Tech CEOs 2011: The best and the worst


Steve Jobs and Tim Cook
Skip to the next section if you’re thoroughly sick of reading about how Apple keeps hitting the ball out of the park. Truth be told, it was more fun in the mid-1990s when Apple was Silicon Valley’s running soap opera. Nowadays the company operates with the sort of steamroller efficiency epitomized by the 1927 New York Yankees led by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. And for that, you have to credit the CEO tandem of the late Steve Jobs and his successor — and alter ego — Tim Cook.

Tim Cook sitting at Steve Jobs’ right at an event in 2007.

Jobs may be gone but his influence at Apple remains in the management team and product design philosophy that he left behind. Even though illness forced Apple’s legendary co-founder to relinquish the reins to Cook in late August, his half-year as CEO was still better than full-year performances turned in by most of his peers. This wasn’t an overnight handover. Whenever Jobs needed to take a step back, Cook was in the unique position of receiving extended on-the-job training, and whatever rough patches he might have encountered were well hidden behind Apple’s carefully constructed PR screen. All the while, Cook got to learn first-hand from the tech industry’s master marketer how it’s done.

What a shame Jobs wasn’t healthy enough to introduce the iPhone 4S. How the fan boys would have swooned when he offered them the first look at Siri. Cook’s not a matinee idol and he doesn’t try to be. Maybe that explains the relatively muted reaction to what was otherwise a very successful product debut. Some quibbled that the lines in front of Apple stores were smaller than for previous releases. But the bloggers and reporters who get hung up by the different style are making a big deal out of the trivial. Like Jobs, Cook has offered the leadership that you’d expect from a strong CEO. He more than justified Jobs’ confidence as Apple’s iPhones, iPads and iMacs continued to sell at a torrid clip in the second half of 2011, sending the company’s shares are up more than 17 percent year-to-date, beating both the Nasdaq index and S&P 500.

The question everyone is asking is whether Cook can muster the magic on his own now that he’s flying solo. Maybe we’ll find out the answer in 2012. But so far, this rates as one of the most seamless managerial handovers in corporate history. And one of the most successful.

President Obama chats with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.President Obama chats with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in February.

(Credit: The White House)

Mark Zuckerberg
Here’s one way to think about how entrenched Facebook has become in the cultural lexicon: When someone decides they actually want to leave everyone’s favorite social network grid, this now qualifies as “news.” That is no small accomplishment. Even though Google now offers its own rival service, Facebook remains by a wide margin the preferred social network for revelers, revolutionaries, and just plain folk posting their musings, pictures, and videos uploads.

Wall Street has apparently decided that Facebook is not of this world, according it a pre-IPO valuation now north of $80 billion. But somehow the peanut gallery remains reluctant to give Mark Zuckerberg his full due for building a magnificent platform. Yes, he’s profiled in business magazines and gets sought out for interviews by everyone from Charlie Rose to “60 Minutes.” But when you listen to discussions of the great CEOs of Silicon Valley, you’re more likely to hear mention of John Chambers, who had Cisco buy the company that makes the Flip video camera for $590 million and then shut the division less than two years later. The worst Zuckerberg ever did is get sloppy with privacy controls, a faux pas that some within the blogosphere may never forgive.

But as 2011 closes, it’s time to give it up for the Z-man. Through the years he has remained true to his vision and resisted sundry offers to sell out. Back in 2006, when he was approached with a $750 million offer, more than a few people thought he should take the money and run. Who was Zuckerberg and what was Facebook to think they could outrun then-juggernaut MySpace? But five years later, MySpace is irrelevant, while Facebook has over 750 million active users and earned $500 million on $1.6 billion of revenue during the first half of 2011.

Like Bill Gates, an entrepreneur who managed very well as CEO at a young age, Zuckerberg is growing into the role (helped in no small part by his able No. 2, Sheryl Sandberg.). The best example came this fall when he put a potentially distracting privacy fight with the government in the rear view mirror instead of venting publicly about government persecution. He’s familiar with Microsoft’s less than happy experience battling Uncle Sam and wisely ordered Facebook to strike a deal with the Federal Trade Commission that should put this issue to bed.

Zuckerberg can’t go on auto-pilot. His biggest immediate challenge, of course, comes from Google, which launched its Google+ service in July and passed the 40 million user mark in October. Facebook has to keep pushing. It did a nice job with Timeline, the new profile design that finally went live last week. And with an eye toward avoiding further complaints about user privacy, Facebook also rolled out a useful tool called Activity Log which may go down as one of the site’s most important additions since the inclusion of the News Feed.

The coming IPO, presumably sometime in 2012, will be a barometer of Zuckerberg’s success, as well as the event of the year’s tech calendar. And who knows what the future holds? Is it altogether nutso to imagine Facebook bringing out its own search technology, one that could sort through a gold mind of data about social interactions? Zuckerberg is aiming high, and Facebook is already a good part of the way there. This is how legacies get created. If it all works as Zuckerberg hopes, then maybe that $80 billion valuation will turn out to be on the low side. Scary but true.

Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, and Sergey BrinFrom left, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin.

(Credit: Google)

Larry Page
In Google’s 2004 pre-IPO filing with the SEC, co-founder Larry Page sent prospective shareholders a Monty Python-like message that he wasn’t interested in conducting business as usual.

“Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.”

A bit full of himself, sure, but now that the proverbial buck stops at his desk — he became CEO in April — Page has had an opportunity to back up his words. Though his brief reign, this much is clear: While he may not be an unconventional CEO, Page has ably handled the awesome responsibility that he sought out. He set the company on a new course with the blockbuster announcement of a $12.5 billion deal for Motorola Mobility (a deal that gives Google more than 17,000 patents and will prove useful now that Apple is trying to nuke Android in a court case). Meanwhile, Android continues to grow by leaps — according to Nielsen, it now powers about 40 percent of smartphones — while Google’s search dominance remains unquestioned. The company also made a successful entry into social networking with Google+, which finally offers Facebook its first serious competition for advertising dollars and user attention. Wall Street likes what it’s seen. On the day Page took over, Google’s shares closed at $587.68; with less than a couple of weeks left in the year, they’re hovering around the $630 level.

By all accounts, Page’s accession to the top job — technically this is his second turn as CEO, though his first as the head of Google as a public company — has been annotated by drive and energy. He wants to accelerate Google’s corporate DNA, and in the near term, that may be his biggest challenge. The flip side of being big and successful is the spread of corporate sloth (as both Microsoft and IBM veterans can attest). With around 25,000 employees at Google, this is no longer a scrappy startup and it’s become tougher than ever for good ideas to bubble up from the ranks and get proper consideration. That’s why Page has winnowed the number of projects Google’s engineers are working on, focusing their efforts on the areas where he thinks there’s the best chance for the biggest returns.

OK, how difficult can it be to sit at the top of the mountain, take in your immense kingdom, and bloviate in SEC docs about being unconventional? In fairness, it’s not as easy as it looks, so give Page deserving kudos for not screwing up what continues to be one of the most vibrant tech companies around. We’re often reminded of the spectacular success stories registered by the likes of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (his second time at the helm more so than his first go around) but any fair recording of CEO-founders includes no shortage of flameouts. Remember George Shaheen at, Philippe Kahn at Borland, and Ted Waitt at Gateway, to name a few? All were smart guys and their companies were once the toast of the town. Then the good times ended and they couldn’t reverse the slide. If Page turns out to be as good as we think, Google’s CEO won’t ever find himself facing that sort of predicament.




Reed Hastings
Yesterday’s hero can turn into today’s goat in the amount of time it takes to launch a press release. Just ask Netflix CEO and founder Reed Hastings, who must still be wondering if it was all a nightmare.

Reed HastingsNetflix founder Reed Hastings at one of the company’s warehouses in Silicon Valley.

(Credit: CBS)

Up until this year, Hastings was an Internet rock star, lauded for having changed the way we consume movies and television shows. Netflix was an easy-to-use service priced at the sweet spot. Consumers flocked to it. Wall Street sang its praises. But it all came a cropper in September when Hastings executed the sort of maneuver that one might have expected from F-Troop.

It wasn’t just the 60 percent price hike on one of Netflix’s most popular plans that got peoples’ dander up. Netflix also planned to split into two parts: One unit named “Qwikster” would mail DVDs to subscribers, while the other would continue to focus on streaming movies over the Internet.

This turned out to be a public relations disaster. Even though the price increase would impact only subscribers who used both the streaming and mail-order sides of the business, the announcement left Netflix loyalists steamed. Two separate websites with two billing systems and two names? If there was a higher logic at play, it escaped most people. The reviews were uniformly lousy and Netflix became the butt of late-night TV hosts’ jokes. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter summed up the general reaction with this icy observation to a reporter from USA Today: “They raised prices. They offered lower-quality content, and they made it more complicated.” Within three weeks Hastings reversed the Qwikster decision and publicly apologized for having “slipped into arrogance” (though Netflix kept the price increase in place.) But the apology was too late to repair the damage. During the third quarter, 800,000 subscribers responded to the Qwikster fiasco by dumping the service. Shares of Netflix, which earlier in the year poked above $300, have since fallen to the $70 range.

People have short memories and this isn’t necessarily the end of the world for Netflix. Fans do return. Think Bob Dylan and his move to electric guitar. After the initial freak-out, most of the faithful got over it. Nothing here rules out that kind of rebound for Hastings — as long as he avoids hitting another sour chord. At that point, Neflix really could be left blowing in the wind.

Leo Apotheker and Meg WhitmanLeo Apotheker and Meg Whitman

(Credit: Graphic by James Martin/CNET)

Leo Apotheker
In our quiet moments, it’s reasonable to wonder whether some mischievous warlock left the curse of the cat people on Hewlett-Packard.

Carly Fiorina’s years were marked by corporate drift and tumult. Her replacement, Mark Hurd, was ousted in an expense-fudging scandal involving a former soft-porn actress. In between, there was a bizarre novella in which corporate officers trying to plug a leak ordered investigators to spy on journalists.

But nothing — and I mean nothing — compares with the brief and utterly feckless tenure of one Leo Apotheker, hired in November 2010 to replace Hurd.

Apotheker was a highly regarded software executive who had been chief executive of SAP AG. Although he had little experience as a hardware executive, the company hoped he could take the management skills he had picked up over the course of his long career and apply them to the job at hand. It was only much later on that we learned most members of HP’s board of directors had never even met Apotheker before voting to hire him. That’s what you get when the company is overseen by what a former board member has described as the “worst” board of directors in the history of business. But I digress.

After 11 months as CEO, Apotheker got the boot and HP, once one of Silicon Valley’s storied company, was reduced to a laughingstock. The chronology played out over the summer, when Apotheker announced that HP would kill off the TouchPad tablet computer, which had only recently debuted. He also canceled a crop of phones and products based on Palm’s WebOS operating system. He was also convinced HP would be better off selling the PC business, a $30 billion division which at the time still enjoyed big market presence.

His plan now is easy to mock. But Apotheker had a strategy to remake HP into something resembling his former company and specialize in catering to enterprise-sized companies. On the surface, at least, it was intriguing. After all, the idea of jettisoning low-margin businesses to focus on software and service worked wonders at IBM under Lou Gerstner and Sam Palmisano. But it took time for those two to get all the pieces in place and plan IBM’s exit from the commodity stuff.

In contrast, the clock was ticking for Apotheker right from the start. And with HP missing its financial targets, Apotheker quickly lost credibility with the financial community, making investors even antsier as HP’s stock lost 40 percent of its value. He also lost credibility with another key constituency as the board grumbled at his poor communications skills (starting with the decision to kill the TouchPad) as well as the company’s product direction. Rightly or not, Apotheker was labeled a zig-zagger with little feel for HP’s hardware business. The board executed a mercy killing in September, replacing Apotheker with Meg Whitman. The former eBay CEO has since announced that HP would keep the PC business.

You can’t make this stuff up.

James Martin/CNETRIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis shows off the BlackBerry PlayBook.

(Credit: BlackBerry PlayBook, Mike Lazaridis)

Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis
After their company’s latest earnings debacle, Research In Motion’s co-CEOs James Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis announced they would take just $1 in salary. Given the collapse of this one-time tech darling, some shareholders may grumble these two are still being overpaid.

It’s hard to believe how quickly RIM has collapsed. The company’s stock has lost more than three-quarters of its market value in the last year while a myriad of app-hip mobile handset rivals have prospered. That’s all the more remarkable given how we’re talking about what once was the premier mobile device maker for businesses. Now RIM is a company that can’t seem to keep up. With every new Android and Apple update, RIM promises a next-generation BlackBerry phone — sometime in the second half of next year. Meanwhile, its PlayBook tablet has been turned into a bargain-bin product with RIM offering massive discounts.

Cue up Clayton Christensen and the perils of the innovator’s dilemma, where one-time market leaders fail to capitalize on new waves of innovation. In the meantime, here’s Lazaridis trying to explain why the on BlackBerry 10, the upcoming product RIM has touted as the basis for its superphone, is going to be delayed:


We need a highly integrated dual-core LTE platform.The processor we selected offers industry-leading power and efficiency, and also allows us to deliver the industrial design, that we believe is critical to the success in this market segment. This chipset will not be available until mid 2012. And as a result of this and certain other factors, we now expect our first BlackBerry 10 smartphones to reach markets in the latter part of calendar 2012. In the meantime, we believe that our strong BlackBerry 7 portfolio will continue to drive adoption of BlackBerry around the world.


One problem: In July, Lazaridis told shareholders that the BlackBerry 7 handsets were just “messaging” handsets compared to the “mobile computing” handsets slated to come out with the BlackBerry 10 software. Now the company’s stuck with these same “messaging” handsets while the market keeps moving along. Sanford Bernstein responded to that performance by calling management “in complete denial of the situation” while another brokerage, Robert W. Baird, said RIM’s U.S. business was “in a freefall.”

There’s a growing feeling that Balsillie and Lazardis, who share responsibilities for leading RIM, are congenitally conventional managers ill-equipped to handle an unconventional challenge. The situation has reached the point that some are even floating suggestions that RIM may need to consider dumping the BlackBerry if it’s to survive. That sounds like a stretch but at this rate the situation is impossibly grim, with investors and customers holding onto faint promises of better times ahead. The fact that RIM has even reached this point constitutes Exhibits A, B, and C for the chorus of critics demanding new leadership.


Tim Armstrong
As an early user of AOL’s dial-up service, I have to confess to a twinge of nostalgia each time I watch “You’ve Got Mail.” That’s about the only warm and fuzzy feeling AOL gives off these days as CEO Tim Armstrong seeks to find on a formula that will save the company from media also-ran status.


AOL CEO Tim Armstrong.AOL CEO Tim Armstrong.

(Credit: Google)

Give the man credit for believing in a strategy. But after two years making the same pitch, the question is whether he’s got the right strategy. Armstrong is an online ad sales guy — he was Google’s president of the Americas operations — and has gone shopping for new content that AOL’s ad sales team can sell against. Like Yahoo, AOL has a legacy business in the form of its dial-up operations which, remarkably, still throws off a lot of cash each quarter. That’s allowed Armstrong to fund his bet that that content will create scale when he acquired the Huffington Post for $315 million as well as TechCrunch for a reported $30 million. It’s still too early to say how those deals are going to work out for AOL though they were grand slams for the two blogs’ creators, Arianna Huffington and Michael Arrington, who sold at the peak. The other big hope is Patch, the company’s network of hyperlocal Web sites. AOL this year has sunk $40 million into Patch on top of the $75 million that it spent on the project last year. Good money after bad? Not according to Armstrong, who has predicted that Patch will start generating a profit by the end of 2011.

But despite adding a collection of works in progress, AOL has failed to distinguish itself from the pack. AOL may argue that its content Web site pickups will help boost traffic and revenues in a meaningful way but it is unclear whether traditional remedies for a traditional media company will provide the needed fix. Wall Street has not bought the story. With Armstrong scheduled to take home a total annual compensation package of $1 million, AOL’s stock plummeted from nearly 25 earlier in the year to the mid-teens.

On top of that, Armstrong’s reputation as a leader suffered when he was unable to effectively resolve the summer soap opera involving Arrington and Huffington. After losing a turf war, Arrington very publicly left AOL; he was soon followed out the door by several key staffers – including, most recently, TechCrunch CEO Heather Harde. But that was just a circus sideshow to the central question about whether Armstrong has what it takes to turn AOL into a money maker. Already calls are coming to split the company into pieces and jettison the units that aren’t adding to growth. How long before some of those same voices begin asking why Armstrong should escape paying the same penalty exacted from Carol Bartz when she failed to revive Yahoo? After all, you can only be in turnaround mode for so long.

Tops of 2011: Digital

This is one of the best part of the new year. As 2011 comes to a close, I love to review the top online destinations, social media sites, and smartphone devices. According to Nielsen’s report , Google was the most-visited U.S. Web brand, while Facebook held its lead among social networks and blogs. Smartphones were popular in 2011, making up the majority of new phone purchases with Apple as the top smartphone manufacturer and Android as the leading OS.

Top 10 U.S. Web Brands in 2011
Rank Web Brand Avg # of Unique Visitors (000)
per month
1 Google 153,441
2 Facebook 137,644
3 Yahoo! 130,121
4 MSN/WindowsLive/Bing 115,890
5 YouTube 106,692
6 Microsoft 83,691
7 AOL Media Network 74,633
8 Wikipedia 62,097
9 Apple 61,608
10 Ask Search Network 60,552
Source: Nielsen 

Data from January – October 2011, Home and Work Computers. Ranked on average monthly unique audience.

Read as: During 2011, 153.4 million U.S. people, on average, visited Google sites from home and work computers


Top 10 U.S. Social Networks & Blogs
Rank Web Brand Avg # of Unique Visitors (000)
per month
1 Facebook 137,644
2 Blogger 45,712
3 23,574
4 20,357
5 17,935
6 LinkedIn 17,020
7 Tumblr 10,879
8 Google+ 8,207
9 Yahoo! Pulse 8,063
10 Six Apart TypePad 7,793
Source: Nielsen 

Data from January – October 2011, Home and Work Computers. Ranked on average monthly unique audience.

Read as: During 2011, 137.6 million U.S. people, on average, visited Facebook from home and work computers


For more insights and stats about how consumers use social media, please see Nielsen’s Q3 2011 Social Media Report

Top 10 U.S. Online Destinations for Video
Rank Web Brand Avg # of Unique Video Viewers
per month
1 YouTube 111,152
2 VEVO 34,580
3 Facebook 29,802
4 Yahoo! 25,324
5 MSN/WindowsLive/Bing 16,563
6 AOL Media Network 13,327
7 Hulu 13,159
8 The CollegeHumor Network 12,496
9 CNN Digital Network 8,262
10 Netflix 7,418
Source: Nielsen 

Data from January – October 2011, Home and Work Computers. Ranked on average monthly unique viewers.

Read as: During 2011, 111.2 million U.S. people, on average, watched video content on YouTube from home and work computers


Top 5 Smartphone Device Manufacturers
Rank Manufacturer Market Share
1 Apple 29%
2 HTC 21%
3 RIM BlackBerry 17%
4 Samsung 11%
5 Motorola 11%
Source: Nielsen

Tops of 2011: Television

The Super Bowl and American Idol continue to capture the attention of U.S. TV viewers. According to Nielsen’s Top 10s, Super Bowl XLV between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers was the top individual telecast of 2011 with 111 million viewers, making it the most-watched telecast of all-time. FOX’s American Idol remains the top primetime program, a spot it’s held since its fifth season in 2007.

Meanwhile, the value of timeshifted viewing was evident in 2011 as select programs nearly doubled their audience when factoring in viewing from sources such as DVR, video-on-demand and StartOver. Newcomer FX’s American Horror Story gained the highest audience share through timeshifted viewing in 2011.

Among the most engaging programs of 2011, NBC’s Chuck had the majority of online buzz with a 54 percent share of mentions, according to NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company.

Top 10 TV Programs – Single Telecast
Rank Telecast Originator Date Aired Persons 2+ Rating Total Viewers (000)
1 FOX Super Bowl XLV FOX 2/6/2011 37.7 111,041
2 FOX Super Bowl XLV Kickoff FOX 2/6/2011 23.6 69,666
3 FOX Super Bowl Post Game FOX 2/6/2011 22.4 66,030
4 AFC Championship on CBS CBS 1/23/2011 18.6 54,850
5 FOX NFC Championship FOX 1/23/2011 17.6 51,884
6 AFC Divisional Playoff-SU CBS 1/16/2011 14.8 43,463
7 AFC Championship Pre-Kick on CBS CBS 1/23/2011 13.4 39,473
8 FOX NFC Wild Card Game FOX 1/9/2011 13.3 39,274
9 Academy Awards ABC 2/27/2011 12.9 37,922
10 FOX Super Bowl Pre FOX 2/6/2011 11.9 35,136
Source: Nielsen 

Data from January 1, 2011 – November 27, 2011. English- and Spanish-language telecasts on Broadcast and Cable. Persons 2+ estimates include Live and Same Day timeshifted viewing. Excludes telecasts under 5 minutes in duration.

Read as: Super Bowl XLV on Fox averaged 111 million viewers (37.7% of U.S. TV viewers aged 2 years and older).


Top 10 Primetime TV Programs – Regularly Scheduled
Rank Program Originator Persons 2+ Rating Total Viewers (000)
1 American Idol-Wednesday FOX 8.1 23,946
2 American Idol-Thursday FOX 7.5 22,009
3 NBC Sunday Night Football NBC 7.1 20,547
4 Dancing with The Stars ABC 6.7 19,576
5 Dancing w/ Stars Results ABC 5.8 16,856
6 Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick NBC 5.5 15,918
7 NCIS CBS 5.2 15,174
8 NFL Regular Season L ESPN 4.5 13,058
9 The OT FOX 4.4 12,877
10 NCIS: Los Angeles CBS 4.3 12,635
Source: Nielsen 

Data from January 1, 2011 – November 27, 2011. Primetime English- and Spanish-language programs on Broadcast and Cable. Persons 2+ estimates include Live and Same Day timeshifted viewing. Excludes programs with less than 4 telecasts and those under 5 minutes in duration.

Read as: American Idol-Wednesday on Fox averaged 23.9 million viewers (8.1% of U.S. TV viewers aged 2 years and older).


Top 10 Timeshifted Primetime TV Programs
Rank Program Originator % Increase in Viewers from Timeshifted Viewing
1 American Horror Story FX 95.3
2 Covert Affairs USA 95.1
3 Suits USA 94.5
4 Franklin & Bash TNT 92.0
5 Psych USA 90.3
6 Sons of Anarchy FX 85.8
7 White Collar USA 85.6
8 Justified FX 83.9
9 Fringe FOX 80.3
10 The Glades AEN 78.8
Source: Nielsen 

Data from January 1, 2011 – November 13, 2011. Regularly scheduled English- and Spanish-language programs on Broadcast and Cable. Percent increase in Persons 2+ viewership is based on difference between Live+7 and Live. A program must reach at least a 1.0 Live+7 P2+ Rating and have at least 4 telecasts.

Read as: 95 percent more viewers (persons aged 2 years and older) watched American Horror Story on FX via timeshifted viewing than Live


Top 10 Most Engaging Primetime Television Programs
Rank Program Network Genre Share of Buzz Volume
1 Grimm NBC Drama/Adventure 2%
2 Suburgatory ABC Situation Comedy 4%
3 Desperate Housewives ABC Drama/Adventure 16%
4 Parenthood NBC Drama/Adventure 4%
5 Royal Pains USA Drama/Adventure 2%
6 Chuck NBC Drama/Adventure 54%
7 Revenge ABC Drama/Adventure 7%
8 White Collar USA Drama/Adventure 6%
9 Rescue Me FX Drama/Adventure 2%
10 Covert Affairs USA Drama/Adventure 3%

Tops of 2011: Advertising

From Volkswagen’s adorable Darth Vader-inspired Super Bowl spot to Purell’s memorable placement on The Big Bang Theory, Nielsen names the top advertisements and integrations of the year. The lists demonstrate that reality and scripted shows continued to find innovative ways to integrate brands into their broadcast primetime programming. The best liked ads reflect the enduring value of traditional ad elements that have withstood the test of time – strong creative, simple and engaging messaging, and a solid emotional connection.

Top 10 Most-Liked New Ads
Rank Title Ad Description (Seconds) Likability Index
1 Volkswagen Super Bowl: Passat — A little boy dressed as Darth Vader believes he used “the force” to turn on a car (:30) 231
2 Oreo Boy wakes up father at midnight for a Father’s Day treat (:15) 201
3 St. Jude’s Shaun White sits with kids, who wear wigs matching his hairstyle (:30) 191
4 Hallmark Recordable Storybook — Deployed soldier shares holidays with family when he flips through recorded storybook (:30) 190
5 Real California Milk Cow tells mom to change her “mom jeans” and show off her “bundt cake” (:30) 189
6 Doritos Super Bowl: A man licks snack crumbs off his coworker’s fingers (:30) 188
7 Target Boy in gecko costume uses sticky gecko hands to take all of the candy when trick-or-treating (:15) 187
8 M&M’s Pretzel — Candy and pretzel combo prefer to be eaten by attractive woman than man they call “Hungry Eyes” (:30) 186
9 Marie Callender’s & Reddi-Wip Boy is happy to sit at the adult table but returns to eat with the kids when they are served pie and whipped cream. (:30) 185
10 Pepsi Pop stars like Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Britney Spears, Kanye West, and Mariah Carey perform and drink soda. (:30) 184
Source: Nielsen 

Data from January 1, 2011 – November 30, 2011. Broadcast Prime. Only new ad executions considered. The Likeability Score is the percentage of TV viewers who report to like “a lot” an ad they were exposed to during the normal course of viewing TV (among those recalling the brand of the ad). These scores are then indexed against the mean score for all new ads during the period (Likeability Index). 100 equals average.

Read as: With a Likeability Index of 231 the top ranked Volkswagen ad has proven to be 131 percent better-liked than the average new commercial during the measured period.

Top 10 Most Remembered Branded Integrations – Dramas/Sitcoms
Rank Brand Branded Integration Description Program (Network/Air Date) Recall Index
1 Purell Sheldon uses hand sanitizer after he puts a live snake in a desk drawer. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Oct 27) 271
2 Red Bull Tessa describes the official drink of suburbia; people drink it repeatedly. Suburgatory (ABC, Sep 28) 214
3 Milton Bradley Twister — Amy suggests that the group play the travel version of a game. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Nov 17) 208
4 Ferrari Beckett drives a car after Castle explains that it is a high performance vehicle. Castle (ABC, Feb 7) 207
5 Subway Big Mike says that his kidnapping hasn’t been that bad because his kidnappers brought sandwiches. Chuck (NBC, Mar 21) 206
6 Wizards of the Coast Games Dungeons & Dragons — Wolowitz comments on the way that Sheldon plays a board game. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Oct 6) 205
7 Rolex Laura comments on the price of a watch she purchased before she realizes it may have been stolen. Pan Am (ABC, Oct 30) 204
8 Snapple Waldon drinks a beverage while talking to Alan about his breakup. Two and a Half Men (CBS, Oct 17) 203
9 Hasbro Scrabble — Dick tells Susan that he’d rather play Scrabble than talk to her. Desperate Housewives (ABC, Jan 16) 200
10 Hasbro Monopoly — Penny wants to play a board game after getting home from a trip with Tom. Desperate Housewives (ABC, Oct 2) 199
Source: Nielsen
Data from January 1, 2011 – November 30, 2011. Broadcast Prime. The Recall Score is the percentage of television viewers who can recall within 24 hours the brand/product of a branded integration they were exposed to during the normal course of viewing Dramas/Sitcoms. These scores are then indexed against the mean score for all integrations occurring in this genre during the time period (Recall Index). 100 equals average.
Note: For this analysis, branded integrations were only considered if the occurrence had visual elements (i.e., was “seen” on-screen) or both visual and auditory elements (i.e., was both “seen” and “mentioned”). Only first-run episodes were considered. Both planned and incidental exposures were included.
Top 10 Primetime Programs with Product Placement Activity
Rank Program Network Total Number of Occurrences
1 American Idol FOX 577
2 The Biggest Loser NBC 533
3 The Celebrity Apprentice NBC 391
4 Dancing with the Stars ABC 390
5 The X Factor FOX 312
6 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ABC 224
7 America’s Got Talent NBC 220
8 Friday Night Lights NBC 201
9 America’s Next Top Model CW 178
10 The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business CBS 161
Source: Nielsen


Urgent! To ensure hyper animation of sales, seeks sparkling co-operator …

In trade-show today, the co-operator is to retail what was the cobranding in the product (eg Sony Erickson). Brand, store, but also website will rely on a transient or permanent actor bringing added skills and know how. This opens new fields of action with a stronger impact. A multiplier effect which makes that each sells more.

Two founding facts:

– The direct economy.
The consumer gets organized from computer or mobile phone. The field of shopping pulse decreases in the real world. Less time, less space.

– The growing gap between most modern business driven by specialists or concept stores (fashion, technologies, sport) and traditional businesses.
The mass retail being the most concerned in this category.

How those businesses that were not designed for it originally will “make the show”?
How to capture the Internet consumer and make him come to the store?
How to establish exchanges between brand, retail and website?
How to catch more visitors and keep them the time to demonstrate the value of the brand or store?

Answer: by hooking the consumer’s attention on what is irresistible to him: music, theater, cinema, cooking, sports, games … To sell beer, drinks, ice creams, personal care and beauty, travel, transport, …

The shops, cafes, restaurants, hotels and even airports fetch partners of shop in shop, conceptual art, equipment , additional activities and also thematic workshops, rental services and much more. For example, these last years all the good hotels integrated spas, usually given to an exclusive care brand.
Leverage activity to expand the scope of supply in content and geography, incorporating co actors become an essential tool to modernize the trade, as important as discounted an promotional prices, as important as interactions with Web services.

New consumer and product trend to inspire your product and brand strategy for 2012.
This trend lies at the convergence of four of the 10 trends not to be missed:

Here are some ways,


Strengthen its core business by offering additional discoveries and pathways that will keep the client and the visitor.

In Budapest, Printa Akademia offers around its printer business a concept store, a cafe, an exhibition gallery and workshops.
The travel agent Voyage Privé has partnered with Ideali a site in New York of sale flash for fashion products. Two customer’s streams having the same profile meet to increase the visits on both sites.
Dreams of Burma is a partnership between National Geographic and Fotopedia , an application giving both images and a tour guide.


Electrolux installs a mobile restaurant in different magical places in association with the designers of Park Associati. The hotels are hard to afford new experiences by partnering with brands.
The Plaza Athenee in Paris created a Barbie room. A hotel offers its clients the use of a luxury Mini included in the price of  the room.
Gaylord Hotels are associated with the film studio DreamWorks to offer themed family experiences.
IKEA opens a pop up hotel in a motorway service area in France in association with APRR.
Quick Silver and Red Bull create together Art of Flight, a film of extreme sports sold on iTunes.



Hang consumers in their favorite activities to acquaint a new experience. Show the added pleasure of the product during this activity and the desirability of the brand.

A partnership between DeLonghi and Kenwood to create Cook & Coffee.
Free cooking workshops with an exhibition of Kenwood and DeLonghi collections.
Häagen Dasz Boudoir opened in July and inaugurated by the stars of fashion offers a fashion show, a series of events while enjoying a free ice cream.
Stores Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf organized in association with Stagelt a series of concerts in the stores you can access on the net. In London, Burberry’s fashion show on the Coca-Cola billboard in Oxford Circus.




For brands, interactive events broadcast live on the net seem to displace VIP social ones. Is the proximity of the brand more important than its status as a goal?

Again, alliances between brand, operator and magical place.

Music, theater, cinema, museum, photos.

Coca-Cola + the group Maroon5 + Facebook. 24 hours to design, produce and broadcast a show with the fans.
The Teatro of Madrid picked up by Häagen Dasz combines entertainment and tasting free ice cream.
Heineken Light with Indie, Starbucks with Feist organize street concerts and concerts broadcast on the net.
Ford launches Ford Music with Universal. Any buyer can download free and legal, for one year of music.
Dell and Intel are launching the musical platform Noisey with clips of emergent artists of the whole world.


Dior is organizing an exhibition with the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, Chanel with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai.
Lancôme settles down to Artcurial of Paris for an exhibition around its emblem, the rose with the cooperation of 20 photographers.
Bic presents to the London Museum of Brand art works made ​​with its products by well known artists.
Volvo organized an Art Session in the historic station of Zurich for the launch of S60..


Creating Live

Fendi invites designers to realize sculptures of live art behind a window of a store of the brand. In London and Madrid, Dolce & Gabbana confides the decoration of shop windows to fashion bloggers. The realization can be followed on the net.



It is as to invite the friend who knows how to make a little bit boring assembly laugh.

The hypermarkets Carrefour Planet to create a sushi bar, a hair bar, a makeup bar managed by its suppliers.
Sephora opens Sephora Nail Studio Art with the operator Xpress Spa.

There are countless airports, railway stations, subway stations, shopping malls hosting exhibitions, pop-up stores, bars, stalls and vending machines. With the dual benefit of animation and additional income.
Tesco Home Plus installs in Korea virtual shelf spaces in a subway station. With a smartphone you can order products by scanning the QR code for delivery that evening.




What gathers charity and recycling is the frequent need to act with a specialized operator.

Coca-Cola and Auchan built the Green Station to recover and recycle cans and bottles.
The beauty brand Garnier works with TerraCycle on a program of recycling of worn out conditionings.
The Link charity makes an agreement with English banks. The cash machines offer to take small amounts to the organization





The Co-Operation win win, a principle of action that consumers adapted for a long time. What is good for consumers is good for brands. The trade show is required for the upgrading of the retail, and the re-enchantment of the shopping and the street as to increase visibility and attractiveness of brands.

We can thus expect acceleration in 2012 of Co-operation and a surge in business innovation. More than ever, the gap will be created between those who move and those who stagnate.

Smaller Smarter

The desire for buying more indulging products is back. At no extra cost. New solutions are to be offered to the consumer.

Markers are on the rise.

– Increase from 11 to 14% of impulse purchases from 2010 to 2011 in France for example.
– In the United States and Europe, major brands resume market shares to private labels. Hard discount loses points in many countries.
– Innovation remains a driving force for consumption.

This is not a return to the situation before 2008, but the evolution of new patterns of consumption.

According to S.Nicol of Henkel, the usual premium from 50 to 100 % of the price of the innovative product cannot exceed 30 % for a commodity product.
The innovation which succeeds is the one who answers real needs and not the one who creates of the superfluous.
Apple iPhone, Nestlé Nespresso, Innocent Smoothie, Actifry Seb consolidate their positions in times of crisis.

The applications of the new environmental values are directed to intensify the pleasure and justify so a positive innovation, even if the organic food market is punctually in regression in Great Britain.

The product that will succeed in 2012 will add a real experience at no extra cost to acquired ethics.

The ethical or economic product cannot be any more a product commonplace and boring as in 2008/2009.

New consumer and brand trend to inspire your product and brand strategy for 2011/2012.
This trend lies at the convergence of four of the 10 trends not to be missed:

Here are four ways to get there


The global increase in commodity prices is hampered by the low possibility of increasing the selling price.

Only reducing the capacity -like downsizing, a trend 2008- could frustrate the consumer, alter the image and make lose global volume:
eg Cadbury Dairy Milk, Tea Tetley, Imperial Leather soap,

Reduce capacity and reduce the price together below a psychological threshold may actually be positive:
eg Innocent Smoothie 750ml instead of 1liter is now under 3 € in Europe.

reduce the capacity to give at the same cost more pleasure, a wider use or an interesting design seems to be promising solution.
Tropicana launched fresh juice 59oz only while the reference market is 64oz, with the advantage of a personalized plastic bottle.
The bottle of Heinz ketchup 25 ml that fits in a pocket.

In food or beauty markets, new recipes and new formulas, packaging design for a better service are to be created.


From 2009 were introduced mini sizes of luxury goods like caviar box of 10 g to 30 € Dom Petrov. Simple extension of the range to keep in touch with the consumer.

The latest Fiat 500 by Gucci adjusts the usual car / fashion co-branding to the situation today: the Fiat 500 by Gucci design reminds these inexpensive but very eye-catcher T-shirts promoting fashion icons brands in the BRIC countries.


The application of this co-branding on an entry-level model is new in the car market.

With the continuation of the crisis, appear small luxuries specially conceived to be both desirable and affordable.
Already seen in the trend Second Skin, the caviar of truffles, a juice of truffles in pearls.

The size of discovery and tasting offers an excellent marketing alibi.


Most precious olive oils you can buy from 8 dollars in 250 ml bottles at Olivier & Co.
The wine in tube from 4 to 10 cl of WIT, Wine In Tube. All the experience of great wines at very low cost.

So many solutions are to allow the consumer to indulge himself with something exceptional at small price.


Some skin care brands accustomed to a steady escalation of promises, ever more specialized functions at ever higher prices find themselves in a dilemma.

Inspired by the new values of consumption and limited in practice by the price, the consumer retires and the market stagnates.

Time to return to reasonable fundamentals and to basics is back.

A craze for products like the BB creams of Asian origin – Blemish Balm Cream-such as Erborian or Boscia .These products accumulate the effects normally given by separated care categories. No more the need to buy a whole list of expensive treatments.           

The desire to return to simple functions such as moisture or shine. Their effects increasing globally the quality of the skin are proven by time.

A return 10 years ago … but offering new marketing and technical solutions.

The leaders hurry to answer,
with their own interpretation of the BB cream as Olay Professional ProXClean
with the repair as L’Oreal Revitalift Total Repair
with the brightness which gives a boost to oldest lines like Estée Lauder Idéalist.
New Lancôme Visionnaire tries to make the synthesis of these directions.

This return to more reasonable solutions was outlined in 2009 by the leading manufacturers of household cleaning products…

To follow, soon on the other markets!


This strategy does not contradict the previous in that it adds significantly to the value of attractiveness while assuming a slightly higher price.

The added value is based on,
An offbeat marketing.
The fun and colors in the traditional world of English jam by Regent’s Park.
The mixture of fruits and healthy plants by Floralpina.

The environmental protection.
Garnier has bounced back strongly by making its flagship product champions of environmental safety.

Solutions coming moreover.
Styling Jean-Louis David’s Japanese or Brazilian method.
Paul Michell’s magic natural recipes. 

The seasonal recipes where the ingredients evocative are associated with health benefits: superfruits like Cranberries, Guava, Acerola, Granada …

It is worth re communicate the core values ​​of the product like Olay on the model of Coca-Cola “no coloring or preservatives from the beginning” or of luxury brands like Hermes and Porsche.



With the crisis, priority has been given to the substance rather than to the appeal of the product, to the rational qualities rather than to the emotional effect.

Today the consumer experience is to strengthen without affecting the price. The product a little smaller and a little more desirable for the price is a good balance.

The space for smart products, small luxuries and affordable socially gratifying products gets bigger.
So Zara Home  is challenging in quality and style luxury brands at low prices and succeeds very well in the world.


Unrivalled opportunities but no time to waste. Making the right choices in a year that looks difficult will be particularly profitable, on the condition that they are addressed on time.

1- Consumer investors
2- Low cost healthy lifestyles
3-The globalisation of urban culture
4- Womanity. What women want…
5- Spellbinding shopping
6- Alternatives and autonomy
7-The important thing? Being recognised at a given moment
8- Ease the pressure and take control
9- The product as a messenger
10-The feeling of luxury rather than luxury itself



Over the coming years, better living won’t just be a matter of consuming “less but better”. It will be important to think about the long term and invest in the future through our consumption habits.

There needs to be more responsibility, autonomy, initiatives and a search for alternatives, even if this means overhauling lifestyles and places, leisure activities, health practices.

We will also be focusing on our daily consumption habits to optimise satisfaction, pleasure and status without spending more. Well managed consumption habits give us a better chance of gaining access to modernity and the latest sought-after technology.

The necessary steps to ensure good health, put off costly medical intervention, maintain one’s wellbeing even if it means relocating, ensure on-going security for you and yours will all be partly compensated for: particularly useful will be the higher number free or low cost options and the “cooperative” helps which will enable fuller enjoyment of the city, new ideas for holidays and leisure activities that are healthier and offer better value for money.

Managing our healthcare is as important as managing our families, assets or career.
The ongoing economic uncertainty and the end of the welfare state have led to individuals rushing to take health matters into their own hands.

Unfortunately, most of the recent progress that has been made in the field of fitness, healthcare, mastering the ageing process and one’s faculties has been ring-fenced for a select clientele, money talks !

This paradigm is going to change. Managing one’s health will be at low cost with emotional and status benefits, mainly in terms of prevention and correction.

The search for larger volumes with weaker margins is going to be big business over the coming years. Innovation has all the space it needs to market the basics, drawing inspiration from the practices of the poorest countries with technology and design to attract the consumer.

The marketing of health products for all will have to be combined with service and access to information in order to be successful.
Today the opportunities opening up at the lower end of the market are immense !



An international collective of the world’s major cities is forming while big cities and capitals become huge amusement parks.

More celebrations of all kinds: marathons, catwalk shows, music parties, film festivals, Gay Pride, International sporting events and more besides… and those integrated into daily life by the commercial activities of retail and brands such as street marketing, pop-up stores, installations,…

A new form of city life is becoming very quickly established – thanks to our Smartphones, computers, shared means of transport and a number of new facilities – bolstered by being free of charge or the ease access to services of all kinds which are revolutionising our relationship with time, location, each other, consumption, leisure…
One uniform, worldwide consumer culture is coming together : the knowledge to achieve, learn, interact and react, have fun, open up to others and share, resist, purchase, take responsibility and gain independence etc…

When some people only trust what is locally rooted, the verdict is that global players will grow stronger by offering brands new approaches and business plans.


The specificity of WOMANITY is a capacity to combine EGO with ALTER and REAL.

Consuming with feminity
Even during a crisis, a woman is, first and foremost, a woman. The right to futility. I love gifts – Brands are invited to show their generosity and give.. I love it when someone takes care of me; I love change and new experiences; I love products that are just for me; I have fallen (back) in love with indulgent products that connect the world of luxury with that of the discount shop as on-going austerity means it is all the most important to enjoy myself. I love doing something good for myself while having fun.

Consuming with a sense of humanity full of respect
A feminine look at the world. Feminine values and feminine empowerment take over from masculine values. Buying is sparing a thought for both sustainable development and helping the less fortunate.

Realistic consumption
Increasing the number of safeguards every step of the way. First of all health.                                                                     
 Invest more time in finding lower prices, because I’m worth it… setting aside enough for the latest must have… that could be an exciting, hyper-feminine product which is also natural and ensures sustainable development.


Physical retail is in the midst of a revolution.

Time is running out, physical retail can no longer lag behind e-commerce, technology and the hustle and bustle of our big cities.
It is high time that shops, restaurants, hotels and all physical retail outlets revitalised themselves.
From now on the whole world provides the ideas and sources of inspiration.

In the context of a crisis in the West, where consumer values are being readjusted and changed, of a great appetite in Asia for the pleasures of consumerism and faced with the gauntlet that has been thrown down by e-commerce in terms of image, unadventurous commerce was threatening entire sectors of activity with stagnation.                               

For that reason, there are as many manufacturers stacking the shelves as there are retailers who will take an interest in finding solutions.

The French “Fête du Vin” (an annual wine- shops’ promotion) reached 48% of the French public in September. One northern hypermarket attracts 15,000 customers a day, offers 1700 varieties, sells 1 million bottles per month and holds wine growing courses, a “Ladies’ Night” and sells in online auctions.

The key ideas are multi-dimensional experiences, hyped-up sales, acts of generosity, little bits of magic, interplay between the physical and the online domain, without forgetting the decorative role played by the product and its merchandising.


A way of life which is chosen rather than imposed. Consumers are looking for alternative solutions that are more satisfying in terms of both price and ethics.They are trying to achieve autonomy.  

The rising cost of energy and staple goods, the diktats of thinking well and consuming well, pressure from ecologists, technologies that keep tabs on everyone’s business and actions are all factors calling on us to take another look at our lifestyle choices and protect ourselves from new risks. This means taking a step back from accepted ideas and behaviour.

Green militants, “indignant” movements like “Occupy” in the US, Mediterranean rebels, Chinese and Indian protestors along with a silent population all join forces to express themselves through their consumption choices. The climate is one of diffidence, and economic players, brands and distributors are not immune to it.

Keywords are… direct buying, bartering, exchanging, resale, trade-ins, shared consumption, do it together-do it yourself, being self-sufficient, anti-Big Brothers strategies, staying protected, living in a more human environment, slowness and gentleness…the monitoring of brands, a disconnection and a clearance.


Who has the floor? Who wants to be a hero? Who wants to exert control over others? It’s no longer necessary to be rich or famous to be important.

Everyone can win, everyone can find their role and everyone can find friends. How can a brand respond to someone seeking to “cry out their existence” ?

Bring about an expression of identity by making creativity democratic, by creating heroes of the day, by reinforcing a sense of achievement, by stimulating a return to pleasure or by dispelling differences in the elation of the live event.

To create a social role is to encourage the new determination, to maintain mini-alliances, to become engaged on a militant level, stimulate pride in what we’re part of.


Nowadays, 25% of consumers are looking for more simplicity, calm, wellbeing and quality of life.

Some people make the most of what cutting edge technology, social networks and the urban environment can offer. Others feel the onset of nausea after the taste of such delicacies.

They become selective to the point of disconnecting from guilty services making the pressure.

A need for practical simplicity tinged with a hint of informed idleness and considered languor which compels them to ease the pressure and sometimes have things done (long live helpers) rather than doing things. In the end the need for things to be more human is very human.

Inventing “stress reducers”, re-simplified and more comfortable products, “multi” integration systems, services that “take you by the hand” that are always available to you and you alone wherever you are. Developing solutions that offer protection and selective disconnection. For that reason an overall performance criteria is essential on rather than a final one.


Is there any longer one place for mass market products outside of the basic ?

It is not by divesting a product of all character that we make it more acceptable to a wider target market. It’s at the level of the immediate experience which conveys values that this plays out. The product engages itself, becoming a messenger. Its messages and consequently the experiences it offers can be extremely varied.

The missionary or militant product is the archetype. What is more… the product either dresses itself up as “emotional” or strips bare to reveal its “true” self. It is generous, offering an array of experiences; it is long-lasting, providing experiences at each stage of its life.

It can be a discovery, here today, gone tomorrow, or it can bring about an unexpected evolution ; perhaps a product that recaptures my childhood, or comes safe and fresh from the domestic smallholding, it can even bring a taste of luxury without the price.


Between premium standard and traditional luxury, there lies a space where the consumer looks for experiences associated with luxury rather than luxury itself.

There are a number of ways to get your hands on luxury products at affordable prices. For instance resale is booming, particularly in China. There is also an invitation to “play” with luxury: downsizing expectations, reporting on the most affordable luxuries, a stronger attraction for products that imitate the big brands.

This should not conceal the strategies aimed at satisfying a more general aspiration towards a more gratifying level of consumption in the hope of bypassing the effects of economic uncertainty.

The shift in the signs and significance of social status has led to responses to these needs in new non-luxury categories.

The break with style or use thanks to a more creative approach than mere marketing, the magic surprises and rituals such as the staging of design, the setting and rituals of a luxury store, the customisation by an ultra feminisation and the art of detail are all to be translated to increase product’s emotions between premium standard and traditional luxury.

Top tips to achieve B2B marketing and sales excellence

When we are talking about  sales and marketing ,teams are experiencing these changes, it is a fundamental and worrying shift in the dynamics of the customer relationship.

The customers’ buying centre (i.e. decision making group) is now larger, more complicated and more likely to have divergent goals. Furthermore, the professional procurement manager will have access to good market information, the option of utilising technical innovations like e-auctions and be financially incentivised to demonstrate savings.To counter this strengthened position, three actions should be taken by marketing and sales teams.

Firstly, during the new product/service development process, the marketing manager needs to create targeted value argumentation to support the sales force. A useful way to think about the strength of the argumentation is the following hierarchy:

1.            Knowledge of competitive advantages and own strengths

2.            Tailoring the argumentation to each of the buying centre participants

3.            Focusing on performance rather than on price

4.            Developing well considered chains of argumentation

5.            Successfully challenging/refuting criticism and unsubstantiated arguments

6.            Knowledge of the product’s/service’s value for the customer.

Calculating the value in absolute monetary terms for a customer requires a detailed understanding of their business. It is the step that is usually missed but is often the deciding factor in the ability to command a premium price.

The second action involves relationship management by the sales force. The “visit concept” (who gets called on, when and by whom) should be enhanced so that relationships with key customers are developed with a broader range of influencers within their company – not just the traditional “technical buyer”. Make sure that the selected customers warrant this investment using a systematic prioritisation process that incorporates both current profits and also future growth potential.

The third action is in the negotiation sphere. Although knowledge of typical tactics is useful (e.g. “Good Cop, Bad Cop” etc.), it is worth bearing in mind that procurement teams are being taught exactly the same techniques. Based on our project experience, the biggest area for improvement is on the preparation side. Stated simply, not enough time is spent detailing out and rehearsing the negotiation.

With an uncertain market outlook and a proliferation of low-cost competitors, the sooner your company gets started on these actions, the better.

The 9 Oddest Job Interview Questions Asked at Tech Companies in 2011

  • How many people are using Facebook in San Francisco at 2:30 p.m. on a Friday?” — Asked at Google, Vendor Relations Manager candidate
  • “If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it?” — Asked at Hewlett-Packard, Product Marketing Manager candidate
  • “Given 20 ‘destructible’ light bulbs (which break at a certain height), and a building with 100 floors, how do you determine the height that the light bulbs break?” — Asked at Qualcomm, Engineering candidate
  • “How would you cure world hunger?” — Asked at, Software Developer candidate “You’re in a row boat, which is in a large tank filled with water. You have an anchor on board, which you throw overboard (the chain is long enough so the anchor rests completely on the bottom of the tank).
  • Does the water level in the tank rise or fall?” — Asked at Tesla Motors, Mechanical Engineer candidate
  • “Please spell ‘diverticulitis’.” — Asked at EMSI Engineering, Account Manager candidate
  •  “You have a bouquet of flowers. All but two are roses, all but two are daisies, and all but two are tulips. How many flowers do you have?” — Asked at Epic Systems, Corporation Project Manager/Implementation Consultant candidate
  • “How do you feel about those jokers at Congress?” — Asked at Consolidated Electrical, Management Trainee candidate
  • “If you were a Microsoft Office program, which one would you be?” — Asked at Summit Racing Equipment, Ecommerce candidate