sip on this

Critics Make a Dent in Coke's Can as Brand Steps Up Health Marketing

Posted by Dale Buss on July 31, 2014 04:04 PM

Things aren't going well for Coca-Cola these days. While the company still returned $47 billion in profits last year, that amount was down by more than $1 billion from 2012.

That may not seem like much of a problem, but as newly chronicled in places ranging from the cover of the new issue of Bloomberg Businessweek to a prominent story in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, minting profits—and sales—for Coca-Cola no longer is as simple as filling another bottle or can. The company and, especially, the brand are being hit with unprecedented resistance these days that is so stiff, some worry it ultimately could be existential for Coca-Cola.

Consumption of soda globally fell in the first quarter for the first time since 1999, though they rebounded in the second quarter; and the consumption slide continues in the US as the brand remains under assault from anti-obesity activists and politicians for its sugar and calorie content, while Diet Coke increasingly is suffering attrition as well because of concerns about aspartame. Meanwhile, new beverage startups in the flavored water and tea categories in which Coke has invested aren’t growing quickly enough to offset the continued losses in soda consumption.Continue reading...

cola wars

Pepsi, Coke Fight It Out for the Soft Drink Market—Or What’s Left of It

Posted by Dale Buss on June 3, 2014 03:42 PM

While anti-soft drink activists are preparing to dance on soda’s grave at the upcoming National Soda Summit this week, the industry’s biggest players, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, continue to fight furiously.

No less a personage than PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi has recently admitted that the category looks moribund, noting at a recent industry conference that company executives anticipated the decline of the carbonated soft drink market three years ago. Of course that was also the time when Nooyi was accused by shareholders of allowing the Pepsi brand to slump voluntarily.

“It may never be the high levels of consumption [of soft drinks] that we had when we were young,” Nooyi said. “The new consumers have too many choices that they are playing around with.”

However, Nooyi said, “I actually think there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring the consumer back” to the category by providing lower sugar levels and avoiding artificial sweeteners. That is why Pepsi has worked hard to bring alternative sweeteners to its drinks even though one of the first big possibilities, stevia, doesn’t work well, in Nooyi's opinion.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Alibaba, Airbnb, HP and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 7, 2014 09:12 AM


Brands to Watch

Alibaba files for U.S. IPO that is expected to be record-breaking.

Airbnb hires Coca-Cola's Jonathan Mildenhall as CMO.

Fiat Chrysler five-year plan elevates Chrysler brand, downplays Dodge.

HP invests $1 billion in cloud computing.

Twitter stockholders sold massively as lockup expired; stock price plunges.


AOL acquires consumer-tracking platform.

Coca-Cola lifts lid on agency bonuses for cutting-edge work and drops "You're On..." tagline for Diet Coke.Continue reading...

sip on this

Sliding Coca-Cola Sales Apparently Cost Job of Coke's Americas Chief

Posted by Dale Buss on December 13, 2013 03:49 PM

Steve Cahillane has been sidelined in the horserace to succeed Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent, with the president of Coca-Cola Americas leaving the company as Coke restructures management yet again. It appears that slowing soda sales in the US nixed Cahillane's chances for the company's top job.

It was just a year ago that Coke streamlined its management to set up an apparent contest between Cahillane and the new head of the rest of the world, Ahmet Bozer, to succeed Kent someday; he's been CEO since 2008. Bozer now has been installed as a clear No. 2 to Kent, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In its moves this week, Coke also said that it would divide North American duties into a job overseeing corporate North American operations that will be occupied by Sandy Douglas, who will also continue as global chief customer officer, and a North American bottling portion that will be overseen by Paul Mulligan, who had been in charge of bottling investments in Japan and Latin America.Continue reading...

sip on this

Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent Steers Ship Through Positive Third Quarter

Posted by Dale Buss on October 16, 2013 10:53 AM

Buffeted by what CEO Muhtar Kent called "headwinds" and aided by "tailwinds" around the world, Coca-Cola reported a good but not great third quarter and vowed once again to meet its target of doubling 2010 revenues by 2020.

Meanwhile, PepsiCo today reported a 1.5 percent revenue increase for the period while US beverage sales slid by 2 percent.

While much of the attention to the Coke brand these days is how marketers wrangle with the obesity issue, sales of the globe's leading soft-drink brand still grew 2 percent by volume during the period. About 70 percent of the company's sales are soft drinks.

Overall sales volumes including non-soda drinks such as teas and bottled waters grew by 2 percent in the United States. But it was emerging economies that gave Coca-Cola enough momentum to post a 4 percent rise in earnings per share for the period, in line with analysts' expectations.Continue reading...

movers and shakers

Marc Jacobs Bids Adieu to Louis Vuitton to Focus on Own Brand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 2, 2013 02:43 PM

American designer Marc Jacobs has been at the helm of Paris-based Louis Vuitton for 16 years, but on the final day of Paris Fashion Week, he's made it pretty clear that he will be ending his run in order to focus on his own eponymous brand and take it public, confirming rumors that have been swirling around the industry for weeks.

But while the 50-year-old Jacobs won't be leading the age-old fashion house, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy will remain in close contact since it owns a large stake in Jacobs' own brand. 

"We're doing what's good for Marc and the future of his company," Louis Vuitton Chief Executive Michael Burke told the Wall Street Journal. "Marc's wish is to take it to the next level." The IPO will come sometime in the next three years.Continue reading...

brand battle

Responding to Diet Coke's Sales Slide, Coke Reassures Safety of Aspartame

Posted by Dale Buss on August 15, 2013 10:47 AM

Coca-Cola continues to adjust its defensive crouch with the publication of a new ad meant to shore up consumer confidence in the artificial sweeteners in its diet drinks.

Regular Coke sales were down by 2 percent in the first half, continuing a long slide. But it turns out that it's not just sugary soft drinks Americans are growing uncomfortable about; it's diet drinks as well. Though switching to Diet Coke is a typical gambit by those who want fewer calories but don't want to give up Coca-Cola altogether, sales of the company's diet sodas actually fell 6 percent by volume during the first half, three times the rate of decline for its regular drinks.

Coke's research determined that consumer hesitance over aspartame, the sweetener in Diet Coke, is largely to blame even though the chemical sweetener has been around for decades. Still, Nutritionists and consumer advocates are raising doubts about the long-term effects of aspartame.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Apple, Google, Volkswagen and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 3, 2013 09:15 AM

In the News

Apple dodges $9 billion in US taxes with bond deal.

Google named Advertiser of the Year

Volkswagen makes $10 million donation to the National Mall.

Adidas sales drop on weakening Reebok brand.

Barnes & Noble begins support of Google apps on Nook.

Beam sales rise because of "formula run" on Maker's Mark.

Diet Coke slims down its vending machines.

Ford adds jobs and raises capacity to make pick-up trucks.

Geritol seeks new life with younger consumers.

Huffington Post brings rapid-response "native" ads to its home page.Continue reading...

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