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.

brand strategy

Toyota and Sony Grapple With Japan Production Issues

Posted by Dale Buss on November 29, 2011 05:01 PM

As the yen continues to hold on to its strength, iconic Japanese brands like Toyota and Sony are having to make increasingly difficult decisions about retaining domestic production in Japan. At this point, it looks like the world's biggest automaker and its most enduring consumer-electronics brand are coming to somewhat different conclusions.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda has surprised many close observers over the last few days by conceding that his company may have to end up skewing future production much more toward other countries and away from Japan because of the persistent imbalance of the yen against the weaker dollar and other currencies.

In fact, he told the Wall Street Journal that Toyota may actually end up exporting Corolla subcompact sedans that it is beginning to build at its just-opened plant in Mississippi, in addition to supplying the North American market from there.Continue reading...

search and destroy

Google Maps the Great Indoors

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 29, 2011 01:29 PM

In a move that was bound to happen, Google is taking Google Maps indoors — at least for those with Android phones.

As its blog post today describes, "Take Google Maps on your Android phone to select airports, malls, and retail stores to get floor layouts and accurate location readings. Figure out how to get to departments, airport gates, and even restrooms all from the palm of your hand. To learn more, Start here."

Check out its airport mapping abilities below.Continue reading...

search and destroy

Google Searches Its Past and Reveals Its Future

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 28, 2011 05:34 PM

Google today released a follow-up to its August video on how it's improving search with a new six-minute video called "The Evolution of Search." Google Fellow Ben Gomes explains in a blog post and video that "we wanted to share with you a short history of the evolution of search, highlighting some of the most important milestones from the past decade—and a taste of what's coming next."

So what is next? "Our goal is to get you to the answer you're looking for faster and faster, creating a nearly seamless connection between your questions and the information you seek. For those of you looking to deepen your understanding of how search has evolved, this video highlights some important trends like universal results, quick answers and the future of search. For more information, go to"

sporting brands

Life’s a Party with Nike Sparq Glasses

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 24, 2011 03:09 PM

Want to feel like you’re in a nightclub all day long? You may want to reach into your wallet and shell out $300 for the Nike SPARQ Vapor Strobe Eyewear, a set of glasses that actually crate a strobelike effect on the eyes and are made for athletes to train with. The idea behind the high-performance specs, according to a release from the company, is that the variable speed of the strobe helps the athlete’s eyes adjust quicker to different situations.

“By blocking or disrupting vision using a strobe or flicker effect that can be varied in speed, an athlete can develop quicker reaction times and motor skills,” the release reads. “The strobe effect improves reaction time by switching between clear and blocked vision, which trains the brain to anticipate what‘s coming when the eyes are blocked. “ If you can throw a ball accurately with all this going on in your eyes, imagine how much easier it’ll be when it’s just a few 300-pound guys trying to take you down.Continue reading...

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