A Dress So Stunning We Couldn't Keep Our Fingers off It

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If Elizabeth Gage, president of PCM International, ever loses her day job, she's certainly got a career in design. Check out the Yellow Pages dress she sported at the Yellow Pages Association Annual Conference Industry Excellence Awards held in Las Vegas last week. It even comes with matching shoes. What possessed her to create the red-carpet-ready gown? Once again, necessity was the mother of invention. Gage originally dreamed up the thing because she couldn't get booth space at a previous trade show.
She was all yellow: Gage walks the talk at Yellow Pages awards.
She was all yellow: Gage walks the talk at Yellow Pages awards.

Asked to explain the behavior of one of his members, YPA President Neg Norton said the industry attracts "professionals who appreciate traditions and advertising flair."

But there is one sad note in all this. One of Adages' favorite ad icons, Mr. Walking Fingers, who's appeared in this space before, wasn't let out of his box this year. Apparently he just couldn't compete.

What did Sheryl Crow know, and when did she know it?
If you thought Sheryl Crow was the only one focused on important issues regarding toilet-paper usage, think again.

Kimberly-Clark Corp. Chairman-CEO Tom Falk faces a big decision in this regard too. The world, and particularly Ms. Crow, who on her website recently proposed a two-square limit on "per-incident" usage, will be watching closely.

Mr. Falk must decide whether to follow his big rival, Procter & Gamble Co., in carving nearly a quarter inch off the width of toilet-paper rolls. P&G rather quietly last August shaved 0.23 inches off the 4.5-inch width of Charmin rolls. This was not, insisted a P&G spokeswoman, a cost-cutting move or stealth price increase. It was part of a product improvement that included improved softness and strength.

Some cynics say marketers already have trimmed sheet counts about all they can without turning double rolls into single rolls. You'd think a marketer could end up with a mess on its hands over this. But in tests, people liked the thinner, softer and/or stronger toilet paper better, the P&G spokeswoman said. (The test subjects keep diaries.) To her knowledge, no consumers since have complained about getting short-sheeted. The dimensions, she noted, are on the package.

Now there are rumors among retailers about P&G carving another 1/16th of an inch off rolls, but the P&G spokeswoman knew nothing of that.

Mr. Falk said in an April conference call: "It looks like some kind of roll-width changes are being made. ... We are taking a look at that. "

Though K-C's Scott launched the first national toilet-paper brand in the 19th Century, a K-C spokesman didn't know who determined how wide toilet paper should be in the first place. Rolls are thinner already in Canada and Europe, P&G's spokeswoman said.

Maybe the people are thinner, too, like Ms. Crow. Or have better dexterity.

Upstart bloggers encroach on our turf
You know, these bloggers are getting pretty uppity. It's bad enough they're always harping on old media. It's bad enough they sell ads. Now they're starting their own trade publication? Bloggers & Podcasters is a multiplatform magazine (print, podcast and web) about -- well, exactly what you'd think it's about. Now before you run off to buy subscriptions for your Uncle Ed ranting about the "librul media" or your niece who keeps that LiveJournal page, keep in mind Bloggers & Podcasters is for " 'serious' bloggers and podcasters -- those dedicated to the craft and wishing to capitalize creatively and financially." Adages wonders if the B&P employee dress code will involve pajamas.

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Contributing: Jack Neff
Let your fingers walk on over to kwheaton@adage.com
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