checking in

IKEA and Marriott Team Up to Launch Millennial-Friendly Budget Hotel Chain

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 5, 2013 03:12 PM

Inter IKEA, the parent of IKEA, announced last summer that it was partnering with a hotelier to create a new hotel brand that oddly wouldn’t feature any of the Swedish furniture maker’s products. It’s now been confirmed at the Berlin International Hotel Investment Forum that Marriott is the partner and Moxy will be the name of the new affordable hotel chain, which plans to open 150 locations across Europe in the next decade.

“Moxy Hotels is the essence of the next generation traveler, not only Gen X and Y but people with a younger sensibility, for whom contemporary style is paramount,” said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International in a press release. “Every aspect of the hotel was thoughtfully researched and crafted to reflect and deliver on the changing lifestyles and expectations of this fast-growing customer segment.” 

According to TravelBite, this will be Marriott’s first budget brand in Europe. Fifty of those locations should be up and running in the next five years and Inter IKEA will be ponying up $500 million to help out, the Wall Street Journal reports. While the hotels won’t use IKEA furniture, the company has found a way to keep construction costs down in a different way: “Many of the hotels will use rooms prefabricated offsite and then assembled like IKEA furniture, a modular type of construction that is new for Marriott.”Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Taco Bell, Bird's Eye Latest to Get Sucked Into Horse Meat Scandal

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 1, 2013 04:38 PM

The horse meat scandal is spreading across Europe, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Dominican Republic, seizing media attention and making retailers and consumers squeamish at the thought of what could be in their meat.

Four beef products sold by Bird's Eye, Taco Bell and catering supplier Brakes have been found to contain horse DNA as the Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) conducts a third wave of tests.

An aptly titled article, "Having a cow over chow," asks, “What is it about horses? Over in Europe, everyone is happily munching on frozen lasagnas and shop-bought meals from various supermarkets, knowing it has all kinds of dodgy cuts of beef in it. But when it emerges they contain horse meat, everybody gags…Consumers need to ask themselves: When you buy something cheap, why is it so cheap? The answer is often uncomfortable to swallow.”

The FSA is asking retailers to test beef products for the presence of more than 1 percent of horse meat. Specific products in the headlines include Birds Eye's Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese and Beef Lasagna (removed by the company from store shelves last week), Brakes' Spicy Beef Skewer and Taco Bell's ground beef.

"Once we learned of this issue, we immediately voluntarily tested our product for our three Taco Bell restaurants in the UK,” said a spokesperson for the company, which has posted a response to the horse meat crisis on its UK website. "Based on that testing, we learned ingredients supplied to us from one supplier in Europe tested positive for horse meat."Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Nestlé CEO Speaks Out About Sustainability, Horse Meat Scandal

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 28, 2013 11:27 AM

In what seems like impeccable timing, Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke delivered a sustainability-focused keynote at the annual City Food Lecture in the U.K., ultimately challenging the accusations made about the company in a damning Oxfam report earlier this week. 

The speech, which focused on the escalating perils of water scarcity, outlined that fresh water overuse poses a serious environmental, political and social hazard. Water is an issue near and dear to his heart, as the Swiss company is the world's No. 3 producer of bottled water, and looking to expand in water-constrained markets such as China.

“It is anticipated that there will be up to 30% shortfalls in global cereal production by 2030 due to water scarcity,” he said. “This is a loss equivalent to the entire grain crops of India and the United States combined.”  What's more, he added, “We could produce what we produce today with half the water we use.” 

In his address, Bulcke cited his company’s reduction of water usage by a third with 1,200 agronomists working with Nestlé to better manage its water use. Bulcke also commented that consumer acceptance of misshapen fruit and vegetables is necessary to cut waste of food products, as well as spoke out against the fuel industry for using food crops to create biofuels. 

Bulcke also took the opportunity to further address the horse meat crisis affecting retailers such as IKEA and manufacturers in Europe, a crisis that compelled Nestle to pull some food products off store shelves last week. “Widespread fraud is being committed by a few across Europe. I understand that many consumers and many of you in the industry feel misled, I feel the same. This should not happen, it is unforgivable. We have let our consumers down.”Continue reading...

brands with a cause

H&M Launches Garment Recycling Program Across All Markets

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on February 21, 2013 05:26 PM

Swedish fashion house H&M is continuing its green streak with the official launch of its Garment Recycling Program.

The second-largest clothing retailer in the world will accommodate the program in all of its 269 U.S. locations as well as all 48 of its global markets. Beginning today, customers can bring any garment from any brand in any condition into an H&M store. For every bag of clothes donated, customers will receive a 15 percent off voucher for their next item purchased. 

"We believe this program will really make an impact in reducing the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills all over the world," said H&M spokesperson Marybeth Schmitt in a press release

Additionally, H&M is teaming up with Global Green USA, who will be the sole beneficiary of the recycling program. The donated clothing will be handled by H&M's partner, I:Collect, which repeatedly reprocesses the garments for new use.Continue reading...

car talk

Amidst Recalls and Expansions, German Auto Brands Jockey for Luxury Leadership

Posted by Dale Buss on February 20, 2013 04:14 PM

The three German luxury auto brands are like a trio of high-performance machines in an extended road race, each taking the lead for a while as they jockey for position and probe for the opportunity to make an unstoppable surge and finally blow past the competition.

These days, Audi and Mercedes-Benz are in second and third place, with BMW hanging on to a tenous lead for this year that many watchers believe it eventually could lose—at least for a while.

The most immediate factors: BMW has just announced the biggest safety recall in its history, while Audi plans a major expansion of its SUV lineup and Mercedes-Benz has announced its most ambitious new-product blitz in the brand's history. Continue reading...

ad watch

Brands Get Sporty to Bring in Sales

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 20, 2013 10:08 AM

While consumers may get excited about their brands, it's nothing compared to the passion they display when it comes to sports. With that, two European companies are tapping sports fanaticism to lure in customers.

Ford Europe, who has been selling its wares for 38 years, is currently running a campaign that aligns its brand with football across the continent. In a commercial spot released Monday, Ford aims to discover just how loud the fans of Turkey’s Galatasary are after driving around the country in the brand new Ford Tourneo, which conveniently can handle a few traveling fans.

Watch the fun ads after the jump:Continue reading...

brand ambassadors

'Blade Runner' Sponsors Nike, BT Shocked, but Sticking with Oscar Pistorius, For Now

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 15, 2013 01:53 PM

Oscar Pistorius was a man once known for being the fastest double-leg amputee on the planet. Now that the so-called Blade Runner has been charged with murder for the shooting death of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp early Valentine’s Day morning, his sponsors, who pay out about $2 million to Pistorius annually, are moving just as quickly as Pistorius to figure out how to deal with the sudden PR nightmare.

Nike’s attachment to Pistorius was compounded by the fact that an ad featuring the Olympian used the tagline, “I’m the bullet in the chamber.” It was pulled from Pistorius’s website on Thursday, Ad Age reports. The victim's tweets before her murder also created a social media nightmare for anyone or any company attached to the paralympic athlete.

"Nike extends its deepest sympathy and condolences to all families concerned following this tragic incident," his sponsor said in a statement. "As it is a police matter, Nike will not comment further at this time." Two other sponsors, Oakley and BP Global, both used the word “shocked” in their statements on the issue. Thierry Mugler fragrances had nothing to say other than it was waiting to see what happens with the investigation.

British Telecom, better known as BT, also went the “appalled” route with its statement: "Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy. Given the ongoing legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further."Continue reading...

cola wars

Pepsi Does the Harlem Shake, Coca-Cola Reveals Marc Jacobs-Designed Cans

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 15, 2013 12:56 PM

Coca-Cola has spent plenty of bucks on making iconic ads in the past, but its latest 60-second spot is coming from a low-priced source—a fan of the brand—while the company just revealed a trio of new cans designed by global creative director Marc Jacobs. The details on the latest moves in the cola wars:Continue reading...

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