chew on this

Food App, All-Day Breakfast: Flat Sales Prompt McDonald's to Experiment Abroad

Posted by Dale Buss on January 23, 2013 03:15 PM

McDonald's is sort of limping along in the U.S. on the strength of its value menu, and there do not seem to be prospects for a return to sizzling growth anytime soon. So the fast-food chain is relying on the historic strengths of its brand — including locations, familiarity and convenience — to carry it through what is expected to be a ho-hum near-term future.

On Wednesday, the world's biggest QSR reported a higher fourth-quarter profit, but same-store sales growth of just 0.1 percent worldwide. That measure grew slightly in the U.S. thanks to the Dollar Menu and from pushing franchisees to stay open on Christmas. But same-store sales fell by 0.6 percent in Europe —McDonald's biggest market — and fell by 1.7 percent in the region encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Japan's sales decline of more than 6 percent in the fourth quarter was especially severe.

The immediate problem for McDonald's, at least in the U.S., is that first-quarter comparisons are becoming difficult due to last year's mild winter, and the chain doesn't have much new up its sleeve right now.Continue reading...

china

Chinese Viewers Flocking to Brands' Online Mini-Movies

Posted by Abe Sauer on January 22, 2013 11:58 AM

In PepsiCo's short film, Bring Happiness Home, a ragtag bunch of Chinese travelers trying to get home for Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) comes together thanks to Pepsi and Lay's. The film has logged more than 100 million views in its first week of release online, and is among many recently produced pieces that suggest 2013 could be an explosive year for branded content in China.

But it's not just potato chips and fizzy drinks that have found success in short film branded content in China recently. Cartier, Louis Vuitton and even the nation of Australia put together hits. And China's branded content business is just getting started.

The nation is a key market for product and marketing innovation for the company. Contributing to the success of Pepsi's Bring Happiness Home are established stars like Zhou Xun (周迅), Louis Koo (古天乐), Show Luo (罗志祥), Zhang Guo Li (张国立) and Angela Chang (张韶涵). In fact, star talent is often the common denominator in China's blooming branded content scene. Continue reading...

ad watch

Coke's Calorie-Conscious Ads Met by Skeptics as Anti-Soda Push Hits Australia

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 17, 2013 11:17 AM

In December, the Australian government began requiring tobacco manufacturers to place horrific warnings and images on packs of cigarettes. Now, the nation's health community is mirroring efforts in New York, turning its energy toward the soda business.

Three of the nation’s largest health organizations – the Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and the National Heart Foundation – want Australians to put down their sodas and start drinking water or milk, B&T reports. The group has purchased television time for the "Rethink Sugary Drink" campaign, and are also encouraging the government to tax sugar-heavy beverages. Continue reading...

chew on this

McDonald's Appeals to Aussie Pride With Macca's Rebrand in Australia

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 8, 2013 11:55 AM

Mickey D’s, the Golden Arches, McD's, McDonaldos, Macca's. McDonald’s has plenty of nicknames worldwide, but you’ll never roll up to a franchise of the 72-year-old brand and find any of them on the restaurant’s official sign.

After all, the company has entered into plenty of trademark suits in attempts to protect its name. It lost a fight against Malaysia’s McCurry in 2009, but won its battle against the Philippines’ MacJoy. In the ’90s, thanks to the work of the McDonald’s legal team, San Francisco coffee shop owner Kathleen McCaughey had to change the name McCoffee even though it had existed with that name for 17 years. But McDonald’s is still thwarted in the Cayman Islands, thanks to a local entrepreneur's MacDonald's Family Restaurant there.

Even while its lawyers are busy protecting the brand name and trademarks, the corporation is letting its Australian team have a bit of fun with the name. The brand is affectionately called Macca’s Down Under, and the company has decided to adopt the nickname officially on signs at 13 outlets, on social media and in its advertising for a limited promotion that kicks off today and runs through Feb. 4th.Continue reading...

brand news

Brands in the News: Apple, NRA, Diet Pepsi and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 16, 2012 09:30 PM

Angry Birds first Christmas song ("Fly Me Home Tonight") released by Rovio.

Apple downgraded by Citi on China suppliers, while first weekend iPhone 5 sales in China top two million.

NRA goes silent in wake of Newtown, CT, school massacre as President Obama vows to get tougher on guns.

Diet Pepsi quietly changes sweetener in advance of new logo, tagline and can design.

Barclays protests US energy fine.

Best Buy extends deadline for founder's buyout bid.

Chrysler undecided on minivan plan.

Cisco reportedly plans to sell Linksys brand.

Coca-Cola resurrects Mello Yello in Australia, plans pop-up beach at Sydney Cricket Stadium.

Facebook's monetization efforts may ride on Walmart campaign lessons.

Li Ning projects substantial loss.

Microsoft urged to ditch Windows brand by Dell.

PPR goes shopping for young brands.

Starbucks defended by London mayor Boris Johnson.

Toyota set to seize global auto sales crown as GM vies for 2nd place.

brands under fire

Big Tobacco Hit By FDA Slowdown, Wins Graphic Package Battle

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 14, 2012 03:01 PM

It has been more than a year and a half since pretty much any new cigarettes or tobacco products have hit store shelves in the United States. So Big Tobacco must be finally caving to the growing drumbeat against them from lawmakers and health advocates, right? Well, no.

The lack of new product is actually due to those dang lawmakers. America's tobacco watchdogs at the Food and Drug Administration are “taking extra care in reviewing new product applications for public health risks,” according to WWLP Massachusetts.

And it isn’t just new product that’s been affected, either. The slowdown has also affected such things as brand-name changes as well as shifts in packaging or filters. But don’t feel too bad for Big Tobacco. They are still making a boatload of cash annually and they also just won a big case before the federal appeals court on Wednesday. In that case, the tobacco companies won the right to not sell their products in packaging that would feature graphic warning images, such as diseased lungs, a man with a tracheotomy smoking, and the cadaver of a (former) smoker.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Apple, Starbucks, Rolls-Royce and more

Posted by Dale Buss on December 6, 2012 09:01 AM

In the News

Apple plans limited US manufacturing as it lands back in court with Samsung and baffles Eric Schmidt.

Starbucks agrees to pay more UK tax, capitulating to criticism.

Rolls-Royce is caught in bribery probe in UK.

AmEx works on social engagement that closes the loop with consumers.

AT&T is on track for record smartphone sales.

Barclays Africa is sold to Absa in $2.1 billion transaction.

Bob Marley trademark spat settled as 'relaxation drink' comes under fire.

Deutsche Bank is probed by SEC.

Dish will start selling mobile phones at its Blockbuster movie rental stores.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Australia Now Selling Shocking Cigarette Unpackaging in World First Roll-Out

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 3, 2012 01:27 PM

America's FDA keeps working toward forcing cigarette makers to encase their product in packaging with some incredibly nasty images in order to help consumers understand what could happen to them if they continue smoking. Australian health officials don’t have to wait anymore. 

Thanks to a world-first law that went into effect on Dec. 1st, nicotine lovers (and haters) in the land Down Under are now faced with images a gangrene-mangled limb and a skeletal cancer victim when they buy their cigarettes. The images, which caused an uproar when revealed last year, take up most of the pack’s packaging with the cigarette’s brand name (no logo) printed on the bottom quarter of the packaging, in plain text on an olive-toned blah background.

“They’re so horrifingly ugly that they are magnificent,” Fiona Sharkie, executive director of anti-smoking campaigner Quit Victoria, told Bloomberg. How horrifyingly ugly? Check out the grotesque warning images below.Continue reading...

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