Let's call it a day for 'at the end of the day'

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Call it a rallying cry to put an end to what in the past few years has become one of the most hackneyed phrases in corporate America: "at the end of the day." Ostensibly an updated version of the expression "when all is said and done," the phrase is tossed around like yesterday's newspaper and tends to lose all meaning when we hear marketing and advertising executives use it twice in the same breath. A recent study from Factiva, a Dow Jones and Reuters company that provides business and research information, bears that out. The "Factiva Media Visibility Index" weeds out the extraneous media mentions that are not timely or are irrelevant to the searched subject. It specifically searches the most influential news and business newspapers and magazines in the U.S. (Press releases are excluded from the search.) According to Factiva, from January through July 2006, "at the end of the day" was mentioned 12,460 times. "In the black" was a distant second with 4,876 mentions while "in the red" placed third with 4,628 mentions. The phrases "level the playing field," "time and again" and "about-face" also qualify as business cliches. With the phrase heavily diluted, one can hope that "at the end of the day" has finally run its course-an abused business cliche of yesteryear, "win-win," failed to make the Factiva list and gives us hope. Now if we could only do something about "no problem," which we hear about 87 times a day and which seems to have replaced "your welcome" in U.S. vernacular.---Matthew Schwartz

Straight Up Brands has turned to the bottle to fuel its marketing campaigns. Bringing spirits and innovative marketing strategies together, President Vincent Viola and CEO David McCallen announced the company has acquired a majority interest in Straight Up Productions, a producer of wines and branded spirits, in conjunction with nationally known celebrities. Distribution contracts with 10 distributors, including Southern Wine & Spirits and Opici & Stoller, have brought the company's products flowing into 17 states. Strategies to increase market penetration include matching the flavor of the wine or liquor to the celebrity and holding kick-off meetings and events to bring the stars and distributors together. Straight Up has acquired and owns five branded products, the first of which is a line of eight wines produced with Lorraine Bracco of "The Sopranos" and "Goodfellas" and sold under the Bracco Wines label. But Bracco is just the beginning. Other beverages include a vodka (Storm) produced with DJ Clue; a Long Island iced tea (Gravity Blue) produced with Magic Juan; a sparkling wine (Black Rose) produced with Foxy Brown and Jay-Z; and a mojito (MoMo) produced with Ja Rule.--Shelly Banjo

Instead of an annual company picnic for employees this summer, marketing communications agency Off Madison Avenue, Tempe, Ariz., treated its 60-plus staffers to a full day in San Diego, including round-trip air fare, lunch at a beachside restaurant and a chartered sailing trip. "The firm's greatest assets are the people who get on and off the elevator every day," said David Anderson, president and managing partner of the agency. He credits his staff with helping the agency to achieve stellar growth and industry achievements in the past year, including being named the No. 1 public relations and Internet marketing agency, and one of the top two advertising agencies by Arizona Business Magazine's "Ranking Arizona."--Kate Maddox

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