Posted by Dale Buss on March 6, 2012 06:16 PM
If you didn't know that McDonald's has overhauled its iconic Happy Meal in the interests of better nutrition for kids, you soon will.
The chain begins USA-wide exposure on Wednesday of new TV commercials touting the more healthful Happy Meal, introducing a new cast of back-to-the-farm friendly characters (a boy and his goat) that are putting Hamburglar and Mayor McCheese out to pasture, apparently for good.
In response to pressure from First Lady Michelle Obama on down, McDonald's has evolved the Happy Meal into a more healthful repast that includes more better-for-you elements. Last summer, the company announced the changes that it is rolling out nationally in the Happy Meal this spring, including the provision of apple slices and a kid-size portion of fries as standard features.
So now, of course, it is time to market these changes as only McDonald's can — and not just in the US.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 6, 2012 01:25 PM
Scholastic is going digital. The world's largest children's book publisher is digitizing the bulk of its titles and releasing its first e-reading app, called Storia. While many trade publishers are reaching 20% in digital revenue, the kids’ e-book market is stuck at about 5%, and Scholastic is eager to change all that.
The Storia app, free to download with a beta version available today, offers about 1,300 e-books and multimedia e-books with popular series including “Clifford the Big Red Dog” and “Ready, Freddy!” available in digital format for the first time. It's designed for children ages 3-14 and currently available for PC tablets, with versions for iPad and iPhone and Android devices coming soon.
According to PaidContent, Storia's titles can be sorted by grade level, reading level, age and character/series, and enriched e-books “use word games, story interactions, and animation to deeply draw your young reader in, further developing confidence and critical thinking skills.”Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on February 28, 2012 03:28 PM
IHOP celebrates its seventh annual National Pancake Day across the U.S. today, hoping to raise up to $3 million for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities. Laura Kaeppeler, the 2012 Miss America, is one of the celebrities (with NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young) helping to give away a short stack of Buttermilk Pancakes in one of America's biggest annual customer appreciation and corporate philanthropic efforts.
Children's Miracle Network showed its appreciation for IHOP's fundraising efforts (nearly $8 million raised since 2006) on its blog today, where it comments that "we always hear about the warm feeling IHOP visitors get when they make a donation to our U.S. hospitals before heading back out for their day."
IHOP also is giving kids free seeds as part of its sponsorship of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, which is likely to be the new #1 movie after this weekend:Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on February 28, 2012 02:25 PM
As McDonald's promotes its produce suppliers and expands the availability of its lower-calorie Happy Meal kids' combo meals across America, lopping off 20% of the calories if kids eat the packaged apple slices instead of French fries, the fast-food giant is rolling out its first national TV commercial (there's also a Spanish-language version) to promote the healthier option.
As noted here last year, "The new Happy Meal includes both apple slices and a new, smaller serving of French fries, and the beverage choice will include a new fat-free chocolate milk as well as 1% low-fat white milk. The company noted in its announcement that it has offered apple slices as an option in Happy Meals since 2004 — and that 88% of customers know about the option, but only 11% choose the slices."
sip on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 24, 2012 11:11 AM
The world’s financial situation hasn’t been too stellar in recent years and plenty of consumers have been cutting back on the little extras of life. One continued cause for concern has been what will happen in emerging markets.
“Brazil got overheated, slowed down and is starting to come back,” Gary Fayard, the company's CFO, stated this week at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference, FT.com reports. “In general, if you look at developing and emerging countries, we’re not seeing significant shifts.”
In its most recent quarter, Coke reported “flat sales volumes in Brazil,” which worried analysts, the Financial Times reports. And Coke hasn’t been overspending in those markets either, the FT points out: “Coke had about $10bn in cash offshore last year, including $3bn in Brazil.”Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on January 27, 2012 01:36 PM
British media and bloggers are claiming that British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has stared down McDonald's about its use of what he has called "pink slime" in its burgers sold in America.
Oliver, who has been taking on school boards, local officials and the British government over nutrition, has made a long-running campaign of stopping McDonald's USA from using ammonium hydroxide as an ingredient in a beef filler for hamburgers, calling it not fit for a dog, according to the U.K.'s Daily Mail.
Long a fixture of culinary entertainment, with his own magazine and media empire, Oliver made a big deal of his opposition to the stuff before ABC canceled his show, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, last spring following its second season, after he also took a swing at McDonald's Chicken McNuggets in addition to its hamburger patty ingredients (watch below).
For its part, McDonald's U.S. denied that Oliver had forced its hand about pulling ammonium hydroxide. "At McDonald's, food safety has been and will continue to be a top priority," the company told brandchannel in a prepared statement, quoting Todd Bacon, the company's aptly-named senior director of quality systems for supply-chain management.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 5, 2012 05:01 PM
Merck & Co.’s HIV-fighting drug Isentress has been on the market for adults since October of 2007. Now the FDA is letting Merck market the product to children and teens, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Isentress is what’s known as an “HIV integrase inhibitors,” that “work(s) by interfering with the virus's ability to replicate itself,” the Journal notes.
U.S. clinical trials were done with the drug on 96 children and teens between the ages of 2 and 18 years old with HIV. It “found that 53% of these patients had an undetectable amount of HIV in their blood after 24 weeks of treatment with the drug,” WSJ adds.
Merck also is joining five other drug manufacturers to provide discounts on HIV drugs to state drug-assistance programs, according to FiercePharma.com. Starting this week, Merck is discounting Isentress through 2013 to help out the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors.
"With the economy the way it is, there are many more people without jobs and many more people who are qualifying for the programs," said Murray Penner, the organization's deputy executive director. "The need has ballooned."
Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences, Boehringer Ingelheim and the Pfizer/GlaxoSmithKline joint venture ViiV Healthcare have all also discounted drugs for the state programs.
Posted by Abe Sauer on November 14, 2011 11:59 AM
One of the top contenders for the title of Children's Film of the 2012 Holiday Season is Arthur Christmas. An Aardman production for Sony Pictures Animation, the cross between The Polar Express and Megamind is a fast-paced, lively bit of family fun that looks at such seasonal quandaries as how does Santa deliver 2 billion plus packages in one night?
Not surprising, the film — which opens on Nov. 23 — boasts a number of brand tie-ins, including Toys R Us and UPS, which is teaming with the movie's marketers in a cross-promotion to benefit the Toys for Tots literacy program. One brand that came out of movie tie-in retirement to join Arthur Christmas was Denny's. We spoke with Denny’s vice president of marketing about why the brand teamed with this film after a six year hiatus from the big screen.Continue reading...