Last Updated Jun 26, 2009 10:08 AM EDT
In the case, Valassis is alleging News America Marketing's bundled deals made it prohibitively expensive to use any other company for newspaper coupons if clients also wanted access to News America supermarkets.
Hall (pictured) oversaw a team that did the planning and execution of all promotions and all packaging for Quaker, Tropicana and Gatorade, until she was laid off in October 2008. She was asked in court about News America's bundled deals:
Question: And can you tell the jury what your reaction was to that tactic? Answer: I did not think it was right. I viewed free-standing inserts and in-store as being very, very different. I felt that Valassis -- or that News America had somewhat of monopoly on in-store so you were pretty much forced to go with them in-store. Leveraging their in-store to get FSI I did not think was fair and I didn't like it. Question: Did you have any opinion on whether it aligned with your business ethics? Answer: No, it did not. And I told them that.Hall had lots of nice things to say about Valassis -- not surprising, as she's Valassis' witness. Her dealings with News America were more slippery, she said:
They'd set a price and then all of a sudden all these hidden things would start coming in throughout the program. So I just never believed what they were telling me. I never felt like they were being totally up front.At first, News America didn't seem to care when Hall complained about News America's tactics, she said. But, Hall, said, the company begun to uncouple its deals in 2008 (well after litigation against it was under way):
Question: What was their reaction, News America's reaction, to your expressed displeasure with their tactics? Answer: In the beginning, it just -- they just listened and basically thank you for your feedback kind of thing. Most recently, which would have been in the past year I want to say, they said that they had changed the way they were doing things and were no longer linking in-store with FSI and that they were getting in-store discounts by bundling in-store programs together. Question: All connected to in-store -- Answer: All connected to in-store which I said was good. I was glad to hear that.The trial continues. BNET's coverage of the case is delayed by several days because of this.
- See BNET's previous coverage of the in-store marketing wars:
- 450 Jobs at Stake in Valassis Trial; Is This All CEO Schultz's Fault?
- News America's Carlucci Admits He's a "Godfather" Fan; Denies Unannounced Price Rises
- Murdoch Quoted at Valassis Trial: "Now You Have to Really Go After Them"
- News America Exec Testifies Unilever, Conagra and Kraft Got Higher Prices for Not Taking Bundled Ad Deals
- Trial: Valassis Lost Share When It Raised Prices; Tried To Hire News America's Mixson
- Valassis Uses News America's Own Clients Against It in Trial; Feel the Wrath of Sara Lee!
- Heinz, Quaker, Sara Lee Feature in Valassis v. News America Trial
- CVN Protests Camera Ban at Valassis v. News America Trial
- Valassis v. News America: Whistleblower Emmel's Prior Testimony Allowed In
- Cameras Banned at Valassis v. News America Trial; Whistleblower Emmel Also Ruled Out
- On Eve of Valassis vs. News America Trial in State Court, a Federal Judge Looks On --
- UPDATED: News America Marketing's Acquisition of Floorgraphics Not Big Enough to Show Up in Q1 Numbers
- Valassis Q1: Legal Bills Running at 22% of Profits; Hints of Layoffs?
- News America Marketing Sues Valassis Alleging Bogus Web Posts