The recession has boosted private label sales as evidenced by the 5.3% rise in private label goods during the 52 weeks ended Oct. 3 says the Nielsen Company. Branded packaged goods dropped 2.3%. Hardest hit: Baby food (22.3%), frozen pizza/snacks (20.4%) and salad dressings/mayo/toppings (18%). Brandweek 11/28/09
“Videogame sales—the bright spot in last year's dismal end-of-year shopping quarter—are showing signs of weakness, foreshadowing a tough holiday. Sales of some of the most anticipated titles have already disappointed and, others won't be on store shelves in time.” Wsj.com 11/27/09 Requires subscription.
77% of American Kids say Humor is the number one thing they want to see in advertising; 55% say music. MRI American Kids 09
Best Buy’s (BBY) Twelpforce consists of 21,100 employees who respond to customer tweets about consumer electronics via Twitter. To date, the Twelpforce has delivered advice in the form of 12,314 tweets to its 13,398 followers. Brandweek 10/31/09
Starbucks (STBX) will launch a new customer loyalty card program, called My Starbucks Rewards, on Dec. 26, 2009. The program will consolidate Starbucks Card Rewards and Starbucks Gold card. It has no annual fee, allows members to use one registered card (any Starbucks Card) and provides customized rewards, that increase with frequency of use. Chain Store Age 10/30/09
The Federal Drug Administration has notified Proctor & Gamble (PG) that the company’s marketing two of its Vicks-branded over-the-counter medications—Vicks DayQuil Plus Vitamin C and Vicks Nyquil Plus Vitamin C—violate FDA guidelines by portraying products as both a cold medication as well as a dietary supplement. Brandweek 10/30/09
Target (TGT) has cut 85 marketing jobs, about 8% of its 1,100 employees in that department.The recession has hurt Target because much of its revenue comes from fashionable nonessentials such as home decor and clothing. Chain Store Age 10/30/09
To introduce a leather-scented deodorant called Axe Instinct, Unilever (UL) is paying street musicians $1,000 to put up “Axe Instinct” signs, offer free deodorant samples when they play and, a few times a day, sing a ‘ditty’ “Look Good in Leather” that Axe is using in its commercials. NYTimes 10/29/09
Less and less individuals are trying out Bing says a study by online ad network Chitika. In looking at network traffic from August through the first half of October, it appears that although Bing's share of search impressions has declined at a steady rate, the number of users coming through Microsoft's (MSFT) decision engine has declined much more quickly.
In August, over 8% of search engine users and 6.7% of search traffic came from Bing. Since then, however, Microsoft's impressions share has dropped to 5.44%, and the user share has decreased even more significantly, to 6.28%. Chitika, Inc. 10/29/09
Videos posted on YouTube over the past two months featuring “the world’s fastest nudist” show a man, “clad only in running shoes, tube socks, and a strategically positioned frontward fanny pack” running through high-profile locations in New York City. Turns out the viral videos are a campaign for Zappos.The revelation comes too late for CNN and other media outlets who didn’t realize the runner was really an actor and included him in interviews and news stories. NYTimes.com 10/28/09
“United Breaks Guitars” musician Dave Carroll flew United Airlines (UAUA) last Sunday, and guess what? The airline lost his luggage. Carroll was on United because it was the only carrier with service from Canada to Colorado Springs where he had a speaking engagement. United located his luggage and returned it to him---the following Wednesday. NYTimes 10/28/09
Here’s the second iteration of Minute Maid’s “Oops” campaign showing how their Boost enhanced fruit juice drink sharpens drinkers’ reactions to a variety of situations. Feed and email readers click through to view.
A Ralph Lauren spokesman has apologized for “the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman’s body,” and pledged that future artwork would represent the brand “appropriately.” The company was criticized for digitally retouching a model’s image to make her appear abnormally thin. Daily Mail 10/10/09
The Coca-Cola Company’s Facebook page, which has 3.7 million fans in contrast to Pepsi’s 250,000 fans, was actually started by two Coke fans in August 2008. The pair was then invited by Coke to run the page with the company’s backing. Adweek highlights which key brands have successfully leveraged Facebook and which ones fall short in “Brands Seek Fans on Facebook,” 10/11/09.
Dell, the world’s no. 2 PC maker,offers the full range of its Studio and Inspiron laptops for personalization. Customers can choose from more than 350 images from 25 artists and branding partners such as Major League Baseball, (Product) Red and OPI nail polish. The company says the importance of customization goes back to the company's beginnings when "it was really about getting a product that could do what you wanted it to do." Adweek, 10/11/09
Starbucks Corp. is suing a former executive of violating non-competition and separation agreements to work for rival Dunkin' Donuts as its brand operations officer. Chain Store Age 10/9/09
Successful new product development seems to elude many consumer products companies. Just half of the new-product concepts that are funded ever make it to market, only two-thirds of those generate the forecasted revenues, and half of so-called new products are brand extensions that don’t generate excitement among shoppers. Accenture 1/2009 via The Daily Stat
Is it me---or are you also grossed out by the Healthy Choice spots showing Julia Louis-Dreyfus eating with her mouth open and food falling out of her mouth? Okay, so, what positioning is the spot communicating?
A lot of people think the spots are funny, but the mildly stomach-churning association doesn't seem to make strategic sense for the brand.
BET is launching a new network; Centric will target an “affluent, trendsetting black audience” and will debut in October. AdAge 4/23/09
Co-founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson are leaving MySpace, prior to the expiration of his contract. “The decision suggests News Corp.'s growing dissatisfaction with the company that it acquired for $580 million but that is now losing ground to rival Facebook, which has been making rapid gains in users, even in the U.S., where MySpace has dominated.” LATimes 4/23/09
Following its launch of Scott Naturals, the first eco-friendly line of toilet paper, paper towels and napkins from a major packaged-goods player (Marcal and Seventh Generation already have Earth-friendly rolls) Kimberly-Clark (KMB) has introduced Huggies Pure & Natural diapers. BrandFreak 4/17/09
During New York Rangers hockey games Subway has been running ads superimposed on the glass boards behind each goal and the team benches. Calling them ugly and distracting, some New York Rangers fans are calling for the network to remove the ads. The photo to the left of this post is a screen shot from a YouTube clip of the April 7 Rangers game. BrandFreak 4/13/09
Proctor & Gamble (PG) is hoping that cause marketing combined with value will help boost sales; the company is donating to charities when customers redeem Tampax, Always, Pampers and PUR water filters coupons from their BrandSaver monthly coupon promotion. Brandweek 3/7/09
Google (GOOG) is rolling out expandable ads, “which start out as banners or square ads and expand dramatically when clicked on.” BtoBOnline 3/6/09
Whole Foods Market (WFMI) has reached a “mutually satisfactory agreement” with the Federal Trade Commission, resolving the FTC's antitrust challenge to the Whole Foods’ August 2007 acquisition of Wild Oats Markets. Chain Store Age 3/6/09
General Mills (GIS) has launched a free mobile version of the Betty Crocker Cookbook as an iPhone application. The applicaton contains over 4,000 recipes and can be searched via recipe or ingredient. MobileMarketer 3/6/09ComedyTime, a mobile comedy network, is offering the first standup comedy video application available on the iPhone. MobileMarketer 3/6/09
Mattel (MAT) says Dora the Explorer is just keeping up with the times, exchanging her short hair, backpack and shorts for long hair, a short skirt and ballet pumps, but parents say the cartoon character’s new look is a sellout. Multicultclassics 3/6/09
PepsiCo (PEP) is launching three new soft drinks in limited markets as part of their “Refresh Everything” strategy. Pepsi Natural, made with all-natural ingredients will be part of the line-up. Brandweek 3/5/09
Proctor & Gamble Co. (PG) is launching a new Pantene hair-care collection called Nature Fusion that taps into the “natural trend” in an attempt reinvigorate sales of the Pantene brand. Adweek 2/10/09. On another front, P&G is planning to roll out its Mr. Clean Car Wash concept nationally, having acquired an Atlanta-based car wash chain to drive the expansion. Atlanta Business Chronicle 2/5/09.
A Cheetosad roadblock will run on several blogs, including Boing Boing, Indy Mogul and Mashable, over the next six weeks promoting Cheetos “Boredom Busters”, with posts that include fun distractions like IndyMogul’s Xtra Normal free animated movie generator “to put together something quick and ridiculous.” Boredom Busters will also include web-based game links and “original Cheetos-centric content.” Clickz 2/10/09.
Denny's (DENN) is rolling out a digital out-of-home network across its restaurant locations. LCD screens will carry IndoorDirect's theBite Network, a 60-minute lifestyle program with news, entertainment, music and advertising. Adweek 2/10/09
Singer Chris Brown’s ads for Doublemint gum have been suspended by the William Wrigley Jr. Company until an investigation of his alleged assault, on a female companion in Hollywood this past Sunday, is resolved. The woman he allegedly assaulted is his girlfriend, singer Rihanna. CNN 2/09/09. UPDATE: AdFreak posts that Brown has been removed from the Got Milk! campaign. AdFreak 2/10/09.
“In a bid for a slice of the lucrative celebrity news business, Microsoft's MSN (MSFT) and production firm BermanBraun have launched celebrity news website Wonderwall, seeking to build traffic for MSN by attracting “viewers from established media outlets such as People and Us magazines and TV programs including ‘Extra’ and ‘Entertainment Tonight,’ as well as the more rough-and-tumble gossip websites TMZ and Perez Hilton.” Los Angeles Times 2/05/09
Overall restaurant sales are weak, but oatmeal is hot, especially upscale versions with fruit and nut toppings such as those introduced by Starbucks (SBUX) and smoothie chain Jamba Juice (JMBA). Oatmeal doesn’t require elaborate cooking equipment, has high profit margins and doesn’t spoil easily like fresh breakfast foods. Wall Street Journal 12/18/2008
The nation’s hospitality industry has entered one of the greatest recessions in the history of the American lodging industry, says a report from PKF Hospitality Research. Revenue per available room (RevPAR), a critical measure of hotel health, will fall 7.8 percent nationwide in 2009. Net operating income of the average U.S. hotel will fall 14.9 percent. Atlanta Business Chronicle
“Products geared toward at-home use — canning supplies, baking ingredients, and wine — were among the fastest growing food, drug, and mass merchandiser retail categories in October.” Canning Supplies was the fastest growing year over year category in dollar and unit sales growth for Food/Drug/Mass Merchandisers. The Nielsen Company 12/10/08