Financial 411: Expensive Advertising Gone Wrong

Obama Addresses U.S. Chamber of Commerce

President Barack Obama made the long trip across H Street in Washington, D.C., to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to deliver a message to American businesses: they can speed the recovery if they begin investing the nearly $2 trillion dollars that is accumulating on their balance sheets. He said it would do a lot to speed the economic recovery.

Obama said he'll be a friend to business, but he's drawing the line at dismantling current environmental laws, which many companies say are onerous. "Not every regulation is burdensome on business," he said. "A lot of the regulations that are out there are things that all of us welcome in our lives." The AP characterized the Chamber of Commerce audience as "polite" and "subdued."

AOL Acquires Huffington Post

AOL has acquired the Huffington Post for $315 million.

Some are hailing the move as a sign that the journalism business just might have a pulse. But on the Brian Lehrer Show today, GQ's Washington Correspondent Ana Marie Cox said the move worries her. "Huffington Post sort of notoriously doesn't really pay its writers," she said. "It takes advantage of the desire for people to have a platform."

Many Huffington Post contributors are unpaid. Cox herself made the leap to print from digital. She was the first editor of the blog Wonkette.

Arianna Huffington will now run content for AOL. She said she and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong make a great pair: "We were practically finishing each other's sentences," she said.


Regulators at the FDIC have proposed making top executives at large financial firms wait at least three years to be paid half of their annual bonuses — a move designed to discourage risk.

That move failed to put a damper on markets today. The Dow added 69 points, settling at 12,162. The Nasdaq gained 15 points, closing at 2,784. The S&P 500 rose to 1,319, a gain of eight points.

A Look Ahead

WNYC's Business Editor Charlie Herman gives us a preview of this week's business news. There'll be more corporate earnings reports, new foreclosure figures and hearings on Capitol Hill on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will also testify before the Republican-controlled House.

Controversial Super Bowl Ads

It probably seemed so funny when it was still on the drawing board at an ad agency. But when a lot of people saw last night's ad for the online coupon service Groupon, they were appalled.

"The people of Tibet are in trouble," the ad begins. "Their very culture is in jeopardy. But they still whip up an amazing fish curry."

Brushing aside Tibet's political struggles, actor Timothy Hutton goes on to explain how Groupon saved him money on that meal at a Tibetan restaurant. Poor taste? Bad business strategy? Groupon paid a reported $3 million for that spot.

Natalie Zmuda, a reporter with Ad Age, talks about the risks of bad or boring ads, especially at big events like the Super Bowl.