2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

brand strategy

Investors Unimpressed with Darden's Olive Garden Strategy (or New Logo)

Posted by Dale Buss on March 4, 2014 05:41 PM

Darden Restaurants executives have launched a new logo and menu changes at Olive Garden that, they proclaimed, will lead to a "brand renaissance" for the chain as they're rolled out.

But activist investors Barington Capital Group says: Don't bother. They believe Darden should be selling Olive Garden as well as the Red Lobster chain that both they and the company agree should be separated. It feels that Darden should fully focus on its specialty unit that includes rising chains Capital Grille, LongHorn Steakhouse and Yard House to help overcome financial doldrums for the company that have continued for several years.

Darden CEO Clarence Otis made the case to investors this week that he and his executive team can revive a slumping Olive Garden chain at the same time that they bid adieu to Red Lobster, whose customer base has become increasingly promotion-oriented. Olive Garden will get fresh attention instead of the boot.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: McDonald's, Rovio, Goodyear and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 23, 2014 09:22 AM

In the News

McDonald's brings in outsider as new CMO and ends "challenging year" with flat quarterly earnings, as it comes under tax scrutiny in France.

Rovio wants to be a bigger brand than Coca-Cola.

Goodyear and workers end fight in France.

AOL buys firm that personalizes web searches.

Arby's promotes variety with new ad strategy and calls new Smokehouse Brisket sandwich its most successful new product.

Boeing adds workers to boost Dreamliner production.

Kenny Chesney sues over unauthorized merchandise. 

Chili's introduces Fresh Mex menu.

Coach reports weak North American sales.

Darden defends Red Lobster spinoff plan amid investor resistance.Continue reading...

chew on this

Darden Hopes Less Becomes More By Jettisoning Red Lobster Brand

Posted by Dale Buss on December 19, 2013 01:45 PM

The restaurant business remains tough, and so it didn't take long for Darden to say "uncle" to an activist investor who believed that the best path for the owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains was to spin them off into a separate company while clustering its faster-growing startup concepts in another.

Darden met Barington Capital Group halfway on Thursday by declaring that it will jettison Red Lobster and take other steps. It'll hold a tax-free spinoff of the seafood brand to shareholders or it might sell Red Lobster in a move aimed at boosting lagging shareholder value and profitability.

"As consumer demand dynamics have changed, Red Lobster's priorities and operating support requirements have come to differ meaningfully from those of Darden's other brands," the company said.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Target, Whole Foods, Chipotle and more

Posted by Dale Buss on December 19, 2013 09:18 AM

In the News

Target hit by credit card breach of as many as 40 million customers that started on Black Friday.

Whole Foods stops selling Chobani in favor of non-GMO yogurts.

Chipotle joins fast-casual pizza race.

A&E suspends patriarch Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty over anti-gay remarks.

Allstate launches new online game to help avoid holiday mayhem.

AstraZeneca buys out Bristol-Myers Squibb in diabetes joint-venture.

Bayer buys cancer-drug partner Algeta for $2.9 billion.

Boeing loses out to Saab in providing fighter jets for Brazil and taps likely CEO successor.

Chevrolet sees a top US marketer leave.

Christie's finalizes appraisal of Detroit Institute of Arts collection.

Daimler gets stake in Aston Martin with engine supply deal.

Darden spins out Red Lobster amid shareholder pressure.Continue reading...

chew on this

Chili's Embraces Mexican Heritage, Adds Delivery to Lure Reluctant Diners

Posted by Dale Buss on October 24, 2013 07:12 PM

Chili's is being challenged like other full-service restaurants by the reticence of American consumers to spend big on eating out. But brand executives this week discussed a passel of new initiatives designed to work past the slump and make Chili's a place that can't be bypassed.

"We will drive relevance with our guests by innovating and renovating our menu" and taking other measures, Wyman Roberts, CEO of Brinker International, Chili's parent, told participants in a conference call, according to FoodBusinessNews.net.

Chili's third quarter was utterly forgetable, hurt by a decline in same-store sales of the sorts that are hitting other full-service chains such as Darden's Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants. "The malaise we have seen in the category didn't let up this quarter," Roberts said, according to Reuters.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Nielsen, HBO, Juicy Couture and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 8, 2013 09:21 AM

In the News

Nielsen formally unviels plans to track TV-related conversations on Twitter

HBO brings a la carte programming to Google Play

Juicy Couture brand is sold for $195 million. 

ACE bandage brand partners with LL Cool J for promotion. 

Alcatel-Lucent sheds 10,000 jobs.

Amazon defeats IBM in CIA cloud dispute.

Burt's Bees tweaks literary classics in Vine, Instagram campaign.

Dollar General opens 11,000th store.

Dunkin' Donuts adds SoCal units.

Google puts support behind program to create affordable internet. 

JCPenney sees bottoming-out.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Darden Latest to be Scored for Wages, but Bigger Problem Prevails

Posted by Dale Buss on September 26, 2013 06:37 PM

Besides poor sales this year that are resulting in layoffs, Darden Restaurant Group now is getting more pressure over its pay, similar to the "living wage" critique that lately has been leveled against the fast-food industry.

Only in the case of Darden and its Olive Garden and Red Lobster brands, critics are pointing out that operators can pay sub-minimum wages in many states because of tipping laws. That concern was the main subject of an opinion piece, titled "Why Your Waiter Hasn't Gotten a Raise in 22 Years," that received wide circulation recently. 

Sub-minimum wages "hel[p] large restaurant corporations and their CEOs pad their bottom lines while trapping millions of American workers in economic insecurity," argued Scott Klinger of the Institute for Policy Studies.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Nike, Tesla, Cooking Light and more

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on June 21, 2013 09:16 AM

In the News

Nike brand president Charlie Denson to retire.

Tesla unveils 90-second battery pack swap. 

Cooking Light Magazine rolls out food line. 

Apple wins suit against Samsung over screen effects. 

Darden Restaurants sees better quarter on expanded Olive Garden, Red Lobster menus.

Electrolux introduces vacuum that plays music

HTC hires Robert Downey Jr. for $12 million ad campaign.

Carl Icahn joins Twitter, saying 'I like it almost as much as I like Dell."

Mozilla moves ahead with cookie-blocking browser. 

Phoenix Suns debut new look for next season.Continue reading...

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