brands under fire

McDonald's is the Miller Lite of the Craft Beer Market—And That's a Problem

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 22, 2014 06:27 PM

10 years ago, reasonable people wondered if the hit film Super-Size Me would be the death of McDonald's, with the film's last lines inviting the chain's demise: "Who do you want to see go first? You… or them?" Nothing could have been further from the truth.

The Golden Arches deftly used the film to introduce a "healthier" menu (including apple slices with Happy Meals), essentially marketing itself out of the dilemma. Moreover, Super-Size Me's pursuit to make a point as unsubtle as possible gave rise to imitators who declared exactly opposite results, like an Iowan biology teacher who made headlines last year after losing 37 pounds eating only McDonald's for three months.

Today, McDonald's biggest detractor on nutrition is the 10-year-old Hannah Robertson, who first confronted CEO Don Thompson last year at the brand's annual shareholders meeting, asking him why the chain "tricks" kids into eating there. The adorable, plucky kid was an instant sensation and an excellent conduit through which parents could place blame for their kids' poor eating habits. But with consecutive quarters of U.S. sales declines, McDonald's probably wishes it was merely facing another Super-Size Me problem. But the situation facing McDonald's today is far more challenging—and multitiered.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Burberry, GM, Target and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 21, 2014 09:02 AM

TOP 5 STORIES

Brands to Watch

Burberry posts record results as Christopher Bailey settles in as CEO with Japanese expansion, digital efficiency and e-commerce tests on Amazon and China's Tmall.

eBay reports cyberattack and asks users to change passwords.

GM, still reeling from PR crisis, recalls another 2.4 million cars and restructures legal team.

JPMorgan Chase invests $100M in Detroit, denies it's a PR campaign.

Target quarterly earnings: less dismal than anticipated, though profits slide.

MORE BRAND NEWS:

adidas reveals collection with Rita Ora.

Campbell's Soup lowers 2014 outlook.Continue reading...

brandcameo

The A,B,Cs of Branded Entertainment with Apple, Barbie, Chipotle (and more)

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 16, 2014 01:23 PM

A is for Apple, B is for Buzz Marketing, C is for Captain America 2: With the departure of product placement legend Suzanne Lindbergh, who joined Jawbone last year and just signed on as global VP of buzz marketing at AOL, Apple has posted a job opening to take over some of those duties as Buzz Marketing Manager. Duties include "Build and maintain relationships with high-profile influencers" and "work with the creative side of film & TV to place Apple products." Such as arranging opportunities like the Apple Store scene in recent hit film Captain America 2 (above).

Have your Chipotle with Malcolm Gladwell, Toni Morrison or Michael Lewis: In its new campaign, cups and bags at the chain will feature short stories by famous authors so you can feed your mind with great writing while eating. Crazier still, the whole thing was the idea of Chipotle fan and best-selling novelist Jonathan Safran Foer.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Red Lobster, Comcast, Pinterest and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 16, 2014 09:13 AM

TOP 5 STORIES

Brands to Watch

As contentious net neutrality proposal gets FCC greenlightComcast tightens data limits and firms up new "SpinCo" unit.

Red Lobster is sold by Darden for $2.1 billion.

Pinterest funding round brings valuation to $5 billion.

GM agrees to pay "substantial fine" over switch recall.

Microsoft celebrates Nokia acquisition with stylish brand book, and gets ready to reveal new Surface tablet.

ALSO IN THE NEWS:

Abbot Labs to buy CFR Pharmaceuticals for $2.9 billion.

Barclays stars in London Pride event's first ad campaign.

Cadbury's Dairy Milk touts ice cream in the UK with #freezethejoy push.

CBS unveils plans for 24-hour digital news channel.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: NYT, Dixons Carphone, McDonald's and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 15, 2014 08:28 AM

TOP 5 STORIES

Brands to Watch

The New York Times ousts its first female executive editor as Le Monde's female top editor resigns.

Dixons and Carphone Warehouse to merge in the UK as Dixons Carphone.

McDonald's, Burger King and other fast food brands brace for walkouts across U.S. and globally.

Univision and T-Mobile partner on co-branded Hispanic wireless service.

Walmart profit hit by severe winter weather as Asda unit restructures and warehouse workers win back pay.

ALSO IN THE NEWS:

Amazon wants to charge more for "access to its pipes."

Apple and Samsung compete for "atom-thick patents" as Apple's Beats deal may be announced next week.

Beefeater celebrates modern London with limited-edition packaging.

BMW and Toyota's Lexus reportedly partner on "supercar."Continue reading...

campaign tactics

Taco Bell CMO's Goal: To Boldly Disrupt (and Egg On Rivals)

Posted by Dale Buss on May 2, 2014 01:01 PM

Taco Bell wasn't done trying to shake things up in the fast-food business with its launch of those cheeky breakfast ads starring real-life citizens named Ronald McDonald.

Now the Yum!-owned brand is redoubling efforts behind its new breakfast menu, planning another Doritos Locos Tacos rollout—and even testing a fast-casual concept meant at unsettlling Chipotle.

After an initial push that finally gave real-life Ronalds a comeback to years of bad jokes—while underscoring Taco Bell's seriousness about taking on the McDonald's breakfast juggernaut—the brand is back with new ads that tweak the Golden Arches in a different way.Continue reading...

chew on this

McDonald's Continues Global Decline as it Pins Hopes On New Menu Items

Posted by Dale Buss on March 11, 2014 12:58 PM

McDonald's just introduced a Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich and is testing new McCafe Petite Pastries for breakfast. But will either product save the chain's dough?

That's not likely after McDonald's posted the fourth consecutive month of declines in US same-store sales, a 1.4-percent drop in the market that the brand blamed on "challenging industry dynamics" as well as the severe winter weather that has slowed much of the American economy.

Neither is McDonald's offsetting its sluggish US performance with strong overseas sales as it once was capable of doing. Globally, sales declined 0.3 percent at locations open at least 13 months in February. In a region encompassing the Middle East, Africa and Asia, sales declined by 2.6 percent; there also was weakness in Japan and Australia. McDonald's said a change in the timing of the Chinese New Year also was a problem.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Chili's Heeds the Chipotle Effect As It Deploys Five Counter-Strategies

Posted by Dale Buss on March 10, 2014 02:16 PM

Chipotle has heavy footsteps. They've been haunting McDonald's and other fast-food outlets. Now it's Chili's that is heeding the effect of the fast-growing "other" Mexican-food brand.

Chili's now is trying to outflank competition from fast-casual chains such as Chipotle and Panera, Guy Constant, CFO of parent Brinker International, indicated to an industry conference this week—and it has been launching five major initiatives to do so.

First, the chain is refreshing its look with a system-wide rebranding of company-owned US locations, to be completed in fiscal 2015, according to Food Business News. Second, Chili's is increasing media spend where the brand had lost its share of voice, particularly national TV.Continue reading...

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