The Week in China: Versace Wallpaper, Horse Meat, NZ Milk Scandals and more

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 22, 2013 12:57 PM

Above, a Coke and a smile are still the right stuff for the brand during China's Lunar New Year holiday. 

China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's 10 reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.

This week: Dwayne Wade visits the Bird's Nest... VW bump... stealing Coke's recipe... McDonald's... Versace wallpaper... poisonous fake mutton vs. horse meat... lobster... coffee beaneries... New Zealand's Chinese New Zealand milk... and more. Continue reading...

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With Soda Volume Down, Coca-Cola Pushes Teas And Low-Cal Drinks

Posted by Dale Buss on February 13, 2013 03:23 PM

Coca-Cola just wants to Open Happiness around the world, in keeping with its ongoing marketing theme, including rolling out a Valentine's Day video this week that was shot in New Zealand to thank its multitude of fans. It's just that global consumers haven't been as happy lately to open a Coke.

A slowdown in sales in Europe and China joined essentially stagnant sales in the United States to undermine Coke's fourth-quarter results. Global sales volume rose just three percent even as the beverage giant's earnings rose by 13 percent during the period.

Ongoing struggles in Europe were a main drag, with volume falling by five percent. Even sales in China, another key market, fell by four percent as Chinese consumers increasingly feel crimped. Meanwhile, the U.S., pushing an anemic economic recovery, yielded just a one percent sales gain during the quarter, though CEO Muhtar Kent said on Tuesday's earnings call that the American market "could get better."Continue reading...

super bowl

#SuperBranding: Pepsi Taps Funny or Die to Freeze Out Coke Super Bowl Push

Posted by Dale Buss on February 3, 2013 03:44 PM

This late in the game, General Motors isn't about to change its game plan for the Super Bowl: no ads during the game this time. But you can be sure GM marketing executives are planning to do everything but advertise during the Big Game.

In fact, GM is happy to stoke speculation about what exactly how it might be planning to hop on the Super Bowl bandwagon without actually running a commercial during the competition, a promise that former CMO Joel Ewanick made last spring before his departure — and one which, for whatever reasons, the company has kept. Some observers believe that GM could be planning to take a page from Pizza Hut with some sort of integration of its brands or products into the pre-game show on CBS. According to the Detroit News, GM has worked out a presence for the Chevrolet Corvette around the Pepsi-sponsored halftime show featuring Beyonce, who's been busy defending, rehearsing and promoting the halftime show. Chevy, meanwhile, quietly slipped a 2014 Corvette Stingray commercial onto its YouTube channel late last month.

In other late-breaking Super Bowl branding moves, the latest move in the Cola Wars (which has already seen SodaStream swatted by CBS): PepsiCo's Pepsi Next brand tweak Coca-Cola's Coke Chase Game Day campaign (with a hand from the wags at Funny or Die) above—and below, Coca-Cola's responses released online today.Continue reading...

super bowl

Super Bowl Ad Watch: QSR, Snack Brands Prepare for Their Peak Day

Posted by Dale Buss on February 1, 2013 04:51 PM

The Super Bowl is either an excuse for a phantasmagoria of purposeless eating, or the stage for a veritable symphony of snacking. Either way, QSR and CPG brands have been gearing up for Sunday for months — and not just in the game-day advertisements that are being run at great expense by Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Coke, Doritos, Wonderful Pistachios and other kings of Super Bowl consumption.

Take Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, for example, both owned by Yum! Brands. This week, Pizza Hut expanded its "Hut. Hut. Hut" Super Bowl campaign it's been promoting on Facebook by offering all Americans a free sample of its latest "product innovation" on Tuesday afternoon at any of its 6,200 U.S. locations. The chain wouldn't reveal the nature of this innovation but said it'll become apparent by being integrated into the content of CBS's pregame show. All that is necessary to activate this promotion is for one of the quarterbacks to yell "Hut!" during the game — which seems very likely.

On the Taco Bell side of the company, the brand plans to introduce the new Cantina Bell Steak Burrito in a pregame ad and, of course, already has released its Super Bowl ad featuring young-at-heart seniors. Copy at the end of the ad  points viewers to Taco Bell's Facebook page, where consumers can participate in a "Live Mas Monday" on Feb. 4, during which a free churro willl be given away with any purchase during regular storehours at U.S. locations.Continue reading...

super bowl

Super Bowl Ad Watch: Brands Hear Objections, But Keep to Their Game Plans

Posted by Dale Buss on February 1, 2013 02:35 PM

The deluge of early looks at Super Bowl ads, both entire spots and teasers, has helped brands generate lots of buzz online and elsewhere long before Sunday. And in terms of creating brand presence before the Big Game that didn't used to occur, it's hard to argue with that strategy.

But the tidal wave of sneak peeks and January reveals also has allowed early germination of inevitable controversies. Whether the publicity created by those whirlwinds has been good or bad for the brands and their overall Super Bowl branding efforts probably falls under the usual maxim of PR: "as long as you spell my name right." has always bared everything in its Super Bowl ads, so there's no surprise in the controversy over one of its two ads released this week. It's an up-close and personal look at a brief make-out session between supermodel Bar Refaeli and actor Jesse Heiman — something about small business scoring.Continue reading...

super bowl

Super Bowl Ad Watch: Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd Start Pitching

Posted by Dale Buss on January 31, 2013 12:02 PM

One of the dangers for brands in releasing Super Bowl ads and teasers early is that it allows the criticism to start early as well.

That's what various brands are facing even before kickoff of the Big Game, as Coca-Cola is the latest brand feeling the heat over its pre-Game teaser. Coke is getting criticized for its depiction of Arabs in its desert-set spot, above, while Volkswagen undergoes more examination of the Jamaican accents of the white characters in its "Get Happy" spot.

In other game-related brand developments leading into Sunday's big game, Samsung just released its Super Bowl ad teaser, "El Plato Supreme," featuring Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd pitching their ideas for Samsung's Big Game ad: "The Next Big Thing," a 2-minute spot directed by Jon Favreau, that will air during the 4th quarter of Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday. This is the second year Samsung Mobile has an ad running during the Super Bowl:Continue reading...

super bowl

Super Bowl Ad Watch: Crowdsourcing Peaks with Coke's 'Mirage' Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on January 22, 2013 02:58 PM

Coca-Cola is taking the crowdsourcing bent of Super Bowl advertising to the next level with its just-announced "Mirage" campaign for Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3, with a story arc that will rely on social media input from viewers to determine the ending.

The brand's effort also promises a great in-game marketing battle with Pepsi, which is sponsoring the halftime show. And just for good measure, Coke also will be repeating its anti-obesity ad on Super Bowl Sunday.

Coke previewed creative and discussed its strategy for the Super Bowl on Tuesday with journalists and bloggers, as marketing executives vowed that the brand's socially-focused effort would surpass the success of last year's "Polar Bears" campaign. In it, viewers collectively dictated the animated bears' responses to game action and even to other brands' commercials.Continue reading...

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Draw of Dairy Leads Coca-Cola To Invest in Core Power Recovery-Drink Line

Posted by Dale Buss on December 4, 2012 03:33 PM

The siren song — or is that a moo? — of dairy drinks continues to draw America's soft-drink giants deeper into investments in milk-based products. Coca-Cola has today announced an equity investment in a new company that has been formed to market Core Power, a dairy-based recovery brand that the company began distributing a few months ago.

In fact, Coke said, through the newly created Fair Oaks Farms Brands, it plans to help "drive growth and expansion of Core Power and to create an innovative portfolio of brands and products that feature the value-added nutrition of dairy." Fair Oaks Farms and Select Milk Producers, Coke's partners in the new venture, came up with Core Power, and the high protein recover shake brand is run by former Coca-Cola executive Steve Jones.Continue reading...

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