2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

brand strategy

Starbucks Launches Mom-Focused Effort to Boost Refreshers

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 6, 2013 10:43 AM

What do you get when the leading specialty coffee brand partners with one of the largest online lifestyle networks and a global marketing research firm? Apparently, a successful sales boost. 

Starbucks recently partnered with SheKnows.com and Nielsen to create an online campaign to introduce the cafe's Refreshers line to more women. The effort included custom content, sponsorships, display ads and high-impact re-skins that yielded an 11.3 percent rise in awareness among consumers exposed to the content. 

The campaign gave a palpable boost to Refreshers, which launched in 2012 as fruit-flavored iced coffee beverages that could be ordered in-store, but also sold in a ready-to-drink and VIA formats.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Lafley Emphasizes P&G's Broad Brand Value in 2nd Term as CEO

Posted by Dale Buss on September 5, 2013 01:54 PM

A.G. Lafley's first turn running Procter & Gamble was transformational for the company as he bought Gillette, shed the company's food brands and put innovation on a pedestal. For what he has called his "second shift," Lafley has indicated that his emphasis will be less on overhauling the company and more on making sure P&G as now constituted is doing the best that it can.

"I'm just elevating the focus on execution, everybody gets it," the P&G CEO said this week at the Barclays Back to School analysts conference in Boston. "When we execute, we like the results. What's more important, consumers like the results better, customers like the results better and in the end we like the results better and our shareholders like the results better."

Lafley said he's focusing on boosting productivity, "improving operating discipline," "investing in innovation and go-to-market capabilities" and "re-establishing value creation as our primary measure of success." He's also making some big bets by restrategizing some of P&G's iconic brands.Continue reading...

brand strategy

P&G Looks to Wring More Value Out of Tide Brand With Lower-Priced Detergent

Posted by Dale Buss on September 4, 2013 01:52 PM

New/old CEO A.G. Lafley is beginning to shake things up at Procter & Gamble, and one of his most interesting first moves reportedly is to explore potential further value in one of the company's most iconic and lucrative brands: Tide.

One of the things that his predecessor/follower as CEO, Bob McDonald, did well was exploit the promise of Tide Pods, which he launched in early 2012 and which already are on their way to becoming another $1 billion sub-brand for P&G. Despite growing concerns and one reported death of kids poisoning themselves by mistaking the colorful Pods for candy, Tide has managed to grow quickly—and dominate—a laundry-detergent segment that it essentially created.

But Tide Pods—which recently debuted in new, opaque packaging to curb temptation from kids—are priced above regular liquid Tide. American detergent buyers have steadily drifted to bargain-priced products to do their laundry over the last few years in adjusting to a stingier "new normal," but even regular Tide has retained a price premium.

Now Lafley is pulling the lever on a lower-price gambit for Tide that has always made the company hesitant. He announced today at the Barclays Back to School conference in Boston that P&G plans to release a lower-priced, mid-tier detergent, Tide Simply Clean & Fresh, in February, according to an AP report that noted other Tide products launching in the first quarter.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Verizon, Vodafone Telecom Split Could Encourage Consolidation Elsewhere

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 3, 2013 03:49 PM

With confirmation of Verizon's bid to buyback its Verizon Wireless stock from the UK's Vodafone for $130 billion, the mobile provider, which is the largest in the US with 100 million subscribers, is sending a strong message to competing providers that have all made increased investments in the lucrative US mobile market. 

The sell-back of Vodafone's shares will give Verizon total control over its wireless division as the company bids to hold on to its top spot among US service providers. Vodafone makes out quite well, too, with some $84 billion in cash and stock being returned to shareholders. The newfound cash will also enable the company to explore further expansions in its home market. 

Valued at $290 billion, which is, Bloomberg Businessweek notes, “larger than the market capitalization of Google Inc. or the gross domestic product of Singapore," Verizon Wireless will likely expand its 4G LTE network to more locations across the US and North America—an important addition to justify its plans' premium prices. The provider has faced more competition lately as AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have doubled down on the US market with acquisitions and mergers of their own.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Toyota Plots Improved Hybrids and Customer Care to Regain US Share

Posted by Dale Buss on August 29, 2013 06:22 PM

Toyota plans to keep pressing the advantages of its renewed mojo in the US market with sportier hybrids, a greater emphasis on customer care and the possible addition of more production in Mexico to supply American customers.

The company has seen its market share in the US slip from a peak of 17 percent in 2009 to around 14 percent this year through July, as it was afflicted by natural disasters, its safety-recall fiasco, and intensified competition that took advantage of Toyota's weakness.

"Of course many customers still believe in Toyota, but some don't trust us," said Kazuo Ohara, CEO of Toyota's US Sales arm, according to Automotive News. "To recover our reputation, we should get back to basics.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Verizon Makes Bid to Buyback Stake from Vodafone

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 29, 2013 03:55 PM

Verizon Wireless and British telecom giant Vodafone are in talks that could lead to a multi-billion buyout of Vodafone's Verizon Wireless stocks—a move that would help support Verizon's planned expansion of its high-speed data network, while Vodafone turns its focus back to its home market.

The deal, according to The New York Times, could be worth upwards of $125 billion, making it one of the largest global deals in the last decade. The 45 percent stake sell-off will likely involve a cash-and-stock option that would see Vodafone receiving a 30 percent stake in Verizon, as the parent company looks to take full control over its wireless division, which is the largest cell service provider in the US. 

Vodafone remains the a top operator in eight of its nine Western European markets, but with rising competition from cable companies like Liberty Global, could use the monies to augment fourth-generation wireless networks and pursue acquisitions.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Subaru Appreciates the 'Love,' But Now Brand Must Figure Out How to Return It

Posted by Dale Buss on August 29, 2013 10:46 AM

Nearly every auto brand in the US market has been trying to find ways to keep up with the boom in sales, from adding manufacturing capacity in America to raising prices. But no other brand is in the fix that Subaru is in.

Well, actually it's not a fix: Subaru is selling a lot more cars these days than it used to, but the brand is so small, with just 2.6 percent of the US market, that leadership of the brand and parent Fuji Heavy Industries is in a quandary about how how to respond to the brand's mini-boom.

Subaru's US sales were up by 27 percent for the year through July, more than three times the rate of increase for the market overall, and it faces shortages of its newest models. So while Subaru keeps gaining American fans with its rugged, all-wheel-drive vehicles and quirky advertising about "love" for its cars, it may not actually be able to sell them anything.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Walmart Extends Health Benefits to Same-Sex Partners as Companies Ready for Obamacare

Posted by Dale Buss on August 28, 2013 02:58 PM

It might be way too late for the move to garner Walmart much love among progressives, but the company told workers this week that it will begin offering health-insurance benefits to same-sex domestic partners of US employees next year.

That marked a major change for the nation's largest employer of 1.3 million workers. Gay-rights advocacy groups had previously targeted Walmart for not having done so.

But in the end, the company said it made the change largely to ensure consistent treatment of its employees across the country, because Walmart already offered benefits to domestic partners of employees where state law required it. No doubt the US Supreme Court decision in June to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act also played a part in calculations by Walmart that the societal, cultural and corporate tide on this issue had turned.Continue reading...

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