Posted by Anthony Zumpano on January 20, 2010 09:17 AM
The nearly $20 billion Kraft-Cadbury merger, despite months of bickering and the intrusion of other potential suitors, is finally a go.
Now comes the fun part. Will the brands blend like milk and chocolate, or like Velveeta and Creme Eggs? After all, Cadbury chairman Roger Carr spent most of the last four months hurling barbs at Kraft management, declaring just last week that there was "no strategic, operational, managerial, or financial reason" to execute the acquisition. But Carr’s post-deal comments imply that his aggressive stance was all in the best interests of his brand and the brand’s shareholders.
Posturing aside, expect the marriage to get off to a rocky start. Layoffs are inevitable, and in one British town, home to a Cadbury factory since 1879, workers are calling the deal “the end of a great British company.”Continue reading...
Posted by Anthony Zumpano on January 19, 2010 11:52 AM
Borders better start selling those Kobo e-readers. The beleaguered bookseller posted yet another loss in holiday sales, this time a 14 percent drop for 2009.
Ron Marshall, the CEO of Borders Group, which also owns the Waldenbooks brand that’s slowly dying at a mall near you, announced that the chain would be focusing more on higher-margin items such as children’s books and avoiding music and video products. He also delivered the CEO-worthy observational nugget that the brand, "must intensify our focus on creating and delivering a shopping experience that delivers profitable sales."
Well, duh.Continue reading...
start your engines
Posted by Anthony Zumpano on January 18, 2010 09:44 AM
Execs from a sagging auto company propped up by a government bailout and a cash-for-clunkers program were summoned to the President’s office after announcing that one of its popular cars will be manufactured in a foreign country.
The scolding took place in Paris, not Washington, and not because President Obama was grabbing a croissant. With all the news regarding the failing and incremental revival of the American automobile industry, it’s easy (for Americans) to forget that there are car brands outside the US and the Far East. Though in this country the Renault brand means little except to the few folks pining for a Le Car revival, the brand, which began at the end of the 19th century, enjoys automotive influence from Europe to South America to India.
So when Renault planned to produce in 2013 the fourth generation of its popular Clio subcompact in Turkey, rather than the plant in Flins that’s currently pumping out the teeny Clio 3, a nationwide cry of “sacre bleu” rang out, thus the Sarkozy sit-down with Renault’s CEO and COO.Continue reading...
brands we love
Posted by Anthony Zumpano on January 15, 2010 02:06 PM
A catchy jingle is one of the most enduring aspects of a brand, whether it’s Coke teaching the world to sing or Alka-Seltzer setting to music the sounds of its antacid in action. Oscar Mayer can boast two songs that have likely been lodged in your head for years: the opening lines are “My bologna has a first name” and “I’d love to be [or 'wish I were'] an Oscar Mayer wiener.”
But those jingles won’t be part of the $50 million branding blitz that widens the focus from bologna and hot dogs to the broader Oscar Mayer product line. As proof that this won’t be your father’s meat-products campaign, the new song representing the brand was penned by Joy Williams, who wrote a song for “American Idol” contestants that contains the ho-hum tagline, “It doesn’t get better than this.”Continue reading...
Posted by Anthony Zumpano on January 15, 2010 10:55 AM
In recent years, Sears and its corporate sibling Kmart have been the ailing cousins to the virile Target and Wal-Mart, but some aggressive marketing and Web 2.0 thinking might keep those brands from joining A&S and Kaufmann’s in department store heaven.
Sears and Kmart are operated by Sears Holding Corporation, whose chairman is the billionaire Edward S. Lampert. The mercurial Lampert tends to run Sears the way George Steinbrenner ran the Yankees (constant executive turnover, pound-foolish penny-pinching), but just like “The Boss,” Lampert has opened his wallet for the players on the field, in this case apps and websites in the league of online retail, the Wall Street Journal reports.Continue reading...
Posted by Anthony Zumpano on January 12, 2010 09:40 AM
In a development that surprised no one, Fox News announced that Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, will join the right-leaning network as a “contributor.”
Despite some predictable partisan reaction, the move makes sense for both the Fox brand as well as Brand Maverick, according to commentary from sources ranging from the Christian Science Monitor to MarketWatch. Though her political memoir, “Going Rogue,” won’t be pried off the bestseller lists anytime soon, the initial publicity blitz has waned, and despite boasting a Facebook page with 1.2 million fans, Palin needs her brand to remain relevant, at least until the 2012 election cycle begins.Continue reading...
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...
Posted by Anthony Zumpano on January 7, 2010 02:34 PM
If a pharmaceutical company appears in a film, it’s usually the bad guy, so it might be surprising that pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is financing a movie and ceding creative control to the filmmakers.
But GSK is apparently dissatisfied with its previous efforts to market its weight-loss drug, Alli -- a once-promising brand that hasn’t lived up to its high hopes -- and is trying a more indirect route to promote the product. The Times reports that GSK will announce on January 25, at the Sundance Film Festival, which “Academy Award-winning director” it hired for a documentary on obesity.Continue reading...