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H&R Block is one of several big brands making use of a video annotations feature released last summer by YouTube. The tax preparation company is running a Razorfish-designed YouTube game that lets users click on “hot spots” in videos that link to other YouTube videos or Web sites.

Source: Clickz.com

Date: 4/23/2009

Keys: Marketing, advertising, strategic alliances, technology

Link: http://www.clickz.com/3633493

Questions for discussion:

  • Interaction with the customer is believed by many advertisers to be significantly better than so-called passive communications. Click on the link to the H&R Block “Don’t Miss It” game.
  • Do you think this sort of ability to engage the customer is in fact superior to regular web advertisements? Explain your thinking.
  • Describe your vision of some creative interaction design that you would recommend for a specific company other than H&R Block?
  • Explain what your communication goal would be.

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Source: Bloomberg  News

Date: 4/24/2009

Keys: Finance, cash management, investing, government

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com

Questions for discussion:

  • What is the connection between discounts and incentives offered to customers and the cash requirements of the Ford?
  • Do you think Ford will be able to outperform GM and Chrysler and remain operational without the need government funding?
  • Explain your thinking.

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Sales of newly constructed homes are showing indications, ever so slight, that the housing decline may be near an end, a government report showed Friday.

Source: CNNMoney.com

Date: 4/24/2009

Keys: Economics, supply & demand, marketing, pricing

Link: http://money.cnn.com

Questions for discussion:

  • Housing is a major economic factor that determines employment and production levels in many related industries. This article provides a good illustration of the forces of supply and demand at work to set market prices for new and existing housing. Explain how that works.
  • Explain why some people would be motivated to buy, now that lower prices and interest rates have reduced the cost of housing?
  • Explain why some people would be motivated not to buy.

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Recent reports suggest premium video portal Hulu is on the verge of selling a stake to Disney-ABC Television Group and hosting Disney/ABC content on the site. If a deal happens, Hulu — already backed by NBCU and News Corp. — will be just one partner short of achieving a monopoly among broadcast giants. And that missing partner is CBS.

Source: Clickz.com

Date: 4/16/2009

Keys: Marketing, distribution channels, strategic alliances, technology

Link: http://www.clickz.com/3633426

Questions for discussion:

  • What do you believe this strategy will mean for the participants? For customers? For competitors? Explain your thinking.

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U.S. stocks rose, heading for a sixth week of gains, after BB&T Corp. said housing markets are stabilizing and better-than-expected gauge of confidence drove consumer shares higher.

Source: Bloomberg  News

Date: 4/17/2009

Keys: Economy, stock market, investing

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com


Questions for discussion:

  • How does the latest stock market and economic news compare to your sense of the true state of economic conditions where you live?
  • Which businesses do you think will respond well to this news?

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Italian car maker says it could abandon partnership talks with the ailing Detroit company if labor concessions aren’t made.

Source: CNNMoney.com

Date: 4/15/2009

Keys: International business, marketing, government, bankruptcy

Link: http://money.cnn.com

Questions for discussion:

  • What would you advise Chrysler to do?
  • Do you think the deal makes sense for Fiat?
  • What would you do if you were an autoworker, given this situation?
  • What would want your union to do?

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Hyundai Motor Co. Chairman Chung Mong Koo insisted the revamped Equus luxury sedan meet all regulations in the U.S., where Hyundai’s flagship has never been sold. Now the U.S. unit has to figure out how to sell a car that costs as much as eight times more than its Accent compacts.

Source: Bloomberg News

Date: 4/17/2009

Keys: Marketing, sales, branding, pricing

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you think Hyundai can succeed in selling to both of these markets?
  • How would you deal with the task of creating a place in the market for the new model entry?
  • What pricing issues will the firm have to contend with?

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Presidential adviser Larry Summers is optimistic for an economic turnaround.

Source: ABCNews – video report

Date: 4/10/2009

Keys: Economic indicators, business cycle, forecasting sales

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Link: http://www.abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=7305232

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you agree with Larry Summers’ forecast? Explain your reasoning.
  • What do you think of the predictors of economic activity mentioned in the article?
  • What other buying behaviours do you think reflect consumer attitudes and reflect future economic conditions?

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Transportation stocks have outperformed the broader market lately. That’s a good sign as long as freight shippers say the economy is stabilizing.

Source: CNNMoney.com

Date: 4/10/2009

Keys: Stock market, forecasting, marketing

Link: http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/10/markets/thebuzz/index.htm?postversion=2009041012

Questions for discussion:

  • To investors in the stock market, earnings are the primary indicators of a firm’s financial wellbeing. The focus is on the banks because their earnings (losses) had fallen so dramatically that many believed they would not be able to recover and continue their business activities once the current recession ended. What other industry-wide reports of earnings would suggest improved economic and therefore, improving stock market activity? Explain.

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Bernard Madoff conned even the most sophisticated of clients, such as Fairfield Greenwich Group, through a simple tactic whenever he was asked probing questions: He refused to answer or he lied..

Source: Bloomberg  News

Date: 4/03/2009

Keys: Investing, government, regulation, ethics, law

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601170&refer=special_report&sid=asYX4sfz1XhY

Questions for discussion:

  • What lessons did you learn about risk and investing from this article?
  • What roles should government regulatory bodies such as the SEC, play in these situations?
  • Who is to blame for the losses incurred by investors?
  • What threat of punishment would deter others from conducting such a fraud in the future?
  • Is this a worse case of fraud because of the massive size of the funds lost?