Marketer's Brief: Once Banned, Sheryl Crow Sings for Walmart

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Welcome to the second edition of Marketer's Brief, a quick read on marketing news, moves and trends. Have tips or suggestions for next week's edition? Send to [email protected]

Sheryl Crow will perform for Walmart associates in Fayetteville, Ark., tonight. No biggie since Walmart typically brings acts to entertain thousands of employees who come from around the world for its Shareholders Week. (Three Doors Down and Daughtry filled this slot last year.) But Crow stands apart for having had one of her albums banned by Walmart in 1996 over the song, "Love Is a Good Thing," which implied the retailer sells guns to children (contrary to law and store policy). No word on whether the song will be in the concert, but we're guessing not.

Sheryl Crow's concert at Bloomington, Illinois
Sheryl Crow's concert at Bloomington, Illinois Credit: Daniel/Dan Eidsmoe via flickr

Another sign of bygones going by: The album is available on from a third-party seller. Said a Walmart spokeswoman: "When it comes to business decisions, every day is a winding road and we've enjoyed many opportunities to work with Sheryl Crow over the last 20 years. We look forward to her entertaining our associates because during our Shareholders' concerts all they want to do is have some fun."

Michael Phelps dives all in for Huggies

Even for the world's greatest swimmer, endorsement deals start drying up a year after the Olympics. But thanks to birth of his little swimmer, baby Boomer, Michael Phelps is adding Huggies Little Swimmers to a list that includes Intel, Under Armour and 800razors. Here, he and family turn up in a faux press conference to announce the deal from Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago. We're guessing faux, given the applause, but, hey, Donald Trump has engineered some applause at his announcements too.

What would Mrs. Brady say?

Conagra Brands is selling the Wesson oil brand to The J.M. Smucker Co. in a deal valued at about $285 million as the food marketer keeps tinkering with its portfolio to remodel itself into a house of brands. Conagra referred to Wesson, which it acquired in its 1990 purchase of Beatrice Co., as "an iconic edible oil." Conagra will keep making Wesson products and provide other services during a transition period for up to one year after the deal closes. The sale reminds us here at Marketer's Brief of Florence Henderson, who served as Wesson's pitchwoman from the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s.

Donut vs. Doughnut

Which spelling entices potential purchasers: donut or doughnut? Just in time for National Donut Day (June 2), Yes Lifecycle Marketing has the answer, at least when it comes to which works better in email subject lines. It's a close call. Emails sent with "donut" in the subject line in the week around last year's National Donut Day held an average open rate of 9.73%. Those with "doughnut" prevailed with an open rate of 10.82%.

Fidget spinners: retail's rescuer or mom's curse?

The toy du-jour, fidget spinners, could be spinning gold for retailers, Rumplestiltskin-style. On Tuesday, an analyst from Barclays increased her sales forecast for teen chain Five Below, citing spinners as a meaningful trend that is expected to positively impact the store's first-quarter sales. "Spinners may be a much larger phenomenon than the Rainbow Loom, Shopkins, or slime," wrote the analyst. But not everyone is loving the low-priced gadgets -- check out what JP Morgan Chase CMO Kristin Lemkau has to say ...

Tweet of the Week

Number You Need to Know

20% -- the year-to-date decline in golf equipment sales according to NPD Group, showing that Tiger Woods DUI is not the game's only problem.

Oreos Cereal
Oreos Cereal Credit: Post Consumer Brands

Would You Buy This?

Oreos for breakfast? It's true. Oreo O's, first launched in 1998, are coming back in June after a 10-year absence, thanks to Post Consumer Brands.


Brandon Solano was named chief marketing officer of Pei Wei after what the Pan-Asian style chain called an extensive national search. Solano was most recently CMO of Papa Murphy's, the take-and-bake pizza chain, and before that had roles at Wendy's and Domino's. Coldwell Banker Real Estate CMO Sean Blankenship is leaving the company, effective June 1. Coldwell stated that he has been transitioning his duties to Senior VP marketing David Marine.

Contributing: E.J. Schultz, Jack Neff, Jessica Wohl, Adrianne Pasquarelli

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