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Photo takes a stationery stance

BY Barbara White-Sax

Cards are a key area of opportunity in the photo department. Dimitrios Delis, director of marketing research at the Photo Marketing Association, said he believes on-demand stationery is a category waiting to explode. “Everybody buys stationery, from notepads to thank-you cards, and the mass market is an untapped market for on-demand products,” he said.

“Expanding the category makes a lot of sense,” Delis said. “Consumers can print as many pieces as they want. From a retailer standpoint, it frees up a lot of space they now devote to a huge card section.”

Bing Liem, VP sales for Fujifilm North American’s imaging division, saw opportunity for other occasions. “The possibilities for photo cards are endless; they aren’t just for holidays anymore,” he said. “It’s no wonder that industry sources predict compounded annual growth in the segment of roughly 17% over the next three years.”

Even if the photo-processing business grabs a small share of the $800 million greeting card/stationery business, it will be a huge gain for the photo-processing category. Liem didn’t believe photo cards would cannibalize existing stationery sales because card templates offered online and at the kiosk can include a wider variety of occasions than can be inventoried. The trick is to bring in kiosks that are capable of offering the selection consumers are used to with and without photo options on the cards. Up until now, kiosks have been limited to a slim selection of holiday cards.

“Kodak Picture Kiosks offer more than 296 designs that present the consumer with 1,200 choices depending on the card size and card orientation,” said a representative for Kodak. “Consumers can use a Kodak kiosk to grab in-the-moment action images from HD video, download shared images from social media sites and scan older photos from prints.”

Vendors like Cameostyle offer consumers such options as thank you notes, birth announcements, home renovation completed and graduation cards. Card styles aren’t limited to those that include a photo.

Drug stores are emerging as a preferred location for photo card printing, Liem said, with 33% of all cards produced in the channel. Online ordering with same-day pickup in-store will be crucial to continued success.

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FDA advisory committee shoots down Vivus’ Qnexa

BY Alaric DeArment

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. The possibility of a new drug for treating obesity suffered a setback Thursday as a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted against recommending its approval.

The FDA Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee voted 10 to 6 against recommending approval for Vivus’ drug Qnexa (phentermine and topiramate), citing safety concerns such as the possibility of psychiatric problems and birth defects.

“We appreciate the advisory committee’s recognition of obesity as a significant health crisis and the challenges associated with the treatment of this disease,” Vivus CEO Leland Wilson said. “We are disappointed with the advisory committee’s vote.”

The company said it would attempt to address the committee’s concerns. An advisory committee vote is a recommendation, and while the FDA will take it into account when deciding whether to approve a drug, it is not bound to follow it.

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Post-it launches Shopping Genius widget

BY Allison Cerra

LONDON 3M has developed a bargain-shopping widget with the help of its Post-it brand.

Inspired by usage of the classic Post-it note as a shopping list, 3M has developed an evolution of the shopping list for the digital age called Post-it Shopping Genius. How it works: Post-it Shopping Genius sits on your computer desktop, keeping an eye on the price changes for you, locating the cheapest price, and letting you know when it changes. The customizable application enables you to choose from thousands of electricals, durables and other consumer goods, and track up to five at a time.

The application — which can be directly downloaded from http://bit.ly/Post-itGenius and is available on iGoogle, Mac OS X desktop and Windows 7 / Vista desktops — displays up-to-date prices on many thousands of products, which are searchable within the tool.

In related news, 3M announced that it is offering a monthly monetary prize of 1,000 GBP ($1,542) or the value of a user’s shopping list if less as an incentive to those who refer the Shopping Genius application to a friend.

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