sports in the spotlight
Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 2, 2012 01:05 PM
When you’re getting repeatedly knocked down by guys who weigh hundreds of pounds, bad stuff is going to happen no matter how many suits of armor you put on. The NFL has been riding a sea of bad publicity in recent years as concussions pile up on current players and former players claim that the league didn’t do enough to protect them from brain injury.
The latest bad news for the league comes in the form of a lawsuit by 40 former players and some of their poor spouses who are “seeking damages for the painful and debilitating injuries they suffered from repetitive head traumas during their play in National Football League games as well as in practice and training,” according to a press release. The suit claims that the league basically didn’t pay attention to the problem even when players and former players brought it up to them.
While this isn’t going to hold up most NFL fans from turning on their tube on Sundays this fall, it may give a few kids and their parents pause when their kid is lining his or her walls with posters of NFL players and dreaming of making it to the pros someday.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 23, 2012 05:39 PM
Just as McDonald's is gearing up its controversial sponsorship of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London that begins this week, the world's biggest fast-food brand is introducing a new US Olympics tie-in marketing program designed to continue to reposition the brand as at least a reasonable alternative for healthful fare in the eyes of American consumers.
"Favorites Under 400 Calories" is a new menu "platform" featuring existing popular food and beverage choices at McDonald's, in an attempt to remind customers that they have plenty of healthful and even diet-friendly choices under the golden arches. Team USA gold medal contenders hurdler Lolo Jones (above) and boxer Marlen Esparza are featured in a new series of commercials supporting the Olympics contest.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 23, 2012 03:42 PM
New Zealand may be small but its government apparently has got a whole lot of chutzpah.
The government’s new law that all tobacco products cannot be publicly displayed went into effect Monday, and a plan to force all tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging — which NZ's Ministry of Health calls the "single biggest cause of preventable death and disease" — is still forging ahead. The government's new "Tobacco Available Here" sign for authorized tobacco retailers, in English and Maori with a sickening photo of a gangrene-infected foot, is also fairly grim.
The hope is that the entire country will be smoke-free by 2025, according to TV New Zealand. However, the government may need to pay a boatload of cash out in order to make it happen. “Ministry of Health officials have warned the Government that defending a case at the World Trade Organization could cost taxpayers between $1.5 million to $2 million,” the website reports. And that price could go up to $6 million.
One tobacco giant is already sounding like it is ready take the government to court.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 9, 2012 03:01 PM
It may be too early to say the cola wars are over, although it's clear that PepsiCo is ready and willing to take on another archrival. Following years of competing with Coca-Cola with its array of beverage and snack food brands in the U.S., PepsiCo is now getting into the red-hot yogurt market and adding Dannon to its competitive set.
Faced with a U.S. yogurt market that is more crowded than ever with brands, and demonstrating almost no growth except in the Greek yogurt category, PepsiCo announced Monday that it's introducing a fresh brand to yogurt-loving Americans — and one that isn't focusing on Greek — via a new partnership with the Theo Muller Group, Germany's largest privately held dairy
That's the prospect for Muller Quaker Dairy when it finally enters stores in northeastern and mid-Atlantic states with three lines of yogurt products birthed by the joint venture. Muller Quaker promises "innovative premium" products that aim to create differentiation and taste excitement in a U.S. yogurt category that PepsiCo executives believe is lacking both.
"It's been an 'I gotta have it because it's good for me' kind of a product," Dr. Mehmood Khan, who oversees PepsiCo's global research and development, commented to the New York Times. "The 'wanna have it' was missing."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 9, 2012 12:01 PM
While many global marketers are aiming Olympics-related campaigns at young consumers, the real core of TV watchers of London's Summer Olympics are expected to be older Gen X-ers and boomers. Those generations also struggle more than younger ones with obesity and other health issues.
All of that may be why Coca-Cola is using its Olympics sponsorship to do more than promote its new global "Move to the Beat" campaign, which is aimed at teens. Another new initiative by Coke is highlighting active lifestyles by centering on an "eight-pack" of athletes even though the first one revealed — Shawn Johnson — won't be competing in London following her recent surprise retirement from the sport.
In a challenging time in America for soft drink brands, led by New York City's proposed ban on large soft drinks, Coke is hoisting a healthy living banner into the London 2012 Olympics with a campaign which claims that — despite being dismissed as overcaloric sugar water by many health critics — the brand actually has an association with healthy lifestyles.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on July 2, 2012 05:05 PM
Just because Chobani has opened up a huge lead in the Greek-style category it invented — and that is reshaping the U.S. yogurt business — doesn't mean that others can't try to chip away. Dannon has grabbed a significant share after sensing the opportunity with Chobani's rapid rise.
Other players, big and small, also are attempting to make more noise and get their stakes of a Greek-style market that has been calculated at about $1.5 billion a year now and still growing by strong double-digits — even coming up in discussions of Greece's Eurozone crisis. Yoplait, Hain Celestial and the Pinkberry chain are among the brands that are making their own plays. Ben & Jerry's just revamped its frozen yogurt line to make Greek Yogurt the basis of the line. Fage and Chobani have a friend in U.S. senator Chuck Schumer.
The most closely watched Greek yogurt brand is Yoplait. The General Mills line, which has shared the top of the U.S. yogurt market with Dannon for many years, got a particularly late start in the Greek segment. But now it's launching 40 new yogurt products, and Greek yogurt will be the centerpiece of that rollout this summer.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on June 29, 2012 01:01 PM
Lest traditional June Dairy Month close before dairy products get their well-deserved day in the marketing sun, let's turn our attention to a rising star in the milk-products firmament: butter.
That's right — congealed animal fat. The traditional Public Health Enemy No. 1 — cue the Paula Deen references — when it comes to clogged arteries. The iconic dairy product that you thought was a goner long before Oldsmobile. Butter is actually enjoying a renaissance these days — perhaps a halo effect from the popularity of bacon, and certainly thanks in part to efforts by the leading U.S. butter brand, Land O' Lakes.
Whether margarine or butter actually is more healthful has been a confused issue for decades now after margarine took an early lead. "People have become concerned about industrially produced trans fatty acids found in margarines, which increases risk factors for heart disease," Gregory Miller, EVP of the National Dairy Council, told brandchannel. And "we have learned that saturated fat intake is not as important a risk factor for heart disease as previously thought."Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 29, 2012 11:11 AM
Coca-Cola and Pepsi have always been very protective of their secret recipes, but the two soda giants may need to own up to one little detail if they want to maintain sales with a certain segment of the population.
A new study out of France claims that the two soda giants' beverages contain a trace amount of alcohol. In fact, according to the National Institute of Consumption in Paris, more than half of the leading cola brands do, which is bad news for those who can’t drink the stuff for religious, safety, or medical reasons.
The actual amount is quite low, “but the figures will still be enough to upset the thousands of Muslims who regularly drink Cola because their religion forbids them from drinking alcohol,” the Daily Mail commented.
“It is possible that traces of alcohol come from the process,” said Michel Pepin, scientific director for Coca-Cola France. “The Paris Mosque has provided us with a certificate stating that our products can be consumed by the Muslim community in line with the religious opinions of the Committee of the Mosque of Paris.” Pepsi insists that it doesn’t use alcohol in its recipe.
Meanwhile, soda makers are embroiled in a separate fight against all the organizations and politicians that are linking soda to the exploding waistlines of our population.Continue reading...