National / International News

Congratulations, you're pregnant! Now buy stuff

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-15 09:05

Perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that Shutterfly, an online photo printing service, sent out a mass email with the subject line: "Congratulations, you're pregnant!" -- even to people who were not, in fact, pregnant.

According to a survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans will put an average of $241,080 into a child born in 2012 (incidentally, the average calf costs about $363.69). To mix animal metaphors, there's profit to be made off the nesting impulse. The global baby care market was worth $44.7 billion in 2011 and by some estimates, it could be as big as $66.8 billion by 2017.

Shutterstock.com

Shutterfly made the kind of honest mistake that keeps marketing departments up at night. The company's chief marketing officer has since sent an email with language like "Please accept our most sincere apologies... We know this is a sensitive issue."  

But the fact remains: Pregnant people (and their supportive counterparts) spend a lot of money. Why not wish for more of them? 

Companies do all sorts of marketing sommersaults to sell goods to expectant parents, despite the "sensitive" nature of species procreation.

A few strategies:

Pretend like you're selling luxury cars: Meet "The Leather Aston Martin James Bond Baby Stroller": It features "aluminum alloy wheels," is made of "fine leather and air-ride suspension," and costs $3,000. 

Go green, recycle: When a baby outgrows this $999.16 "pure wool felt" hanging tripod crib, the crib lives on organically: "grow something else, flowers or tomatoes.... A transparent hood, durable and lightweight, which turns it into a small winter plants shelter, in the garden or on the terrace."

Woodlyecodesign/Etsy.com

Use the words "all-in-one": Bonus points if you also include the phrase "multi-tasker," or "more than two hands." 

Take, for example, the Combi All In One Mobile Entertainer. It's not only a high chair, it's also a walker, noise-maker, and vintage car.

Toys'R'Us.com

Baby straight jackets: Aww.

Hulabye.com

Parents (or people who have had parents): If babies double as a money-making venture, what do you think it's important for companies to remember? What kinds of sales pitch works best?

FA Cup is reborn for 2014 final

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-15 09:01
What is special about this year's Wembley final?

Mike Leigh tipped for Turner prizes

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:53
Mike Leigh's new film about the celebrated British artist JMW Turner, is lauded by critics at Cannes, with some suggesting it may be in line for prizes at the festival and beyond.

Review over fall in sex convictions

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:38
The conviction rate for sexual offences in England and Wales dropped sharply in 2013, Ministry of Justice figures show.

Oldest National Park Ranger Shares 'What Gets Remembered'

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:35

Betty Reid Soskin has seen World War II, the civil rights movement, and lived "lots and lots of lives." The 92-year-old shares what she's learned with guest host Celeste Headlee.

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Rugby World Cup tickets delayed

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:33
Half a million tickets for the 2015 Rugby World Cup due to go on sale on Friday have been put on hold.

VIDEO: 9/11 museum dedication: Key moments

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:29
Watch key moments as President Obama, survivors and rescuers attend the dedication of a memorial museum on the site of the September 11 attacks in New York

Thursday's gossip column

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:24
Manchester City lead the chase for AS Roma defender Mehdi Benatia, Newcastle want West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino, plus more.

Why This Octopus Isn't Stuck-Up

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:18

Some chemical in octopus skin acts as a repellent to the little suction cups on the arms, a surprise finding shows. Without it, the eight-armed creature would tie itself in knots.

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Wales 'to capitalise on Nato summit'

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:17
First Minister Carwyn Jones says ministers are constantly discussing events around the Nato summit, after criticism of the efforts to ensure Wales benefits.

Merger deal hits Dixons and Carphone

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:17
Shares in Dixons Retail, the owner of Currys and PC World, and mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse fall sharply after the firms announce a £3.8bn merger deal.

Lee appeal against 12-year ban fails

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:16
Former world number five Stephen Lee's appeal against a 12-year ban for match-fixing is dismissed.

Neglect care home residents moved

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:12
Some residents are moved from a care home for the elderly in Abergele after inspectors found evidence of neglect and poor conditions.

VIDEO: Timothy Spall on playing Mr Turner

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:07
Mike Leigh and Timothy Spall talk about their Palme D'Or contender Mr Turner, at a Cannes Film Festival press conference

Election debates - online or none at all?

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:05
Plans revealed for web-based prime ministerial debate

FCC votes to proceed with net rules

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:04
The FCC votes to proceed with new rules critics say could end net neutrality.

Solar-Powered Bike Lock Aims To Be The Airbnb Of Bike-Sharing

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:04

The Skylock can let you share your bike with others — and it'll send you a text if it thinks a thief has his hands on it.

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For Some Doctors, Almost All Medicare Patients Are Above Average

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-15 08:02

Recently released Medicare data show that 1,800 doctors and other health providers nearly always charge Medicare the highest rate for patient care. Experts challenge the legitimacy of the charges.

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PODCAST: The inflation-interest paradox

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-15 07:55

Today we're trying to resolve a paradox. Inflation is on the rise in America, yet interest rates are getting lower still. On the one hand, there's word this morning the Consumer Price Index went up three tenths percent in April, the most in 10 months.  Yet, look at benchmark interest rates. To look at this we turn to Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago.

And, we been covering an ongoing swarm of protests by fast food workers looking for higher pay in the U.S. Now the protests are going global, involving fast food workers across more than 30 countries, from Argentina to New Zealand. Marketplace's Krissy Clark has some international comparisons.

Meanwhile, in Jersey City and other towns along the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, small-scale entrepreneurs are taking aim at that urban ritual of waiting for the darned bus.  Private operators of mini-buses now ply the streets. Amid questions about safety and traffic, there are new regulations on the way. Marketplace's Dan Weissmann takes us to the "Wild West" of the Hudson.

 

Accused 'saw wife with four heads'

BBC - Thu, 2014-05-15 07:54
A man who claims he killed his wife in self-defence tells a jury she appeared with "four heads and long, sharp nails".
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