chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on February 11, 2014 03:51 PM
It's not easy being a global brand, even if you're McDonald's, as you still have to succeed locally. It's possible that its continuing domestic US sales woes are mostly due to treacherous winter weather and a bad new product bet or two. But it's also possible that the chain and the brand are reaching the end of once-outsized relevance to the American consumer as it continues to face food health and labor critics.
Until it becomes evident which scenario is true, McDonald's CEO Don Thompson is relying on improved performance in key international markets to offset the brand's frustrations in the United States. He will rely on incoming US CMO Deborah Wahl to help him tackle the larger issue of McDonald's actual place in its home market. The auto industry marketing veteran is still transitioning into her new role, which she formally assumes on March 3.
The chain reported that US same-restaurant sales fell by more than 3 percent in the first quarter, or about double the percentage decline expected by analysts. Thompson blamed the snow and cold but analysts cited the continued sluggishness of the US economy. But of course, it could be the third factor: American consumers have gotten used to bypassing McDonald's more and more.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 6, 2014 04:57 PM
Conscious of the concerns of food activists, Subway said that it plans to remove a chemical from its breads that raised the ire of a food blogger. It's the latest health-conscious step by a chain that recently engaged Michelle Obama in a promotion for its new initiative to get kids to put veggies on Subway sandwiches.
In a bid to be more transparent and better keep to its "Eat Fresh" mantra, the largest fast-food chain said it is taking out a chemical known as Azodiacarbonamide from its sandwich breads. Vani Hari, who runs the site FoodBabe.com, has criticized its presence because of the substance's other industrial uses and because it is banned in the UK, Europe and Australia.
Subway has used the ingredient as a "bread conditioner" which adds elasticity and whitens the dough. The chemical, though, is especially damning in the food industry because of its other broad uses in plastics, rubber and synthetic leather production.Continue reading...
see you in court
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 5, 2014 07:39 PM
Under Armour has been pushing the sports apparel and equipment envelope in more ways than one lately. Now Adidas has filed suit against Under Armour over a dozen “alleged infringement of patents governing fitness training and tracker devices,” Reuters reports.
At issue are the similarities between Adidas’ miCoach fitness training device and MapMyFitness, a company Under Armour just bought in November for $150 million. Both products claim to help athletes take full advantage of their workouts. Adidas is claiming in the suit that Under Armour and MapMyFitness both were aware of patents held by Adidas and still “willfully infringed” upon them.
"Innovation is at the heart of who we are as a company," Adidas said in a statement, according to the Oregonian. "Today, Adidas is moving forward to protect digital technologies core to our miCoach product, which includes patented performance-tracking technology that provides athletes with first-rate training programs."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 5, 2014 01:51 PM
If the idea of a pharmacy is to help people get better, CVS no longer could go along with the fact that it sold decidedly unhealthy tobacco products. So America's second-largest pharmacy chain by size has announced that it will become the first nationwide drugstore to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products.
The action of going cold turkey will cost CVS an estimated $2 billion in annual revenue (out of a total of $123 billion) when it goes into effect in October, but it also is a significant move in the direction of authenticity and consistency for a brand that—like most drugstore chains—has been intensely repositioning itself as a broad-based health products and services provider, not just a pill dispensary.
“We have about 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners helping patients manage chronic problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease, all of which are linked to smoking,” said CVS CEO Larry J. Merlo to the New York Times. “We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 3, 2014 03:26 PM
At a critical juncture for Apple, the house that Jobs built is now turning to health and fitness as the antidote to slipping iPhone sales and public criticism that the brand has lost its defining innovation and design mojo.
The company is reportedly working on a sensor-laden iWatch that works in tandem with a “Healthbook” app to monitor and store personal data on steps taken, calories burned, blood pressure, hydration levels and other blood-related metrics like glucose levels, following the growing popularity of health-monitoring devices like Nike's FuelBand, FitBit and dozens of others than debuted at this year's CES.
Apple executives Jeff Williams, SVP operations, Bud Tribble, VP software technology, and Michael O’Reilly, a recent hire and former chief medical officer for Masimo, creator of non-invasive technology that measures blood oxygen, met in December with Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg about “mobile medical applications," according to the New York Times.
Mark A. McAndrew, a partner with Taft Stettinius & Hollister said the out of the ordinary meetings signaled that, “They are either trying to get the lay of the land for regulatory pathways with medical devices and apps and this was an initial meeting, or Apple has been trying to push something through the FDA for a while and they’ve had hangups.”Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 31, 2014 01:40 PM
When a research study from Greenpeace turned up hazardous chemicals, or "Little Monsters" as they put it, in children's clothing and shoes from major brands including Disney, Burberry, Adidas, Gap and others, the environmental activists turned up the pressure by urging consumers lobby the brands to clean up their act as part of its bigger #Detox campaign.
This week, Greenpeace scored a victory when Burberry agreed to detox its clothing by Jan. 1, 2020. Initially, its corporate back up against the wall, Burberry balked at the group's allegation that a purple metallic shirt contained hazardous chemicals. The shirt in question, made in Tunisia and worn by Romeo Beckham (aka David & Victoria's son) in a June 2013 campaign, contained a high level of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), manmade chemicals used in detergents, which degrade to nonylphenols (NP), both toxic and hormonally disruptive.
"All Burberry products are safe and fully adhere to international environmental and safety standards," the luxury apparel brand responded in a statement. "We have an active programme dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of our supply chain, working in collaboration with our suppliers and NGOs. Greenpeace is aware of our work, which includes the commitment to eliminate from our supply chain the release of chemicals that have an environmental impact."Continue reading...
The Big Game
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 30, 2014 12:52 PM
NJoy E-cigarettes will run a Super Bowl ad in some local markets for the second year, but the brand has found another more direct way to take advantage of the Super Bowl madness that has descended onto metro New York.
The brand has employed a group of women dressed as referees to patrol the streets of NYC in a Westwood One radio bus for patrons sneaking a smoke. When they spot someone, the refs will descend on the consumer and offer them a sample of NJoy's product, instead.
The bus is part of NJoy’s media buy with the radio network, which will be in action during the Super Bowl itself pulling up outside bars in New York.
“What NJoy is trying to say is that we're always on the side of the smokers,” said Michael Fernandez, co-founder and owner of the marketing firm behind the bus, Factory 360, according to The Drum. "It's the biggest game of the year. We don't want them to miss any bit of the action because they're going inside."
This is the last Super Bowl that New Yorkers will be able to enjoy their e-cigs inside, though. A new law banning its use indoors at such establishments goes into effect on April 29.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 29, 2014 03:52 PM
Two CPG giants are taking steps back from problematic chemicals. In the case of P&G, eliminating phosphates from detergents sold in developing markets cuts an acknowledged environmental threat. But while Coca-Cola has been reducing levels of 4-MI caramel coloring in drinks, there's far from a scientific consensus whether that's necessary.
P&G eliminated phosphates from its Tide brand and other detergents sold in the US in the early Nineties in a voluntary commitment because the chemical promotes algae growth and harms water quality, and later the company—which controls about 80 percent of the global detergent trade—did the same in Europe.
Now, P&G has said that within two years it will eliminate phosphates from detergents sold in other markets, mainly the developing world where there typically aren't regulations limiting phosphates in detergents.Continue reading...