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Innovation pays off when it’s well-calculated

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Just goes to show that you need to spend a dollar to make a dollar because that other overused adage, “a penny saved is a penny earned,” might only earn you a penny profit even as you miss that dollar opportunity. Throw these learnings against the wall of SKU rationalization, and what sticks is that the bunker mentality has to end; you can’t grow the market without the tried and true catalyst of a new growth engine powered by innovation.

(THE NEWS: Innovation, new growth opportunities must be tackled for CPGs to stay afloat. For the full story, click here)

Of course, Wall Street only recognizes those investors of innovation if they succeed. So innovation for the sake of innovation is not necessarily the greatest play, unless of course that innovation is fulfilling a new consumer need or trading a consumer up to a higher-end product, as opposed to just cannibalizing existing sales. And that leads to the other significant takeaway — innovation might not necessarily mean reinventing the mousetrap, but rather reinventing the way that mousetrap is promoted. The report identifies emerging markets on a global basis (China, Russia), but those learnings can be just as readily applied specifically to the U.S. market by tailoring those promotional spends so that the mousetrap either reaches more consumers (through venues such as social media, for example) or appeals to more niche-market demographics (either on a regional scale, such as the Southeast, for example, or by increasing reach into specific ethnic groups).

And on a macro-economic level, enough innovation could help pave that road toward recovery — because if you reach a consumer with enough reasons to spend, they just might start spending.

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‘Preschool is Cool: Counting with Elmo’ arrives on DVD this fall

BY Allison Cerra

BURBANK, Calif. Warner Home Video is bringing Sesame Street’s beloved resident, Elmo, to DVD.

“Preschool is Cool: Counting with Elmo” supports such early math skills as number recognition, counting and enumeration with the help of Elmo and his friends.

“Warner Home Video is very happy to introduce ‘Counting with Elmo, ‘our newest DVD title in Sesame Street’s new DVD set ‘Preschool is Cool,’” said Amit Desai, WHV VP family animation and partner brands marketing. “Counting is an essential tool that every preschooler must learn and there’s nobody better than the beloved Elmo and Professor Grover to show kids how fun and exciting numbers can be.”

“Preschool is Cool: Counting with Elmo” is available on DVD Sept. 14, for a suggested retail priceof $14.98.

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Keryx gets orphan-drug designation for neuroblastoma treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The Food and Drug Administration has given special designation to an investigational treatment for a cancer of the nervous system that affects children.

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals announced Wednesday that it received orphan drug designation for KRX-0401 (perifosine), a treatment for neuroblastoma. No FDA-approved treatments exist for the disease.

The FDA gives orphan drug designation to investigational treatments for rare illnesses or those affecting fewer than 200,000 patients in the United States. The designation entitles the drug maker to seven years’ market exclusivity following approval, tax benefits and exemption from certain application filing fees.

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