Circus1If you’ve ever wondered what world-famous chefs do for spring break, ask Lee Brian Schrager. The mastermind behind the Food Network’s South Beach and New York City Wine and Food Festivals has hosted the likes of Emeril, Anthony Bordain, Bobby Flay and Martha Stewart at these charity-supporting food and wine events for more than a decade, and the party is just getting started.

“For Food Network personalities, these festivals are opportunities to network with their peers,” says Schrager, vice president of corporate communications and national events for Southern Wine and Spirits of America Inc. “For consumers, it’s a chance to sample great foods, wines and spirits while watching culinary demonstrations. It’s the best of everything! Where else could you see Paula Deen on one stage across from Daniel Boulud?”

Techie1Advertisers are not taking advantage of the reams of consumer data that are available to them nowadays. Time of decision is replacing time of day and proving itself key to intent-driven marketing.

Watch an episode of “Mad Men” on cable television, and it’s easy to see how much has changed in the world of advertising. Imagine if Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce – the advertising agency that is at the heart of “Mad Men” – had the same volume of consumer data available to it in the 1960s that advertisers have available today, from demographic profiles to audience data including behavioral, intent and response data, creative performance data and optimization. They really could have ruled the advertising world.

Insight1 Gluten-free is becoming the latest trend in food consumption, even among those who can tolerate gluten. Almost one-third of U.S. adults reported in January that they want to cut down or be free of gluten in their diets, according to The NPD Group’s Dieting Monitor. This is the highest percentage making this claim since the NPD Group began asking that in 2009.

The NPD’s Dieting Monitor – which continually tracks on a biweekly basis the top-of-mind dieting and nutrition-related issues facing consumers – reports that in January, 30 percent of adults claimed to cut down on or avoid gluten completely. Additionally, interest in gluten-free menu items at restaurants also is growing.

Lexpo1Over recent decades, licensing has expanded rapidly as a critical marketing tool, helping brand managers across many consumer product categories to understand that licensing is an effective communications strategy that also enhances brand value. Brand owners desire not only to generate meaningful revenues, but also sustain brand relevancy by increasing touch points with consumers through licensed brand extensions.

This is the reason that licensing has grown to become a $185 billion industry, responsible for the growth and longevity of many of the iconic brands consumers are familiar with today.

Fridge1Observe the refrigerated and freezer section of any supermarket or grocery store that still has open cases. What you’ll see is shivering shoppers rushing to the registers, products that appear washed out by bad lighting and scuffed, dirty cases that accumulate dirt and repel buyers. It is a universal phenomenon.

“I shop at two stores, one is close to home and has open cases and the other is 15 minutes away, but they have new closed cases,” says Kristin Manning of Charleston, S.C. “I try to avoid the one closest to home because the store just looks run-down, plus the cold cases are all open, so the store always feels like a meat locker. In fact, that’s what we call it – ‘the meat locker.’

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