brand roadmaps

It's No Secret: JCPenney Says 'We're Sorry' and 'Come Back' with Social Media Blitz

Posted by Dale Buss on May 1, 2013 06:12 PM

JCPenney's brand-resuscitation efforts continued today with a digital-era form of a classic corporate move: the mea culpa.

The company launched a virtual apology tour on Facebook, YouTube (watch below) and Twitter to get the message out to customers—those same customers that now-ousted CEO Ron Johnson in large part ignored for more than a year—that the brand is sorry and wants them to come back.

According to Bloomberg, the campaign was developed on Johnson's watch and implemented by Sergio Zyman, the former Coca-Cola marketing executive who will go down in history as the architect of the New Coke fiasco.Continue reading...

brand trainwrecks

Post-Johnson, JCPenney Picks Up the Pieces

Posted by Dale Buss on April 10, 2013 04:22 PM

It's Day 2 of the post-Johnson era at JCP—or JCPenney (or is it back to J.C. Penney now?)—and it isn't at all clear how the venerable American retailer is going to recover from what just-sacked CEO Ron Johnson did, and didn't, do.

But JCPenney, now back under the leadership of pre-Johnson CEO Myron "Mike" Ullman, is going to try. Wall Street has been tapping down Penney's stock in the wake of the board's decision to oust Johnson earlier this week, but it isn't because investors believe that Johnson should have stayed. It's because they fear that the former head of Apple retail operations did so much damage during his short tenure at the helm that the company isn't salvageable.

Ullman is at least going to give it everything he's got in his second shot at the job. The retailer is still fighting a 10 percent sales drop during its ongoing fiscal first quarter, the Wall Street Journal said, on top of a 19 percent drop during the same quarter a year ago and the overall 25 percent dip in revenues during 2012.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Maker's Mark to Irate Fans: "You Spoke. We Listened. Here's (90) Proof"

Posted by Dale Buss on February 18, 2013 03:01 PM

Maker's Mark hopes it has managed to avoid a New Coke-style disaster by reversing its widely-scorned decision (which was revealed in a Bloomberg Businessweek article) to dilute its iconic bourbon with water. Just days after his initial decision to cut the proof of Maker's Mark from 90 to 84, CEO Bill Samuels Jr. realized the error of his ways, turned tail and just hoped that the brand hadn't sustained any permanent damage.

On Sunday, Feb. 17th, the company announced on Facebook that it had surrendered to the collective will of thousands of bourbon drinkers expressed over the last several days after Maker's Mark tried to extend tightening supplies of its flagship spirit by adding extra water that, it said, didn't affect the taste. Fans, however, rose up on social media and argued that the move diluted the brand, too.

"They've told us that they would rather deal with the occasional supply shortage than have us change their whiskey," Samuels Jr., son of the founder of Maker's Mark, told USA Today.

Effective Monday, supported with a new cover image on its Facebook page (with the tagline "You spoke. We listened. Here's proof"), every bottle coming out of the Loretto, Ky.-based brand owned by Beam Inc. is reverting to its historic 45-percent-alcohol content.Continue reading...

brand trainwrecks

At 25, New Coke Is A Lovable Loser

Posted by Abe Sauer on April 23, 2010 06:01 PM

While it seems impossible that it has been a quarter century since it happened, it is indeed the 25th anniversary of the introduction New Coke.

An online search for "New Coke" + "blunder" yields over 40,000 results. It's a case study taught in business schools as a cautionary tale. But in those heady days of April 1985, Coke thought it had a hit move on its hands.

It's easy to blame Coke for for a product roll-out that, in retrospect, was tremendously ill advised. Yet, it had its reasons.Continue reading...

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truth in packaging

Heinz Plans New Recipe, Packaging For Flagship Ketchup Brand

Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 8, 2010 12:41 PM

One of the staples of the American fast food diet is ketchup – and nine times out of ten, that ketchup is made by H. J. Heinz Co.

But even the world's most popular ketchup, introduced in 1876, can't avoid modern-day marketing.

Heinz just announced that it will be reformulating its core ketchup recipe to reduce the amount of sodium in the product. Heinz will also introduce "Simply Heinz" next month, a new ketchup product that will replace the high fructose corn syrup in its regular ketchup with sugar. It will cost the same as regular Heinz ketchup. Both moves are designed to improve the nutritional content of the company's famous tomato-based condiment.Continue reading...

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brand trainwrecks

NBC Bungles Late Night Franchises And Brand Equity For Leno, O'Brien

Posted by Anthony Zumpano on January 11, 2010 03:49 PM

Not since the early 1990s has there been so much hoopla over late night talk shows.

In 1992, NBC anointed Jay Leno as Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” replacement, setting off a bitter series of events that involved David Letterman -- considered by many to be Carson's logical successor -- and CBS, where only a year later Letterman began hosting “The Late Show” during the same timeslot.

A 16-year rivalry between Letterman and Leno ensued, an epic standoff of Coke/Pepsi proportions. Then, in 2009, Leno stepped aside -- amicably but against his will -- so the popular Conan O’Brien could helm the show. NBC, wanting to have its cake and gorge on it too, gave company-man Leno the 10pm slot to do what he had been doing at 11:35pm in order to prevent Fox or ABC from grabbing him.Continue reading...

brand revival

Domino's Pizza Recipe Gets A Major Makeover

Posted by Barry Silverstein on December 17, 2009 11:59 AM

Successful food brands often hesitate to mess around with what's working. Maybe they remember one of the most notorious mishaps in branding history: When Coca-Cola introduced the new taste of  "New Coke" in 1985, public outcry forced the company to reinstate the original formula.

Apparently, Domino's Pizza isn't worried about a similar backlash -- the company is about to change its long-time pizza recipe. The move, says Domino's Chief Marketing Officer, Russell Weiner, reflects "what consumers are looking for. We're not talking about a slightly-altered version of our previous pizza. It's a completely new pizza reinvented from the crust up, and we are proud of it. ... We spent the last 18 months reinventing the brand in anticipation of our 50th anniversary."Continue reading...

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