chew on this

Remember, You Can't See A Chipotle Burrito Being Made from the Driver's Seat

Posted by Dale Buss on October 26, 2012 04:06 PM

Taco Bell has been trying to creep upward toward Chipotlesque levels of culinary esteem with its new Cantina Bell menu and more transparency in its food prep at some stores. And now it appears that Chipotle, concerned about its rival's upswing and its own slowing sales growth, may be prepared to creep downward, closer to the fast-food arena where Taco Bell thrives.

Even as the brand talks up its Boorito Halloween campaign for its Cultivate foundation, Chipotle's CEO Steve Ells conceded this week that the chain might have to make strategic changes and at long last experiment with things such as drive-throughs, a breakfast menu and traditional TV advertising, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Perched on his shoulder, he may feel the breath of hedge-fund manager David Einhorn, who has said Chipotle faces challenges from Taco Bell, which is owned by Yum! Brands.

If all of that sounds like Chipotle may feel the need to move downscale to counter sales sluggishness, that's exactly what some followers and aficionados are worried about.Continue reading...

brand collaborators

eBay Pitches Exclusive Holiday Collections From Steven Alan, Billy Reid, Fallon & more

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 26, 2012 11:31 AM

eBay has partnered with seven leading fashion designers on an exclusive new collaboration: the eBay Holiday Collective—an original, limited-edition gift collection of men's and women's apparel, jewelry, travel and electronics accessories and home décor items for the 2012-13 holiday season. Starting November 12, the capsule collections will be available globally, exclusively on eBay's fashion portal, at accessible, "Buy it Now" prices from $50 to $100 and will include free U.S. and international shipping. Above, watch designer Steven Alan discuss the partnership, and below, the designers behind the Fallon, Ruffian and Billy Reid labels. Also involved: Chris Benz, Tibi and Jonathan Adler, who taped his own homage to eBay as part of the brand's "eBay Thanks You" campaign:Continue reading...

shopper insights

U.S. Retail Brands Can Still Look to Black Friday Bounce - Accenture

Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 24, 2012 01:17 PM

Traditionally, Black Friday retail sales in the U.S., falling on the public day off that is the day after Thanksgiving, has been a bellweather for the holiday shopping season. But this year, retailers have been trying to preempt Black Friday in order to get a jump on holiday sales. 

Target tried to literally move Christmas to July with its summertime "Bonus Black Friday" and "Summer Cyber Week" sales. Meanwhile, Amazon said it would turn Black Friday into a whole week of special deals beginning on Monday, November 19, the week of Thanksgiving. Walmart, on the other hand, may have something to fear, as employees threatened to blacken the chain's holiday sales with a possible Black Friday strike.

The good news for retailers is that consumers are apparently ready to shop. The majority of U.S. consumers, 51 percent, have already made their holiday shopping plans this year and will make purchases with money they have set aside specifically for the holidays, according to the just-released Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey.Continue reading...


Target Celebrates 50 Years, Reveals Holiday Strategy

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 18, 2012 09:50 AM

Target celebrated its 50th anniversary with an event in New York, unveiling its upcoming Neiman Marcus holiday collection and web price-matching plan.


Disney Store Revamps E-Commerce Site with Social, Personalized Video Features

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 17, 2012 02:53 PM

The redesigned website for the Disney Store is an enhanced e-commerce channel for the brand’s toys, clothes, entertainment and packaged media. “The new delivers a magical shopping experience that guests can only receive from Disney,” stated Disney EVP Paul Gainer.

Part of that magic is the ability for shoppers to record and customize a “Disney Magical Message” video to send along with any gift purchase. Recipients receive email notification of a special delivery and when the gift arrives, a card provides a site URL and a personal ID where they can view their personal video. 

Enhanced tools for sharing on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and e-mail, via desktop, tablet or mobile have amped up the social shopping experience while an animation feature lets users interact with favorite characters and classic Disney films.Continue reading...

license to thrill

Furby Land, Tonka By Sea: Hasbro Eyes European Expansion

Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 17, 2012 02:11 PM

In an all-out assault on Europe for the 2012 holiday shopping season, American toy-maker Hasbro is re-launching a number of its classic toy lines and making a big licensing push at Brand Licensing Europe in London from October 16-18.

In the US, Hasbro recently re-launched its classic Furby brand, the quirky mechanical creature "with a mind of its own" that caused a sensation some fifteen years ago. The updated version uses a blend of robotic engineering and digital programming "that brings a whole new way to play to kids," said Samantha Lomow, Hasbro's SVP, New Brand Franchises and Global Brand Leader. "The personality of each Furby appears to evolve by the way children play with it, and every unpredictable action and reaction helps make each Furby seem unique." 

Now Hasbro bringing Furby to Europe with a wide-ranging licensing program. Get ready for all things Furby, including apparel and accessories, back-to-school supplies, food and beverages, home decor, paper and party goods, and sporting goods. Furby-licensed merchandise will begin arriving this fall in retail outlets in France, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Turkey and the UK. Hasbro has aggressive re-launch and licensing plans for other toy lines, too.Continue reading...


Target, Toys R Us and Ikea Rustle Up Some Holiday Spirit

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 16, 2012 01:14 PM

Even though we haven’t yet had Halloween, retail brands are gearing up for the holiday season. Target raised eyebrows by releasing its holiday TV commercial before Halloween, which is the marketing equivalent of wearing white after Labor Day in the U.S. But even that hoary old rule no longer applies, so get ready for the holiday blitz to start earlier than ever this year.

Toys “R” Us is already promoting its Marine Toys for Tots Foundation campaign, which is back for the ninth year with Shaquille O’Neal ("Give Back With Shaq!" for the fourth year) offering “Shaq’s Santa Sack,” the first-ever Toys for Tots Wish List filled with donation suggestions.

More than 16 million children are living in poverty in the U.S. according to the United States Census Bureau, and now through December 2, consumers can “Give Back with Shaq” by donating new, unwrapped toys at Toys“R”Us and Babies “R” Us stores or online through Christmas Eve.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Zombie Branding: Grain Belt Rises From Dead with Brain Belt Beer

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 16, 2012 11:02 AM

The Zombie Pub Crawl this year was shooting for a Guinness record. The event, in its eighth year, has grown from a disorganized group of 150 "zombies" traipsing between Minneapolis-St. Paul bars to a 2011 attendance record of 30,000. It is billed as "a cross between Mardi Gras and a George Romero movie."

And this year, local brewer August Schell produced an exclusive brew for the local undead, "Brain Belt," gleefully ripping the heart (in a loving way) in one of America's beer-savvier heartland states, and tapping into the ongoing love affair between marketers and zombies.Continue reading...

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