Big automakers are putting the brakes on Super Bowl ads

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  • When the Super Bowl kicks off later this week there will be — as always — plenty of viewers tuning in just for the commercials. There’s one industry they’ll see less represented than in previous years, though: automotive.
    Last year’s game saw record spending by car companies, but this year, with sales rising, they’re backing away from the game, preferring to spend their marketing dollars elsewhere. In fact, it’s possible that for the first time no North American auto manufacturer will have a spot at Super Bowl XLIX, and only a small number are expected to advertise during this year’s big game — the fewest number since 2010, according to a report.
    Car ads make up some of the most memorable spots during the big game — think of last year’s Chevrolet Silverado ad from General Motors  GM -0.84%  or the Ford  F -1.33%  Fusion Hybrid ad featuring James Franco and Rob Riggle, which also debuted last year. For the 2015 game between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, though, neither of those companies will be running an ad during the breaks in the action.
    Other car manufacturers will be sitting on the bench, including Audi, Volkswagen’s luxury brand. This will be the first time in seven years that Audi hasn’t taken part in the festivities, according to Automotive News. The trade publication also noted that a few car companies will be part of the Super Bowl ad game, though, with BMW, Kia, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Toyota  TM -0.29%  all confirming that they’d be running a commercial on Feb. 1.
    GM will have an active presence at the game despite not running ads — GMC is the official car of the NFL, and the Super Bowl MVP will drive off in a Chevy Colorado pickup truck.
    FCA, the automotive company that includes Chrysler, declined to say whether or not the automaker will be airing an ad on the night of the Super Bowl. A spokeswoman for the company said an announcement will only be made the weekend of the game. If Chrysler doesn’t end up running an ad, this would be the first time ever that no major North American car company has an ad during the big game, according to Peter Daboll, CEO at television and video ad company Ace Metrix.
    A spokeswoman for GM said that the expense of a spot — said to be around $4 million for a single 30 second ad on NBC — combined with the fact that GM didn’t have a new product launch to focus on, led the company to pass on the Super Bowl this year.
    Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing expert and executive creative director at Baker Street Advertising, said that with more diverse opportunities for mass advertising, some companies may be looking at other options with a less expensive price tag.
    “You can spend [advertising dollars] in the college football playoffs, which sort of became a mini-Super Bowl,” he said.
    Ford, for one, debuted commercials for the newly remodeled F-150 during the college football playoffs and other bowl games.
    Another reason car companies may be easing back on Super Bowl ads? They just don’t need it, Dorfman said. The car business had a fantastic year last year, selling nearly 17 million cars and reaching heights it hadn’t seen since before the 2008 credit crisis. With sales naturally spiking right now, the $4 million is an unnecessary expense.
    The dollars can instead be spent on other types of marketing: digital platforms, social media, and mobile marketing, he said.
    There’s also the fact that advertisement schedules tend to be cyclical, noted Ace Metrix’s Daboll. Still, he said he was “honestly a little perplexed” when he saw that so many auto companies were choosing not to participate this year. Social media, and the ability to have ads repeat infinitely on the Internet, no matter what television program they run during, could make companies think twice about dropping the big check for a Super Bowl spot, he added.

    Yum's salty predicament

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  • Yum Brands  YUM -0.53%  is “quietly” reducing the amount of salt in Taco Bell’s fare, reports USA Today. So quietly that Yum’s CEO is giving interviews about it to USA Today.
    “We have done the right thing. We have done the moral thing,” Greg Creed told the newspaper. “What we haven’t done is toot our horn. No one out there suspects we have done it because we haven’t changed the taste.”
    The hesitancy to horn-toot — or at least to toot toward the wrong people — isn’t corporate modesty. “People don’t want the taste to change,” Creed explained later in the interview. “If I came out and said ‘new low sodium Taco Bell,’ some people will think it will taste like you-know-what, and they are not going to come.”
    And therein lies the central conundrum of marketing fast food in an age when health concerns are rising among consumers, and public-image concerns are rising among fast-food companies. Taco Bell obviously can’t switch over to salt-free, soy-and-kale burritos. But Yum also feels, with some justification, that it must at least provide a sop to critics of its unhealthy fare. The downside it that it makes it seem that Yum is trying to have it both ways.
    And when it comes to salt, the conundrum is even more vexing. Recent studies have indicated that salt might not be as bad for us as previously thought. One published just last week by JAMA Internal Medicine indicates that salt may have no effect at all on the risk of heart disease among older people. The study is full of caveats — for instance, salt intake was self-reported among the subjects, whose average age was 74. But it comes on top of other recent studies that have clouded the salt picture and called into question whether dietary guidelines on salt consumption by the likes of the American Heart Association really make any sense.
    That might make it sound like it should be easy for Yum and other companies to just keep selling salt-filled meals. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. For one thing, the recent studies notwithstanding, the consensus on salt for now is still that too much is bad for you — in particular, that it causes or worsens hypertension. For another, because of salt’s reputation, the food industry has invested big in new salt alternatives, and often markets foods based on their reduced salt content. That’s how Yum is able to reduce salt a bit without customers noticing. There are a lot of sunk costs there. The recent studies indicated that salt might not be so bad are likely more a source of frustration for peddlers of salty eats than anything else. Why didn’t these studies come out 20 years ago, before companies invested in “low sodium” marketing?
    But make no mistake: the fast-food industry is still heavily reliant on salt, just as it is on fat and sugar — Yum definitely included. The company’s goal is for 15% of its menu items at Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC to conform to recommended per-meal limits by the end of this year — rising to 20% by 2020. That’s well short of a major about-face. Even among the large fast-food chains, Yum’s fare is particularly salty in general. Taco Bell’s Beefy Five-Layer Burrito contains 1,290 milligrams of salt. That’s more than half of the USDA’s total recommended intake for a single day.
    But the same things that make Yum’s food unhealthful also make it a draw, particularly among young men, a core Yum constituency for whom reduced salt is generally very low on the priority list. Pleasing both them and critics like the Center for Science in the Public Interest is a tricky proposition.

    Come fly with them: These CEOs spend the most on the corporate jet

    Who wouldn’t want their very own airborne steed at the ready? But should shareholders be footing the bill?

    Many chief executives take advantage of their rights to the company jet. Who wouldn’t want their very own airborne steed at the ready? But should shareholders be footing the bill?
    Since 2008, this particular perk has been one of the most closely examined and widely criticized. The three most common reasons given by companies for personal use of the corporate jet are: executive security, board mandate, and, quite simply, convenience.
    How many big corporate CEOs actually get access to the company jet? Pay research company Equilar recently found that of the 95 public Fortune 100 companies, 65 CEOs were either eligible for or received some form of jet perk. Equilar noted that two CEOs who did not have the perk were running airlines, where complimentary air travel is typically provided to all employees. The average annual cost of the perk, at least at the companies that disclosed the figures, was $141,187, which typically represented about two-fifths of total perk spending.
    So, which CEOs make the most of their jet perks? The five most expensive CEOs to fly around were Brian Moynihan at Bank of America  BAC -1.04% , James McNerney at Boeing  BA -1.07% , Jeffrey Immelt at General Electric  GE -1.08% , Robert Iger at Disney  DIS -0.67% , and Ryan Lance at ConocoPhillips  COP -0.53% .
    Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan’s jetting around cost the company $448,251 in 2013. Spokesperson Lawrence Grayson said that Moynihan reimburses the company for personal use of the aircraft. So, where did this almost half a million dollars come from? Grayson explained that the SEC has a broader view of personal usage than, say, the IRS. So, for example, if Moynihan flies to California on business and then the jet must return to the bank’s South Carolina headquarters to fly another executive on business elsewhere, that return flight cost is attributed to Moynihan. While Moynihan does use the corporate jet for personal travel, none of those costs is disclosed because he pays for them himself. The bank noted that it did not feel that there was a security need for this, but cited efficiency. Since it doesn’t cost the shareholders anything, they will probably agree with this justification.
    Boeing’s James McNerney non-business corporate jet travel (on a Boeing 737 Business Jet, naturally) cost the company a total of $373,137 in 2013. A company spokesman, John Dern, confirmed that requiring the CEO to travel on the corporate jet for personal trips is a “longstanding policy that helps manage safety, security and productivity.” McNerney sits on the boards of IBM and Proctor & Gamble, and travel to board meetings represented almost $68,000 of the total cost.
    The cost of flying General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt on personal travel was $ 343,121. The company did not respond to requests for further information, but GE’s proxy statement indicates that these “[a]mounts reflect the incremental cost to GE for personal use of company aircraft….” It also states that the “[a]ggregate incremental cost, if any, of travel by the executive’s family or other guests when accompanying the executive is also included.” GE doesn’t give a reason for the perk. The proxy simply states, “We provide our named executives with other benefits that we believe are reasonable, competitive and consistent with our overall executive compensation program.” This raises the question, why can’t Immelt reimburse the company for these costs?
    Disney CEO Robert Iger’s corporate jet use cost $332,808 in 2013. In 2014, it cost $391,411. The company claims in its proxy statement that Iger’s “security requires the CEO to use corporate aircraft for all personal travel.” Disney clearly takes Iger’s safety very seriously. They spend over $600,000 a year on it, in fact.
    ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance’s jet perk cost $330,869. After Lance was made CEO in mid-2012, the board required him to use corporate aircraft for personal travel for security reasons “unless the Manager of Global Security determines that other arrangements represent an acceptable risk.” Like Immelt, amounts also include travel costs “for any family member or guest” accompanying the CEO.
    True, personal use of the corporate jet doesn’t mean that the CEO is flying to one vacation home after another. But it’s safe to say that a CEO should seriously consider taking a page out of Moynihan’s playbook and reimburse the company for those kinds of trips.

    The next space race will be among Fortune 500 companies

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  • “Close, but no cigar. This time.”
    Behold the words of SpaceX founder Elon Musk, offering a post-op summary of the fiery crash-landing of one of his company’s first stage rocket boosters aboard a floating barge in the Atlantic earlier this month. It smacked of the billionaire entrepreneur’s typical comedic understatement. Video accompanying the comment, delivered in a tweet, shows the rocket coming in too fast and too steep before exploding in a magnificent fireball. It was a far cry from the soft landing Musk and SpaceX had planned.
    Most of the press called it a failure. Musk called it “close.” Experts familiar with the commercial spaceflight industry are calling it what it is: evidence that 2015 will be the year SpaceX manages to successfully bring a first stage rocket booster and its nine rocket engines safely back to Earth for reuse, potentially cutting the cost of space launch in half and upending the commercial launch industry.
    But lost in the whiz-bang awesomeness of rocket launches (and crashes) is the way SpaceX’s reusable rocket technology could impact industries beyond those associated with space, such as telecommunications and imaging. The cost of space access could drop from its current range of between $65 million and $70 million to something more like $30 million, or even $20 million, putting it within reach of companies and industries that couldn’t consider it before.
    “When launch costs drop, new customers will emerge,” says Dick “Rocket” David, CEO of space industry information provider NewSpace Global. “But most of the customers that will be interested don’t even realize today what impact access to space will have on their business models.”
    SpaceX wanted to bring its first stage booster back to Earth for a simple reason: the rocket boosters that are typically jettisoned after their fuel runs out cost millions of dollars to develop and manufacture. If the company can return a stage to Earth intact for refurbishment and reuse, it can dramatically reduce what has long been considered a cost of doing business.
    There remain questions: how much it costs to refurbish a rocket booster and how many times a single booster can be reused, for example. And space industry analysts think costs could go lower still. Musk has suggested that he’s eventually shooting for a sub-$10 million launch price. But merely halving the cost of launch could stoke increased demand for launch services and bring a flood of new entrants into the orbital domain.
    How all this impacts the average Fortune 500 firm remains to be seen, but two things are almost certain to happen in the near term. First, the services that companies and individuals currently get from space will become better, less expensive, and more accessible, says Carissa Christensen, managing partner at defense, space, and technology consultancy Tauri Group. That’s not necessarily a groundbreaking development, but it’s certainly a meaningful one. Companies spend a whole lot of money on communications, imagery, and other data collected and relayed by orbiting satellites. In some industries, the high cost of satellite services keep smaller companies from competing as effectively with their larger counterparts. “Cheaper, cooler, and better things from space is kind of a big deal,” Christensen says. “The benefit of much cheaper satellite services is not trivial.”
    Second, a huge number of new entrants and new dollars will pile into the orbital domain—and in fact already are. Just last week, SpaceX announced plans to build out a network of micro-satellites over the next five years that would blanket the globe in internet. This week the company announced that Google  GOOG -2.47%  and investment bank Fidelity  FNF -0.47%  have invested $1 billion in the project, valuing SpaceX at $10 billion. Another satellite internet startup known as OneWeb—launched by Google’s former satellite internet project lead, Greg Wyler, who left the company in September—also announced last week that it has secured funding from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Qualcomm  QCOM -0.44%  to create a satellite network of its own. The $2 billion project plans to launch 648 small satellites weighing 285 pounds each starting in 2018, each of which will require a ride into an orbit.
    Analysts are optimistic that space launch activity will create new opportunities that could in turn further boost investment in the space.
    “Keep in mind that whenever you start launching more satellites, when you make launch services cheaper and bring new players into the market, you have a lot of spinoff effects,” Marco Caceres, director of space studies at aerospace and defense consultancy Teal Group. “You have an expanding market, you have submarkets. And you have investors taking a second, a third, a fourth look at companies like SpaceX and the ones that will follow. Venture capital will start flowing back into the market like it did in the 1990s.”
    Emerging space companies are already baking lower launch costs into their business plans. Space is to the decade ahead what the Internet was to the 1990s, NewSpace Global’s David says. It’s not necessarily going to upend your revenue streams tomorrow. But if you’re not thinking about how space access impacts your business and how to leverage it to your advantage, you’re setting yourself up as the Barnes and Noble  BKS 0.12%  to someone else’s Amazon  AMZN -0.21% .
    “The challenge is understanding the impact something like a reusable first stage booster will have upon a very terrestrial business model today,” NewSpace Global’s David says. “If you’re Coca-Cola, if you’re Walmart, if you’re Toyota, if you’re Lukoil—what does a satellite have to do with your business model today? What will falling launch costs have to do with your business model in the future? From our perspective, the companies capable of connecting those dots will be able to capture tremendous financial growth opportunities. Those who fail to understand that connection to their very terrestrial business models could end up on the wrong side of financial evolution in the next decade.”
    Most companies don’t think of themselves as “space companies,” David says. But it’s hard to find a company on the Fortune 500 that isn’t intimately connected to terrestrial assets—real estate, agriculture, transportation infrastructure, energy infrastructure, brick and mortar facilities. The ability to connect all those assets in a proprietary way, to monitor them in realtime and generate accurate and instantaneous information about them will ensure a competitive edge for companies in the 21st century.
    That’s especially true for firms who rely on fast, accurate information—and proprietary access to that information—to generate revenue. “Is it obvious that someone like BlackRock or Apollo would care about having their own satellites?” David says. “I think if you were to poll most PE firms and IBs on Wall Street they would say, ‘Space? You gotta be kiddin’ me.’ But what we’re going to see in the near term as launch costs come down, as more satellites are lifted, is an increase in knowledge at higher frequency. That’s going to lead to results that could change the very nature of financial analysis.”
    Whether or not Stamford-based energy traders will soon find themselves jockeying for the choicest orbits from which to count oil tankers in the Strait of Malacca is anyone’s guess. But the takeaway from SpaceX’s most recent rocket recover “failure” is this: access to space is access to knowledge, and the next space race will be among companies vying to be a “space company.”

    White House opens up southern Atlantic to offshore drilling

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  • The White House announced plans Tuesday to allow oil drilling in the Atlantic waters off several Southeastern states, while also moving to curb access to oil along the Pacific and in environmentally sensitive locations in Alaska.
    The plan aims to protect fragile parts of Alaska’s ecosystem, while leading to the possible development of offshore drilling in locations such as the southern Chesapeake and in Georgia, according to The Washington Post.
    The news comes as the price for a barrel of oil remains near $50 following a precipitous drop in the second half of 2014.
    Today’s announcement is part of a five-year program that sets boundaries, and a schedule, for oil development in federal waters until 2022, according to the Post. The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has the ability to further restrict the White House’s proposed area, but cannot make it any larger.
    Oil and gas extracted from the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf accounts for about 18% of domestic oil production and 5% of domestic natural gas production, according to a White House statement.
    The area offered for development includes the middle and southern Atlantic coast, including areas of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. There would be a 50-mile zone away from the coast to protect the coastline should oil spills occur.
    “This is a balanced proposal that would make available nearly 80 percent of the undiscovered technically recoverable resources, while protecting areas that are simply too special to develop,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. She also said the plan is at an “early-stage,” with a public comment period to follow.
    “We look forward to continuing to hear from the public as we work to finalize the proposal,” Jewell added.
    Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper said: “We anticipate robust dialogue with stakeholders in the coming months that will help us prepare a program that emphasizes protection of the marine environment and coastal economies and uses the best available science and technology to inform our decision-making.”
    Critics of the White House plan say it’s too restrictive, especially for Alaska.
    “We will not tolerate it,” said Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “We will do everything we can to push back against an administration that has taken a look at Alaska and decided it’s a ‘nice little snow globe up there and we’re going to keep it that way.’ That’s not how you treat a state.”

    Obama calls for drone regulation after White House crash

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  • This post is in partnership with Time. The article below was originally published at
    By Victor Luckerson, TIME
    President Barack Obama has used the crash-landing of a drone at the White House Monday as an opportunity to reemphasize the importance of regulating unmanned aircraft.
    In an interview with CNN, Obama said the remote-controlled quadcopter that caused a brief security scare on Monday was the kind “you buy in Radio Shack,” calling for a regulatory framework for drones that will “get the good and minimize the bad.”
    “There are incredibly useful functions that these drones can play in terms of farmers who are managing crops and conservationists who want to take stock of wildlife,” Obama said. “But we don’t really have any kind of regulatory structure at all for it.”
    Drones are currently restricted from most airspace, except at low heights and at designated testing sites. The capital has stricter regulations than most on flying unmanned aerial vehicles.
    The Federal Aviation Administration is currently drafting regulations that will allow for wider use of the devices. However, the process has been fraught with delays.

    Square tries to make open source "welcoming and inspiring" to women

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  • At most companies, most tech jobs are held by men. But the proportion of open source developers who are female is almost infinitesimal: Just 1.5%, by some estimates.
    Square, a San Francisco-based mobile payments company founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, says it wants to change that. To make the open source community more friendly and accessible to women, the company disclosed that it is publishing an open source code of conduct that it hopes will help provide a “welcoming and inspiring environment for all.”
    What is open source? Simply put, it is source code (used to develop software programs) that is freely available and modifiable on the Internet. Open source developers from all over the world contribute to various projects, which are hosted on various websites—GitHub, a popular code hosting site, has over 8 million users and over 19 million code “repositories.”
    This community isn’t made up of just one-person coders in their basements (a popular misconception). Developers from tech companies large and small—from Microsoft and Google to pretty much every startup in Silicon Valley and beyond—are involved, using the available code source for various software projects. In other words, opening open source is a big deal. And, not many women are involved.
    Some of the guidelines included in Square’s code of conduct, published earlier today, seem better-suited to kindergartners than humans capable of developing complex code. For example, they include “be respectful,” “be considerate” and “be collaborative.” But the company’s diversity programs lead, Vanessa Slavich, says having general guidelines—especially when it comes to how to report infractions—can go a long way in making women feel more comfortable in open source circles.
    “If you’re new to soccer or baseball, you have a rulebook and you know what is allowed and what is not allowed,” says Slavich. “So we’re encouraging diversity in this space by having a guidebook that says this how it works, and if you ever feel uncomfortable, this is how you can report it.”
    Indeed, included in Square’s new code of conduct includes an email address that community members can use to file complaints if they experience or witness “unacceptable behavior.” According to the company, once a report is made they will respond within two days and evaluate the complaint. If the allegation is serious enough the offending party could be permanently banned from contributing to Square’s open source code. (The complaints will be processed case-by-case, by an internal committee.)
    To be sure, Square isn’t the first company to publish an open source code of conduct. Twitter, for example, has very similar guidelines for its contributors. But as yet another high-profile startup, Square could help draw more attention to the need to make the open source community more open and inclusive to women.
    “There’s harassment and unconscious bias [within open source communities],” says Slavich. “Online, people are anonymous, so it’s a lot easier to say things that you normally wouldn’t say.”
    As we saw in last fall’s Gamergate controversy, in which hard-core gamers threatened and intimated female video game developers, there is a dangerous element to these kinds of anonymous communities, where derogatory and even threatening language can quickly escalate.
    There’s another advantage to getting more women involved in open source communities—it can be good for women’s job prospects. Why? Employers often look up candidates’ lines of code on online, open source repositories. So if a female candidate isn’t on GitHub or other websites, it’s akin to not being on LinkedIn.
    “Open source is a great thing for technology,” says Slavich. “But women aren’t really a part of the conversation.”

    Strong dollar slams consumer companies, from Tiffany to P&G

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  • The strengthening dollar will make that summer vacation abroad more affordable.But it sure is taking a bite out of U.S. companies’ results.
    Procter & Gamble  PG -3.73% , the maker of products such as Tide detergent and Gillette razors, reported disappointing results on Tuesday, and laid much of the blame on the strong U.S. dollar before warning investors that the ever rising greenback would slice off 5% from sales this year, and 12% from its profit.
    “The October – December 2014 quarter was a challenging one with unprecedented currency devaluations,” said P&G Chief Executive A.G. Lafley. “Virtually every currency in the world devalued versus the U.S. dollar, with the Russian ruble leading the way.”
    The P&G news follows a poor holiday sales report from Tiffany & Co  TIF -0.88% , due in large part to unfavorable currency movements, and a warning last week from P&G rival, Kimberly-Clark  KMB 0.77% , the maker of Kleenex and Scott towels, that the negative effect of foreign exchange would lower sales in 2015 by as much as 9%.
    Even McDonald’s  MCD -0.63% , which has plenty of other problems to deal with, blamed a strong currency for lowering its profit per share last quarter by 8 to 12 cents. The damage has not been limited to consumer and retail companies: Caterpillar,  CAT -7.53%  blamed the decline in its sales squarely at the feet of the weakening Japanese yen and the euro, while chemicals company Dupont  DD -1.71%  and drug maker Pfizer  PFE -0.25%  alsocalled out foreign exchange as a factor in lackluster results.
    The U.S. dollar has appreciated more than 15% against the yen, the euro and the Canadian dollar in the last half year, so investors should expect many more warnings from companies as corporate earnings seasons pick up.
    U.S. retailers that rely disproportionately on tourism are likely to suffer the most. Indeed, Tiffany president Frederic Cumenal, who will become CEO in April, said he expects pressure from the strong U.S. dollar to persist throughout 2015 and hurt sales to tourists in the U.S.—foreign tourists account for 40% of sales at Tiffany’s flagship on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, a store that on its own generates one-eighth of company sales. HBC’s Saks Fifth Avenue chain is also dependent on tourism: its big Manhattan store drives 20% of its sales.
    While the U.S. Travel Association expects international visits to rise 4.1% this year, there are concerns tourists might shorten their stays, and cut back on shopping while here. But even a meat-and-potatoes retailer like Wal-Mart Stores  WMT -1.18% , with 41% of sales abroad, could feel the pinch.
    Consumer goods companies, which went global decades ago, are particularly exposed. Avon Products  AVP -2.33%  is struggling and only gets 15% of its sales in the United States, making it particularly vulnerable to the greenback’s ascent. It is also, just like P&G and Kimberly-Clark, exposed to the foibles of the Venezuelan bolivar which last year drove Clorox  CLX -0.30%  out of that market altogether.
    Here is a look at just some of the other U.S. retail/consumer companies that have a lot to lose from a strong U.S. dollar:
    • Coach  COH -1.08% , which reports results on Thursday (after a snowstorm-related delay), gets 20% of sales in Japan.
    • PepsiCo’s  PEP -2.07%  second largest market after the U.S. is Russia, whose ruble fell 6.6% yesterday to a new record low.
    • Coca-Cola  KO -1.40%  gets just a bit more than half of its sales in North America.
    So while that cheap European jaunt may be fun, just remember others might not be so thrilled with the U.S. dollar’s upward climb.