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car talk

Cadillac Hopes to Squeeze Sales—and Maybe a New Sub-Brand—Out of 2015 Escalade

Posted by Dale Buss on October 8, 2013 03:58 PM

It isn’t clear if Ludacris is lining up for a new 2015 Cadillac Escalade, but apparently Donald Trump is. And General Motors’ enthusiasm for the first major overhaul of its iconic chiseled and luxuriously appointed mammoth SUV in seven years even has executives considering ways to extend the Escalade franchise beyond a single vehicle, as good as it might be.

GM revealed the redesigned Escalade in New York at an appearance that included Trump’s endorsement as well as company marketers eager to highlight the sleeker exterior, interior wood trim, and quieter and larger inside of the new model. 

Prices of the current Escalade start at $63,475, and GM is looking for a 10 percent boost in sales of the new version beginning next year after Escalade sales have gradually declined over the last several years.Continue reading...

cocktail hour

All the News You Can Drink: Dogfish Head’s Moon Brew, Bud’s Packaging Fail, Wine Biz Gets Corona Boost and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 4, 2013 06:45 PM

Dogfish Head Gets Spaced Out

Delaware brewery Dogfish Head is always up for experiments. Its latest is a small-batch Oktoberfest ale, Celest-jewel-ale, that features an ingredient probably never used before in the brewing process: moon dust. 

According to Fox News, Dogfish made a deal with ILC Dover, which produces spacesuits for NASA, in order to have access to “lunar meteorites” that it ground up and put into the brew like a big teabag.

Much more experimental than that, though, is the brewery’s plan to open a 16-room, beer-themed hotel. It’ll open next year about 11 miles from the brewery, Eater.com reports. Each room will have its own micro-fridges and beer glasses as well as a bottle opener on the wall.

In the spirit of inventiveness, Dogfish has also created a little gadget known as the Randall Jr. that allows consumers to infuse their own beers with interesting ingredients and flavorings. At Dogfish, the brewers want everyone to catch the creativity bug.Continue reading...

brand strategy

P&G Looks to Wring More Value Out of Tide Brand With Lower-Priced Detergent

Posted by Dale Buss on September 4, 2013 01:52 PM

New/old CEO A.G. Lafley is beginning to shake things up at Procter & Gamble, and one of his most interesting first moves reportedly is to explore potential further value in one of the company's most iconic and lucrative brands: Tide.

One of the things that his predecessor/follower as CEO, Bob McDonald, did well was exploit the promise of Tide Pods, which he launched in early 2012 and which already are on their way to becoming another $1 billion sub-brand for P&G. Despite growing concerns and one reported death of kids poisoning themselves by mistaking the colorful Pods for candy, Tide has managed to grow quickly—and dominate—a laundry-detergent segment that it essentially created.

But Tide Pods—which recently debuted in new, opaque packaging to curb temptation from kids—are priced above regular liquid Tide. American detergent buyers have steadily drifted to bargain-priced products to do their laundry over the last few years in adjusting to a stingier "new normal," but even regular Tide has retained a price premium.

Now Lafley is pulling the lever on a lower-price gambit for Tide that has always made the company hesitant. He announced today at the Barclays Back to School conference in Boston that P&G plans to release a lower-priced, mid-tier detergent, Tide Simply Clean & Fresh, in February, according to an AP report that noted other Tide products launching in the first quarter.Continue reading...

branded entertainment

Universal Orlando Woos Horror Fans With The Cabin in the Woods Tie-In

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 3, 2013 10:38 AM

It's not a collapsible bong coffee thermos, but for fans it may be the next best thing. Cult hit "horror" film The Cabin in the Woods is set to become a real-life experience, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

At Universal Orlando, a Cabin in the Woods haunted house was just announced for the 23rd annual Halloween Horror Nights lineup of haunted houses, which will be open to park visitors from Sept. 20 to Nov. 2nd.

The creepy attraction—based on the Lionsgate (not Universal) movie—joins a long line of branded entertainment popping up at theme parks. Along with the hugely successful Wizarding World of Harry Potter park, branded attractions include the Macy's Holiday Parade, Transformers: The Ride 3D, The Simpsons Ride, Shrek 4D, Men in Black Alien Attack, Terminator 2: 3D, ET Adventure, Curious George Goes to Town, and Twister… Ride It Out..Continue reading...

brand extensions

KISS Extends Brand with Expansion of Rock & Brews Restaurant Concept

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 13, 2013 12:45 PM

When Gene Simmons and his cohorts took the stage at New York’s Popcorn Club back in 1973 with their makeup on and their new band name, KISS, and played for just three people, nobody was crowing about how Simmons, a former school teacher, was a marketing genius in the making. 

Since then, of course, Simmons has made a ton of cash not just releasing such hits as “Rock and Roll All Nite” and “Detroit Rock City,” but licensing the KISS name and logo to countless products. So much so that CNN has called KISS “the world’s most recognizable band.” Indeed, the band has sold more than $500 million in merchandise in the last 15 years.

Kiss cofounders Simmons and Paul Stanley debuted their own restaurant in April 2012, Rock & Brews, in El Segundo, Calif. Things must be going well because Billboard reports that the duo plan to open 100 more locations in the next five years.Continue reading...

brand extensions

Condé Nast Extends Magazine Brands into Bar and Restaurant Scene

Posted by Dale Buss on April 12, 2013 11:53 AM

Condé Nast is used to long lead times and attention to detail with the publication of its high-end titles including Gentlemen's Quarterly, Glamour and Vogue. But in those regards, printing a magazine is nothing next to rolling out an entirely new strategy of brand extension and enhancement in businesses that have little to do with publishing.

Still, Condé Nast has been plowing ahead with its plans to add bars, clubs, restaurants and even a fashion school in various high-profile locations around the world in order to provide completely new sources of revenues, to exploit its magazine and corporate brands in profitable new ways and to produce an ever-more-valuable offset to a traditional magazine-publishing business that—while still comprising a majority of Conde Nast's revenues—isn't a growth industry anymore.

"Our business can no longer be defined strictly as publishing, but takes the form of brand management," Jonathan Newhouse, chairman and CEO of Condé Nast International, told Business of Fashion. "We want to bring the experience of the publishing brands to end users in new forms in order to strengthen the brands and their relevance. Of course, we aim to do so profitably."Continue reading...

campaign tactics

Axe Saves Face With Skincare Line as Brand Gets Ready to Head to Space

Posted by Dale Buss on April 3, 2013 01:02 PM

The idea of launching the Axe Face Line with a Facebook promotion obviously was too literal. So the Unilever brand is launching its new line of facial-care products instead with a "Facescore" campaign on Tumblr as a social face-off, supported by ads running on various media websites — and, of course, a presence on Facebook too.

In doing so, Axe is entering a segment of the men's care business of the first time — a more challenging territory than when it had a fairly singular focus on helping young guys simply smell great so they could attract hordes of women.

The launch of the Axe Face Line—including a face wash, shave gel, and post-shave hydrator in four variants—also gives the brand a chance to circle back to promoting Unilever's "Astronaut" marketing platform for the Axe brand (and Lynx brand, in certain territories) grand giveaway of 22 trips to space in 2015.

"Research has shown that a majority of guys don't use facial cleanser; they reach for bar soaps or shampoos or other things to wash their face," Mark Link, Axe US brand manager for Unilever, told brandchannel. "We're launching [the Face line] to address their skincare needs."Continue reading...

sip on this

General Mills, Kellogg Compete for Liquid Breakfast Market

Posted by Dale Buss on March 4, 2013 06:22 PM

American ready-to-eat-cereal brands are coming along to help close the shrinking gap between breakfast solids and liquids with new "on-the-go" beverages aimed at helping Americans ingest the nutrition of a typical morning repast without having to sit at their kitchen tables to do so.

Kellogg plans to roll out its Breakfast To Go drink across the U.S. this year while General Mills has been testing a similar drink called BFast in Northeast markets. Both of them are milk-based but are fortified with fiber, more protein and other things that essentially give them the nutritional value of a bowl of cereal and milk. BFast relies on whole-grain quinoa and inulin, a root derivative for fiber, while Breakfast To Go includes whey-protein concentrate and soy-protein isolate.

"We're seeing a very good response to this," Kellogg CEO John Bryant said in a recent presentation, talking about the test of Breakfast To Go at a major retailer (it sells for $6/4 bottles at Walmart). "Still early days, but we see it as an opportunity to bring consumers in who otherwise would be skipping breakfast or skipping cereal and eating something else. So [it's] an opportunity for us to participate more in dashboard dining when it comes to a product that's actually hard to do that [with], traditional cereal."Continue reading...

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