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Starbucks Launches Global Brand Campaign Filmed in 28 Countries

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 29, 2014 10:23 AM

Today is National Coffee Day in the US, an almost redundant moniker in a country that runs on java—and the perfect timing for Starbucks to launch its first global brand campaign, “Meet me at Starbucks.”

Centered around an interactive short documentary on its YouTube channel, the branding campaign shows what happens when coffee lovers turn off their phones and tablets and connect in real-time, offline and in-store.Continue reading...

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Pabst Looks to Reassure Hipsters With Indie Music Festival

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 25, 2014 06:31 PM

Pabst Blue Ribbon, the unofficial beer of hipsters across America, is throwing a party in hipster heaven: Portland, Oregon. As in the Portland that begat the hipsterrific TV show, Portlandia.

This weekend, PBR's marketing team is throwing its first-ever music festival, joining the parade of brands that have also fallen in love with the music festival circuit.

Project Pabst, as the three-day festival is called, couldn't be more ironic. It feature such acts as the British duo behind 80's phenom Tears for Fears, the reunited Constantines, Modest Mouse, Built to Spill and other acts that will cost a mere $35 for a one-day pass and $60 for two.

The whole event is a thank you to the Milwaukee-based brand’s top market. "We were trying to think of something we could do for Portland," Matt Slessler, Pabst's Pacific field marketing manager, told the Oregonian. "We refer to it as our love letter to Portland. That's really what it is, the city has just been so good to us."Continue reading...

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Big Soda Shrinks Calories, Pushes Personal Responsibility

Posted by Dale Buss on September 24, 2014 05:13 PM

Soda marketers have been fighting gradual declines in US soft drink consumption for several years now. But with the imprimatur of the Clinton Global Initiative, which is meeting this week in New York in tandem with the UN General Assembly, the big three soda-makers behind the American Beverage Association (ABA) have decided to wrap a calorie-reduction PR campaign and associated pledges around this seemingly inexorable trend.

Under the auspices of the organization founded by former President Bill Clinton, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple Group this week pledged to reduce beverage calories consumed per person by 20 percent nationally by 2025. Such calorie consumption already has dropped by about 12.4 percent between 2000 and last year, and 23 percent for carbonated drinks alone, estimated Beverage Digest.

In a collective statement issued by the ABA, top industry leaders gathered at the CGI meeting and pledged "engage in consumer education and outreach efforts to increase consumer awareness of and interest in the wide array of no- and lower-calorie beverages and smaller portion sizes available."

Under the banner of the Balanced Calories Initiative, the beverage industry leaders will put special emphasis on promoting reduced-calorie beverages in highly-trafficked sections of stores, such as checkout areas, and in communities (such as the president's birthplace of Little Rock, Ark., and the greater Los Angeles area) where purchases of low- and no-calorie soda drinks track behind the national average.Continue reading...

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Strange Brew: Starbucks Tests Beer-Flavored Latte That Tastes Like Guinness

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 22, 2014 01:14 PM

Starbucks locations across America have been filing for liquor licenses in the hopes of expanding their business hours and profits. While some have succeeded in getting licenses, others—such as one in hipster heaven Williamsburg, Brooklyn—have not. Soon, consumers there may have have another way to quench their craving for a beer-like beverage.

In its never-ending quest for innovative menu items, the global coffee purveyor is testing a dark-beer-inspired coffee drink called Dark Barrel Latte in a handful of locations across the US. And while customer reviews are mixed, if Starbucks works out the flavor kinks it may one day join (if not rival) the Pumpkin Spiced Latte as an annual autumnal limited-time menu item.Continue reading...

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AB InBev May Gulp Down SABMiller as Heineken Holds On to Independence

Posted by Dale Buss on September 15, 2014 03:52 PM

AB InBev is shaking the beer industry up like a tumbling can of Bud, as the No. 1 company reportedly is considering acquiring No. 2 rival SABMiller and taking the consolidation route toward improving profitability in the face of almost-impossible odds of growing its empire by selling more beer.

What was for certain on Monday was that No. 3 Heineken said that it spurned a takeover approach from SABMiller, etablishing that the Heineken familiy that controls the Dutch brewer intends "to preserve the heritage and identity of Heineken as an independent company." A merger of the industry's Nos. 2 and 3 players, of course, would have made such an entity much more formidable against AB InBev at a time when the volume-beer industry continues to contract.

Bloomberg reported that SABMiller attempted to corral Heineken in part out of fear that AB InBev indeed is stalking it. "That SABMiller's inorganic [growth] optoins have been so publicly lessened puts ABI in an even stronger position, should it choose to make a move on SABMiller," Eddy Hargreaves, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said in a note today. "SABMiller shareholders may be even more likely now to welcome a bid."Continue reading...

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Chick-fil-A Enhances Brand Story with Rollout of Thrive Farmer-Direct Coffee

Posted by Dale Buss on September 5, 2014 10:47 AM

Chick-fil-A's new THRIVE Farmers Coffee menu is what the chain calls "coffee with a story." But the new line of Central American coffees that are supplied directly by farmers actually embodies four stories.

It's a story of the fast-food brand shoring up a glaring weakness in its menu; it's the story of Chick-fil-A making a bold move in the fast-food sustainability derby; and it's the story of a brand taking advantage of the opportunity to divert attention to a kind of sublime value and away from its controversial recent history of taking a hard line on socio-political issues like gay marriage.

And, of course, its fourth story is the one that Chick-fil-A is concentrating on as it rolls out THRIVE coffees to its 1,800 US restaurants, sharing how the partnership is helping actual Central American farmers boost their incomes and their families' wellbeing compared with traditional distribution models for coffee.Continue reading...

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Coca-Cola Life Tiptoes Into UK, US, Amid Hopes for Mid-Calorie Sodas

Posted by Dale Buss on August 25, 2014 06:46 PM

Coca-Cola has reached a couple of significant milestones as it advances Coca-Cola Life, the new "mid-calorie" soft drink in the revolutionary green can: Life is now on sale in Great Britain, and Coke is rolling out a massive sampling campaign for its US introduction this fall.

Life just became available broadly in the UK last week in supermarkets across the country, touting one-third less sugar and one-third fewer calories than regular Coke. Sweetened with cane sugar and stevia, it represents the company's most serious effort yet to determine whether there's a big market for soft drinks that are neighter zero-calorie weight-management tools nor fully sweetened, unapologetic vessels of sugary, fizzy, high-calorie refreshment.

In the United States, Coke has begun stocking shelves of Fresh Market stores in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and parts of Florida with Life. It plans to make Life available nationwide in October, Advertising Age reported, after Life was first marketed in Argentina.Continue reading...

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Starbucks Goes Four-Wheeling to Bring Brew to College Campuses

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on August 20, 2014 11:54 AM

Some college students heading back to campus in the coming weeks will be greeted by a new classmate—Starbucks. 

The cult coffee purveyor is rolling out three brew-serving food trucks at James Madison University in Virgina, Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina, and Arizona State University, which previously partnered with the brand on its education efforts. The trucks will be operated by Aramark, whose recent survey of college students showed Starbucks to be the No. 1 preferred brand for coffee, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

While the three selected campuses already have permanent Starbucks locations, the trucks, which will offer up a similar menu of food and beverages, are meant to move to various locations on campus as the day goes on and in some cases may be open later than a campus dining hall.Continue reading...

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