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Expert Alert.

Expert Alert

U of M experts available to discuss Black Friday and other holiday trends

November 20, 2012

For interviews with faculty members, please contact Steve Henneberry, University News Service,, 612-624-1690

John Eighmey, Ph.D., Raymond O. Mithun chair in advertising, School of Journalism and Mass Communication
“This is a traditional time to hype the end-of-year sales season,” says Eighmey, a leading authority on brand communication and advertising. “And stores often say they pass the break-even point on revenue for the year on Black Friday.”
Eighmey says the trend of many stores now opening on Thanksgiving Day reflects the state of our society. “Is nothing treasured, nothing valued anymore, have we lost sight of limits? What are the limits in a commercial culture such as ours? These are questions worth asking.”

Catherine Solheim, associate professor, family social science
For many families, money management causes stress on all members. Solheim understands why this stress occurs and offers advice to ease the financial burden, especially during the holiday shopping season. She can also speak to how families can better communicate when it comes to talking about finances or making an expensive purchase.

Barry Kudrowitz, Ph.D., assistant professor; director, product design graduate program, College of Design
Kudrowitz loves toys. He designs, creates and studies them. He is especially interested in toys, tools, and technology that empower people to be more creative. He can comment on innovation, product design, and trends in toys. Kudrowitz also developed a class called Toy Product Design, offered at both the U of M and MIT, where students take their own toy ideas from concept to functional prototype with help from children and industry.

Bill Doherty, Ph.D., professor, family social science; director, Citizen Professional Center
A nationally known expert on families and marriage, Doherty can discuss why spending time with family during the holidays is so important. He can speak to simple rituals that can be used to strengthen familial bonds. Doherty also works as a family and marriage therapist and has authored several books on the topic of the family.

Mike Boland, Ph.D., E. Fred Koller endowed chair in agribusiness management and information technology, Department of Applied Economics in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; director, Food Industry Center
A centerpiece of the Thanksgiving and holiday celebrations is the family meal. Boland can discuss what consumers can expect to pay for holiday food this year, and what factors will help determine that cost. He teaches courses on cooperatives and business strategy, works on research and outreach in agribusiness management, and oversees the university’s Food Industry Center.

Tags: College of Liberal Arts, College of Education and Human Development, College of Design, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

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