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Wonderful Pistachios Devises New Game Plan to Stretch Colbert's Super Bowl Spots

Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2014 12:52 PM

Having used its Super Bowl ad last year featuring Psy to help establish itself as a clear threat to some established salty-snacks brands, Wonderful Pistachio plans to up the ante in this year's game with two commercials featuring a different kind of star: Stephen Colbert.

In the meantime, Wonderful continues to broaden its marketing footprint through its two-year-old partnership with the Harlem Globetrotters. That has included a TV-ad appearance by the team, similar to those by Psy and other celebrities, as well as in-arena promotions such as shooting contests during the games.

"We want to make sure we reach consumers who haven't tried [Wonderful Pistachios] and build a relationship with them," Marc Seguin, Paramount Farms' CMO, told brandchannel.Continue reading...

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New Year, New You? FTC Puts Kibosh on Deceptive Weight Loss Company Claims

Posted by Dale Buss on January 8, 2014 11:16 AM

January is silly season for weight-loss product claims, which is exactly why the Federal Trade Commission just stepped in to slap some errant wrists in the market. It also released new guidelines to advertising media to try to cut down on outlandish claims in the first place.

The agency announced settlements totaling $34 million against Sensa Products, L'Occitane and LeanSpa over what the FTC said was a variety of deceptive marketing practices that led Americans to believe they're going to achieve easy weight loss.

Transgressions, according to the agency, ranged from Sensa's failure to disclose that it used trips to Los Angeles and cash payments of up to $5,000 to compensate some consumers for their endorsements of the brand, to LeanSpa's use of fake news sites to promote acai berry and "colon cleanse" weight-loss products.Continue reading...

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General Mills Drops GMOs from Original Cheerios After Consumer Outcry

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 3, 2014 01:57 PM

So long, Cheeri-GMOs. In a victory for anti-GMO proponents and outspoken consumers, General Mills has stopped using genetically modified ingredients in Original Cheerios. The raging debate pits critics who cite the dangers of genetically modified crops against those who say there is no scientific consensus on the issue. 

Exactly a month before the brand makes its Super Bowl debut on Feb. 2, General Mills VP Tom Forsythe stated in a blog post dated Jan. 2 that the decision wasn’t driven by critics or safety concerns, but by consumer demand.

"It's not about safety," he wrote. "Biotech seeds, also known as genetically modified seeds, have been approved by global food safety agencies and widely used by farmers in global food crops for almost 20 years." 

His post also clarified the cereal's GMO content:Continue reading...

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General Mills, Graze Bet They Can Reinvent Snacking Via Trendy Subscriptions

Posted by Dale Buss on January 3, 2014 11:05 AM

Back in the day, Americans could subscribe to monthly oranges, or books. Now there are digital subscription services ranging from dog treats to razor blades, including those that will curate selections for you, such as Birchbox for cosmetics to Shoedazzle for footwear.

So why not healthy snacks? In fact, two new digital-subscription services for better-for-you food fare have been launched, each by an industrial heavyweight: Nibblr, by General Mills, and Graze, by private-equity Carlyle Group—the former in the US, the latter initially in the UK.

"I've watched with interest the wider market in the US on subscription go absolutely bananas," Graze CEO Anthony Fletcher told Bloomberg Businessweek.  "This is a source of convenience. You don't have to worry about it."Continue reading...

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Balance Bar Hopes to Whet Appeties with 'Anti-Resolutions' Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on December 23, 2013 10:42 AM

The traditional weight-loss business is struggling, which may have created a new opportunity for a non-traditional participant. Balance Bar has launched an "anti-resolutions pledge" campaign for would-be dieters that asks them to skip their annual strenuous and demanding January promises that so often end in failure.

Owned by NBTY since last year, the nutrition-bar brand—one of the creators and original major players in the segment—is touting The Balance Bar Pledge, which it calls "an anti-resolutions pledge that encourages people to skip the tradition of setting overly ambitious and sometimes-unachievable goals and instead make one small step each month that supports their health, wellness and overall happiness."

Of course one of those presumed steps is to buy and eat the 20 varieties of Balance Bar's nutrition energy bars. But the brand also offers advice from "lifestyle expert Laurel House, kown as TheQuickieChick," such as taking May to "surround yourself with motivating people" and "taking care of your body" in August.Continue reading...

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Think McDonald's Has Problems in the US? Try Owning a Golden Arches in Japan

Posted by Dale Buss on December 20, 2013 01:46 PM

McDonald's woes in the United States are well-documented, but the brand actually has it worse in Japan. The McDonald's 50 percent-owned affiliate in that country plans to close dozens of outlets and slashed its full-year profit forecast by more than half.

Sales fell for five straight months through November in the world's third-largest economy, Bloomberg noted. The company blamed lower "customer numbers," the news service said. Presumably a 25 percent increase in McDonald's burger prices in Japan, which the chain indicated last spring it would implement, had something to do with the poor results as well.

The company also blamed expenses for outlet closures and store renovations aimed at luring more customers, which will be booked this year.Continue reading...

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Darden Hopes Less Becomes More By Jettisoning Red Lobster Brand

Posted by Dale Buss on December 19, 2013 01:45 PM

The restaurant business remains tough, and so it didn't take long for Darden to say "uncle" to an activist investor who believed that the best path for the owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains was to spin them off into a separate company while clustering its faster-growing startup concepts in another.

Darden met Barington Capital Group halfway on Thursday by declaring that it will jettison Red Lobster and take other steps. It'll hold a tax-free spinoff of the seafood brand to shareholders or it might sell Red Lobster in a move aimed at boosting lagging shareholder value and profitability.

"As consumer demand dynamics have changed, Red Lobster's priorities and operating support requirements have come to differ meaningfully from those of Darden's other brands," the company said.Continue reading...

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Cheetos-Dusted Wings? Mtn Dew Cocktail? It's All Possible with PepsiCo, Buffalo Wild Wings Deal

Posted by Dale Buss on December 12, 2013 06:16 PM

It may not be long before Buffalo Wild Wings introduces Cheetos-flavored chicken wings to rival Taco Bell's' Doritos Locos Tacos in harnessing flavors direct from a Frito-Lay bagged-chip brand. Because under the new deal struck by the popular restaurant chain and Frito-Lay parent PepsiCo, just about anything combining restaurant food and beverages and PepsiCo IP may be—and could appear—on the table.

The immediate impact of the deal is that PepsiCo beverages, including Pepsi and Mountain Dew, are to replace Coca-Cola as the beverage supplier to one of the nation's hottest restaurant chains.

But recognizing the continued decline in the relative value of soda sales compared with other faster-growing segments of its portfolio, PepsiCo made it clear that the company believes many other dimensions of its new deal with Buffalo Wild Wings could become valuable as well.Continue reading...

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