CLIENT QUOTE: "

The drivers were awesome to be with.  Hard working drivers!!   It really stands out when the drivers jump in to help set up base camp, and tear it down.  Not to mention always having a fresh green tea for me just when I needed it every time.  They really were great and I’d ask for them anytime we get vehicles from you. Thanks!

" Mary Brooks – 3 Star Productions
CLIENT QUOTE: "

Rusty, Bruce and the guys at King Kong were a crucial asset to my photoshoot.  They took a lot of stress off of my plate and came through when I needed them, allowing me to focus 100% on the production.  Without a doubt, King Kong is now my go-to for production vehicles and I do not hesitate to recommend them to my colleagues.  And, not only is Rusty the best and most helpful driver I have ever had the pleasure of working with, he is also awesome with a fog machine!

" Brett Spencer-Producer, Nastygal.com
CLIENT QUOTE: "

I just wanted to send you a quick message and let you know how amazing Rich is. I have hired motos from all over and this was by far our best experience. Really nice to work with great people

" Crystal Raymond- Chinese Laundry
CLIENT QUOTE: "

The Helios is a great motorhome. Not only is it energy efficient but it offers a large space for production to work in. The copy machine is great because you can wirelessly print and make color copies and send faxes. The satellite phones came in handy when we realized we didn’t have any cell service on location. We received several compliments throughout the shoot day. Crew walked into the motorhome in awe of such a beautiful space.

" Courtney Witherspoon-Production Coordinator Three One O
CLIENT QUOTE: "

North Six has been working with King Kong for many years now.  Not only is their customer service unparalleled, but their fleet of motorhomes is always clean, reliable, and exactly what we need to support our photo productions.

" Kyd Kisvarday—Producer, North 6
CLIENT QUOTE: "

You guys are the BEST!

" Marie D’Amore—Production Supervisor, HSI
CLIENT QUOTE: "
Thanks again for helping out with our party. The restrooms worked out great and the service was awesome as usual!
" Steve Brazeel
CLIENT QUOTE: "

I wanted to give Rich another glowing report, He was AMAZING on our shoot. The most helpful driver I’ve ever had. I’ll definitely be requesting him on future shoots.

Thanks for everything guys!

" Adrienne Burton – Freelance Prod Coordinator
CLIENT QUOTE: "

King Kong… top notch service, incredible drivers, clean, well equipped vehicles, on time—every time! Thanks guys…. you ROCK!!!

" Elaine Lee—Producer 5th and Sunset Los Angeles
CLIENT QUOTE: "

We’ve used the Helios twice now and have been quite impressed each time.  It has everything production could want AND it’s earth friendly! We will use the Helios on every job in which we need a moho.

" Mario D’Amici—Production Coordinator, Beef Films
CLIENT QUOTE: "

Thank you so much for lovely Eko lav — definitely the nicest port-a-potty I’ve ever used!

" Amanda – Producer
CLIENT QUOTE: "

We truly enjoyed working from the Helios, the attention to detail to make it an Eco friendly asset to our industry should be commended. The quiet workspace you get when running on the solar power is delightful! Rob was pleasant to be around and always willing to help out. Thank you Rob and King Kong for bringing us the Helios!

" Rochelle Savory-Assistant Production Supervisor
CLIENT QUOTE: "

King Kong has great motorhomes and the best drivers in the business. Working with you guys is always easy and a pleasure.

" Cat Burkley-Portfolio One
CLIENT QUOTE: "

You guys did a phenomenal job with the Helios. And Rob, as always, went above and beyond for us.

" Dan Kae—Assistant Production Supervisor
CLIENT QUOTE: "

…the moho was super nice, everything was great! I will definitely rent it again!!

" Susan Borbely – Prod Coordinator
CLIENT QUOTE: "

Just wanted to say thanks for the awesome customer service. Our driver was friendly and professional. He arrived early and had everything ready to go for us. The motorhome was clean and in perfect shape. Every detail matters on a shoot to help keep everything running smoothly. We love working with King Kong!

" Jamie Williams- That Girl Productions
CLIENT QUOTE: "
King Kong has the best equipment & drivers in the biz.
" Tom Baker – gangboss

Archive for August, 2012

Beverage companies pay millions to save water

August 30th, 2012  | 

WEST COLUMBIA, Texas – Fifty miles outside the nation’s fourth-largest city is a massive field of waist-high grass, buzzing bees and palm-size butterflies, just waiting to be ripped up by a developer.

  • A&W root beer bottles stacked at the Dr Pepper Snapple bottling plant in Houston. Beverage companies are spending to conserve a critical ingredient - water.By Michael Stravato, AP

    A&W root beer bottles stacked at the Dr Pepper Snapple bottling plant in Houston. Beverage companies are spending to conserve a critical ingredient – water.

By Michael Stravato, AP

A&W root beer bottles stacked at the Dr Pepper Snapple bottling plant in Houston. Beverage companies are spending to conserve a critical ingredient – water.

But rather than develop this pristine remnant of coastal prairie, vast enough to house more than 300 football fields, the Dr Pepper Snapple Group is investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure it remains untouched.

The project is part of the company’s $1.1 million investment in the Nature Conservancy, designed to benefit five Texas watersheds — including Nash Prairie outside Houston — from which its bottling plants draw water.

The money will go toward preservation, such as reseeding the grass, to restore and expand an ecosystem that once covered 6 million acres from southwest Louisiana through Texas. The projects will improve water quality and quantity by preserving the prairies’ sponge-like attributes.

For Dr Pepper and other beverage companies engaged in similar work, the impetus is their bottom line — conserving water guarantees long-term access to the most crucial ingredient in their products.

“If there’s not fresh water, there’s no business — it’s just that simple,” says Laura Huffman, state director of the Nature Conservancy in Texas. “It is their number one infrastructure concern. … Water tops the list, above roads, above energy, above all else, because if you don’t get water right, you’re not making anything.”

The biggest players — from Coca-Cola and Pepsi to Miller and MolsonCoors — as well as smaller, regional beverage companies, list water as a risk in long-term plans.

In 2006, 18 companies created an alliance called the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable to tackle water, energy and other issues that could affect the industry’s growth. There is no total available for how much money has been invested in water conservation projects the past five years, but experts believe it’s more than $500 million.

“At the heart of it … is their bottom line,” says Thomas Lyon, a professor at theUniversity of Michigan who researches connections between industry and the environment. “Water is a finite resource, and they desperately realize that it could become a major problem.”

About a decade ago, when strategic planning started to highlight water constraints, many companies streamlined processes and installed more efficient technologies in factories and plants, conserving millions of gallons of water and millions of dollars.

About five years ago, the corporations began partnering with environmental groups, funding projects to bring water to people in developing countries, such as India, China and Africa, where water is most scarce and infrastructure is often deficient.

The partnerships help everyone: Environmental groups receive much sought-after funding; cash-strapped governments tackle projects they can’t afford; and beverage companies can market themselves as “green” by conserving the most crucial resource on Earth and ensuring the future of their business.

While the companies are taking steps to conserve water and, in many cases, cut energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, they still contribute to a larger global problem: They bottle many of their products in plastic. By some estimates, 2.5 million plastic bottles are trashed every hour in the United States— and fewer than 30% are recycled.

Between 2008 and 2010, 69% of the alliance’s 1,600 manufacturing facilities cut water use 9% — or 10.3 billion gallons, enough to supply New York City for eight days.

To combat the toll on the environment, Dr Pepper cleaned bottles with air instead of water on 56 production lines in 2010, and by 2015, it hopes to cut water use and wastewater discharge 10% for each gallon of finished product.

“As a beverage company, water is in everything we do, it’s a primary ingredient,” says Tim Gratto, Dr Pepper’s vice president of sustainability.

Coca-Cola has committed to improving water efficiency 20% by the end of this year and becoming water neutral — returning to the environment any water used. The company is already returning 35%.

“We know the importance of water to the world and the planet, and we know the importance of water to our business,” says Bea Perez, the company’s chief sustainability officer, explaining that the company’s long-term plans define water “as a life blood … but also as a risk.”

For Pepsi, the wakeup call came when it laid out four possible scenarios for 2030 and discovered water was the greatest risk in each. Last year, Pepsi met its goal of becoming 20% more efficient by 2015, saving the company some $17 million in water expenses over five years, says Dan Bena, the company’s director of sustainability.

Pepsi’s other goal is to provide 3 million people with access to clean drinking water by 2015, and it has partnered with environmental groups to focus on rural areas in parts of the developing world. Each day, Bena said, 200 million hours are spent hauling water to communities that have no plumbing — more hours than all employees at Wal-Mart, UPS, McDonalds, IBM, Target and Kroger work in a week.

If you free up that time, he said, people can work more, making money that could potentially be spent buying Pepsi products.

And for beverage companies, that’s the point.

“If you don’t address it, it’s a significant risk,” Bena said. “If you do proactively address it … you turn them into opportunities.”

Most companies partner with environmental groups that have the scientific knowledge to guarantee success.

The partnership between Coca-Cola and the World Wildlife Fund expanded its focus in 2007 from rivers and streams near the company’s Atlanta headquarters to preserving high-profile waterways, such as Central Europe’s Danube River and the Yangtze, Asia’s longest river, said WWF CEO Carter Roberts.

“As a society, we’re going to have a huge crash if all these companies don’t take action at the same time,” Roberts says.

Why shopping will never be the same

August 27th, 2012  | 

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Nola Donato has seen the future of retail, and it is in a Magic Mirror.

  • Some say in a few years retail stores will exist for a "touch and feel" experience, but no actual sales.By Alejandro Gonzalez, USA TODAY

    Some say in a few years retail stores will exist for a “touch and feel” experience, but no actual sales.

By Alejandro Gonzalez, USA TODAY

Some say in a few years retail stores will exist for a “touch and feel” experience, but no actual sales.

The Intel scientist has designed a high-tech mirror that shows how clothes look on a consumer who simply stands in front of an LCD monitor. Parametric technology simulates body type and how fabrics fit — based on weight, height and measurements.

Think of it as a digital fitting room. The concept is three to five years from fruition but could open the door for Intel in the retail market.

The convergence of smartphone technology, social-media data and futuristic technology such as 3-D printers is changing the face of retail in a way that experts across the industry say will upend the bricks-and-mortar model in a matter of a few years.

“The next five years will bring more change to retail than the last 100 years,” says Cyriac Roeding, CEO of Shopkick, a location-based shopping app available at Macy’s, Target and other top retailers.

Within 10 years, retail as we know it will be unrecognizable, says Kevin Sterneckert, a Gartner analyst who follows retail technology. Big-box stores such as Office DepotOld Navy and Best Buy will shrink to become test centers for online purchases. Retail stores will be there for a “touch and feel” experience only, with no actual sales. Stores won’t stock any merchandise; it’ll be shipped to you. This will help them stay competitive with online-only retailers, Sterneckert says.

Play Video

Play Video

Video: This video from Holition Augmented Retail peeks at retail’s high-tech future.

Branding strategist Adam Hanft says this all might sound futuristic, but much of it is rooted in reality. He says satellite stores will open in apartment buildings and office centers. FedEx and UPS will delve deeper into refrigerated home delivery. Google trucks will deliver local services. Clothing — even pharmaceuticals — will be produced in the home via affordable 3-D printers.

“Every waking moment is a shopping moment,” says Steve Yankovich, head of eBay’s mobile business, which expects to handle $10 billion in transactions this year. “Anytime, anywhere.”

Game-shifting tech — such as smartphones, location-based services, augmented reality and big data, which makes sense of all the data on mobile devices and social networks — will most assuredly upend several multibillion-dollar retail markets, forcing retailers to adapt or die, say venture capitalists and analysts.

Eventually, 3-D printers will let consumers produce their own towels, utensils and clothes. While in their infancy, the devices have been used to print hearing aids, iPad cases and model rockets, says Andy Filo, an expert on 3-D printers. The technology is several years away, however, from being widely available and affordable, he says.

And almost all of it will be paid with … your phone.

“Cash will still exist, but no one will use it,” says Jim Belosic, CEO of ShortStack, a self-service, social-media platform that lets users create custom Facebook tabs. “Carrier payments and the swipe of a smartphone will do the trick.”

Technology advances won’t just change the physical appearance of stores for consumers, but should transform the retail workforce into more of a customer-friendly field, too. Retailers who don’t adapt quickly and successfully risk losing out, Sterneckert says.

What might this evolution mean for the nation’s malls and shopping centers and people whose paychecks depend on today’s retail model? Experts aren’t predicting the end of the in-store experience, but it stands to reason that as with other industries, technology might improve efficiency while setting retailers on a path toward a leaner workforce.

Retail’s revolution

Just as online retailers led a revolution in retail shopping in the 1990s, bricks-and-mortar retailers are ready to use technology to fight back.

By the time you walk into a store in the near future, the employees there will probably know what you want to buy, based on information on your trusty phone or tablet. Merchants will know your gender, age, race and income, analyst Sterneckert and others say.

Once you’re inside, imagine waving your smartphone over products and seeing what’s inside. Holding the phone over a DVD’s bar code might activate a movie trailer on the phone’s screen, for example.

All of this will be made possible with so much personal data on smartphones, and the ability of merchants to parse it to gauge who is just browsing and who’s on a mission to buy. The clerk greeting you at the door will be able to make targeted suggestions. Sound Orwellian? All of this is done online today through search engines and cookie technology. Putting a personal touch on one’s in-store experience could mean big bucks for bricks-and-mortar retailers, according to John McAteer, head of retail at Google.

There might be less merchandise inside, as bricks-and-mortar stores offer only special products that distinguish them from Web competitors.

“The first 15 years of online shopping was about making it easier for people to find and purchase items they were looking for,” says David Fisch, director of platform partnerships at Facebook, which is working closely with retailers. “Now, it’s about helping you find what you may not know about, based on your social (media profile).”

With computer chips seemingly embedded in everything — goods, smartphones and the like — merchants will not only know what’s in your shopping basket, but what you plan to buy next.

Target, for example, already combs shopping data via purchases, e-mail, activity on Target.com accounts and more to determine which customers are pregnant, so it can sell goods popular to them such as orange juice, according to journalist Charles Duhigg, who outlined the practice in his book, The Power of Habit.

“There is a trade-off between privacy and convenience, which I think will only accelerate,” Duhigg says. “People always choose convenience and don’t realize the cost of privacy.”

Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder acknowledges it uses “research tools that help us understand guest shopping trends … (but) we take our responsibility to protect our guests’ trust in us very seriously.”

Increasingly, where one shops will be irrelevant. Phones and bar codes will let consumers shop from their kitchens — a digital screen on a refrigerator, for example, will allow orders from home, with a delivery service dropping off the produce. “A screen is a screen is a screen,” says Jill Puleri, of IBM’s Global Business Services retail-consulting practice.

At the CeBit computer trade show in March in Hanover, Germany, an exhibit of a futuristic airport gave new meaning to duty-free shopping. Within a few years, travelers will be able to touch a store window containing a digital menu to order goods for shipping.

Subways in South Korea, the United Kingdom and elsewhere already contain virtual stores in which consumers wave their smartphones at bar codes to order. The goods are delivered before the commuter arrives home.

“Retailers are asking the question, ‘How do we address the demand for now?’ ” Gartner’s Sterneckert says. “Customers want their goods by the time they get home from work.”

Driving the future

All of this will be possible within several years because of:

•Smartphones. Location-based services and the growing adoption of Near Field Communication — a wireless technology standard for one-tap payment — will turn consumers’ phones into stand-ins for credit, debit and loyalty cards, says Bill Gajda, head of mobile at Visa. Meanwhile, Nordstrom, among many, is phasing out cash registers this year in favor of smartphones with store-designed apps for purchases and inventory.

•The death of cash. If credit cards diminished use of cash in the 1950s, powerful smartphones and tablets will hasten its demise. Both are reshaping the relationship between merchant and customer as newfangled wallets, and each is edging toward becoming credit card readers and (cash) registers.

“Cash has dug in its heels for small-value transactions, but with the arrival of each new tech offering (providing) an alternative way to pay for little stuff — text your parking payment, Starbucks mobile app, Square, etc. — cash is being further and further marginalized,” says David Wolman, author of the book The End of Money.

•Augmented reality. The increasingly popular technology adds a visual layer of information on top of surfaces such as a mirror. One breakthrough might come at the mall, with AR mirrors that let consumers shop based on data projected on glass, say social-media experts such as Brian Solis.

Another intriguing option is Google Glass, which puts computer-processing power, a camera, a microphone, wireless communications and a tiny screen into a pair of lightweight eyeglasses. Ultimately, Google hopes the “smart” glasses — which are a few years away — will be able to access information in real time, including the ability to identify locations and provide additional information about your whereabouts.

Harnessing social media

As smartphones and tablets grow in popularity, retailers are trying to get their hands around Facebook, Twitter and social media, and cater to consumers, says Niraj Shah, CEO of Wayfair, an e-commerce company that recently passed Crate & Barrel to become the No. 2 Internet retailer of home products. It racked up a record $500 million in revenue last year.

Only 8% to 13% of retail shopping in the USA is done online. Impressive as future retail technology might look, it will take good old-fashioned customer service to boost those figures, says Will Young, who heads Zappos Labs.

Some of that will come because of original editorial content from commerce sites such as Zappos, Fab.com and Etsy that offer shoppers advice on products and services. Zappos has beefed up its content with advice on fashion, trends, outfits and lifestyles.

Software giant SAP’s “clienteling” application, for instance, lets Burberry track and analyze customers’ buying and browsing patterns, giving sales reps the information they need to instantly make specific recommendations tailored to that person’s taste. For the first time, retailers can offer consumers the same personalized experience in the store that they’re used to when shopping online.

In the physical world, the same rules apply. Consumers won’t need a smartphone to get an interactive glimpse of what they want. Digital billboards on every conceivable surface will do the trick.

Thin, energy-efficient LED displays are being tested to show video on everything from a curved wall at the NASCAR Museum in Charlotte to subways and airports. China, home to some of the world’s largest buildings, is a prime candidate for even larger displays.

“The pace of change has never been faster,” says Google’s McAteer. “The big question is (turning) physical stores into a showplace, distribution center and place for consumers to have fun.”

Hydropower supply ample amid drought

August 23rd, 2012  | 

The drought worsened this week in the Midwest and the Plains, but the region’s hydroelectric power has not diminished because abundant 2011 rain and snow filled reservoirs.

Nearly a quarter of the U.S. is enduring “extreme” to “exceptional” drought, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday by the National Drought Mitigation Center. That’s the highest percentage in those categories since record-keeping began in 2000. The entire states of Arizona, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado are in drought.

But hydroelectric power generated by six big dams on the Missouri River in the Dakotas and Montana was 12% above normal, providing enough electricity in July to power 90,000 homes for a year, says Mike Swenson, Missouri River power production team leader for the U.S. Corps of Engineers in Omaha.

The corps increased flow out of the dams to maintain enough water for navigation on the river from Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota to where the Missouri joins the Mississippi River at St. Louis, and the higher flows led to increased power production, he says.

“If it continues to be dry like this into the fall, then once we get into the next year, we will start to see some reductions,” he says.

Buck Feist, a spokesman for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Great Plains regional office, which oversees 79 reservoirs and 20 hydroelectric plants in nine states from Texas to Canada, says “reservoirs are working pretty much as they were designed — to store water to see you through these drought areas.”

Overall demand for U.S. electricity did not hit an all-time high in July, despite temperatures that made it the hottest month on record in the USA. That’s largely because of conservation practices and a soft economy, Edison Electric Institutespokesman Jim Owen says.

“Power demands are always higher in the summer when it is hot,” he says, but “demand has been a little bit soft overall for the last couple of years for one basic, fundamental reason: Even though the economy has improved a little bit, it is still a little soft around the edges.”

Peak demand so far in 2012 for the nine states that are all or partially served by the Little Rock-based Southwest Power Pool (SPP) was 53,690 megawatts on July 31, more than 1,000 megawatts below the Aug 2, 2011, peak.

SPP spokesman Pete Hoelscher says that power company officials are closely monitoring river levels for hydropower impact. If the heat persists, he says, demand for power could surge later this month when schools begin classes.

Shop Green | What is Green Purchasing?

August 22nd, 2012  | 

What is Green Purchasing? Tips for shopping Green!

 | June 25, 2012 | 0 Comments

Your headed to the grocery store or the mall and you ask, what will make this a greener trip? First you grab your own reusable bags, good start! Next think about your purchases, how can they be greener?

Let’s talk about:

Did you know that since your parents were born, the amount of trash each American generates has doubled?*

“Green purchasing”

Green purchasing means buying smart. Shop with the environment in mind—that is, buy products that help conserve natural resources, save energy, and prevent waste. Green purchasing can also mean not buying things you don’t need. By educating yourself about the products you buy, you can make a difference in protecting the environment.
Green purchasing involves learning about all the ways that a product can affect the environment during the course of its “life cycle”—from the materials used to manufacture it, to how you use it, to what you do with it when you’re finished with it—so that you can make smart choices. Consider things that are made local, chemical free,

“Shopping”

Buy smart. Take some time to think before you buy something—maybe you don’t really need it. Maybe you can think of an alternative to buying a product, such as renting aDVD instead of buying it or sending a free e-card instead of a paper birthday card. Shopping with the environment in mind will conserve resources, prevent waste, and best of all save money!

“Buy durable products”

Instead of buying disposable products, which are wasteful, buy things that will last a long time, such as rechargeable batteries and reusable drink bottles. Buy glass instead of plastic when available.

“Avoid excess packaging”

Look for products that have less packaging, or buy in bulk—you’ll have less to throw away. You can also buy items with packaging that can be reused or recycled, or that is made from recycled materials.

“Buy used”

Buying things that have been used before means that your purchase doesn’t use more resources or energy. If the item is still reusable when you’re through with it, then the next person to use it is not using additional resources either. You can find authentic retro clothes, room accessories, and even sports equipment at your local thrift store. Shop online or at local stores to buy used CDs and books. Get out to a garage sale or the flea market, not only are you reusing, it can be fun. Also check out Givmo a great source for giving away your old things or finding something that someone else is giving away.

“Green Purchasing Tips”

“Buy Recycled”

Buying items made with recycled-content materials means that fewer natural resources, such as trees, were used to produce the products. Products made from recycled paper, plastic, and other materials are usually easy to recognize in the store—just read the labels. Try starting with school supplies. Many stores carry recycled notebooks, pens, and other products.

“Buy energy-efficient items”

Look for the ENERGY STAR® logo when buying electronics such as TVs, CD players, DVD players, and comput- ers. ENERGY STAR is a program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products.

“Share”

A great way to save resources and energy is to share or trade items with friends or family.

Why would a big corporation care what you think? Because your current and future purchasing power is extremely important to them. In fact, companies spend $12 billion a year marketing their products to you. Shopping “green” sends a message to the companies—that you care about the environment, and you’re not afraid to use your buying power to prove it.

Buying “green” lets companies know that you care about the environmental impact of the products you buy.

So from now on, ask yourself one simple question,  What can I do today to be Green, or Greener than yesterday?

Go Green America!

Go Green America TV Host – Jeff Davis

Make a change, make a difference!!

A message from GGATV Host Jeff Davis, “the Go Green Guy”

follow me @thegogreenguy and be sure to like our facebook page


Mitt Romney confirms he would end US wind power subsidies

August 14th, 2012  | 

Mitt Romney confirms he would end US wind power subsidies

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama draw up battle lines over US wind farm tax credit

Mitt Romney and wind subsidies

Republican US presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he would let wind power tax credits expire. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mitt Romney looks set to declare war on America’s wind energy industry, further emphasising the dividing line between the presumptive Republican presidential candidate and President Barack Obama on energy issues.

Romney’s campaign confirmed this week he wants to end long-standing tax credits for wind farm projects when the incentives come up for review later this year.

The pledge means the popular production tax credits (PTCs) – which have helped drive a surge in new wind energy investment in the US, making it the second largest wind energy market in the world after China – would be allowed to expire at the end of this year if the Republicans secure the White House in November.

Shawn McCoy, a spokesman for Romney’s Iowa campaign, told the Des Moines Register earlier this week that Romney would “allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits”.

He added that wind energy would still be allowed to “thrive wherever it is economically competitive, and wherever private sector competitors with far more experience than the president believe the investment will produce results”.

Romney’s campaign later confirmed he planned to allow the tax credits to lapse, stressing that he favours an energy policy environment where technology-specific incentives are removed.

However, green groups, renewable energy industry insiders, and Democrats were all quick to point out that Romney’s desire for a level playing field on energy policy does not extend to oil and gas, where he has pledged to retain up to $40bn of subsidies and tax breaks that President Obama wants to see phased out.

Romney also faces accusations he has flip-flopped on clean energy policy, given that as governor of Massachusetts between 2003 and 2007 he talked up the potential for renewable energy and approved state support packages for a number of clean tech firms.

The latest pledge to roll back support for the wind energy sector is likely to appeal to the GOP’s base, but it will also infuriate a number of Republicans in states where the wind industry is booming.

In June, 16 Republicans in Congress wrote to the GOP leaders in the House of Representatives urging them to approve an immediate extension of the PTC scheme as a means of driving investment and job creation.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is now warning that a number of projects are already slowing down and undertaking lay-offs as developers wait to find out if the PTC will be extended beyond the end of the year.

“The PTC is an example of effective, job-creating tax policy, but with expiration looming at the end of the year, 37,000 good American jobs are in peril,” said AWEA chief executive Denise Bode in a statement. “That is why Congress must act now to save USA wind jobs and keep this success story moving forward.”

Damn cell signal!!!

August 14th, 2012  | 

The real reason that GM booted its ad chief

August 13th, 2012  | 

The real reason that General Motors ousted its high-energy, former superstar ad director didn’t have much to do with a soccer deal gone awry, which the automaker cited in disclosing the departure to reporters.

Rather, the Detroit Free Press, citing analysts and insiders,reports Joel Ewanick, global vice president for marketing, was forced to resign over his inability to maintain or increase market share under his leadership.

He’s just the latest to go, given the executive revolving door that has marked the giant automaker lately. Ewanick followed 17 marketing executives who changed jobs or left the company, and he’s the fourth in a year.

ALSO ON DRIVE ON:  Ewanick’s ouster puts giant automaker’s ad budget in play

“GM’s ‘culture’ — such as it is — was never going to get comfortable with a Joel Ewanick for very long,” the Freepquotes Peter DeLorenzo, creator of the Autoextremist.com blog and a former Detroit advertising director, as saying. “He’s too quick, at times mercurial, and too much a man of motion for the plodding calcification of the GM system.”

The Freep validates the theory that it wasn’t a single bad deed that cost Ewanick his job. Rather, it was a “last straw” scenario:

 

 

Ewanick was known as much for the money he didn’t spend as for what he did. In May just before Facebook’s much-hyped initial public offering, GM announced it would stop paying for ads on the social network because the $10 million it spent the previous year didn’t translate to enough vehicle sales.

Days later, he said GM would not advertise during the telecast of the 2013 Super Bowl because the rate of $4 million per 30 seconds that CBS demanded was too expensive.

Partnering with soccer teams was a way to boost Chevrolet’s brand recognition in Europe and Asia, consistent with CEO Dan Akerson’s goal of making it a global brand.

In the U.S., GM’s marketing strategy has yielded mixed results. Internal discussions over the success of the tagline “Chevy Runs Deep” have not resulted in any change yet.

Ewanick launched a “Love It or Return It” program earlier this month that allowed Chevrolet buyers to return their vehicles between now and Labor Day if they are not satisfied and if they have driven the vehicle less than 4,000 miles. Chevrolet also has adopted comedian-actor Tim Allen as its advertising voice.

Some analysts say all GM brands will do better in the next 18 months as crucial new models come to market. Those include the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, the Cadillac XTS and ATS and all-new Chevrolet and GMC pickups reaching showrooms late next year.

$50 Photo of the month goes too

August 6th, 2012  | 

Mr. Stan Lee

Goodyear soybean tires cut oil use

August 6th, 2012  | 

Goodyear is trying soybean oil as a petroleum replacement for tires.

The big tire company plans to announce today that using soybean oil in place of petroleum for tires is a preliminary success. In fact, to hear the tire company tell it, soybean oil could be a magic bullet because it:

  • Blends better with the silica also used to make tires.
  • Reduces energy consumption at the factory.
  • Can increase tread life 10%.
  • Could cut Goodyear’s own oil use by 7 million gallons a year.

You can’t buy bean-oil tires yet, though. Still at the prototype stage. If testing at Goodyear’s track in Texas goes well, you could be able to buy soybean tires by 2015, the tiremaker says.

No hint of whether they’d be more expensive than conventionally made tires.

Not surprisingly, the United Soybean Board (USB — how’s that for a modern acronym?) is kicking in $500,000 over two years to help pay for the research.

As is the case with corn ethanol that’s blended with gasoline for fuel, critics might object to using farmland to grow substances for transportation, rather than for food.

For the agriculturally challenged, soybeans aren’t those green beans that come in Green Giant cans aimed at your dinner table. But they long have had food as well as industrial uses. Corn grown for ethanol isn’t table food; it’s a grain that is fed to cattle and hogs. The sweet corn that you enjoy by the ear is a different sort of corn.

Soybeans can be made into flour that’s useful in such treats as doughnuts and pie crusts. It is the source of the soy sauce in those packets you get in takeout Chinese food, as well as the tofu in various dishes.

Industrial uses include such disparate items as paint and pesticides, inks and disinfectants, caulking and shampoo. (Thanks to the Iowa State University Soybean Extension and Research Program for a far longer list of uses than even people from Iowa might have imagined.)

Pepsi will sponsor Super Bowl halftime shows

August 1st, 2012  | 

The beverage giant says it struck a multiyear deal with the National Football League to sponsor the big game’s musical performance. Financial terms and the exact duration of the deal were not disclosed.

The company (PEP) says it also bought 60 seconds of ad time during the big game, which has seen record ratings the past three years.

Pepsi last sponsored the show in 2007, when the rock musician Prince performed. Bridgestone Tires sponsored the show after that.

PepsiCo’s reunion with the nation’s biggest sporting event comes at a time when the company is working to put some fizz back in sales of its flagship soda. Earlier this year, Pepsi announced its “Live For Now” global marketing campaign, which is intended to rekindle the company’s long ties with pop culture and music.

Although PepsiCo has a broad and diverse portfolio of brands — including Frito-Lay, Gatorade and Quaker Oats — its namesake cola remains by far its single biggest moneymaker.

So far this year, the marketing push for Pepsi has included a TV ad with singer Nicki Minaj, a global marketing campaign featuring 1 billion cans of Pepsi with a silhouette of the late pop star Michael Jackson and a partnership with Twitter to stream live concerts.

The latest move is nevertheless the most high-profile; an estimated 111.3 million people watched in February as the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots, 21-17, in a thrilling rematch of the contest four years earlier, according to The Nielsen Co. That made the game the most-watched television show in U.S. history for the third straight year.

Even better for PepsiCo, last year’s halftime show with Madonna, Cee Lo Green, Minaj and M.I.A. was seen by an estimated 114 million people — more than the game itself.

Adam Harter, Pepsi’s vice president of consumer engagement, said the NFL is letting Pepsi have more input than past sponsors have had — including stage design and which musicians perform during the show.

He declined to give details, but said Pepsi will also partner with the league in how the halftime show can be viewed online. Pepsi will also use the sponsorship for promotions on the soda cans and bottles its sells in stores.

“I think you’ll see more activation around sports and music together as the year unfolds,” Harter said.

On Monday, PepsiCo also announced a multiyear deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers to provide its drinks and Frito-Lay snacks at Heinz Field. The company said the conversion to Pepsi from Coca-Cola will be complete in time for the start of the coming season.

Coca-Cola has big marketing plans this year as well, with its sponsorship of the London Olympics this summer. The Atlanta company has sponsored the games since 1928, making it the longest continuous sponsor.