-store sales were up just 0.9%, although it’s still projecting a 2.5-3.0% comp gain for the holiday season. It opened just two new domestic full-line stores during the quarter, but 16 new Nordstrom Rack units……The auto aftermarket had been doing very well, but Advance Auto Parts’ same store sales were up just 0.5% for the quarter that ended on 10/10. Advance plans to close about 30 stores before the end of the year, but that will still leave them with more than 5,200 in operation……Conn’s has had some tough profit reports because to prior credit policies that proved to be too lenient, but it still has a very aggressive outlook about expansion. Currently opening its 100th store, it’s opening 17-18 this fiscal year, 20-25 for the following two years and even more afterwards, with an eventual goal of 500 locations……KFC will test home delivery, starting in the L.A. and San Francisco markets, using DoorDash (the same service being sued by In-NOut Burger for unauthorized delivery). A delivery fee of $5- $7 will be added depending on the customer’s location…… El Pollo Loco franchisees reported a 1.1% same-store sales increase for the latest quarter, but company-owned locations were flat due to an almost 2% drop in total traffic, causing an 81.9% decline in corporate profit……We noted last week that On The Move had targeted Florida for heavy c-store expansion, but it looks like there will be plenty of competition. 7-Eleven has just purchased 101 stations from Biscayne Petroleum and sibling Everglades Petroleum and Wawa Inc. now plans to add 120 stores there by 2022. Wawa notes many people in Florida are transplants from its Northeast territory who are familiar with its brand.


Millennials make up nearly a quarter of the population and already spend about $220 billion per year in the U.S. Nielsen says they fascinate marketers and retailers—but that capturing Millennial dollars has proven challenging. In the U.S., this generation has different interests than their predecessors, and marketers and retailers must pay attention to the unique shopping habits of this young generation.

Millennials are young and optimistic about their financial futures. According to the Q2 Nielsen Consumer Confidence report, roughly 70% of Millennials indicate their personal finances will be either good or excellent in the next year. However, having gone through the Great Recession at a young age, they are caution about finances and 55% still feel like the U.S. is in an economic recession.

With limited money to spend, Millennials are savvy shoppers by necessity. Avid researchers, 42% of them check at least four sources when trying to decide on a purchase, according to Edelman Digital. About a third make purchases only when they have a coupon or promotional code. And roughly 40% buy previously used items online to save money.

While economic struggles are a reality for many Millennials, one subset is thriving. Roughly 27% of this generation qualifies as upscale Millennials, earning more than $75,000 per year. The median liquid wealth value (income producing assets; IPA) for upscale Millennials is $157,500, more than 11 times the median IPA of their generation as a whole. Despite having more money to spend, upscale Millennials are deal-lovers as well. Roughly 43% use coupons at least once month.

Despite their love of a deal, Nielsen says all Millennials are willing to spend on things that matter to them. As a generation defined by their use of technology, the majority of Millennials aren’t willing to delay upgrading their PCs or mobile devices to save money. And while Millennials are spending less on clothes to save money, 35% still make apparel purchases with their extra cash.

About 92% of Millennials own a smartphone, compared with 76% of Baby Boomers. Because technology is an integral part of their lives, it’s a key component of their shopping experience. Roughly 19% of Millennials and 31% of upscale Millennials spent over $1,000 online in the past year. The majority (66%) use the Internet to purchase hard-to-find items. Roughly 70% of upscale Millennials scour the Internet for hard-to-find items.


Author: admin

Known to many as the “mean judge” on American Idol and The X-Factor, both of which aired on FOX, Simon Cowell is returning to American TV next summer as a judge on NBC’s season 11 of America’s Got Talent. Cowell created the “Got Talent” format and has been executive producer of the U.S. version……It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas with ABC’s holiday decorating competition series The Great Christmas Light Fight, premiering Monday, December 7, at 8:00 pm (ET). The third season will feature new celebrity judges: Carter Oosterhouse of HGTV’s Million Dollar Rooms and Taniya Nayak of Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible. The Great Christmas Light Fight features families and neighborhoods from across America decorating their homes to the extreme for Christmas with a total of $300,000 in prizes……TV’s Funniest Animated Stars: A Paley Center for Media Special is set to air Monday, December 7, at 8:00 pm (ET) on FOX. The special will profile Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Homer Simpson, Bart Simpson, Stewie Griffin, Donald Duck, SpongeBob SquarePants, Scooby-Doo and many more……Nikki M. James has joined the cast of BrainDead, a new comic-thriller set in the world of Washington, D.C. politics, to be broadcast in summer 2016 on CBS. The series comes from Robert and Michelle King, creators and executive producers of The Good Wife. James will play Rochelle, a medical resident whose father died as the result of a mysterious infection.


Breakfast is the only restaurant daypart with sustained visit growth over the last several years, according to The NPD Group. As a result, classic foodservice breakfast fare, like bacon, breakfast sandwiches, and pancakes, are also growing. Case shipments of bacon, eggs, and pancakes from broadline distributors to foodservice outlets have increased as have servings of these foods ordered at restaurants and other foodservice outlets. There’s no end in sight to the trend of Americans eating breakfast outside the home—as evidenced by McDonald’s deciding to offer its breakfast menu all day, every day.

Breakfast/morning meal visits grew by 5% in the year ending June 2015 over the same period last year when visits grew by 2%, reports NPD’s CREST ongoing foodservice market research. Quick service restaurants, including retail foodservice, were responsible for most of the visit gains at breakfast. Lunch was up 1% in the period over a 2% decline the prior year and dinner visits were flat. Breakfast sandwiches and bacon, perennially popular grab-and-go breakfast foods, have been growing but so have other not-so-portable foods, like pancakes.

Case shipments of bacon shipped from broadline foodservice distributors to restaurants and other foodservice outlets increased by 7% in the year ending June 2015 compared to year ago, finds NPD’s SupplyTrack, a monthly service that tracks every product shipped from major broadline distributors to foodservice operators. Case shipment of eggs, the food item likely to be found in the middle of a breakfast sandwich, increased by 5% in the period, and case shipments of pancakes shipped to foodservice outlets also increased by 5%.

Bacon servings ordered at restaurants and foodservice outlets increased by 2%, which translated to a servings volume of 1.1 billion, in the year ending June 2015 compared to a year ago when servings increased by 6%. Breakfast sandwich servings increased by 3%, or a total of 3.6 billion servings, over flat growth prior year. Servings of pancakes ordered increased by 7% to 816 million servings in year ending June 2015 over year ago when servings were down by 4%, reports NPD.

“Growth at the breakfast daypart has been good for the industry and also led to an increase in distributor sales within key breakfast operator segments,” says Annie Roberts, vice president of NPD’s SupplyTrack. As breakfast traffic continues to grow, she says competition in the breakfast space will require distributors, manufacturers, and operators to become innovative in providing quality and value at breakfast.

It’s clearly a hot segment—and as the competition increases, advertising is needed for restaurant chains to differentiate themselves from their competition. For TV account executives, it should be a way to bring home the bacon.


With all of the Labor Day weekend inside the month this year, September was destined to be a strong month for U.S. auto sales. Was it ever! Total sales of cars and light trucks shot up 15.7% from last September to 1.44 million. That put the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of sales at 18.2 million—the strongest sale rate since July 2005. Importantly, the factors driving SAAR were very different from 10 years ago, when the Detroit 3 were struggling and offered employee discounts to all comers to move vehicles. Now consumer demand is strong—especially for big-ticket pickups and SUVs, with Kelley Blue Book reporting that the average transactions was $33,730—up 2% from a year ago and 0.5% from August.

Double-digit gains were widespread for September, with four automakers reporting unit sales up well over 20%. One of those was a big, full-line maker: Ford Motor Company sales rose 23.3% to 221,269, driven by sales of pickups (the F-150 is pictured) and SUVs. Sales for the Ford nameplate rose 23.4% and Lincoln 19.6%. The biggest percentage gain of all was for Jaguar Land Rover, up 61.3% to 6,850, with Land Rover up 88.5%, but Jaguar down 12.9%. Mitsubishi surged 35.9% to 7,556 and Subaru was up 27.8% to 53,070.

Truck sales also boosted General Motors, with total sales up 12.5% to 251,310. Truck brand GMC led the way, up 23.8%, with Chevrolet up 10.9%, Cadillac 7.8% and Buick 5.0%. Jeep was the star performer, up 39.8% as total FCA U.S. sales rose 13.2% to 194.068. Ram was up 3.8%, Dodge 2.6% and Fiat 1.1%, while Chrysler was down 5.3%.

Nissan North America was up 18.3% to 121,782, with Infiniti up 30.4% and Nissan 17.3%. Hyundai-Kia gained 17.8% to 113,835, with Kia up 22.6% and Hyundai 14.3%. Toyota Motor Co. sales rose 16.2%, with Scion surging 56.7%, Lexus up 15.8% and Toyota 15.1%. American Honda was up 13.1% to 133,750, with Honda up 14.0% and Acura 6.3%.

The Volkswagen brand was up 0.6% despite its diesel scandal, with total U.S. sales for parent Volkswagen AG up 7.3% to 48,016. Porsche shot up 22.7% and Audi gained 16.2%, while Bentley sales dropped 53.0%. Daimler AG sales rose 6.0% to 32,087, with Mercedes-Benz up 6.0% and Smart 0.3%. BMW Group gained 4.1% to 31,117, with Mini up 4.6%, BMW 4.0% and Rolls-Royce 2.2%.

Volvo had another strong month, up 18.4% to 5,527. Mazda sales rose 6.8% to 25,616.

TrueCar was the first to jump in and raise its 2015 sales forecast by 0.2 million to 17.4 million. That would be an all-time record for U.S. light vehicle sales.


The headline from Nielsen for its latest research says “Digital formats are among the most trusted advertising sources despite slow growth.” But if you read down into the data and analysis, you’ll find that it’s not a digital ad format that elicits the most trust among consumers—it’s a traditional media format: television spots. Good old TV advertising is trusted by 63% of the people surveyed in Q1 of this year—and that’s a one percentage point gain from a previous survey in Q1 of 2013. In fact, TV advertising was the only a format to gain in consumer trust over the two-year period.

The best showing for a digital ad format is 48% for online video ads (many of which, we would note, are delivered with TV content)—unchanged from 2013. In fact, several other traditional media ad formats top all of the digital ones in consumer trust: newspaper ads at 60%; magazine ads 58%; billboards 56%; TV program product placements 55%; radio ads 54%; and ads before movies 54%.

By comparison, ads served in search engine results were trusted by 47% of the people surveyed by Nielsen; ads on social networks by 46%; ads on mobile devices 43%; online banner ads 42%; and text ads on mobile phones 36%. Of those, trust of banner ads was flat with two years ago and the others were down slightly.

Nielsen noted that Millennials show the highest levels of trust in 18 of 19 advertising formats/channels—including TV, newspapers and magazines.


In a move that surprised many observers, the United Autoworkers Union (UAW) has selected Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US (FCA) as the lead company for creating an industry-standard contract—in other words, the strike target if the union and management can’t come to terms. The UAW’s current contracts with FCA, General Motors and Ford were all set to expire at midnight last night. Whether there was to be an immediate strike likely depended on the progress being achieved in negotiations. The Detroit Free Press noted that a tentative deal with GM as the target company was reached in 2011 two days after the contract deadline—and negotiations had stretched into November back in 2007.

“All three companies are working hard toward a collective bargaining agreement,” said UAW President Dennis Williams in announcing that FCA had been selected as the target. The UAW had previously announced strike authorization votes by its members at all three companies. The UAW had temporarily given up the right to strike Chrysler and GM in 2011 under their bankruptcy reorganizations.

FCA is the smallest of the Detroit Three and has the lowest profit margins. That could make it more difficult for FCA to agree to wage hikes and move toward eliminating the two-tiered wage structure which pays more recently-hired UAW workers considerably less than their senior colleagues. FCA has the highest percentage of workers on the lower tier and Ford the lowest percentage. However, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has expressed support for ending the two-tiered system—without indicating how he thinks it should be done or how quickly.


Consumers rang in the New Year full of optimism, but with nearly seven months of 2015 under their belt, this sunny outlook has faded a bit. The latest IRI MarketPulse survey found that shopper sentiment dropped in Q2 2015, but it is consistent with the dip typically seen during Q2 in past years. The good news is that sentiment is higher in Q2 2015 compared with Q2 2014, so consumers are feeling better about the direction of the economy and their own financial health, but they do remain cautious.

“That New Year’s high does give way to reality after a few months, so this decline isn’t surprising,” says Susan Viamari, vice president of Thought Leadership, IRI. She says consumers are “cautiously optimistic,” but still focused on value.

Constructed against a benchmark of 100 in Q1 2011, IRI’s Shopper Sentiment Index dropped to 123 in Q2 2015 compared with 138 in Q1; however, it does remain higher than the Q2 2014 index, which came in at 117. Overall, 24% of consumers feel their financial situation has improved during the past year, and 24% feel their situation remains unchanged. In addition, 23% expect improvement in the coming six months, which is consistent across all groups. For instance, 22% of Millennials, 27% of those age 35-54 and 21% of Baby Boomers expect this positive progression to continue throughout the remaining months of 2015.

Consumers have been cautious about opening their wallets for the past several years, and IRI says this isn’t going to change anytime soon. In fact, they are still doing their homework and planning what to purchase before they even step out of the house: 64% are making a list prior to going to the store; 52% are choosing the store they will shop at because it offers the lowest prices on needed items; and 45% are stocking up on certain items when they are on sale.

The survey found that consumers love to get a good deal, but they are even more focused on value. In fact, less than 50% of the shopping basket is purchased based on deals for two-thirds of shoppers. Since value means different things to different people, it’s absolutely critical for manufacturers and retailers to get the base price for products right. 83% will choose brands based on price in the coming year; 80% will choose brands based on previous trust/usage; and 58% will choose brands based on household requests.

“Retailers and manufacturers must work together to create holistic pricing strategies that underscore the value proposition for consumers, while still supporting their share, margin and growth goals,” said Viamari. But she also admitted that’s not easy to achieve.


It is still very early to predict how many hot Senate and House races there will be next year and just how much more will be spent on a Presidential race with no incumbent, but Elizabeth Wilner of Kantar’s CMAG is out with the early forecast of 2016 election spending on TV. At this point, Wilner says in her latest column for The Cook Political Report, CMAG’s estimate is total political spending of $4.4 billion across broadcast and cable TV.

You might think that the longer the Republican presidential primaries go on without deciding a nominee, the better for television—more candidates with more money to spend. But that’s not necessarily so, says Wilner. Comments from E.W. Scripps VP of sales Michael O’Brien explain that the longer the Republican primary lasts, the longer candidates and their supporting groups are advertising in just one or a few states at a time as opposed to 10 or more states every day. TV needs engagement by the GOP and Democratic nominees-designate early on to sell inventory in general election swing states in Q2 when viewership is high. “If Republican candidates run out the primary until June, we have lost the opportunity to max out revenue” for the quarter, O’Brien says. The absence of Q2 presidential general election advertising could affect the overall total by as much as $100 million or more.

To get to the $4.4 billion estimate, Wilner and her team use methodology developed for CMAG by the University of San Francisco’s Ken Goldstein. The methodology accounts for a range of factors including the number and location of likely competitive congressional races; the number and location of presidential battleground states; the total amount of money likely to be raised and spent in all races, including for governor; the proportion of total spending likely to go to TV; and how that TV ad spending is likely to be split between local and national, broadcast and cable. CMAG figures the first open presidential contest since the Citizens United court ruling could add $500 million to spending—even more if Democratic billionaires turn out to support Hillary Clinton, who is seen as the party’s likely nominee.

“We could see less than $4.4 billion on TV if the GOP primary drags on, or more than $4.4 billion if it wraps up fast. We could see less than $4.4 billion if Democratic billionaires don’t bring their A-game for Clinton, or more than $4.4 billion if they do. We also could see more than $4.4 billion if California produces a juicy slate of ballot initiatives. Overall, we see slightly more upside than downside in this early estimate of 2016 political TV ad spend,” Wilner wrote.

Of that $4.4 billion, she sees $3.3 billion going to local broadcast TV. CMAG is assuming $800 million in local cable TV ad spending for a share of 20% of all local buys. Wilner says local cable industry reps themselves are projecting 30%; but CMAG’s survey of several heads of large media-buying shops yielded estimates of 18-24%. “Despite the size of the battleground seemingly arguing for local buying, we expect to see more national [broadcast] network and cable advertising this time around,” Wilner says, putting the figure at around $300 million.