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brand strategy

Unilever Purges Ragu, Bertolli as It Loses Appetite for Food Brands

Posted by Dale Buss on May 22, 2014 05:31 PM

Don’t companies want to sell food anymore? Joining other major consumer packaged goods manufacturers including Nestle and P&G, Unilever continues to shed venerable food brands. 

The latest such move was this week’s sale of its North American pasta sauces brands, Ragu and Bertolli, for more than $2 billion to Japan’s Mizkan Group. Unilever also is widely understood to be peddling other food brands, such as Slim-Fast, whose sales have slid badly over the last several years as its shakes-and-bars product lineup has become less appealing to dieters.

Last year Unilever sold Wish-Bone salad dressings and Skippy peanut butter and earlier this year unloaded its European meats business. The CPG giant is following in the footsteps of P&G, which shed most of its big food brands within the last several years, and Nestle, which unloaded Jenny Craig and PowerBar in a similar pursuit.

“This sale represents one of the final steps in reshaping our portfolio in North America,” Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America, said in a statement.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Sears, Time Inc., Unilever and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 22, 2014 09:03 AM


Brands to Watch

Sears closes more US stores in wake of quarterly loss while Sears Canada tests YouTube shoppable videos.

Time Inc. opens ad space on magazine covers, breaking industry taboo.

Unilever unloads Ragu and Bertolli brands for $2.15 billion.

Best Buy hits sales slump in latest quarter.

Facebook adds fingerprinting tool to track users' TV and audio usage.


Airbnb will hand over host data to New York.

Amazon adds first batch of HBO content to Prime.

Beats co-founders face legal action as Spotify hits 10 million subs.

Fab slide continues with fourth round of layoffs.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Barilla Chairman Finds Himself in Hot Water After Dissing Gay Consumers

Posted by Dale Buss on September 27, 2013 02:36 PM

In the hyperconnected, globalized world of social media marketing and complete corporate transparency (whether leaders want it or not), it was only a matter of hours before the inevitable occurred: George Takei bashed Barilla chairman Guido Barilla on Twitter: "I hear Barilla pasta is making a new product—bigotoni."

That tweet, of course, was a response by the gay former Star Trek star to news that the head of the world's largest pasta brand told an Italian radio station this week that he would never use homosexual families in company advertisements, a comment that has sparked an outcry and calls to boycott the brand.

"I would never do" an ad campaign featuring a gay couple or family, Guido Barillo stated in the interview, according to FoodNavigator.com. "If they like our pasta and our message they will eat it; if they don't like it then they will not eat it, and they will eat another brand. For us the concept of the sacred family remains one of the fundamental values of the company."Continue reading...

brand strategy

Unilever Cleans Up in Emerging Economies While West Weighs It Down

Posted by Dale Buss on January 23, 2013 05:45 PM

Unilever's recent sale of its Skippy peanut butter brand in North America was just one indication of how slow-growing food businesses have begun to weigh down the global CPG giant.

Today's earnings report underscored that difficulty for Unilever: Fourth-quarter sales of Ben & Jerry's, Knorr soups and other Unilever food brands rose only 1.3 percent as consumers in debt-laden U.S. and Western Europe markets continue to pare back their supermarket purchases.

On the other hand, Unilever's business in Asia, Africa and Latin America demonstrated enough strength that the company was able to report an overall 5.4 percent rise in net profit for the period. In those markets, its revenues accelerated in home and personal-care items such as surface cleaners, soap and deodorant.Continue reading...

branded entertainment

Yahoo! Promotes Indie Filmmakers with Sundance Partnership

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 20, 2012 04:06 PM

Yahoo! is trying to define its brand, with newly appointed CEO, former PayPal president Scott Thompson, and a visible position one of the official sponsors of the Short Film Program at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, aspiring to be the go-to online hub for this event and positioned as a media company.

Even if you're not lucky enough to be in Park City, Utah, this week, the general public will have free streaming access to nine short independent films via a co-branded microsite, sundance.yahoo.com, providing the first ever opportunity for non-attendees to vote for their favorite, as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes access including news updates and coverage of celebrities in attendance.Continue reading...

that's entertainment

Sundance Film Festival Sponsors are Back in Force

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 20, 2012 11:01 AM

The annual indie-film extravaganza known as the Sundance Film Festival got underway Thursday night in Park City, Utah, and the New York Times noticed something there that had been missing at recent fests: many corporate sponsors.

Eight brands are officially sponsoring this year's festival, which launched as an offshoot of Robert Redford's Sundance Institute in 1978: Adobe, GE, Sprint, Yahoo!, Bertolli, Grey Goose, Time Warner, and Hilton. Last year, the festival had two — Honda and Trident — and neither of them are back.Continue reading...


Report: Unilever Leads Brands for Climate Responsibility

Posted by Barry Silverstein on December 8, 2011 11:28 AM

For some, the very term "climate change" is open to debate — witness the comments on our Coca-Cola scrapped polar bear white can blog post — but a just-issued report card by Climate Counts suggests major corporations are taking their impact on climate very seriously.

Climate Counts, a nonprofit collaborative effort to bring consumers and companies together in the fight against global climate change, scores the world's largest companies on their climate impact each year to spur corporate climate responsibility and conscious consumption.

This year's Scorecard, the organization's fifth annual report, is particularly encouraging because 13 companies scored 80 points or higher (out of a maximum of 100 points), representing more than triple the number of companies to achieve that threshold in 2010. "Of the twenty largest companies scored," says Mike Bellamente, Climate Counts Project Director, "seventeen are scoring at the highest level."Continue reading...

red carpet

Brands Look to Engage Social Networkers at the Oscars

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 23, 2011 06:00 PM

In keeping with James Franco and Anne Hathaway's winking debut on Sunday night as the younger, hipper hosts of the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, brands that will be advertising during Sunday night's Super Bowl of cinema will also reach out to younger, digitally savvy audiences.

The biggest tactic, of course: incorporating social media into their campaigns. It makes sense: in terms of ratings, reach, buzz and impact, including watercooler chatter the morning after, the Oscars is still one of the biggest TV and cultural events of the year. And many of those viewers will be plugged-in while watching — even more so than during the Super Bowl.Continue reading...

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