Middleton on marketing

When it comes to talking about marketing, the media can’t get enough of Alan Middleton, a professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business. He can riff on everything from Barbie and Ken (see the Feb. 24 issue of YFile) to the Liberal Party and Apple’s new iPods (see below).

On air, Middleton discussed marketing the federal Liberal Party in the face of the recent sponsorship scandal, on Report on Business TV’s “The Close” Feb. 23.

In the March 1 issue of Maclean’s, he said Apple’s iPods, like so many of the products produced by Apple, engender remarkable brand loyalty, because iPod is more than just a great gadget. “To make something a success, it has to have charisma,” explained Middleton with a chuckle. “All through its ups and downs, Apple has had good designers. So the thing looks good.” Arguably, iPod’s success can be attributed directly to Apple, said the magazine. No other high-tech company can boast such unwavering support from its small but influential customer base. Middleton has a theory about that. “Part of the way we complete ourselves as personalities is in the products we buy and use,” said the marketing professor. “And if you own and listen to a product that is considered tech cool, then you are tech cool.”

In winter, investors are more aggressive

York finance Professor Melanie Cao’s study of 30 markets reveals that when temperatures are colder in winter, investors are more aggressive and more willing to trade actively, reported a CanWest News Service story on seasonal anomalies printed in the Vancouver Sun Feb. 25. The Schulich School of Business professor conceded that weather overall has a huge macro-economic impact, affecting about $1 trillion of US gross domestic product annually. “Temperatures affect energy, utilities, tourism, construction, retail – all sorts of business,” Cao explained. “So cold is an issue on many levels – not just emotional pitch.”