creative snack

Wanted: Big IDEAs for IDSA's 2012 International Design Excellent Awards

Posted by Michael Waltzer on December 14, 2011 04:03 PM

If you have a big idea, especially if you're a designer, the Industrial Designers Society of America (better known as the IDSA) annual competition is the place to show off your spark of creative genius.

IDEA® (International Design Excellence Awards) is an international design competition honoring design excellence in products, ecodesign, interaction design, packaging, strategy, research and concepts. Entries are invited from designers, students and brands worldwide.

The competition opened to submissions on December 1 and runs through February 10 (with a Feb. 17 late deadline already announced). Finalists start receiving notifications that they've made the first cut on March 20, and the final judging is from May 2-4. Winners will be announced on July 2, and the ceremony is on August 18.

At a whopping $300 per entry as an IDSA member, and $400 per entry for non-members, you may ask yourself why spend all the money? The short answer: the benefits of entering the contest and the experience gained are well worth it, not to mention the pay-off for winning.Continue reading...

chew on this

McDonald's Is Lovin' Its Global Heyday

Posted by Dale Buss on December 9, 2011 05:05 PM

McDonald's may be dealing with Happy Meal fallout from San Francisco to Sao Paulo, but the much bigger picture is this: The iconic brand of American-style fast food is rolling up big sales gains around the globe.

True, the chain's venerable Happy Meal remains under attack by nutrition advocates worldwide. McDonald's seems to be getting around an anti-Happy Meal ordinance in San Francisco simply by charging parents a dime for the toy (which the company then forwards to its Ronald McDonald House charity in San Francisco), though in Brazil, the government has slapped McDonald's with a $1.8-million fine for giving away toys as part of its McLanche Feliz.

But aside from that chink in its armor, McDonald's seems to be doing nearly everything else right. Overall, the chain has the value proposition and strong brand image to perform well despite weak consumer confidence in Europe and beyond, according to a new evaluation of the company by the Fitch ratings service.Continue reading...

brand essence

Coke Offers Fans a Peek Inside the Can with Secret Formula Move

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 9, 2011 03:03 PM

Your average consumer has no idea what’s in a can of Pepsi as much as they know what’s in a can of Coke, but one thing the latter has is the mythology of a secret recipe. And that is something that consumers love, USA Today reports.

On Thursday, Coke moved the 125-old “secret recipe” from a safe-deposit box at an Atlanta SunTrust Bank (where it has resided for 86 years) into a "vault of the secret formula" at the soda maker’s World of Coca-Cola tourist attraction in Atlanta, the city that's renowned as Coke's global HQ.

Now, for the princely sum of $16 admission, anyone can go into the exhibit and see the actual vault that Coke's actual recipe is in, adding a new chapter to the fabled history of the beverage's formula.Continue reading...


Amazon Launching Promo to Lure Customers From Retail

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 9, 2011 11:33 AM

Retailers have been grousing for years about the disappearance of consumer dollars to the online environment. And the proliferation of smartphones has made things that much more difficult as consumers in the stores looking at products can immediately look to see if they can get better prices online. is taking it one step further, giving brick-and-mortar retailers one more thing to complain about.

The Seattle-based online-retail powerhouse is launching a promotion on Dec. 10 that will attempt to get shoppers in retail environments to buy the products they are seeing in the store via Amazon at a discount, according to Direct Marketing News.

To qualify, consumers need to use Amazon’s Price Check mobile app to check out the price difference between something at the store and Amazon. “To compare pricing, consumers can scan a product's barcode, take its photo and speak or type its name via the app,” Amazon told DM News.Continue reading...

branding together

Coca-Cola Freestyle Soon to Rule All Burger King Beverages

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 8, 2011 01:59 PM

About 120 Burger Kings across the nation currently use the high-tech Coca-Cola Freestyle beverage dispenser system to provide drinks to its customers.

The Miami-based Burger King just announced that it plans to roll Freestyle out into all of its more than 850 locations, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.

Since it was acquired by private investor group 3G Capital Management last year, Burger King has been more adventurous in testing out new menu items. The addition of Freestyle has allowed BK consumers the “option of customized drinks from more than 100 brands using touch-screen technology,” NRN reports.

“The ability to customize your own beverages combined with the quality that Coca-Cola Freestyle delivers to our guests is a perfect addition to our most recent menu offerings,” said Steve Wiborg, president of Burger King Corp.’s North America division.

This will make Burger King the largest franchise to install Coca-Cola's Freestyle fountain drink dispenser across all of its locations. That is, if it beats Five Guys Burgers and Fries to the punch.Continue reading...

sip on this

Bad News, Bears: Coke Pulls Back on White Cans in Holiday Campaign to Save Polar Bear [Updated]

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 1, 2011 01:34 PM

Even the big guys occasionally get it wrong. Coca-Cola is pulling back on its limited-edition white cans designed for the holidays, reverting back to its traditional red background can amidst consumer confusion and criticism.

As announced on Oct. 25, 1.4 billion white cans and caps on bottles of Coke (the first time the brand ever changed from red) were planned to blanket the U.S. and Canadian markets through March, featuring the iconic Coke polar bear in a holiday promo with an environmentally-friendly related cause dubbed Arctic Home.

In addition to boosting holiday sales, the white can heralded Coca-Cola’s partnership with the World Wildlife Fund with white bottle caps, on these and other Coca-Cola brands, including a special code for texting $1 donations to the WWF in their campaign to protect the polar bear's Arctic home. Coke committed up to $1 million to match consumer donations. 

"It's the most important holiday program we've ever launched," stated Katie Bayne, president of sparkling beverages at Coca-Cola North America, about the campaign whose messaging included "We're turning our cans white because turning our backs wasn't an option."

The cans hit store shelves Nov. 1 and were supposed to remain on shelves through February. "We were very careful to make sure people know it's the same Coke they've always loved," Bayne added. Now, Coca-Cola is pulling back on the limited-edition white cans due to customer confusion and complaints, with the first batch now in stores the only batch (good news for collectors, at least).

"We are not pulling our white cans from store shelves or replacing them with the red can," Coca-Cola spokesman Ben Sheidler tells brandchannel. "The limited-edition white 'Arctic Home' cans will remain on store shelves until supplies last and then we will switch out to a red Arctic Home holiday can" with the same polar bear motif.

Good intentions, a smart tie-in with Coca-Cola's brand mascot (the polar bear) and the best laid plans for a polar-white cause this Christmas were all foiled by social media, it seems. It was through the social web that Coke heard growing rumblings that all was not well.Continue reading...

chew on this

McDonald’s Fries Light Up the Sky

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 30, 2011 09:59 AM

The marketing folks at McDonald’s seem to be a little obsessed with the fast-food chain’s fries these days. The company has a national television commercial with a grandpa fishing with his young grandson, who catches a few humans that are after his bait: a fry. Yes, kids, they're not fly-fishing but fry-fishing.

Now comes the news that the company’s new regional ad campaign around its corporate hometown of Chicago, “Best Fries on the Planet,” features a few billboards designed by Leo Burnett that honor the fried potatoes with giant streaming shafts of light.

The new billboards for McDonald’s, which is based in that city’s suburb of Oak Brook, are “giant boxes of fries with beacons of golden light illuminating the night sky,” according to NBC Chicago. Yes, kids, they're frylights, not skylights.Continue reading...

web watch

Google Sets a New Bar with Redesign

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 29, 2011 06:31 PM

Google revealed the next stage of its cross-product redesign today, with a video and blog post that commented:

Six months ago we started rolling out a new look and feel for Search, News, Maps, Translate, Gmail and a bunch of other products. Our goal was to create a beautifully simple and intuitive user experience across Google. We’re now ready for the next stage of our redesign—a new Google bar that will enable you to navigate quickly between our services, as well as share the right stuff with the right people easily on Google+.

Instead of the horizontal black bar at the top of the page, you’ll now find links to your services in a new drop-down Google menu nested under the Google logo. We’ll show you a list of links and you can access additional services by hovering over the “More” link at the bottom of the list. Click on what you want, and you’re off.

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