Morning Coffee Feb 16 2012

FCC Hits Telemarketers

By damian ghigliotty

The Federal Communications Commission yesterday outlawed robocalls, or automated telemarketing pitches, due to thousands of consumer complaints made to the agency, Bloomberg reported.

The FCC's directors voted 3-0 that corporations must now obtain written consent from consumers before sending any auto-dialed or pre-recorded calls. Those calls were designed as a way for telemarketers to compete with Internet marketers, who can reach consumers and businesses in larger quantities and at a faster rate. A carve-out to the rule was included for political campaigns, non-profits and certain informational messages.

While telemarketers are becoming a rarer breed, those still in the field face an increasingly difficult job. In February 2008 Congress passed the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act, which made the FCC's Do-Not-Call registry a permanent resource for consumers and businesses that want to block telemarketers from reaching them.

In 2005, the satellite television provider DIRECTV paid a penalty of $5.3 million to settle charges that it violated the FCC's Do-Not-Call rules.

Sales Buzz

Holly Chen (WSJ via FINS)

Meet 68-year-old Holly Chen, a five-foot grandmother and former first-grade teacher who the Journal calls "one of the most prolific salespeople on Earth."

Avon Eyes New CEO (WSJ via FINS)

Avon Products is eyeing Home Shopping Network head Mindy Grossman to replace Andrea Jung as its chief executive.

Comcast Grows (NYT)

Comcast, the nation's largest cable provider, reported $1.3 billion in net income, up from $1.02 billion last year, due to an increase in Internet subscriptions and a slowing decline in the number of customers cancelling their cable services.

Perfect Attendance (WSJ)

An up-close look at those who have never missed a day of work.

Marketing Buzz

Damage Control (Ad Age)

Hamish McLennan, former global chief executive of Y&R, is joining News Corp. as its executive vice president in the office of the chairman. The new role is designed to help the company keep good relations with other companies in the face of public scrutiny over last summer's hacking scandal. News Corp. is the parent company of Dow Jones, which owns FINS.

Buffetting Billionaires (Bloomberg)

John Malone, the legendary cable pioneer, is getting some company from a legendary investor. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has taken a stake in Malone's Liberty Media content and media vehicle. Wonder how Liberty Chief Executive Greg Maffei feels about answering to two big masters.

APCO Diversifies (WSJ)

APCO Worldwide, a Washington D.C. public relations firm that specializes in crisis communications, has acquired the small New York-based advertising agency Strawberry Frog LLC.

New Buyer (Bloomberg)

The sales and marketing teams at Pringles won't be moving over to Diamond Foods after all. Instead, Kellogg Company will be buying Procter & Gamble's potato chip business for about $2.7 billion.

Buzz Around the Office

Edible Balloon (YouTube)

Gas waiting to happen.

List of the Day: Succeeding at Skype

Just because an interview is done through a computer connection doesn't give you license to skimp.

1. Make sure the lighting is flattering.

2. Be as animated as you would be in person. You're competing with their Facebook account now.

3. Test the microphone out before the interview.

(Source: The Daily Muse)

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