A new campaign from UPS (UPS) presents cardboard as the hero, using the familiar UPS cardboard box to communicate that shipping is just the start of the offerings at the UPS Store, which also include postal services and business services like copying, printing and office supplies. New York Times 4/13/09
Well known retail brands that have gone bankrupt are re-emerging as licensed brands. Liquidators are purchasing the brand names of companies like Sharper Image, Bombay and Linen ‘n Things, and relaunching them as licensed merchandise which is distributed to retailers. New York Times 4/13/09
The Coca-Cola Company (KO) has purchased a
stake in Innocent, the British fruit drink and smoothie maker renowned for its ethical ethos. BBC News 4/7/09
CVS (CVS) one of the nation’s largest pharmacy chains, has forged a partnership with Google (GOOG) that enables their customers to import their full prescription history into Google Health, which was launched in May, 2008. Longs Drugs and Walgreens (WAG) also offer customers the ability to import their prescription histories to Google Health. Techcrunch 4/6/09
Dominos (DPZ) franchisees were hit with 11,000 orders on March 30 as part of a ‘mistaken’ free medium-pie promotion that didn't exist. Huh? Supposedly, Dominos agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky devised the online promotion in December using the password "bailout.” The promo was not approved, but no one disabled the code. Last week, a consumer ‘randomly’ typed in the word and triggered the free coupon. AdFreak 4/3/09
Disney (DIS) Online has added to its family-oriented websites with the purchase of the North American properties of Kaboose, Inc. (KAB.TO) for $18 million. Sites included in the deal are AmazingMoms.com, Parentzone.com, FunSchool.com, Zeeks.com, and Kaboose.com. Clickz 4/3/09
Shoppers found Wegmans and Trader Joe's supermarkets among the most satisfying chains to shop at according to Consumer Reports latest survey of the best national and regional grocery chains. Consumer Reports asked 32,599 respondents about their experiences at supermarkets, super centers, or warehouse clubs in the past year.
Rounding out some of the other top-rated chains shoppers found to be very satisfying were Publix, Raley's, Harris Teeter, Fareway, Costco, Whole Foods Market, Market Basket, WinCo Foods, and Stater Bros.
Walmart, the nation's largest grocer and the supermarket where the highest percentage of survey respondents shopped (14 percent), landed near the bottom of the CR's Ratings, with low scores for service and perishables.
The Dannon Co. has reached a tentative nationwide class-action settlement of complaints filed by consumers questioning the health-benefit claims made on behalf of its Activia and DanActive yogurts, that they are “clinically proven” to regulate the digestive system. AdWeek 4/6/09
Since it was launched early in 2009, 30,000 consumers have taken advantage of the Hyundai Assurance Plus program, which promises to make payments for three months for customers who buy or lease a new Hyundai before the end of April, and subsequently lose their jobs. Sales increased 14% in January 2009 versus a year ago, and were down just 1.5% in February 2009 versus a year ago. Adweek 4/6/09
Nissan (NSANY) plans to rollout the Cube in May, “a cute, smallish car” targeted to younger driviers, that “can be customized and personalized as easily as a cellphone ring tone or Facebook page." New York Times 4/6/09. The Nissan Cube follows on the introduction of the cube-y Kia Soul, and the commercial featuring four cruising hamsters.
In August, Hearst Magazines’ Country Living will launch a new line of home goods in Kmart and Sears (SHLD) stores that emphasizes coziness and affordability. The 700-SKU line will include bedding, bath, tabletop and furniture items in four different styles: Modern Countryside, Blue & White, Red & White and Faded Antique and be priced from $3.99 to $349. Mediaweek 4/6/09
J.C. Penney (JCP) plans to launch a line of home goods by supermodel Cindy Crawford. Chain Store Age. 4/3/09.
Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc. hopes to entice people to serve more cocktails at home with the May launch of Sauza Margarita-in-a-Box, 15 servings of pre-made margaritas containing Sauza tequila. Brown-Forman (BF-B) is launching ready-to-drink cocktails in bottles this summer, including Southern Comfort Sweet Tea, and Diageo PLC is offering several prepared cocktails, including Captain Morgan Long Island Iced Tea. Wall Street Journal 4/1/09
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
The Rockport Company, a division of Adidas, is launching a new campaign exhorting people to “Choose to walk.” The campaign “celebrates people who have chosen to live professional and personal lives that may step off the beaten path but are nonetheless fulfilling and rewarding.” New York Times 3/2/09
Fashionology is a retail concept that enables tween girls to decorate clothing. The Fashionology LA store was launched in June 2008 and is currently promoting the launch of their Fashionology website. MediaPost 3/2/09
Japanese cosmetics e-tailer, @Cosme, has been so successful with their Amazon-like ranking of Japanese products according to popularity and user stars, that they’ve just opened a bricks and mortar site. AdAge 3/2/09
Ted’s Montana Grill is rewarding anyone who proclaims their love for the chain’s burgers with a free burger. First place winner gets a Prius. Atlanta Business Chronicle 3/2/09
MARS Snackfood's new Web site for Skittles takes visitors to a Wikipedia entry for Skittles, a Skittles-related Twitter Feed, Facebook Page, YouTube channels, Flickr, etc, in an effort to let consumers tell the story, instead of sending visitors to a typical product web page. Clickz 3/2/09
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has signed an “extensive partnership” with BET to weave their Listerine, Zyrtec and Ambi brands into the storylines of new reality show “Harlem Heights.” New York Times 3/01/09
Safeway (SWY) says they will promote its private-label brands harder if branded-food makers don't start lowering prices on their products. Chairman, president and CEO Steve Burd says some food makers have been “disingenuous” with consumers by not decreasing prices to reflect declining costs. Chain Store Age 2/27/09. The LA Times reports Grocers, name-brand food producers at odds over prices.
PepsiCo (PEP) energy drink, Amp Energy, has launched a new advertising campaign positioning the brand as owning “that moment, that nervous energy” when you're getting “amped up," say, before a big race, getting a tattoo or taking the stage. Brandweek 2/14/09
Blackwater Worldwide is rebranding itself as “Xe”, pronounced “zee.” The company’s brand reputation has suffered from the 2004 murder of four contractors in Fallujah, and the Baghdad Nissor Square shooting that killed several Iraqi civilians. HuffingtonPost 2/13/09
Google (GOOG) will shut down Google Audio Ads, its venture to automate the sale of radio ads were bought and sold, and to expand Google’s reach into the offline advertising business. New York Times 2/13/09. The company announced they were ending their two year effort to sell newspaper ads via automated auction, last month.
Starbucks (SBUX) plans to sell a soluble version of its brewed coffee, aka instant coffee, called Starbucks Via, in its cafés next month to capitalize in the large market for instant coffee, especially overseas. Wall Street Journal Online 2/13/09
Microsoft (MSFT) plans to open a small number of its own retail stores to “create deeper engagement with consumers and continue to learn firsthand about what they want and how they buy.” The Wall Street Journal 2/13/09
Radio Shack Corp. is testing a retail concept called Point Mobl in three Dallas locations, to sell portable devices including laptops, MP3 players and GPS systems. Chain Store Age 2/13/09
Speedo Chief Marketing Officer Craig Brommers says the company will continue their relationship with Michael Phelps, calling Phelps a member of the Speedo family and commenting on the importance of supporting family members during good times as well as bad. Adage 2/13/09.
“The spending level for Valentine’s Day gifts this year will be slightly lower than last year - $140 to be spent by men (versus $166 in 2008), and $75 (versus $90) to be spent by women, according to the BrandKeys Valentine’s Day Index, writes RetailerDaily.
The study indicates that dinner and drinks will be up 16% but gift-giving is down 10-15% as people plan to pend more time with their Valentines. 15% of men and women, four times the percentage in 2008, plan to stay home. Marketing Charts 2/6/09.
Starbucks Corp.(SBUX) is offering coffee and breakfast food combos for $3.95, and training baristas to educate customers on coffee prices to reposition itself for a “prolonged economic downturn,” and fight incursions by Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s. (MCD) WSJ Online 2/09/09. May require subscription.
“Live Nation Inc.(LYV) and Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc.(TKTM) are reportedly close to approving an all-stock deal to combine the two companies…The new entity is to be called Live Nation Entertainment Inc…” WSJ Online 2/09/09. May require subscription.UPDATE: Live Nation and Ticketmaster have agreed to merge. New York Times 2/10/09.
OfficeMax (OMX) is testing a new concept called Ink Paper Scissors, a scaled down (1,500-2,000 ft) office supply store, to minimize retail expenses and provide faster, more convenient access for business customers. Staples (SPLS) has adopted the idea of a dollar menu to lure value-conscious consumers.” Brandweek 2/5/09
Denny’s (DENN) free breakfast promotion announced during its Super Bowl ad, was a ‘Grand Slam,’ reportedly serving two million people. The purpose of the promotion was to reintroduce people to Denny’s. Brand New Day 2/3/09
The Home Depot (HD) is closing all 34 of its Expo Design Centers. The Expo stores targeted an upscale home remodeling market that never seemed to catch on says the LA Times 1/27/09.
ForecastIQ study of consumer intentions data projects sales increases for many discount and wholesales stores including Walmart, Sam’s Club, Fred’s, Family Dollar and BJs. Specialty store retailers Aeropostale, Buckle and Hot Topic are projected to increase same store sales while declines are projected for Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle and TJX brands, including TJMaxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods. ForecastIQ 1/19/09
Belkin was caught offering to pay people to write positive reviews of their routers. Writers were given specific instructions including “write as if you own the product and are using it”, “thank the website for making you such a great deal.” Saying they were surprised and dismayed to hear of the deception, Belkin’s president has apologized and says the company has removed the phony reviews. Techcrunch 1/18/09
Harley-Davison (HOG) faces a 30% drop in sales during 2009 with demand for luxury items sinking and tighter credit, a big problem since 80% of bike sales are financed. MarketWatch 1/12/09
Sony (SNE) will post a 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion) operating loss this fiscal year through March, its first since 1995, due to declining sales of its liquid crystal display screens and other products and declining profits on goods sold abroad, hurt by a strong yen, says the Nikkei business newspaper and broadcaster NHK. HuffingtonPost 1/12/09
“The Home Depot (HD) is ending its multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and discontinuing a program that offered jobs and benefits to American athletes.” At the height of the program, which began in 1992, The Home Depot employed more than 200 athletes. Chain Store Age 1/11/09
“During a year when the stock market lost a third of its value — its worst performance since the Great Depression — shares of McDonald's gained nearly 6 percent, making the company one of only two in the Dow Jones industrial average whose share price rose in 2008.” The other was Wal-Mart (WMT.) The company’s improved performance is attributed, in part, to “a focus on quality, service and restaurant experience rather than simply providing the cheapest, most convenient option to customers.” International Herald Tribune 1/11/09
CEO Todd Diener, of Chili's Grill & Bar, owned by Brinker International (EAT), has invited Drew Carey to manage a Chili’s restaurant for a few hours, with proceeds going to a charity of Carey’s choice. Carey recently told the Washington Post that if acting hadn’t panned out he would probably be managing a restaurant. “I'd be at a Chili's near you. I'd be the boss that everybody liked." Chili's Grill & Bar 1/9/09
FedEx Corp. (FDX) is cutting its marketing budget by more than 25 percent for 2009, sharing its rationale on the company blog. It notes that it will not be advertising in the 2009 SuperBowl. BTW, the Kinko’s brand name will disappear in 2009; FedEx Kinko’s locations are becoming FedEx Office. Atlanta Business Chronicle 1/8/09