1. Doll-pattern balding is on the rise. Barbie rival Bratz dolls is releasing a line of bald True Hope Bratz for sale at Toys "R" Us stores, MGA Entertainment Canada announced this week. A portion of sales will benefit Starlight Children's Foundation to support children with life-threatening illnesses that cause hair loss. But the move is also a shot at competitor Mattel. Earlier this year, the Barbie maker was the target of a social media campaign to make a bald Barbie, to show support for children who have experienced hair loss. Mattel agreed to make a limited-edition line of bald dolls to distribute to children coping with cancer at U.S. hospitals. Bratz, which will also market bald dolls that come with wig accessories in U.S. stores, is going a step further, hoping for a marketing battle for consumer goodwill.
2. With Facebook Inc.'s landmark IPO looming on Friday, Nielsen has released a picture of the social media network's global reach. Facebook is the most-visited social networking site around the world, Nielsen notes, but Web users visit multiple blog and social sites. Its list of 11 countries where Facebook is the top social networking and blog site includes an emerging economy: Brazil. Facebook's reach in the Brazilian market has risen to 76.7 per cent of all people who were active on computers at home or at work. Facebook's unique audience in the United States is more than 150 million, or four times Brazil's total audience.
3. Television is glutted with home improvement shows. But now Rona Inc. is spoofing the concept with ads shot around a fake segment called Cutting Corners. It's the first national campaign Montreal agency Sid Lee has done for the retail stores since winning the business as lead creative agency earlier this year, and is designed to help Rona market itself outside its home province of Quebec. Featuring the type of handyman that might be familiar to some of us, the spokesman advises putting up a shelf with some interesting techniques, such as: "If at first you don't succeed, just make new holes. If your holes are too small, just give them a good whack." He then warns customers not to visit Rona for help, since they are terrible at doing things his way.
4. The most important breakthrough in marketing in the coming years will be understanding the science of how the brain works. That was the insight offered Wednesday by Rory Sutherland, vice-chairman and executive creative director of Ogilvy Group at the Institute of Communications Agencies' FutureFlash conference in Collingwood, Ont. Mr. Sutherland, who has become known for his TED talks that combine neuroscience, classics, history and philosophy to understand marketing, had the audience talking about the ways to speak to consumers' "System 2" brain – the subconscious, instinctive part – as opposed to relying too much on "System 1" – the logical brain dedicated to social interaction and making ourselves look good. "Both research and persuasion are too heavily directed toward rational argument," Mr. Sutherland said in an interview following his presentation. "… Fundamentally appealing to some of our instinctive beliefs – unless we do that, there's no way we'll possibly win."