Posted by Dale Buss on August 26, 2014 04:36 PM
The $11.4 billion acquisition of Tim Hortons by Burger King has added twists and turns as its shape has become more apparent over the last day or so.
Among the most interesting: Burger King has promised not to mess with Tim Hortons' beloved place as a national treasure in Canada; it really wants to press the potential advantages of a multi-brand fast-food holding company a la Yum! Brands; and Mr. Everywhere, Warren Buffett, directly injected himself and his money into Burger King's purchase of Tim Hortons. There's also the live wire of the tax-inversion issue in the US.
It's interesting that billionaire extraordinaire Buffett kicked in $3 billion through his company, Berkshire Hathaway, to help finance the deal, amounting to about 25 percent of the required funds. Shareholders of both companies have welcomed that news because of Buffett's renowned Midas touch.
That certainly could be helpful as the combined company faces headwinds including a sluggish global fast-food environment, Burger King's struggles in making significant headway against McDonald's, and Tim Hortons' own challenges in establishing a significant presence in thde US market and abroad—even though it makes more money than Burger King and Dunkin' Donuts combined.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 15, 2014 10:01 AM
Target says it's got some of its biggest problems in Canada figured out and has begun to reverse them with a three-pronged turnaround plan that will focus on the chain's supply chain, pricing and merchandise selection in an attempt to turn around an important geographic expansion that has gone badly awry.
The chain has been facing a number of problems lately, including the monumental data breach last December and a loss of much of its overall brand mojo in the US, and those problems helped lead to the departure of CEO Gregg Steinhafel earlier this year.
But the problems in Canada—where Target massively launched last year by opening 124 stores and three distribution centers—led to a loss of nearly $1 billion as sales fell short of expectations and rivals pummeled the retailer.
Now, new Target Canada boss Mark Schindele is insisting that the new initiatives will improve its business performance, pricing and inventory issues and deliver the Target brand experience to Canadian customers.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 29, 2014 02:19 PM
As part of an ongoing effort by Greenpeace, more than 50 children protested today outside Shell’s London headquarters, building three massive LEGO Arctic animals while Greenpeace volunteers and parents looked on. The peaceful protest, which has spread to the US, is in response to LEGO's partnership with Shell on branded block sets that have been sold at gas stations in 33 countries—one of the largest promotional lines that LEGO has ever produced.
Since 2012, Shell's Arctic program has been under fire by environmental NGOs and regulators as its two drilling vessels, Noble Discoverer and Kulluk, both failed to meet pollution limits set by the US Clean Air Act. Nearly 700,000 people have signed a Greenpeace petition calling on the toy maker to end its deal with the oil brand.
“Children are leading this playful protest because global warming, and what’s happening in the Arctic, is an enormous threat facing all children,” said Elena Polisano, Arctic campaigner at Greenpeace, in a press release. “LEGO is adored by kids, and it has a responsibility to look out for them. It’s unethical for LEGO to partner with any company that’s threatening kids’ future. LEGO’s endorsement of Shell is incredibly damaging because it helps Shell hide its role in the threat to the Arctic.”Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 18, 2014 12:27 PM
Even ice cream has to take a backseat to world affairs. Uber's global Ice Cream Day today, which is seeing the ride-sharing brand dispense free ice cream on demand in 144 cities in 38 countries, is partnering with local ice cream brands in a buzz-building exercise offering sundaes, froyo and gelato on a stick as an incentive to download and try the app.
Yet Uber, no stranger to navigating sensitive political issues in its bid to expand globally, is also being sensitive to the markets they're moving into.
So the stunt was cancelled today in Amsterdam out of respect to the Netherlands, the nation that lost the majority of the passengers onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17. And in Manila, Uber will donate all of its proceeds to victims of Typhoon Glenda.
Good call, Uber. In London, meanwhile, its ice cream giveaway coincides with the hottest day of the year so far—no stranger to being on the hotseat, of course, as the controversial app has made a few London Hackney carriage drivers already see red.
Posted by Shirley Brady on July 11, 2014 01:15 PM
In stark contrast to the media hype surrounding "The Decision" to join the Miami Heat in 2010, LeBron James—sorry, King James—has announced that he's going back to Cleveland to rejoin the Cavaliers in a social media slam dunk.
He led with a tweet (retweeted more than 45,000 times in the first hour) stating "Just posted a photo" that links to an Instagram photo that garnered more than 425,000 "likes" in the first hour.Continue reading...
social media watch
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 2, 2014 01:29 PM
Facebook’s signature blue face is turning red as the social network faces inquiries from Europe’s privacy regulators following its data scientists' experimental tweaking of the emotional content of posts in the news feeds of nearly 700,000 users.
When the news broke, Facebook initially stated that it was merely conducting user testing to see if emotions were contagious. In this case—they are, and the company’s actions have roused the ire of social media, prompted an apology from COO Sheryl Sandberg, and perhaps violated local privacy laws.
The European agencies involved include Ireland’s Office of the Data Protection Commissioner and the Information Commissioner’s Office of Britain. While it’s not clear where the one out of every 2,500 Facebook users experimented with reside, 80 percent of its total 1.2 billion users are based outside North America.
“We’re aware of this issue, and will be speaking to Facebook, as well as liaising with the Irish data protection authority, to learn more about the circumstances,” a spokesman for the British regulator commented. Sandberg today apologized while on a trip to India, in comments published by the Wall Street Journal.Continue reading...
Posted by Alicia Ciccone on July 1, 2014 04:14 PM
The GM safety recalls have officially reached nauseating levels. On Monday, soon after Kenneth Feinberg, the GM-appointed attorney who will run the brand's compensation fund, announced details of the filing and payment process, GM announced that an additional 8.4 million vehicles would be recalled, most for the same ignition switch issue at the center of the brand's ongoing crisis.
Globally, GM has now recalled over 29 million vehicles in the first six months of this year, and while CEO Mary Barra's newfound diligence may help curb further accidents and injuries, the ever-expanding roll call of recalled vehicles, now dating back to 1997, is painting a much more grim picture of GM's future as a trustworthy automotive brand.
Even still, GM has recorded its best June since the recession. But how long will consumers continue to be enamored with a brand that can't keep its vehicles on the road?Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on June 19, 2014 11:06 AM
Nearly a decade ago, Dov Charney called me from the back of a limousine (I only knew it was a limousine because he told me). Charney had emailed me earlier "to have a dialogue with you about some of the interesting points you raise in your article."
That article was a brandchannel profile of the fast-rising American Apparel brand and sweatshop claims that ultimately concluded that "AA’s founder Dov Charney is himself the greatest threat to American Apparel’s future." Charney eventually begged off that talk, saying we should do a proper interview after the Athens Olympics. We proceeded to play phone tag for the next three years, and I never spoke to him again.
And now I don't need to—at least not in the context of his strategy for American Apparel. The brand's board voted 5-0 to oust Charney, citing “an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct.”
Charney's "alleged misconduct"—much of it sexual in nature—has been well-documented for years. In fact, Charney is so well-known for his misbehavior that he's become a bit of a cliche, often lumped in with controversial fashion photographer Terry Richardson—and an eyesore for the American Apparel brand.Continue reading...