Planet business

This week: Satire on the internet, ‘dawn and dusk shoppers’ and the latest on lipstick

Image of the week: Clipper crazy

"Where do you want to go today?" Two decades ago, Microsoft used to ask Windows users this question all the time. For Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft lifer who became its chief executive from 2000 until February this year, it turned out the answer to the question this Monday was "to a massive basketball rally".

Ballmer, the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, bounded on stage in an LA sports arena to introduce himself to some 3,000 of the teams fans, many of them wearing “We Are Clippers” T-shirts. The 58-year-old baseball-cap wearer, who this week stepped down from the board of Microsoft, looks like he’s about to eat his microphone, but that’s okay – with a net worth of $20.8 billion, he can afford to buy a new one. Photograph: Kevork Djansezian/Bloomberg

In numbers: Lip service $1.4bn

Size of the market for lip cosmetics in the US this year, up 9 per cent on 2012, according to research by Mintel. Lip cosmetics are currently the strongest performing segment of the make-up market.



Percentage of US women who report usage of lipsticks, lip balms or lip gloss, Mintel says. Lip balm – thanks to its popularity with younger women – has slightly higher penetration than lipstick.


Percentage of lip gloss buyers who opt for “prestige” brands, a much lower proportion than was the case for facial and eye cosmetics. Buyers of lip cosmetics are more inclined towards budget brands than they are when they purchase “higher-risk”, skin-sensitive items, concluded Mintel.

The lexion: Dawn and dusk shoppers

UK supermarket chain Morrisons has set itself upon a new strategy to claw back market share: open earlier and shut later. The idea is to chase so-called "dawn and dusk shoppers" who prefer to do their trolley dashes before 9am or after 8pm.

One in five British shoppers, according a recent YouGov survey, like to shop at those times, either because they have work or have family obligations during the day, or because they reckon that’s the best chance of the stores being relatively free of annoying people who park their trolleys sideways in the aisles while they peruse a sliced pan for half an hour.

“Dawn and dusk shoppers” are not to be confused with “dusk to dawn shoppers”, aka the drunk, the despairing and/or the insomniac who embrace e-commerce for comfort.

Getting to know: Nicole Seligman

The Japanese corporate world isn't exactly a bastion of gender equality. Only one female executive has made it to an 185-strong list of top-earners within companies listed on Japan's Nikkei 225 index and she is Nicole Seligman, the president of Sony Corporation of America and Sony Entertainment. She is American and lives in New York.

Before her Sony days, Seligman was a partner at the Washington law firm Williams & Connolly, where she was part of the team that defended Bill Clinton in the wake of the whole Monica Lewinsky scandal, while both she and her husband have been political donors to Hillary Clinton. Her ties to the Democrats go back further – at Harvard, she was friends with US political royalty Caroline Kennedy.

The list: Satire on the internet

How is satire distinguished from, like, real stuff? A wise person would consult comedian Stewart Lee for his excellent advice on this subject. In the meantime, Facebook appears to be on a mission to let the potentially confused know the difference between genuine news and satirists' finest work. Here are five of the publications that could be affected by its new "satire" tag:

1 The Onion: Its headline "Sometimes Unfortunate Things Happen in The Heat of a 400-Year-Old Legacy of Racism", referencing events in Ferguson, Missouri, was labelled "[SATIRE]" by Facebook on behalf of internet users not familiar with The Onion.

2 Empire News: These purveyors of fake news merrily trick the gullible with headlines such as "All Wi-Fi to Be Shut Off in the US for Maintenance on August 22nd".

3 Clickhole: This offshoot of The Onion dedicated to parodying ridiculous internet clickbait has the slogan "because all things deserve to go viral".

4 The Daily Currant: The "global satirical newspaper of record" suggests that Californian authorities will fine everyone who takes part in the Ice Bucket Challenge for wasting water, which is arguably a good idea, but not true.

5 Waterford Whispers News: The Irish site is not on Facebook's satire tag list just yet, but with stories such as "Iceland Will Melt, If Volcano Erupts, Warn Scientists" it's probably only a matter of time.