Posted by Dale Buss on June 11, 2013 02:42 PM
Vonage is counting on a wild-haired man in its new ad campaign to get across a key message as the online-phone brand keeps evolving with the industry.
Vonage is the generous phone company—or "Crazy Generous," as is the theme of the first TV-advertising effort by Vonage's new agency, JWT. In the initial spot, the new Vonage mascot, its "Chief Generosity Officer"—who, the thought occurs, could be a distant cousin to GEICO's Cave Man—calls for a different kind of phone company that "connects us with generosity."
Which raises the question: generous in what way? "It's really about value and what you can get with a company that's committed to ongoing innovation," Barbara Goodstein, Vonage's CMO, told brandchannel. "We've had a lot of innovations in just the last few years, and we think this campaign provides an umbrella for all our different products to fit under that makes sense—low costs, flexibility, simplicity and quality."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 5, 2013 02:21 PM
The opening of the first Whole Foods Market in Detroit today may be great for the city. But will it end up diluting the hard-won Whole Foods brand, especially considering the chain's planned emphasis on making the Motown store budget-friendly?
Those are among the issues attending the ceremonial opening of the Whole Foods in Detroit's Midtown district, which featured Mayor Dave Bing and even US Sen. Debbie Stabenow as well as Whole Foods executives. It's viewed as an important step forward for the retail market in a city that has become a poster child for "produce deserts" and "food insecurity" as well as all sorts of other maladies.
It "is a game-changer for our city," Bing said in a statement. "Not only does it offer central-city residents more choices and more convenience for grocery shopping, it also proves that Detroit is an attractive destination for national retailers."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 5, 2013 01:18 PM
Plenty of airline passengers that flew United last summer don’t have kind things to say. When United combined its passenger reservation system with Continental after the merger, things went totally awry and employees of the airline apparently didn’t always handle the whole thing so well.
But this year? This year is going to be different. That’s the promise from Jeff Smisek, the chairman, president and CEO of United’s parent company, United Continental Holdings, Inc. He spoke to about 1,000 people who were attending the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s annual membership meeting, the Chicago Tribune reports.
"We’re a service business. We need to get you where you want to go, on time, with your underwear,” he said, the Tribune reports. He noted that United’s on-time performance was the best it has been in a decade in the first quarter and customer-satisfaction scores "have gone up by a factor of five from where they were a year ago."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 3, 2013 02:46 PM
Marriott is making another bid for Millennial travelers as it announces plans to import its European-based hotel chain, AC, to America. Earlier this year, Marriott introduced a partnership with IKEA for a new hotel brand called Moxy, which will cater to Millennials across Europe.
AC Hotels, which is based in Madrid, was bought by Marriott back in 2010 and rechristened AC Hotels by Marriott, HotelChatter.com reports. The hope was that it would help Marriott expand its footprint across that continent, USA Today reports. That’s resulted in 79 AC Hotels by Marriott across Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. Now it’s looking to do the same in the States with a plan for 200 more in the next 10 years.
"It's the right time to bring it to the US," says Brian King, global brand officer for Marriott Endorsed Brands, according to USA Today. "You import wine and you import cars. We're going to import a hotel brand."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 30, 2013 10:39 AM
Campbell has joined the organic-foods derby with its acquisition of Plum Organics, but the CPG titan plans to take best advantage of its new purchase by letting Plum continue to be Plum.
Co-founder Neil Grimmer will stay on for Campbell to run the brand, a Silicon Valley-based company that has become one of America's biggest players in the fast-growing natural and organic market with its purees, savory items and other foods and snacks for babies and toddlers, adding up to about $93 million in annual sales.
If Campbell's move to snap up this burgeoning better-for-you player seems familiar, that's because it should. Campbell's deal, announced last week, follows in quick order the acquisition of most of Happy Family Brands, a major Plum competitor in the baby-and-toddler space, by Groupe Danone (parent of Dannon USA) of Paris; the recent acquisition of BluePrint and Ella's Kitchen by Hain Celestial; and Post Holdings' acquisitions of Attune Foods and Hearthside Food Solutions.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 27, 2013 02:12 PM
Executives at Kohl's have cause for optimism. The first-quarter earnings for the company that has more than 1,100 stores spread over 49 states were better than analysts expected, coming in at 66 cents per share versus the expected 56 cents per share, Barrons reports. Gross margins also improved, but revenue and same-store sales went down.
"Kohl's continues to improve its merchandising and better manage inventories. These turnarounds take time," Brian Rogers, chairman of T. Rowe Price Group, one of the company’s largest investors, told Barrons.com. "Kohl's has also raised its dividend and continued to repurchase stock. I'm still a believer."
Now the company has made a big investment to help continue its turnaround by hiring 45-year-old Michelle Gass away from Starbucks, where she spearheaded the Frappuccino's rise to prominence, to serve in a position Kohl’s created for her: Chief Customer Officer.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 23, 2013 06:25 PM
In the weeks after the attacks on September 11, then President George W. Bush, who brilliantly took a megaphone into his hand at Ground Zero and pledged to get whoever had done this to America, had an approval rating of 90 percent, according to Gallup. The numbers went down, of course, and he ended up with an average of 37 percent in his full second term.
So Walmart, which is on the hot seat these days for its strategy for improving working conditions at factories in Bangladesh as well as its not-so-great financial results, is hoping one of Bush’s main aides, Dan Bartlett, can help them with their own approval ratings. The 41-year-old and his wife along with their four young sons will be moving to Arkansas as he is taking on the role of executive vice president of corporate affairs, according to The New York Times.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 22, 2013 12:41 PM
German software company SAP is looking to break out of the mold and hire hundreds of people with Autism, recognizing their unique talent for information technology. By 2020, the company plans to have 1 percent of its global workforce of 65,000 employees be individuals with autism.
SAP executive Luisa Delgado told the BBC that the company believes that "innovation comes from the edges." While it is a developmental disorder, Autism has a very broad spectrum, and many people afflicted with the disorder demonstrate an impressive attention to detail and are highly focused and intelligent. "Only by employing people who think differently and spark innovation will SAP be prepared to handle the challenges of the 21st Century."Continue reading...