In the News

  • accessories

    Jan 1 ‘The Big White One’

    Westport, CT—After better-than expected Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Super Saturday and Day After Christmas retail sales, some analysts say the next big hit for retailers could come as early as New Year’s Day. “This will be the biggest January we’ve ever seen at retail,” Gary Stibel, chief executive of the New England Consulting Group, told Crain’s New York Business. While preliminary results point to the 2010 holiday season sales may hit an all-time high, Stibel said shoppers are spending more now to make up for a terrible 2009. [pdf..]

  • Crain's New York Business_Twitter

    Retailers wish for huge sales on New Year’s Day

    Analysts say consumers will turn New Year's Day into the "Big White One" and keep shopping through January, but the rest of 2011 looks rocky for retail. The gifting season is over, but the shopping is not yet done, according to some retail experts. January is expected to bring in a big sales haul for retailers as consumers continue spending from Christmas. [pdf..]

  • PC MAg_Twitter

    PCMag.com – PlayStation Phone is Real, Say Analysts

    This week, several technology sites posted videos that purported to show a PlayStation Phone made by Sony Ericsson — a device that hasn't been officially announced or acknowledged by the company, if it even exists at all. But analysts covering the mobile gaming industry say it almost certainly does. "This is something that we believe is coming," says Dave Halas, a gaming analyst with the New England Consulting Group, which advises telecom and gaming companies. "We're trying to prepare people we work with for the possibility of this." [pdf..]

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    Washington Post – Consumers are buying for themselves this holiday

    Consumers are adding a very important name back to their holiday shopping lists this year: their own. [pdf..]

  • Portland Press Herald_Twitter

    More consumers buying for themselves this holiday

    Consumers are adding a very important name back to their holiday shopping lists this year: their own. The percentage of shoppers who say they plan to indulge in a little something extra for themselves has risen four points since last year to more than 57 percent - the biggest jump in at least six years, according to an industry survey. Sales of jewelry, apparel and consumer electronics are up so far this holiday season from last year, and experts attribute part of the boost to what has become known as "self-gifting." [pdf..]

  • NY Times

    NYT – Survyes – Christmas Spending May Not Be So Jolly

    Although the Christmas shopping season is off to a strong start, some surveys of consumers are flashing red lights rather than green ones as to what the mood among retailers and marketers might be on Dec.26. [pdf..]

  • Forbes_Icon

    Forbes – From Focus Groups to Friend Groups

    Arguing that focus groups were never really all that effective in the first place, agencies and research facilities have introduced a variety of methods aimed at shaking up the traditional focus group approach. Young & Laramore, which has done work for clients like Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo, is one such practitioner. Instead of focus groups, the Indianapolis-based agency frequently runs what company president Tom Denari calls “friendship groups.” That’s when the company will tap one consumer and ask that individual to recruit two or three others from his/her social circle. The assumption is that one is more likely to be comfortable in an experimental setting when with others in one’s social network. [pdf..]

  • SNbutton

    SN – Retailers hope their new premium brands will gain a place at this year’s holiday table

    "Tis the season to be jolly. But putting an even bigger spring in price-conscious shoppers' step is a flurry of private-label introductions timed to the holiday season. Helping fulfill Americans' wish list are competitively priced imported products and premium fare suitable for the most discerning holiday guest. " [pdf..]

  • Nation Restaurant News

    NRN – Wendy’s tests new line of burgers in Las Vegas

    Wendy’s is testing a new line of premium burgers in the Las Vegas market named for the chain's founder, Dave Thomas, and promoting them with commercials starring his daughter. Dave’s Hot ’N Juicy Cheeseburgers feature a thicker, quarter-pound patty and new ingredients like crinkle-cut pickles on a buttered, toasted bun. The upgraded burgers are being advertised in Las Vegas as single-, double- and triple-patty varieties and are being tested at different prices, said Denny ... [pdf..]

  • Nation Restaurant News

    NRN – Cracking the customer code to unlock your sales potential

    The Great Recession may officially be history, but many American consumers have yet to act on the news. Although trend watchers find that Americans are slightly more upbeat than they had been in the depths of the downturn, they remain wary when it comes to dining out and are not expected to return to pre-recession-level spending anytime soon. “Confidence has remained relatively unchanged for more than a year,” said Lynn Franco, director of the consumer research center for The ... [pdf..]

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    Consumers Soon to feed through

    "Consumers are faced with sharply rising food prices. Kevin Gaffney had to face up to a double setback on Friday. The 53-year-old, made redundant by the airline that employed him at London’s Heathrow airport, was obliged to sign on for jobseeker’s allowance for the first time. And just when his income was at an unhappy ebb, what struck him at the supermarket where he stopped off for provisions was ... Kevin Gaffney had to face up to a double setback on Friday. The 53-year-old, made redundant by the airline that employed him at London’s Heathrow airport, was obliged to sign on for jobseeker’s allowance for the first time. And just when his income was at an unhappy ebb, what struck him at the supermarket where he stopped off for provisions was ..." [pdf..]

  • QSR

    $2 Price Point Could Be Game Changing, At Least for Taco Bell

    In less than a week, the quick-service industry has experienced two dramatic price-point shifts at both ends of the spectrum. First Taco Bell introduced the $2 combo meal — a entrée plus a bag of Doritos and medium soft drink. Now, Burger King has bone-in ribs priced up to $9 for an eight-piece combo meal. Of the two strategies, restaurant industry consultants with Westport, Conn.-based New England Consulting Group say Taco Bell's may be the bolder move. [pdf..]

  • bundle

    The Truth About Food Spending in America

    At Bundle, we have a healthy obsession with spending. How much, where, on what — and often, how to do a little less of it. In our short life, we've noticed something: our conversations about money keep circling back to food. Restaurant week specials. Bringing our lunches. Bottled water. Growing our own vegetables. Our salaries are set. So is our rent. Clothes and other big-ticket items are periodic expenses. But when it comes to food, we get several chances a day to save or splurge. Brian Wansink, the director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, estimates we make 227 decisions about what to eat every day — each of which has a small financial impact. Go out for drinks after work? Buy the Hershey's chocolate bar or spring for the Lindt? And couldn't we just order takeout? Because after a day's worth of food-and-spending decisions, I'm too exhausted to think about cooking. [pdf..]

  • NY Times

    People and Accouts of Note in Advertising

    "Bailey Gardiner, San Diego, hired four employees. They are: Jen Jenkins, public relations account coordinator; Sayamon Riddang, graphic designer; Maria Swanson, advertising account supervisor; and Ryan Thompson, advertising account supervisor. Brunner, Pittsburgh, opened Brunner Mobile, a unit specializing in mobile marketing. " [pdf..]

  • MediaPost-TwitterLogoStamp-2_bigger

    Domino’s Illustrates Power of Rational Appeals

    "Domino's Pizza's recent sales surge is one compelling reminder of the power of a clear benefit appeal and intelligent execution, as opposed to advertising that entertains but falls short on results, in the opinion of at least one marketing consultant. ""In a world that believes that advertising must be entertaining, Domino's is winning with a rational product message that is honest, informative and persuasive,"" asserts Gary Stibel, founder/CEO of Westport, Conn.-based marketing management consultancy New England Consulting Group. (Domino's is not a client.) " [pdf..]

  • adweek-logo-twitter

    CPG Sales Set for More Online Growth

    Online sales of consumer packaged goods are projected to rise from $12 billion to $16 billion by 2012, a 25 percent increase. "We think the segment will grow at above-average rates and then settle in to be a small part of the overall market," said the New England Consulting Group's Gary Stibel. [pdf..]

  • Daily Finance_Twitter

    Why Johnson & Johnson Recall of Children’s Tylenol Matters

    So far the market has largely yawned at Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) recall of consumer products like Children's Tylenol and Children's Zyrtec -- the shares rose 44 cents Wednesday to $65.14. But as the manufacturing problems at the company's Fort Washington, Pa., plant continue to grab headlines, the real pain for J&J could be the tarnishing of its vaunted brand.   [pdf..]

  • QSR

    Popeyes – Improving the Experience

    Every quick-service executive knows focusing on the guest experience is important. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen learned just how important as it used customer input to turn the company's sales around. That was no small feat, especially during a recession. [pdf..]

  • Retailwire_Twitter

    Wal-Mart Looks for Aldi-Buster Format

    Wal-Mart benefited during the Great Recession as consumers traded down to its stores to buy everyday items at prices lower than where they had been shopping before. At the same time, it seems, some of Wal-Mart's shoppers were following a similar pattern by going to smaller, limited-assortment grocery stores such as Aldi and Save-A-Lot to reduce their food bills. [pdf..]

  • Wall Street Journal

    Beyond the Big Box – Wal-Mart Thinks Smaller

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc. became the largest retailer by building sprawling stores in suburbs and rural towns. But now it is exploring opening a number of small outposts to penetrate the nation's cities and fight the spread of no-frills grocery chains, which are luring away some of its core customers. [pdf..]

  • QSR

    Popeyes Pay Day Pays Off Slower This Year

    Last April 22, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Pay Day offer hit at a time consumers were starving for value. Consumers waited for hours in lines that wrapped around the stores or down the street. Some stores ran out of chicken or closed early. Multiple media outlets reported on the chaotic situation. Social media channels were abuzz with consumers praising and chiding Popeyes, depending on their experience. [pdf..]

  • Boston Globe

    Coke and Pepsi Moving Beyond the Good Times

    Coke and Pepsi ads used to be all about fun times, summer picnics, and refreshment with taglines like “Coke is it!’’ and “The choice of a new generation.’’ Now, many of them instead urge consumers to do good, help others, and watch what they eat. [pdf..]

  • QSR

    NexCen Brands – On the Way Back

    NexCen Brands launched its multi-branded business model in 2006 with a smart strategy: Buy up and manage a variety of retail and quick-service restaurant brands. As with similar companies, the premise was that the variety of concepts would speed up development across the brands. It also would protect the company as sales inevitably fluctuate across the different segments. [pdf..]

  • SAlon_Twitter

    The Disappearance of Ronald McDonald

    Life isn’t as jolly as it used to be for Ronald McDonald. The fast-food mascot, who has delighted and/or terrified generations of American children with his red and yellow jumpsuit and his relentless perkiness, has been in hot water recently. Two weeks ago, a Boston group called Corporate Accountability International (which previously helped force Joe Camel into retirement) launched a campaign to remove the brightly colored clown from McDonald’s restaurants and ad campaigns, claiming that he has too much influence on children’s eating habits, and promotes bad nutrition and the “fast food industry childhood obesity crisis.” [pdf..]

  • MediaPost-TwitterLogoStamp-2_bigger

    ‘Sponsored’ Health Care Is On The Way

    "Get ready for sponsored health care. Major marketers of over-the-counter remedies, such as Johnson & Johnson, want to go beyond selling products, and get into the business of providing wellness and medical care. For them, it makes perfect sense to have a stake in providing treatment and advice to people who are sick, or trying to stay healthy. Being in the trenches with patients can provide them with another revenue stream, as well as priceless information - largely online - about patient needs and preferences. It also gives the companies an outlet for indirectly promoting their goods among health care providers and consumers. Read more: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/125459/?print#ixzz2iNgXcz1Z" [pdf..]

  • Marketplace money_twitter

    Breakfast – A Big Meal for Food Chains

    Kai Ryssdal: Thirty thousand people hit the South Lawn of the White House today for the annual Easter Egg roll. The business world rolled out some eggs of its own this morning as well. The kind you eat, over easy, maybe -- not the hard-boiled ones you push around in the grass at the White House. Subway restaurants has joined the battle over the morning meal. It's introduced a breakfast menu. Marketplace's Stacey Vanek-Smith has more on the home of the $5 foot-long stepping up its morning game. [pdf..]

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    Burger King Lauches Advertising Push Against McDonald’s Over Breakfast

    (Crain's) -- Burger King is betting big on breakfast with a new national blitz to promote a morning sandwich that's admittedly a lot like McDonald's Egg McMuffin, but cheaper. In a new 30-second commercial from agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky, BK's mascot, the King -- armed with a flashlight and donning a hoodie -- breaks into McDonald's headquarters in the wee hours of the morning to copy the recipe for McD's Sausage McMuffin with Egg sandwich. [pdf..]

  • NBC Chicago

    Nothing Ventured, Muffin Gained

    "There's an egg war going on. But it's not between raucous teenagers. Perhaps worse yet, it's between fast-food giants. Oak Brook-based McDonald's is king when it comes to breakfast fast food, according to Gary Stibel, founder-CEO of New England Consulting Group (via Crain's Chicago Business). Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Nothing-Ventured-Muffin-Gained-BK-Copies-McDs-Breakfast-89791377.html#ixzz2iNfJ08yD" [pdf..]

  • MediaPost-TwitterLogoStamp-2_bigger

    Battle For Breakfast Heats Up With New Burger King Spot

    In a volley in its war on McDonald's dominance at breakfast, Burger King has broken a new 30-second spot in which the mascot King burgles the recipe for the Sausage McMuffin with Egg sandwich. "It's not that original but it's super affordable ... egg, sausage and cheese on a toasted English muffin," quoth the voiceover. BK's version only costs a buck.  [pdf..]

  • QSR

    Consultant is Sure Subway’s Breakfast Will Be a Winner

    Late last year, Subway began rolling out breakfast food with Starbucks’ Seattle’s Best coffee, and now the brand is jumping whole hog into a new breakfast menu. “Subway’s entry into the breakfast daypart will be successful and will challenge the likes of McDonald’s and Starbucks, as well as Kellogg’s and Jimmy Dean,” says Gary Stibel, CEO and restaurant team practice leader at the Westport, Connecticut–based New England Consulting Group. [pdf..]

  • Ad Age

    BK Wages Breakfast War on McDonald’s With New Sandwich

    NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Burger King is betting big on breakfast with a new national blitz to promote a morning sandwich that's admittedly a lot like McDonald's Egg McMuffin, but cheaper. In a new 30-second commercial from agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky, BK's mascot, the King -- armed with a flashlight and donning a hoodie -- breaks into McDonald's headquarters in the wee hours of the morning to copy the recipe for McD's Sausage McMuffin with Egg sandwich. A voice-over says, "It's not that original but it's super affordable ... egg, sausage and cheese on a toasted English muffin." (The sandwich is being sold for a $1 at Burger King restaurants. McDonald's doesn't offer that sandwich on its breakfast dollar menu, but it does offer other selections, such as a sausage biscuit and sausage burrito). [pdf..]

  • WSJ-twitter-logo

    Trusting Other Patients’ Drug Advice

    Who are you going to listen to when it comes to medicines—your peers or the companies that actually make the drugs? Market research shows that the sick are relying more on the recommendations of fellow patients, and less on the reputations of companies and endorsers, in deciding whether to seek treatment and what drugs to ask for, say pharmaceutical companies and their consultants. [pdf..]

  • twitterQ

    Consulting Firm Shuffles Restaurant Deck

    The New England Consulting Group (NECG) announced the reorganization of its Restaurant and Hospitality practice. The practice will be led by CEO Gary Stibel, and will be supported by a core team consisting of managing partners Dave Stone, John Richards, Tom Hayes, and Gaurav Kapoor, located in the firm’s Westport, Connecticut, headquarters, along with other experienced restaurant and hospitality executives around the world. “This reorganization will maximize the New England Consulting Group’s ability to provide timely marketing management counsel across a broad range of restaurant and hospitality pain points, from increasing profit to enhancing the customer experience,” Stibel says. “All our efforts are focused on acquiring new customers, increasing check sizes, and accelerating repeat.”  [pdf..]

  • NY Times

    Do-It-Yourself Super Ads

    BE afraid, Madison Avenue. Be very afraid. That seems to be the message in the aftermath of the crowded, frenetic advertising bowl that took place inside Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. Among those commercials consistently deemed most effective, memorable and talked-about, many were created or suggested by consumers — or produced internally by the sponsors — rather than the work of agency professionals. That should give the modern-day “Mad Men” pause, particularly since so many people watched the game — an average of 106.5 million, the Nielsen Company reported, the largest audience ever for a television show. [pdf..]