brands with a cause

Coke Brands World Peace with "Open Happiness" Machines

Posted by Dale Buss on March 15, 2013 01:17 PM

Coca-Cola has been getting very serious about its "Open Happiness" campaign. Now it may even be ready to try to beat swords into plowshares—or at least into vending machines.

Ad Age reports that a big announcement "is coming soon" about a "major project" for the brand, possibly involving vending machines that will virtually connect consumers in India and Pakistan, two countries that long have had sectarian, sometimes bloody, differences. As depicted in a teaser video that Coke released in December, the machines would use video technology so that users in the two countries could see each other and "touch hands virtually," the magazine reported.

"The idea," Ad Age continued, "is that it could roll out to various countries in conflict."Continue reading...

sip on this

Bad News for Big Soda: U.S. Water Consumption Passes Cola

Posted by Dale Buss on March 13, 2013 06:03 PM

Bottled water has gone from a fringe product for suspicious purists to one of the most popular drinks in America, while soda's frailties as a beverage finally seem to be catching up with it.

These trends were formally recognized this week when Beverage Digest reported that Americans now drink an average of about 58 gallons of water per year, an increase of 38 percent from 1998. 15 years ago, U.S. consumption of soft drinks peaked, according to the publication, at 54 gallons of soda per year; consumption since then has dropped by 17 percent, to 44 gallons of soda per year.

All of that is welcome news to nutritionists who've been—successfully, it seems—telling the public about the empty calories in soft drinks and castigating Coke, Pepsi, Dr Pepper and the like as one of the (if you believe a certain mayor) biggest villains in the nation's war on obesity. There's a reason that Mike Bloomberg has targeted soft drinks for his big-sugary-beverage ban in the Big Apple, even though many disagree with his tactics.Continue reading...

sip on this

Coca-Cola Launches Anti-Obesity Ads in U.K.

Posted by Dale Buss on March 7, 2013 02:11 PM

Coca-Cola is getting more serious about its anti-obesity efforts, and the U.K. is the newest market on the receiving end. Coke began airing ads about "energy balance" and calorie content in Great Britain last evening and, among other steps, has replaced Sprite across the country with a new reduced-calorie version of Sprite that is sweetened by Stevia.

The actions, of course, follow on the advertising that Atlanta-based Coke aired in the U.S. earlier this year as part of its campaign to get consumers to "Be OK" with the simple equation that weight loss or gain is determined by calories consumed plus physical activity.

In Coke's first spot on U.K. television on Wednesday, titled "Coming Together," the company reminded viewers "that all calories count in managing weight, including those in Coca-Cola's products and brands," as the company said on its Web site.

Continue reading...

sip on this

Not So Innocent: Coke Gets Complaints in Europe as it Bolsters Middle East Presence

Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2013 02:18 PM

Coca-Cola keeps moving forward with global consolidation as it swallows up the remaining stake of a juice brand in Europe and launches two new brand platforms in the Middle East.

In Europe, Coca-Cola is moving to acquire almost all of the 40 percent of Innocent Drinks that it didn't already own after raising its stake in stages beginning in 2009. Innocent makes smoothies, juices and other healthy foods and has been a rising better-for-you brand in Europe, building its brand equity on corporate "innocence."

Will Innocent and Coke face a European-consumer backlash over the brand's now-complete dependence on a well-known multinational company that some say isn't quite so innocent? After all, it's recently come under new criticism by Oxfam over allegely unethical practices.Continue reading...


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...

sip on this

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...

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