Round-up news from across the Atlantic . . .

Cow

The House of Lords has faced criticism after David Cameron announced the appointment of 45 new members. The intake included a number of controversial characters, such as MPs who were formerly caught up in the infamous expenses scandal, and a city banker who has previously donated millions to the Conservative party. Needless to say, it feels like the ongoing debate over the legitimacy of the House of Lords is coming to a head.

Official figures demonstrate that UK economic growth was unrevised at 0.7% for the second quarter of the year. The Bank of England expects similar momentum to be maintained throughout the rest of 2015, forecasting 2.8% growth overall.

The announcement of a One Direction break-up sent the international financial markets into freefall this week. Following the release of the band’s statement, Asian fans were quick to give up on everything, leading the Chinese stock market to plummet. As the news of the split spread, the Chinese were quickly followed by many other international markets, including the FTSE and the DOW. Thankfully the crash began to slow down after it was revealed that the band are not, in fact, breaking up; more rather, taking a temporary hiatus to concentrate on their solo careers. By Jove - thank goodness for that! [Disclaimer: there is a small possibility that the two events were completely unrelated]

And for the most British news story of the week: Fire-fighters in central-England were called out in an emergency, to assist a curious cow who got its head stuck in a plastic chair. Although thorough investigations have been launched, investigators are still uncertain as to how the chair ended up where it did. Stay tuned.. End of Story

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Unboxed

For a company that has a clown for a mascot, Steve Easterbrook, CEO of McDonald’s, doesn’t have a very good sense of humor. Mr. Easterbrook shattered the grease-laden dreams of burger lovers and fast food aficionados everywhere this morning with his terse reply to Burger King’s McWhopper Proposal.

In a series of full-page ads taken out by Burger King in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune, the #2 player in the burger category ran an open letter to McDonald’s proposing the two burger titans essentially halt the “burger wars” for one day to raise awareness for United Nations Peace Day on September 21.

To drive home the message of peace and unity, Burger King suggested the creation of the McWhopper, a combination Big Mac-Whopper, which would be sold at a pop-up store by the two companies on Peace Day. All proceeds would go to the nonprofit Peace One Day, of which Burger King is a corporate sponsor.

The buzz on social media around the McWhopper Proposal hit a fever pitch right before Mr. Easterbrook quickly put the kibosh on the whole thing in a Facebook post. His response to the Burger King campaign was the corporate equivalent of being broken up with by text message. He passed on the joint effort and included a humorless, “P.S. A simple phone call will do next time.”

In looking at the vetoed McWhopper Proposal, it’s worth taking into consideration the implications for McDonald’s, Burger King and Peace One Day to determine where the real lessons are here for marketers.

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The Week UnpeeledMedia Navel Gaze

Yikes! The summer turned nasty last week, with stock markets worldwide showing red almost everywhere as the indices hit 10-percent correction levels amid commentary that the six-year bull market may have run its course.  The week-long slide was based on concerns about China’s growth following its currency devaluation and sluggish economies elsewhere.  The S&P 500, probably the broadest best measure, fell some 5.8 percent last week and is now down 4 percent for the year.  Unclear if this is a breather or more to come but lots of ink sure to follow.

Elsewhere:

  • Oil continued its descent with crude falling briefly below $40 per barrel and projections for the $30 range soon.
  • Maybe it should wait after this week but the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz has recommended that public companies shed the quarterly reports, calling on the SEC to get rid of the practice which no doubt would make many CFOs happy;
  • A top Bloomberg editor was dismissed last week when he broke the embargo on Fed minutes story;
  • The Koreas traded threats
  • Female Viagra was approved; and
  • Jared happened.

LatAm Gaze:

  • LATAM: This week's steep selloff that pushed down the S&P 500 says more about the outlook for emerging markets than US companies; recessions in Latin American countries like Brazil and Chile is hurting commodity-related companies, and prompting traders to overlook improving US economic data.
  • BRAZIL:Amid ongoing investigations into Brazil's Petrobras oil firm, Brazil's TSE electoral authority has called for an investigation of President Dilma Rousseff's 2014 re-election campaign, citing evidence that it may have been financed with money from a Petrobras corruption scheme.
  • MEXICO: Mexico has completed its oil hedging program for next year, paying more than $1 billion to guarantee it will get at least $49 a barrel for about half of its exported crude in 2016.End of Story

 

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The Week UnpeeledMedia Navel Gaze

Google surprised the world by announcing a reorganization that in effect separates its search business from other businesses (known sometimes as “moonshots”) under a holding company called Alphabet, akin to the Berkshire Hathaway model.  The news was greeted with lots of ink, analysis and higher share prices and expectations for more managed growth.

Elsewhere:

  • Speaking of alphabet, Sesame Street is moving to HBO, an announcement that caused lots of Big Bird/Game of Thrones coverage, including front-page of The New York Times;
  • China devalued its currency, giving exporters a bit of an edge but putting markets clearly on edge as Beijing released weak economic numbers suggesting one of the reasons behind its currency moves;
  • Stocks closed slightly higher on the week following some volatile sessions with the Dow gaining just 0.7 percent to close 17,477 as the second-quarter earnings season comes to a close;
  • GE is selling its healthcare financing business for $9.0 billion;
  • The US re-opened its embassy in Cuba over the weekend, with John Kerry becoming the first secretary of state to visit the island since 1945; and
  • The eurozone approved Greece’s 86-billion-euro loan bailout.

LatAM Gaze:

  • Moody’s this week downgraded Brazil’s credit rating to one notch above junk status (Baa3) but changed its outlook from negative to stable;
  • Mexico’s PAN party (National Action Party) today will vote to decide the party’s new leadership;
  • Argentina reported July inflation of 1.3%, tied for the highest monthly total of 2015; and
  • Peru registered economic growth of 3.87% for July, beating consensus estimates of 3%.  End of Story
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Round-up news from across the Atlantic . . .AP_prince_george_prince_william_jt_150502_16x9_992

“I’m your biggest fan I’ll follow you until you love me...” or not so much – it has come out this week that the Royal family are having trouble keeping the paparazzi away from two-year-old Prince George, the heir to the British throne. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have openly expressed their concern surrounding the media’s apparent disregard for their privacy requests, as they face press invasion on a daily basis. Not ideal!

The Democrats and the GOP are not the only political parties currently locked in competitive leadership races. The vote opened today for the Labour Party’s leadership election, which shall close on the 10th of September. There are four candidates in the race with Jeremy Corbyn, an unapologetic Marxist currently leading the polls by a significant margin. The party is internally divided with many arguing that Corbyn is far too left-wing to compete in the centre against the incumbent Conservatives.  Read More

In financial news, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson is planning to create a British sovereign-wealth fund to combine local public pension funds and invest billions of pounds in private equity and infrastructure projects. This “citizens’ wealth fund” will be led by Edmund Truell, a private equity investor and chairman of the London Pensions Fund Authority.

And here is our favourite story this week. An elderly man who accidentally drove into a lake, was found upon rescue calmly smoking his pipe whilst his car sank to the bottom. A true Brit – the mantra, ‘Keep Calm and Carry on’ appears to be ingrained in his mind, body, and soul! End of Story

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