1. If you’re looking for that certain blend of herbs and spices, forget it. But Colonel Sanders’ other “secret” recipes, such as peach cobbler and potato pancakes, are now being made public. Last year, KFC said that an employee stumbled upon the Colonel’s unpublished autobiography in the archives. Now the company is trying to get some marketing mileage out of the story; The Autobiography of the Original Celebrity Chef will be published Monday as a free download through Facebook. (It will not be sold in bookstores.) It contains 33 recipes and little-known facts about the man whom many people know only as a mascot.
2. Google is cracking down on bad ads. With the massive growth of the search engine as an advertising platform, there has also been a growth in ad spam, misleading claims, and promotion of counterfeit goods in its online ads. Out of “billions” of ads submitted in 2011, the company did not approve 134 million. That’s a major leap compared to just 56.7 million such ads the year before. Furthermore, 824,000 advertisers had their accounts with Google suspended for violating the rules, more than three times the number that were banned in 2010. Many of the malicious advertisers create new accounts to attempt to get around the rules, David Baker, a director of engineering at Google advertising, wrote in a blog this week on the subject. One strategy the tech giant is using to thwart these advertisers: humans, who review websites advertised on Google and rate them. “Google’s long-term success is based on people trusting our products,” Mr. Baker wrote.
3. As the weather gets sunnier, the same might be said of Canadian consumers’ dispositions. Canadians may be feeling better about the economy; according to marketing research firm TNS Canada, in May consumer confidence rose to the highest level it has reached since last July. It climbed five points from April, for a rating of 99.2 (100 marks the long-term average.) The “buy” index, which tracks whether consumers feel this is a good time to purchase a big-ticket item, climbed slightly as well. “Canadians won’t be rushing in droves to retail outlets just yet, but our numbers definitely show signs of cautious optimism, and hopefully the beginning of a trend,” Norman Baillie-David, vice-president of TNS Canada and director of the tracking study, said in a release.
4. B.C. went big in San Francisco earlier in May when it put a giant vending machine in a public square as part of Tourism B.C.’s campaign to woo U.S. travellers this summer. A screen on the machine broadcast video of “B.C. moments.” People who punched in numerical codes to see more were rewarded: A person inside pushed presents out through a large slot that included guide books, a mountain bike, and even a surfboard. All came with 10-per-cent discount cards for Air Canada flights to the province, which were also handed out by street teams. More than 7,000 cards went out over three days. B.C. is trying to fight a downward trend: Foreign visits to the province have been dropping steadily since 2001, and fell 4.3 per cent last year. U.S. visitors account for three-quarters of the province’s tourists, and their visits were down 4.7 per cent, hurt partly by the rising dollar. San Francisco is a key market. The campaign, which also resembles fun brands have had with vending machines in the past, was developed by Citizen Optimum PR to support the “B.C. Moments” campaign created by ad agency Dare.