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Not So Innocent: Coke Gets Complaints in Europe as it Bolsters Middle East Presence

Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2013 02:18 PM

Coca-Cola keeps moving forward with global consolidation as it swallows up the remaining stake of a juice brand in Europe and launches two new brand platforms in the Middle East.

In Europe, Coca-Cola is moving to acquire almost all of the 40 percent of Innocent Drinks that it didn't already own after raising its stake in stages beginning in 2009. Innocent makes smoothies, juices and other healthy foods and has been a rising better-for-you brand in Europe, building its brand equity on corporate "innocence."

Will Innocent and Coke face a European-consumer backlash over the brand's now-complete dependence on a well-known multinational company that some say isn't quite so innocent? After all, it's recently come under new criticism by Oxfam over allegely unethical practices.Continue reading...


Rolls-Royce: A Banner Year, Landing at #1 in US Again

Posted by Dale Buss on January 11, 2013 12:08 PM

American consumers may have a hitch in their gait and feel worn down, but they're still arguably the most reliable engine powering the global economy these days. The latest example comes from Rolls-Royce: U.S. luxury customers returned to their previous status as the world's largest market for one of the ultimate brands in automobiles last year, overtaking China as sales growth cooled there.

Overall, the luxury brand reported great news for 2012: It was a record year for Rolls-Royce Motor Car vehicles, with worldwide sales rising to 3,575 units. It was its third straight year of global growth, with the only negative that sales rose only by one percent, a growth rate much slower than the previous two years.

But considering that Rolls-Royce — like other auto-luxury brands — was battling a cooling of the market in China, a challenging European market and continued pressure on upscale buyers in the United States, the 2012 performance was satisfying enough to Rolls-Royce brass. "We had an outstanding year in spite of the challenges we faced, and Rolls-Royce now leads the ultra luxury market by some considerable margin," CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos said, according to Reuters.

"We are the pinnacle of all luxury brands in the world," he told CNBC. "We are interested in constant growth over the years to come, but sustainable growth." Continue reading...

brand strategy

Starbucks Smells the Money With 3,000 New Locations - and $450 Gift Card

Posted by Dale Buss on December 5, 2012 02:01 PM

Starbucks is certainly feeling bullish these days. Just a few years after scaling back its US retail footprint in a rocky economy, the coffee giant is now eyeing "accelerated global growth" with plans to open thousands of new locations. It's even offering a luxe "superpremium" gift card that'll cost $450 to put in a Christmas stocking.

In a presentation at the company's biennial investor conference today, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz glowed with the news that he plans to boost the number of Starbucks cafes in the Americas by more than 20 percent — opening more than 3,000 new shops over the next five years, including 1,500 in the United States, still its biggest market.Continue reading...

sip on this

Coca-Cola Expands in the Middle East

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 14, 2011 03:01 PM

Saudi Arabia-based beverage maker and distributor Aujan Industries will bring in more than $850 million this year, partially on sales of its Rani fruit drinks and Barbican non-alcoholic beer and partially on distribution of such products as Cadbury chocolate and Lipton iced tea, according to Bloomberg. That’s more than double what the company made in 2007 and the numbers should continue to rise next year.

Why? Well, half of the company’s equity is being bought by Coca-Cola Co., which should help raise its brand awareness across the globe, the site notes. (Not to mention the nearly $1 billion in investment Coke is planning to invest in the company.)

The $980 million transaction that is expected to close in the first half of next year gives Coca-Cola 50 percent of Aujan and 49 percent of the company’s bottling and distribution revenue, Bloomberg reports. One part of Aujan’s business that Coke isn’t touching is its Iranian manufacturing and distribution business.Continue reading...

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