2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

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With Shortage of Responsibly Raised Beef, Chipotle Ponders Next Move

Posted by Dale Buss on August 14, 2013 06:42 PM

Chipotle is about to find out how far consumer forgiveness stretches when extenuating circumstances force a company to renege a bit on one of its central brand promises.

The fast-growing fast-casual Mexican chain has always promised to sell only "responsibly raised" beef but is facing a shortage of it this year as the restaurant industry in general deals with temporarily tight supplies because of last year's drought. Chipotle's particular problem is locating enough beef that has never been treated with antibiotics, an important tenet of its "responsiby raised" platform since 1999.

Brand spokesman Chris Arnold told media this week that Chipotle is considering OK-ing the use of cattle that have been treated with antibiotics, but only if those antibiotics were used to treat illness rather than as part of an ongoing program to promote growth in livestock being raised in confinement—read "irresponsible"—operations.Continue reading...

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Taco Bell Spices Up Doritos Locos Tacos Franchise with New Fiery DLT

Posted by Dale Buss on August 14, 2013 03:37 PM

Has Taco Bell played out the Doritos Locos Tacos space? The Yum! Brands fast-feeder will soon see as it has just announced the third installment in its wildly successful co-branded campaign. 

Taco Bell announced that its Fiery "DLT" will be officially available nationwide next Thursday, with a marketing campaign following soon. It's the next step in the company's campaign to build on the huge success of the first flavor of the popular Doritos Locos Taco when it came out last year, Nacho Cheese, and the Cool Ranch flavor that Taco Bell revealed earlier this year. The brand will be offering taste tests through social media, and will make the new taco available early on August 19—a move that didn't go so well during the Cool Ranch launch. 

The chain already has sold more than 500 million DLTs in total, almost single-handedly energizing its results over the last 17 months, so the next flavor will be crucial. And for the first time, Taco Bell chose not to borrow an exact flavor profile and product name directly from a chip already marketed by PepsiCo's Doritos brand.Continue reading...

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Danone Adds Fun Factor to Stable of US Yogurt Brands with YoCrunch Acquisition

Posted by Dale Buss on August 9, 2013 06:04 PM

Danone keeps picking up loose pieces of the US yogurt business in the hopes of becoming an even bigger overall force in a national market that is booming while the company's home domain is slumping.

Paris-based Groupe Danone—parent of Dannon USA—bought YoCrunch, a US brand that makes fun products with toppings such as Reese's peanut-butter and chocolate candy, Oreo cookies and M&Ms. The purchase will add a playful factor to the company's presence in the American dairy case that already includes the Danimals brand for kids.

YoCrunch has had double-digit growth over the last few years even though it has been largely outside the main growth engine in the US yogurt market: Greek-style brands such as Chobani. However, YoCrunch does have a lime Greek yogurt with graham-cracker pieces.Continue reading...

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Taco Bell May Count on Waffle Taco to Anchor Expanding Breakfast Effort

Posted by Dale Buss on August 7, 2013 02:48 PM

If Taco Bell really wants to reach its goal of doubling global revenues to $14 billion, the answer might not be within its Doritos Locos Tacos or Cocoon-like Super Bowl commercials, but rather the chain's ability to convince some of its cheap-lunch munching, late-night eating fans to drive through for breakfast.

The Yum! Brands-owned chain is adding to and extending a long test of breakfast items, including the "waffle taco." The test will extend to about 100 units in three markets, along with other potential additions and tweaks to its still-in-progress breakfast menu, according to Nation's Restaurant News.

The waffle gambit is interesting. In their increasingly crucial searches for innovative products and ways to spread their menu to other day parts, other QSRs also have picked up on the potential of the waffle. Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, for instance, is testing waffle batter-coated chicken tenders.Continue reading...

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Taco Bell Teases New DLT Flavor with Social Media, Mystery Box

Posted by Dale Buss on August 2, 2013 11:52 AM

Will the third time be as charmed as the previous two for Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Tacos? The chain is teasing the identity of its third flavor, which will be introduced August 22.

Not surprisingly, the Yum! Brands-owned chain is stoking all the buzz it can for the newest development under the Doritos Locos Tacos sub-brand, which has energized Taco Bell sales over the last couple of years in a struggling QSR market. The introduction of DLTs in their first flavor, Nacho Cheese, sparked the new chapter, and last spring's launch of the second flavor, Cool Ranch, proved a worthy sequel.

Now, Taco Bell is teasing DLT fans via Twitter, Vine and Instagram, saying that it will bring "mas heat" this summer with the arrival of the third flavor. In June, the brand used Instagram and Vine videos to spell out "New DLT" in flames. Taco Bell also is pulling out all the PR stops with deliveries of a mystery box to media outlets (brandchannel being one of them).Continue reading...

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Live Nation Moves Forward with Commitment to Local, Humane Concessions

Posted by Dale Buss on July 29, 2013 11:12 AM

The source of ingredients for food concessions may be the furthest thing from the mind of most American concert-goers, but what the heck: Live Nation is going to give you only local produce and humanely raised meats along with the Justin Bieber hologram and Kenny Chesney guitar riff that you are really going to see.

The continent's biggest live-entertainment company, which operates 38 venues across North America, is revamping its foodservice program with commitments to use local produce and meat from humanely raised animals, according to Nation's Restaurant News. Live Nation is working with the Humane Society of the United States and has committed to serving hamburgers, hot dogs, Italian sausages and chicken tenders made with meat that carries Certified Humane, Global Animal Partnership or Animal Welfare Approved certification, the publication said.

Live Nation is working with a celebrity chef, Hugh Acheson, to develop its first vegetarian options for concert menus.Continue reading...

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Domino's Growth from Pan Pizza Stands Out in Sluggish Sector

Posted by Dale Buss on July 24, 2013 05:32 PM

Now that Domino's has helped revive pizza sales, how about their typical meal companion, beer?

The No. 2 US pizza chain reported that strong sales of its recently launched pan-style pizzas propelled a 19 percent gain in second-quarter income, beating analysts' consensus prediction. US same-store sales climbed by nearly 7 percent and international same-store sales by nearly 6 percent.

Pizza Hut long dominated thick-pizza sales, but the introduction of Domino's Handmade Pan Pizza last year—after a couple of years of development—marked the chain's first fresh-dough pan-style product. It has drawn consumers in a pizza market that has been flat for some time, just as the beer market has been basically flat for many years.Continue reading...

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Taco Bell Drops Kids' Meals as it Looks to Corner Millennial Market

Posted by Dale Buss on July 23, 2013 01:47 PM

Maybe we should have seen it coming when, in its most recent Super Bowl commercial, Taco Bell celebrated a bunch of old geezers' night on the town. Or maybe it was evident in the brand's years and years of incessant messaging to teenage males.

In any event, it's hardly a surprise that Taco Bell is dumping its kids' meals so that it can focus even more on the maws and fast-food needs of the vital Millennial demographic. It's actually a bit more jarring that other QSR brands are undercutting their own kids'-marketing efforts by sending their well-known mascots—including the Colonel—the way of the dinosaur.

Yum! Brands-owned Taco Bell plans to drop kids meals and toys at all of its US restaurants by around January, USA Today reported. "The future of Taco Bell is not about kids' meals," Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed told the newspaper. "This is about positioning the brand for Millennials."Continue reading...

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