brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 3, 2011 03:03 PM
The U.S. government is always happy to make a few extra tax dollars but there is one source of tax cash that they are hoping to stop receiving — and are even willing to spend money to try and help make it end.
We’re talking, of course, about cigarettes, the cough-inducing habit that our culture is working hard to stamp out with its collective heel. That stamping often comes in the form of so-called sin taxes so high that it can cost close to $15 to buy a pack of smokes in New York City. And, of course, there are the nasty packages slated for Sept. 2012 that will inform consumers of just what tobacco can do to you or your unborn child that cigarette manufacturers will soon have to put their product in.
Uncle Sam is now planning to augment the graphic shock packaging with the dreaded E word: education.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 1, 2011 02:55 PM
If you want to get an American enraged, get them talking about health insurance. Whether they have or they don’t, they tend to have a story somewhere in there, often not buried very far, about some kind of insurance situation gone awry or another.
As health care becomes more and more a political battling point, Blue Shield of California is looking to try and help make things a little clearer to consumers and has taken the bold step of opening a store in San Francisco to aid that effort.
The non-profit organization isn’t afraid to go bold when it wants to make a point. In 2008 it hosted had an exhibition of 40 nude statues in “vulnerable positions” to showcase the large number of uninsured Californians. It also made headlines last month when it was announced it was returning money to its customers, making good on a pledge "to help policyholders cope with rising healthcare costs by making good on a pledge to return money when its net income exceeds 2% of its revenue."
Now it's reaching out directly to customers (current and potential) with a 500-square-foot store that will open Nov. 7 within a Lucky supermarket store in San Francisco.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 1, 2011 02:02 PM
Nothing activates activists like products that could harm babies. Johnson & Johnson's signature baby shampoo sold in the U.S. contains trace amounts of two chemicals considered harmful and potentially cancer-causing, 1,4-dioxane and quaternium-15 that releases formaldehyde.
Compounding the situation, the company produces versions of the brand without those elements according to a coalition of health and environmental groups led by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics that has been targeting the world's largest health care company on this issue for 2 1/2 years.
"Johnson & Johnson clearly can make safer baby shampoo in all the markets around the world, but it's not doing it," commented Lisa Archer, director of the San Francisco-based Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, to AP (via USA Today). "It's clearly a double standard, something they can easily fix."Continue reading...
no kidding around
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 1, 2011 01:02 PM
The American Beverage Association is keeping busy these days as cities and states threaten to put extra taxes on sugary drinks and other entities try to reduce consumption of the organization members’ products.
The latest battle for ABA is to dispute a study that was released Monday by Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity that shows that “U.S. children and teenagers are seeing far more soda advertising than before, with blacks and Hispanics the major targets, as marketers have expanded online,” according to Reuters.
"This report is another attack by known critics in an ongoing attempt to single out one product as the cause of obesity when both common sense and widely accepted science have shown that the reality is far more complicated," said ABA CEO Susan Neely in a statement.
Neely’s main weapon in response to the Yale Rudd Center's Sugary Drink F.A.C.T.S. (short for Food Advertising to Children and Teens Score) report is opposing research by Georgetown Economic Services for the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Association of National Advertisers that “showed that between 2004 and 2010, advertisements for soft drinks decreased by 96 percent, while those for fruit and vegetable juices increased by 199 percent,” Reuters reports.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 13, 2011 05:07 PM
It can be very hard to turn down a French fry, especially if you’re a 3-to-5 year old.
So all you industry lobbyists who oppose restrictions on marketing to kids, claiming there is no relationship between marketing and obesity, take note: even direct parental influence doesn’t do a whole lot to put an end to the deep-fried desires of small children, according to a study reported in the International Business Times.Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 11, 2011 01:01 PM
Want to get your brand some notice? Start a gender war. That'll get you noticed.
That seems to be the tactic Dr Pepper Snapple Group is taking with its latest product, Dr Pepper Ten. The idea behind the drink, revealed earlier this year, is that men don’t generally like to be seen drinking “diet” sodas so this sugared drink will go over the top to showcase just how manly it is in order to show men that even though it has only 10 calories, that doesn’t mean they have become girly men.
The company has gone so far as to create a Facebook app (dubbed Ten Man'ments) for the soda that invites "men only" to check out content such as a shooting-gallery game in which players aim at lipstick and high heels. It Facebook tab is being promoted with the tagline, "Gendergated, just for guys." You can imagine how that's gone down.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 10, 2011 10:58 AM
France is the latest nation to impose a so-called fat tax on sugary beverages (except for zero-calorie diet drinks), while American campaigns to curb the consumption of non-diet sugary beverages continues.
Los Angeles county just launched a public awareness campaign, its first aimed at 'sugar-loaded' beverages.
LA's move follows a high-profile campaign earlier this year by New York City targeting soda consumption, citing statistics such as few sugary drinks a day adds up to 93 packets of sugar and leads to serious health issues and disease.
Sugary drinks are the number one source of calories in the average American diet and health advocates are still reeling from the recent rejection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture of a pilot proposal banning soda from New York food stamp purchases proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Despite such efforts, more than 50% of Americans still drink too much soda with the highest consumption among minorities, the poor and the young, according to a recent study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 3, 2011 11:31 AM
The first cracks are appearing in the US federal governent's regulatory edifice regarding the tough new restrictions it is considering on marketing food to kids. And while CPG manufacturers aren't popping corks, they are encouraged that the government's Interagency Working Group (IWG) finally appears to be listening to their concerns — and those of several dozen congressmen and senators who have been pushing back as well.
In response to a letter from Rep. Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, heads of three of the four agencies in the group — which consist of the FDA and other relevant regulators involved in the public effort — said that they anticipate "making significant changes to both the marketing and nutrition principles as [the IWG] develops final recommendations."
That is music to the ears of Dan Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers, which has been heavily involved in the resistance to the regulators' proposed "voluntary" guidelines. As is, they would require food, beverage and restaurant brands to either modify products or cut out all marketing aimed at children under 18 for products that don't meet new nutrition standards.
The industry has been trying to get the Obama administration (and its recently intensified efforts) to let them attack the childhood-obesity problem on a self-regulatory basis, without imposing what they see as draconian government regulations.Continue reading...