in the spotlight
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 23, 2014 11:57 AM
Philips, long known for its lighting—from tradtional bulbs to the innovative app-controlled Hue line—and consumer electronics products ranging from electric shavers to toothbrushes, has been working hard this year to try and get consumers and investors to see it in a new light. As its Instagram bio notes, "Philips is a health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation."
With innovation often comes disruption, which is why the Dutch company that was founded in 1891 announced Tuesday that it will split into two entities to sharpen its strategic focus: one that will focus on lighting and the other (called HealthTech) centered on healthcare and technology, particularly in fast-growing Asian markets.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 5, 2014 01:51 PM
If the idea of a pharmacy is to help people get better, CVS no longer could go along with the fact that it sold decidedly unhealthy tobacco products. So America's second-largest pharmacy chain by size has announced that it will become the first nationwide drugstore to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products.
The action of going cold turkey will cost CVS an estimated $2 billion in annual revenue (out of a total of $123 billion) when it goes into effect in October, but it also is a significant move in the direction of authenticity and consistency for a brand that—like most drugstore chains—has been intensely repositioning itself as a broad-based health products and services provider, not just a pill dispensary.
“We have about 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners helping patients manage chronic problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease, all of which are linked to smoking,” said CVS CEO Larry J. Merlo to the New York Times. “We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting."Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Abe Sauer on October 10, 2013 12:55 PM
It's been three weeks since investigative journalists at ProPublica published a long profile of the severe potential danger in overusing the pain reliever acetaminophen. The report's most damaging allegations were not that 150 people a year die from acetaminophen but that safety agencies and manufacturers—especially household acetaminophen brand Tylenol—knew how dangerous the drug was and did little to warm users.
ProPublica's several stories, which make claims like, "[Tylenol maker] McNeil opposed even a modest government campaign to educate the public about acetaminophen’s risks, in part because it would harm Tylenol sales," are pretty damning for the brand, but the government agencies that oversee such operations don't make it out unscathed either. "Over more than 30 years, the FDA has delayed or failed to adopt measures designed to reduce deaths and injuries from acetaminophen. The agency began a comprehensive review to set safety rules for acetaminophen in the 1970s, but still has not finished," another report says.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 11, 2013 12:27 PM
Target keeps stretching the footprint of its brand, which now includes efforts to fuel innovation in health care—and a new digital-movie and -TV service.
Joining the growing ranks of big companies that are attempting to spark new enterprises—and re-stock the corporate cupboard of new ideas—by incentivizing and nurturing startups, Target launched the Target Simplicity Challenge to foster ideas for helping Americans make helpful lifestyle choices and to assist in living with chronic conditions. In 2012, Walmart launched a similar effort with its "Get On The Shelf" competition, and has continued to invest in startups for its @WalmartLabs project. Nike has an accelerator to develop mobile and green technologies, and Target already has a retail accelerator.
The healthcare initiative will help further the already existing retail medical clinics, pharmacies and optical departments in many Target stores. "The growing dialogue about the need to transform health care is near and dear to our hearts," Jose Barra, Target's senior vice president for health and beauty, said in a press release. "We believe there is value in surfacing simple, intuitive ideas to drive a lot of impact.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on August 23, 2013 10:24 AM
With the October 1 launch of the Obamacare healthcare exchanges looming, numerous interests across the nation are rolling out awareness campaigns. Some are spending more than others; Wisconsin is couch-cushioning it at $0.46 per person while West Virginia is reportedly spending almost $9.23 per resident. All in all, the Associated Press estimates close to $700 million will be spent to advertise the roll out. (A roll out the major sports leagues have declined to be part of even though individual teams may opt-in. For example, the Washington Nationals baseball team held a Health and Human Services Night in July.)
Making matters more complicated, most states have opted to put the work of exchange creation and management in the hands of the federal government. Only 14 states have elected to set up their own local exchanges. One of those states is Minnesota, which created a Paul Bunyan-themed campaign—which you know is good because it's upsetting some people.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 7, 2013 11:40 AM
It hasn’t been a great couple of years for Johnson & Johnson. Since 2009, “faulty manufacturing” caused J&J to “recall millions of bottles and packages of Tylenol, Benadryl, Motrin and other over-the-counter medicines,” NBC News reports. While that was happening, pharmacies were starting to push their own private labels.
It got so bad that this past winter, CVS didn’t even stock Tylenol at a number of its stores. That isn't all. The company is facing over 10,000 lawsuits regarding the alleged failure of its Depuy metal-on-metal hip transplants, and it just got done paying $181 million in settlements over off-label marketing of its antipsychotic drug, Risperdal, Ad Age notes.
As Mad Men’s Don Draper says, if you don’t like what people are saying, you change the conversation. So J&J is going all-in on a rebrand, putting up to $30 million into a play-to-the-heartstrings Band-Aid of a campaign called “For All You Love.”Continue reading...
Posted by Kristen Van Nest on April 17, 2013 12:20 PM
Last year, Starbucks declared its support of same-sex marriage, which resulted in a boycott by the National Organization for Marriage. The coffee chain hasn't backed down one bit, however, as CEO Howard Schultz continues to blur the line between business and the personal lives of his millions of customers.
At a recent annual shareholders meeting, Tom Strobhar, a shareholder and founder of the Corporate Morality Action Center, an anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage organization, suggested the boycott had a negative impact on first quarter sales and earnings. The ever-outspoken CEO swiftly responded, “Not every decision is an economic decision... The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity."
Schultz then told Strobhar he was more than welcome to sell his shares and take his money elsewhere. While the remarks seem brazen, Starbuck’s stance on hot-button political issues and support of equal rights for its employees have been a part of the brand’s long-term strategy to increase internal brand engagement and decrease turnover. What's more, taking a position on causes that affect its workforce has had a positive impact on its bottom line.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 4, 2012 03:01 PM
The heads of more US restaurant brands are taking out their frustrations on Obamacare, with David Overton of the Cheesecake Factory becoming the latest. And even if you agree with their plaint, their actions prompt the question: Are they only hurting themselves by making a campaign out of their oppostion to the Affordable Care Act and to the new costs it places on their chains, however onerous they may be?
Instead of promoting, say, his chain's holiday campaign to give away 2013 cheesecakes on Facebook, Overton aired his grievances on CBS This Morning, saying that "for those businesses who don't cover their employees [with health insurance already], they'll be in for a very expensive situation." He noted that the Cheesecake Factory already provides some health insurance, but he warned that the costs of complying with Obamacare would be passed on to customers by the industry.Continue reading...