Posted by Dale Buss on December 3, 2012 05:17 PM
As anyone who spends two minutes on YouTube, Buzzfeed or I Can Has Cheeseburger? knows, you can't go wrong with pet videos. P&G's brand stewards at Iams were hardly surprised at the response they got when they asked consumers to select on Facebook their favorite heart-tugging true stories about pets' relationships with their owners, and then aired the winners as TV ads beginning today.
The Procter & Gamble brand, which falls under its P&G Pet Care division along with sister pet food brand Eukanuba, invited its Facebook fans, for the first time ever, to vote on five commercials based on true stories to choose the pair (one dog story, one cat story) that would air first by asking them to "like," "share" and "comment" on the stories that most moved them.
"At Iams, we trust our fans and value their opinions a great deal, so we wanted to give them an opportunity to participate in choosing our next commercial," Iams brand general manager Ondrea Francy said in a press release about the new "Keep Love Strong" campaign.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 30, 2012 12:25 PM
Earlier this year, Procter & Gamble moved the global headquarters of its beauty and baby-care business and the Pampers brand to Singapore from corporate headquarters in Cincinnati. Now, the CPG giant wants to make Singapore its worldwide capital for manufacturing of water-purification products.
In fact, P&G has just announced a lofty goal for the Purifier of Water plant that it is scaling up in Singapore: to cleanse enough drinking water to "save one life every hour by 2020" somewhere on the planet. The powder is a mini water purification plant in a packet. The small packets, when stirred into water, causes heavy metals, dirt and parasites to bind together then fall to the bottom of the container. Strained through a filter cloth and after 20 minutes, the water is drinkable.
P&G has been distributing these packets in more than 65 countries since 2004, attacking the global scarcity of potable water and raising awareness about the problem. Now it's increasing its investment in this commitment with its Singapore plant opening. "We've taken [P&G] innovation power and focused on one of our world's biggest challenges, clean drinking water, a lack of which takes the lives of thousands of children every day," stated P&G CEO Bob McDonald.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 27, 2012 02:54 PM
ConAgra Foods has finally bagged its long-sought corporate prey, announcing today its agreement to acquire Ralcorp Holdings for about $5 billion.
The companies' union — which ConAgra CEO Gary Rodkin has been trying to consummate for 20 months — will create one of the largest packaged-food companies in North America, with total combined sales of about $18 billion.
But more important, it expands ConAgra's penetration in the growing private-label market at the same time that it offers more hope for retail growth by ConAgra brands — including Chef Boyardee, Hunt's, Healthy Choice, Orville Redenbacher's and Banquet — that, while well known, tend to be second- and third-tier marques. As ConAgra's FAQ on the deal notes,
The acquisition of Ralcorp will add to ConAgra Foods’ existing $950 million private label business to create the largest private label business in North America, with approximately $4.5 billion in combined private label sales, and a strong platform for sustainable, profitable growth over the long term. The two companies’ portfolios are a complementary fit, with very little overlap in terms of offerings. Ralcorp’s leading private label offerings include cereal, pasta, crackers, jellies and jams, syrups, frozen waffles, and more.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 26, 2012 02:02 PM
Kraft Foods executives have promised to breathe new life into the stable of venerable — some would say hoary — brands that they inherited in the breakup of Kraft this year. And it looks like JELL-O is getting a lot of the early attention.
JELL-O gelatin and puddings have been fading lately, the brand's performance a far cry from when Bill Cosby flogged JELL-O in now-iconic TV commercials. Only 10 percent of Americans say they have eaten gelatin in the past two weeks, down from 15 percent in 1998, according to market researchers NPD Group as cited in Crain's Chicago Business. New snacks and indulgences such as Greek-style yogurt, and versatile foods that can serve as desserts such as granola and nutrition bars, have cut into JELL-O's turf, largely because it was under-marketed in recent years.
Not even the tough economy of the last few years has revived JELL-O, despite the fact that its products are inexpensive.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Shirley Brady on November 21, 2012 05:59 PM
As expected, following the failure of a court-ordered mediation at the 11th hour, Hostess Brands is moving ahead with liquidating the 82-year-old company and its assets, and laying off about 15,000 of its 18,500 employees. According to the company's statement today following the preliminary court hearing today:
Hostess Brands is winding down the Company after a nationwide strike initiated by the BCTGM that commenced on November 9th crippled its operations at a time when the Company lacked the financial resources to survive a significant labor action.
Among other provisions, the Court order allows Hostess Brands to return excess ingredients and packaging; provides liquidity through an amended debtor-in-possession financing agreement and consensual use of cash collateral; and authorizes the Company to implement a non-executive employee retention plan to ensure the Company has the necessary personnel to implement the wind down.
Hostess Brands said it intends to retain approximately 3,200 employees to assist with the initial phase of the wind down. Employee headcount is expected to decrease by 94% within the first 16 weeks of the wind down. The entire process is expected to be completed in one year.
The wind down was necessitated by an inflated cost structure that put the Company at a profound competitive disadvantage. The biggest component of the Company’s costs was its collective bargaining agreements that covered 15,000 of 18,500 employees.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on November 20, 2012 05:02 PM
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the president of the bakers union in court-ordered mediation with Hostess Brands said he's "not too optimistic" that a settlement will be reached or the company's liquidation plan (now adjourned to 11 a.m. EST on Wednesday) reversed:
In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union President Frank Hurt, who’s not attending the mediation being held in New York Tuesday afternoon, said he’s heard "not a word" about how the talks are going. But he doesn’t think a deal will be reached to head off the Twinkie maker’s liquidation because his members aren’t prepared to take the labor concessions Hostess says it needs to survive.
Will brand loyalists have more success convincing President Obama to nationalize Twinkies — or will Pabst ride to the rescue and save Twinkie the Kid? Stay tuned.
Update: The announcement that mediation failed came at 7:08 p.m. ET: "Hostess Brands Inc. announced today that a mediation today with the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers Union was unsuccessful. The Company will have no further comment until a hearing scheduled for tomorrow at 11 a.m., EST, before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York"
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 19, 2012 04:46 PM
Urban legend has it that Twinkies have an endless shelf life, but the folks at Hostess Brands didn’t have to worry about that this weekend. After the announcement came Friday that the company was going to shut down, Twinkies and all of the other baked goods cranked out by the company flew off store shelves this weekend. And some of them started showing up on eBay at ridiculously high prices. A ten-count box of Twinkies was listed with an opening bid of $200,000.
That price should be coming down because now the news comes that Twinkies may get to keep appearing on store shelves for a while to come. According to Reuters, Hostess, its lenders and the unions representing its striking workers reportedly "agreed to start mediation hearings on Tuesday at the urging of a bankruptcy court judge. A hearing on Monday during which the bankrupt maker of Twinkies snack cakes and Wonder Bread was set to ask for permission to liquidate was quickly adjourned until Wednesday after the judge urged the parties to mediate in private." Production remains shut down, as Hostess noted on its business site.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 19, 2012 03:54 PM
Procter & Gamble invented modern marketing, some would argue, in its 175 years. And now the company is hoping to reinvent it by leveraging digital assets, boosting marketing productivity and more narrowly focusing on the company's key brands in their most important markets.
As the company continues to come up off the mat from its criticized performance earlier this year, CEO Bob McDonald hasn't let his foot off the gas — or let up on his determination to continue to overhaul P&G so that it doesn't get caught flat-footed again.
During an analysts' presentation last week, McDonald said that P&G plans to cut more than twice as many non-manufacturing jobs as it already had planned, a further sign that McDonald continues to heed analyst and investor criticism over the company's bloated cost structure.Continue reading...