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    Target Exec to Chair First Product of the Year Jury in the U.S.

    Jen Klise will preside over a panel of industry leaders judging the most innovative consumer products available at U.S. supermarkets and drug stores.

    Jen Klise, Target Corp.'s group manager, corporate, will serve as jury chair for the inaugural Product of the Year Awards in the United States. On. Sept. 18, Klise will head industry leaders and influencers in New York as they review hundreds of brands sold in supermarkets and drugstores to determine which will be able to display the Product of the Year symbol on their products.

    Presented in Europe for 22 years, Product of the Year is the largest consumer-voted award for product innovation. Categories include skin care, pet food, cereal, hair care, beverages, oral hygiene, and household cleaners. This is the first time products in the United States will be able to compete for the Product of the Year designation.

    "An award like Product of the Year that focuses on high quality and innovation is a critical element in our saturated consumer marketplace," noted Klise. "By empowering consumers to select the best products, Product of the Year provides a critical service to consumers -- seeing the Product of the Year logo on a product is a clear determination that the product has excelled compared to other brands."

    Once the Product of the Year jury completes its review next month, the finalists will be reviewed by 100,000 U.S. consumers to decide which products will receive the Product of the Year titles. Winners will be revealed at a ceremony in January 2009.

    "[Klise] is a noteworthy expert on product innovation, and her keen eye and years of experience will be a valuable asset to determining the very best products available to U.S. consumers," said Product of the Year executive director Colleen Kelly.

    According to Product of the Year, winners can expect to see their sales increase by an average of 10 percent to 15 percent.

    Due to what the organization terms "overwhelming interest," the deadline for product entry to Product of the Year has been extended to Aug. 31. Visit www.productoftheyearusa.com for more information.

    In other Product of the Year news, Peter Mills and John Greeniaus have joined the organization's North American board of directors, in which capacity they will advise on continuing North American operations. Mills is the former president and c.o.o. of BBDO North America, and Greeniaus is the former Chairman and c.e.o. of Nabisco, Inc., and a director of The Interpublic Group.

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