al berrios & co. CONSUMER STRATEGIES REPORT 06.17.03: Defining Cool - How We Improperly Brand To Teens

[1] UPDATES: New Ratings, New Look, Tech Industry/Pfizer Updates
[2] CONSUMERFOCUS: Defining Cool - How We Improperly Brand To Teens
[3] TRADE EVENT REPORT: RollingStone Youth Culture Conference, + + + + +
[4] TRADE EVENT REPORT: Bear Stearns' 14th Annual Tech Conference, + + +
[5] TRADE EVENT REPORT: Changing Role of the CFO, Feat. Pfizer, + +

"With a stock, its value is generally dependent upon investors' collective perceptions of the future." - Michael Milken, in an interview discussing why bonds are better, in 1970

Good morning execs,

As evident by the quote above, we will continue our discussion on irrational behavior, exploring teens.

Also, I am recapping three major conferences I attended last week, including an update on the state of the technology industry and Pfizer.

With this issue, we will also begin a new rating system for our TRADE EVENT REPORTS, to increase the value you get from reading my Trade Event evaluations. Above in the Contents area, you may have noticed plus marks? They indicate my opinion of the event, in relation to over 50 different events I've personally attended during the last 6 months as of this REPORT. My scale works as follows:

+ = poor, don't bother
+ + = ok, but you can live without it
+ + + = worth checking out at least once
+ + + + = very strong academically and for networking
+ + + + + = excellent, don't miss it next time

In addition, I've taken the liberty to relaunch the CONSUMER STRATEGIES PORTAL entry page with new categories and full REPORT titles (as opposed to numbers).

Enjoy your report!


Defining Cool - How We Improperly Brand To Teens

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Rolling Stone Youth Culture Conference, + + + + +

Many kudos to the folks over at Rolling Stone Magazine and Advertising Age for hosting this conference. Not only did they put together a tremendous program with quality speakers, food, and entertainment, but the networking opportunity was spectacular - a veritable who's who in marketing and entertainment, held at a most unlikely, yet perfectly suited venue, Powder, a nightclub on 16th street and 10th avenue in New York City.

Powder was so far west side that I originally thought that this whole event would suck. I even considered not going, particularly on that day's extremely humid day. But once you're there, the A/C is on full blast, the lighting was some of the best in the city, the speaker system was amazing, and the design of entire interior was very posh and modern. (Imagine everything painted in non-gloss white, and the effects of powerful light lasers intersecting to create a rainbow of colors with each other on multiple angles, tones, directions, to produce a wonderful assortment of wall colors that served to keep attendees alert and yet attentive to every speaker.)

The food was fantastic, although I didn't help myself to too much. Although I don't know the caterer, it was an ethnically-diverse mix, very anti-conservative, which fit superbly with the theme of the conference, youth.

The speakers were the folks you want to hear at a forum like this: MTV, Columbia University, Electronic Arts, Arista Records, agency folks, writers, and authors galore. And the performance during the lunch intermission was great - a set by new Vector Recordings pop artist Damien Rice. But even better, the moderators were nothing short of brilliant, particularly Joe Levy, assistant managing editor of Rolling Stone, who, if it weren't for the fact he was introduced, I would have easily mistaken him for Ben Stiller. The man seemed to have read from a script, but wasn't, as his razor-sharp wit had the crowd roaring with laughter.

Overall, I highly encourage attending next year's.


Bear Stearns' 14th Annual Technology Conference, + + +

A real snoozer, but worthwhile if you're curious about the direction of technology, software, services, and hardware. The real advantage of this conference is the mountains of free food, much of it very tasty. But seriously, the scale of this thing was tremendous. Bear Stearns actually reserved three floors and dozens of conference rooms, ball rooms, and meeting rooms at the Grand Hyatt at Grand Central Station in New York City to host all of the attendees and over 150 presenting companies. If you've read some of my prior REPORTS on this venue, then you already know how massive this place is.

Based on what I heard, the general feeling out there is that hardware, regardless of what it is, has about 6 months of premium pricing power left until it becomes a commodity, churned out by companies like Dell and low-cost countries like China. Software is still king, as companies find ever new ways of reducing their costs of business operations. And services has become a matter of who can generate the greatest ROI for the lowest price, since all of the top consultancies can deliver the same things, whether solely in the U.S. or globally.

A major trend being represented in full force is on-demand software and services, mainly because clients are billed only when they use the software. and IBM are the pioneers, and everyone else is emulating. But the benefits of on-demand is most clear to the providers, since multi-year, multi-billion dollar contracts have once again become all the rage.

If you're not in a position to appreciate any of this, just remember this: no matter how big or little you are, as a technology firm, you need representation, whether to find the best partners, future buyers, or clients, and if you're in pr, advertising, or any other marketing discipline and you're trying to figure out why you've just spent the last 2 minutes of your life reading this, it's because you have to understand what the industry issues are before you can help your clients.



The Changing Role of the CFO, Featuring David L. Shedlarz, EVP & CFO, Pfizer Inc., + +

Pfizer just pops up all over the place all the time for me. Last week, Carnagie-Mellon, Columbia, and NYU Stern invited their alum to listen to Mr. Shedlarz speak about… well, frankly, his entire speech was rather unmemorable. There were no new insights into Pfizer ("Like everyone else, you'll just have to wait until we release our earnings on June 17th, (that's today!)" said Mr. Shedlarz), no new insights into corporate governance, other than their repeated commentary of how ahead of the curve they are, and no new insights into drug development, which could have at least given the audience an indication of where to invest in the future.

In fact, the only real new insight we got was in Friday's Wall Street Journal, as they did a feature on the size of pharma's sales force, now number around 45,000, with Pfizer's being 14,000. In fact, their sales force is so big, they've cut down on almost all other marketing efforts, and can still reach all the doctors in the country within 7 business days. Doctors don't like it, however, the industry is stuck in this cold-war-type of mentality, where the first one to disband their sales force will be at a strategic disadvantage. And to make it worse, the size of the force increases the cost of drugs.

From a networking point of view, it was very good, and since the event was free of charge, worth it.

> "Maximum Exposure Business Plan Competition 2003"
> "The New Disclosure Paradigm: And the Promise of Web-Based Communications"

> As Drug-Sales Teams Multiply, Doctors Start to Tune Them Out



Disclaimer: The recommendations, commentary and opinions published herein are based on public information sometimes referenced via hyperlinks. Any similarities or likeness to any ideas or commentary from any other sources not referenced is purely coincidental. al berrios & co. cannot control any results occurring from advice obtained from this publication nor any opinion(s) conveyed by any reader of this publication.

(c) 2001-2005. All Rights Reserved. al berrios & company, inc. Published by al berrios & co. This Report may not be reproduced or redistributed in any form without written permission from al berrios & co., subject to penalty.


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