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TODD SMITH — The Spin Cycle: Pithy PRognostications from a recovering journalist

Todd Smith

Todd Smith

If the Feds need a better barometer of the economy this holiday season, they need turn no further than the CPI – the Christmas Price Index – and focus on dancing ladies and leaping lords rather than consumer prices, GNP or the PPI!

A huge spike in the price of nine dancing ladies and 10 leaping lords led to a 7.7 percent rise in the cost of the “12 Days of Christmas this year,” according to the PNC Wealth Management annual Christmas Price Index – or the CPI. The dancing ladies price tag vaulted 20 percent over 2012 to $7,553, and the lords-a-leaping jumped 10 percent to $5,243. Buying all the gifts mentioned in the core verse of the song will cost your true love $27,393 this year.

The U.S. government’s Consumer Price Index increased only 1 percent for the 12 months through September.

I think St. Nick has an image problem, and perhaps needs a little reputation repair, before he fires up the sleigh this year!

Year-over-year increases since the Christmas Price Index began in 1984 have averaged 2.9 percent, the same number as the U.S. inflation index.

The highest priced items after the dancing ladies and leaping lords are swans, pipers, drummers, gold rings, calling birds, French hens and turtledoves.

The only bit of savings on the carol’s gift list this year comes from a 3.2 percent drop in price for the partridge’s pear tree, which costs $184, the company said.

The overall price increase is the largest since 2010, when the index rose 9.2 percent.

Cyber Monday savings may save Christmas days but not money, PNC Wealth Management said. Buying one set of the gifts online would cost almost $39,763, or $12,300 more than making the purchases in person.

True loves intent on a real splurge will pay $114,651 in stores for the entire 364-gift tally that amasses from the traditional singing repetition of all the carol’s verses, the analysis showed.


Advertising on Facebook

reaches nearly $8 billion annually

As the world increasingly turns to the digital domain for advertising, one of the leading vehicles on the landscape is social media advertising. The big brands are increasingly turning to Facebook – and the other social media platforms – to reach their target audiences.

Facebook now makes $2 billion in revenue every quarter, and $1.8 billion of that comes from paid advertising.

Social media advertising is transforming the way companies build their brand, and the audience measurement data is still in its infancy. Currently, very little is known about whom Facebook’s largest advertisers are.

Facebook does not disclose ad impression information to the SEC, and its executives rarely talk about how much money individual clients spend on Facebook campaigns. And, Nielsen doesn’t measure Facebook adspend. Business Insider, though, currently tracks ad impression – and has knowledge from sources at Facebook as well as the social media site’s client companies.

According to a recent survey they conducted, let’s take a spin through the Top 10 FB advertiser rankings:


1. Samsung: $100 million


There was widespread agreement that Samsung is one of Facebook’s biggest clients, if not the biggest client. Late last year, Samsung spent $10 million in a three-week period on Facebook just to launch its Galaxy S III phone, for instance.


2. P&G: $60 million

Procter & Gamble is the world’s largest advertiser and has a massive presence on Facebook, particularly among moms. Facebook ended a “free ride” for advertisers in late 2012/early 2013 by restricting the reach of some of their free page posts, thus encouraging more paid post promotion and ad spending at the time P&G made a big push out of traditional media and into social.

P&G will likely activate another huge social media campaign around Facebook for the Russian Olympics next year.


3. Microsoft: $35 million

The company has a longstanding pact with Facebook, which uses its Bing search engine. Facebook also acquired Microsoft’s Atlas ad server this year.


4. AT&T

Facebook is the biggest mobile app on the planet, and AT&T — as both a wireless carrier and a seller of mobile devices — knows it must maintain a constant presence on it.


5. Amazon: $30 million

The rumor is that Amazon will actually begin serving ads inside Facebook’s ad exchange, FBX, soon. Amazon gets a lot of retail traffic from people liking or recommending purchases on Facebook.


6. Verizon:

$30 million

Facebook has courted wireless carrier advertisers specifically with a new tool that shows Facebook mobile ads are nine times more successful than desktop media in getting people to switch carriers than other media.


7. Nestle: $30 million

One example of Nestle’s social media investment: It sponsored Grumpy Cat this year.


8. Unilever: $30 million

Two of the Top 5 most shared ads in social media in 2013 were from Unilever, including its “real sketches” ad for Dove and a viral Turkish ad for Cornetto ice cream.


9. American Express: $25 million

AmEx is a hugely social brand. Right now it’s marketing a “member since” Facebook app that applies a badge to your page so you can show off how long you’ve carried a card.


10. Walmart

As BI Intelligence research shows, Walmart is the top retailer on Facebook for a reason.


Golden Mic — Nelson Mandela

When Nelson Mandela spoke, the world listened. Mandela, the iconic champion of freedom, whose funeral earlier this month attracted the largest, most disparate and important leaders in the world, was the consummate voice for everyone, especially the less fortunate. He will always be remembered for speaking out against South Africa’s Apartheid system of institutional racism, and for becoming a beacon of liberty shining in the darkness – and across the ages. The world heard you, Mandela, and is a much better place because of what you did. For that, you have earned this week’s Golden Mic Award.

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!


» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.


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