Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 2, 2013 11:11 AM
Thomas the Tank Engine has been steaming along on the fictional island of Sodor since 1945, but he is finally catching up to the times. Still, the news that Mattel is ready to revamp the little British engine that could for new markets has some parents of Thomas-obsessed kids worried.
Thomas started out as the creation of British clergyman Rev. Wilbert Audry, whose goal was to come up with a story to entertain his measles-ridden son. Today, Thomas is a global kids powerhosue brand, from toys and licensed goods that expand on his popular TV series.
The Thomas brand brings in about $1 billion in retail sales annually and was a big part of the reason Mattel shelled out $680 million last year for the engine’s former owner, HIT Entertainment, which also parted ways with such beloved kid characters as Barney, Angelina Ballerina, and Bob the Builder as part of the deal.
Finally, Mattel is ready to boost the Thomas brand.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 26, 2012 02:02 PM
Kraft Foods executives have promised to breathe new life into the stable of venerable — some would say hoary — brands that they inherited in the breakup of Kraft this year. And it looks like JELL-O is getting a lot of the early attention.
JELL-O gelatin and puddings have been fading lately, the brand's performance a far cry from when Bill Cosby flogged JELL-O in now-iconic TV commercials. Only 10 percent of Americans say they have eaten gelatin in the past two weeks, down from 15 percent in 1998, according to market researchers NPD Group as cited in Crain's Chicago Business. New snacks and indulgences such as Greek-style yogurt, and versatile foods that can serve as desserts such as granola and nutrition bars, have cut into JELL-O's turf, largely because it was under-marketed in recent years.
Not even the tough economy of the last few years has revived JELL-O, despite the fact that its products are inexpensive.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 2, 2012 01:14 PM
How low can you go? If you're Carlos Ghosn, you want to build a car cheap enough that Nissan finally can compete in the very lowest-priced segment of auto sales throughout the developing world. So as promised earlier this year, Nissan — up 30 percent on Interbrand's just-released 2012 Best Global Brands report — is moving forward with a plan to delve into the ultra-low-cost car market by offering a model for about $3,000 to $5,000.
And the Nissan-Renault alliance has promised to do so through a revival of the Datsun brand. Nissan plans to offer six Datsun vehicles, beginning in 2014, at a price range lower than all but a handful of smaller car makers in China and India, Ghosn told the Wall Street Journal. A $3,000 Datsun would be about one-third of the price of the currently least expensive Nissan, the $8,000 Tsuru compact.
By not doing so previously, the CEO of Nissan and Renault said that the company has left itself out of about 40 percent of the potential market in countries including India, Indonesia and Russia. "We just see an opportunity," Ghosn explained earlier this year. "Today, in all the markets we are present, there is a level of price below which we cannot compete, we have no offering. The risk is to do nothing."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 3, 2012 05:15 PM
Scrapping its iconic slogan of 50 years, "We Try Harder," Avis has announced that it's switching to a new tagline: "It's Your Space."
Why? Sometimes brands may need to leave well enough alone. And arguably, Avis has been as associated with this particular bit of corporate mission-speak as seamlessly as just about any other brand has managed to fuse its identify with its tagline, such as Nike with "Just Do It" or Walmart back in the day with "Everyday Low Prices."
But new CMO Jeannine Haas, after delving into research to see how the brand is perceived, has determined that Avis Budget Group needs to position its flagship brand in a more relevant way for a business clientele that continues to evolve.
"Brand marketing to drive profitable growth is one of our strategic growth initiatives," she stated in a press release. "This campaign is our latest effort in delivering against this key objective."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 7, 2012 11:11 AM
As the world’s eyeballs continue to turn toward screens everywhere like flowers to the sun, there are some flights of fancy of yesteryear that don’t involve looking at flat grayness and are surprisingly having a resurgence.
Remember Rubik’s Cube? The simultaneously simple and complex symbol of the 1980s is seeing an uptick in sales, according to the New York Times. The latest wave of speedcubers dominated the attendance of the 2012 World Cube Association’s U.S. National Championship last weekend in Las Vegas. “Anybody blessed with the basic human senses can instantly ‘get it,’ ” said the toy’s creator, Hungarian architecture professor Erno Rubik, to the Times.
While that quality certainly helps the Cube (a brand owned by Seven Towns Ltd.) in its longevity, its appeal transcends play. “You can use Rubik’s Cube to teach engineering, you can use it to teach mathematics, and you can use it to talk about the interplay between design and engineering and mathematics and creativity,” said Paul Hoffman, president of New Jersey's Liberty Science Center, which will mark the Cube’s 40th anniversary in 2014 with an exhibition. “I’m hoping the Rubik’s Cube will excite a new generation and get them into engineering.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 25, 2012 04:04 PM
There's more riding on the shoulders of New York Giants star wide receiver Victor Cruz this year than hopes for the team's repeat of a Super Bowl championship: He also must bear part of the burden of turning around Campbell's woeful soup franchise.
Campbell will feature Cruz in a reprise of its "Mama's Boys" campaign of old for Chunky Soup, an iconic effort that harks back to when Americans still ate more Campbell's soup each year than the year before. That isn't the case anymore for Campbell even after the Great Recession, increased advertising spending, and the latest move — a spate of new products aimed at Millennials — have failed to turn around the fortunes of this venerable soup business.
That's why Campbell's CEO Denise Morrison this week was finally telling investors that, "by itself," the soup business "cannot take us where we want to go." Her vision of a Campbell of the very near future is based on its Pepperidge Farms brand, growing V8 beverage franchise and its recent acquisition of Bolthouse Farms and its packaged fresh foods and juices.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 18, 2012 11:07 AM
Three Italian Air Corp. buddies way back in World War I had the idea to start a motorcycle company after the war. One of them didn’t make it there, but his brother took his place and after getting a 2,000-lira loan from one dad, the trio commemorated their fallen friend by making the logo of their new company an eagle in flight.
Now Moto Guzzi is more than 90 years old and while you don’t hear its name every day, you likely do see its innovations. That’s something the company would like to remind motorcycle enthusiasts and so the manufacturer is making a digital push that will help celebrate the brand’s engineering and design, according to a company release. The new website will feature commentary from the brand’s designers, owners, and enthusiasts about Moto Guzzi as well as what it means to be original.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 11, 2012 01:10 PM
What to do with a product that failed the first time out of the gate? Kraft's Ritz brand managers are revisiting a 2009 product launch that crumbled with a relaunch focused around a Facebook game in a bid to target a younger demo of snackers. Ritz Crackerfuls is back with six flavors; classic cheddar, vegetable, garlic & herb, four cheese, sharp cheddar, cheese & bacon, all sandwiched between whole grain or multigrain crackers.
The relaunch campaign makes a direct outreach to younger consumers via Facebook. The product never clicked with the original target market of women 35 to 54, but with the subsequent popularity of social games and Facebook, the marketing mix has been fine tuned to skew a bit younger to reach those “who are looking for snacks to tide them over between meals,” said Katrina Cohen, Ritz Crackerfuls brand manager, to the New York Times.Continue reading...