Posted by Dale Buss on March 6, 2012 06:16 PM
If you didn't know that McDonald's has overhauled its iconic Happy Meal in the interests of better nutrition for kids, you soon will.
The chain begins USA-wide exposure on Wednesday of new TV commercials touting the more healthful Happy Meal, introducing a new cast of back-to-the-farm friendly characters (a boy and his goat) that are putting Hamburglar and Mayor McCheese out to pasture, apparently for good.
In response to pressure from First Lady Michelle Obama on down, McDonald's has evolved the Happy Meal into a more healthful repast that includes more better-for-you elements. Last summer, the company announced the changes that it is rolling out nationally in the Happy Meal this spring, including the provision of apple slices and a kid-size portion of fries as standard features.
So now, of course, it is time to market these changes as only McDonald's can — and not just in the US.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 5, 2012 06:45 PM
In a twist of irony, girlfriends Paula Deen and Oprah Winfrey (with a hand from Winfrey's BFF, Gayle King) are helping each other regroup.
The three got together for a pajama party at Deen’s Savannah, Georgia home, donned rubber boots to check on the hens in the chicken coop and talk about life and loss, as show in Sunday night’s episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter on Winfrey's OWN channel, in a pitch for forgiveness and rebranding.
While Winfrey's OWN is in need of a ratings boost, Deen's in need of an image makeover following a startling revelation from the Queen of Southern cooking in January that she’s had Type 2 Diabetes for three years, an announcement that came in tandem with the news that she was being paid by Novo Nordisk to promote its diabetes drug.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 1, 2012 05:28 PM
After being approved last June, gruesome images of a man exhaling smoke through a tracheotomy hole, blackened lungs, and an unborn baby suffering from smoke inhalation were slated to appear on cigarette packaging across America in September of this year, due to an order from the Food and Drug Administration.
But tobacco lovers were saved the pain of looking at such things by a judge on Wednesday, who said that the “images … violate free speech protected by the Constitution,” according to CBS/AP. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon had already temporarily blocked the requirement back in November, and the government is appealing his decision.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on March 1, 2012 02:32 PM
The Netherlands-based Clean Clothes Campaign, the garment industry's largest alliance of labor unions and non-governmental organizations, has already convinced apparel retailers and designers including Armani, Versace, Gucci, H&M and Levi Strauss & Co to ban sandblasted jeans for endangering workers' lives.
As the CCC's website details, giving denim that "lived in" look by high-pressured sandblasting contaminates the air and can contribute to silicosis, a fatal lung disease. Now Target has announced it is joining the global ban on the technique; find out more in the budget retailer's blog post. Still under pressure by labor activists to join the ban: Dolce & Gabbana.
Below, watch a Levi Strauss video featuring chief supply chain officer David Love marking the company's first anniversary of no-sandblasting last September.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 29, 2012 12:04 PM
While some hotels may be considered trendy, you wouldn't think a major global hotel chain would watch lifestyle trends so carefully that it would launch brands around them.
But InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) is different. Back in 2004, IHG introduced Hotel Indigo, widely regarded as the first of the boutique hotel brands that started a trend among large hoteliers. In 2007, IHG started refurbishing its somewhat dowdy Holiday Inn brand and gave franchisees until the end of 2010 to "contemporize" or risk losing rights to use the iconic name. Today, most Holiday Inns have been updated to reflect a whole new look. Holiday Inn Express, which pioneered the limited-service hotel segment in 1990, is one of the fastest growing hotel brands.
Now IHG is bringing a new hotel brand to the chain's biggest U.S. cities, bucking the trend of major chains making investments in Asia and Europe while avoiding a soft and saturated North American market. The just-announced brand, called EVEN Hotels, is all about lifestyle — a healthy one.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on February 28, 2012 03:04 PM
No brand wants to be caught on the wrong side of history, shifting consumer tastes or technological obsolescence. (See: Twinkies, BetaMax.)
So Mars, Inc. is bidding to get ahead of where the entire food industry seems to be going by vowing to stop selling chocolate products with more than 250 calories in them by the end of next year. It’s part of the company's ongoing corporate citizenship effort to improve the nutritional value of its products and to sell them in a responsible way.
Mars produces seven of the world’s 20 best-selling chocolate brands, including Snickers, Mars, Dove/Galaxy, M&M's, and non-chocolatey confections including Skittles and Juicy Fruit gum. Now, by deposing king-size chocolate bars, the 540-calorie king-size Snickers bar, for instance, will be a goner after next year.
As Mars noted on its Facebook page, the calorie-cutting efforts are part of a bigger responsible marketing commitment the company made five years ago to promote nutrition — and stop buying ad time or space if more than one quarter of the audience was estimated to be under 12 years old.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on February 28, 2012 02:25 PM
As McDonald's promotes its produce suppliers and expands the availability of its lower-calorie Happy Meal kids' combo meals across America, lopping off 20% of the calories if kids eat the packaged apple slices instead of French fries, the fast-food giant is rolling out its first national TV commercial (there's also a Spanish-language version) to promote the healthier option.
As noted here last year, "The new Happy Meal includes both apple slices and a new, smaller serving of French fries, and the beverage choice will include a new fat-free chocolate milk as well as 1% low-fat white milk. The company noted in its announcement that it has offered apple slices as an option in Happy Meals since 2004 — and that 88% of customers know about the option, but only 11% choose the slices."
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2012 03:55 PM
McDonald's franchise owners often are as savvy as brand executives, and perhaps a shade more entrepreneurial. Witness the case of the owner of three McDonald's franchises in suburban Dallas-Ft. Worth, whose better-for-you innovation could ripple throughout the chain.
No, it's not an unauthorized menu item like some smokin'-hot Texas barbecue version of McRib. And it may not be as high-tech as the design concept being piloted by McD's in France. What Jonathan Chan devised is an interactive nutritional kiosk that helps visitors to his restaurant in Richardson, Texas, to understand the nutritional value, or lack thereof, of everything on the menu and even to assist in planning their meals.Continue reading...