ho-ho-holidays

McDonald's UK Evokes Jolly Postman for Festive Menu Promotion

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 28, 2012 09:33 AM

McDonald's UK is promoting its limited-time Festive Menu with a holiday campaign featuring "the charming story of a postman — in many ways the modern Santa Claus — who braves the elements to deliver festive joy to the British public. After a tough day's work, he rewards himself for his efforts with a delicious Winter Warmer and some banter with his workmates." Watch it below:Continue reading...

executive decision

McDonald's New CEO's Challenge: Remix Old Favorites, Entice With New Items

Posted by Dale Buss on November 27, 2012 05:16 PM

Whatever McDonald's next US CEO, Jeff Stratton, does after he takes over from ousted McD's veteran Jan Fields on Dec. 1st, outsiders agree that it'll probably involve significant new menu launches and refreshing old favorites. As in most businesses, it's product innovation that provides the most effective promotional opportunities and does the most to drive sales and pique consumer interest.

Especially in an increasingly competitive environment where Americans seem to have grown inured to a simple value pitch, expect the icon of fast food to turn more, and more often, to variations of its signature products, and other new items, to reverse the October U.S. same-store sales slide that cost Fields her job. 

Some analysts are suggesting that Stratton, a four-decade veteran of McDonald's who championed sustainability in his role as Chief Restaurant Officer, will rely on his expertise in operations to shore up the bottom line and that he'll turn to improved marketing to boost the top line. But in picking apart the reasons for this year's slide and putting together ways to reverse it, Stratton also must balance menu expansion with the traditional simplicity at the heart of McDonald's business model.

In 2012, the chain relied more on "limited-time" menu additions in the US such as Chicken McBites and a Cheddar Bacon Onion burger that was introduced in October.  The pandemonium-causing McRib sandwich, meanwhile, is rumored to return in December — and not a moment too soon. As Peter McGuinness at DDB Chicago, McDonald's agency, commented about the pre-Christmas McRib timing in a reference to Coca-Cola's classic holiday theme, "We don't really do polar bears."Continue reading...

Starbucks Incorporates Local Tastes With China Expansion

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 27, 2012 12:34 PM

Western retailers have been completely bombarding China with products and sales pitches in recent years. Having more than 1.3 billion consumers living within its borders can make a country’s citizens targets of such things. 

Starbucks is about to go overdrive in its efforts to get the Chinese populace as dependent on their brand as plenty of Americans are, but the sell may not be so coffee-driven, but leverage the brand's tea drinks and food menu. The chain currently has 700 stores in China but that number will more than double in size to 1,500 in the next three years, according to the Wall Street Journal. That growth will also mean the chain’s employees in China will go from 12,000 today to 30,000 in three years. It also offers regional websites for Eastern China and Northern China.

Coffee sales went up 20% in 2011 over the previous year and brought in $995 million, WSJ notes, but China is still a tea-drinking nation. So Starbucks established a research-and-development unit in the country in order to figure out what it could do to attract a larger audience than those looking for a cup of joe. As a result, Starbucks China is not only celebrating Western customs such as Christmas, but serving up localized beverage and food items including a red bean frappaccino, green tea tiramisu, a Hainan chicken and rice wrap, a shredded ginger pork panini, and a Thai-style prawn wrap. And the Starbucks kiosks that work so well in the States don’t have the same effect in the Chinese market where consumers desire more space.Continue reading...

ho-ho-holidays

Microsoft Windows Phone Calls on Bumble the Snow Monster

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 27, 2012 09:58 AM

Microsoft is promoting Windows 8-powered Windows Phone with a variety of celebrities including Gwen Stefani and Jessica Alba Its latest celeb, above: Bumble, the Abominable Snow Monster from the 1964 Rankin/Bass classic holiday TV special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It's all part of Microsoft's "Meet the new Windows Phone, Reinvented Around You" campaign.

shopper insights

Do Consumers Care if it's Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Mobile Monday?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 26, 2012 05:07 PM

We won’t know for sure until tomorrow, but according to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, “all signs point to Cyber Monday being a banner year for retailers, marketers and CMOs. With sales up 24.1 percent over 2011, the multiscreen shopper is out in full force this year.”

Black Friday in-store sales were undercut by Thanksgiving Early Bird sales, as well as mobile and web e-commerce, and according to the Wall Street Journal, "Total spending for the weekend reached an estimated $59.1 billion, a 13% increase from a year ago, according to the National Retail Federation...A consumer survey conducted for the trade association by BIGinsight found that shoppers spent an average of $423 over the weekend, up 6% from $398 last Thanksgiving weekend."

Sales projections for today, re-christened ‘Mobile Monday,’ will be further fueled by smartphones leveraging a plethora of apps. "Our findings reinforce that mobile is not just another channel," Chia Chen, mobile practice leader for Digitas, told Mobile Commerce Daily. "It's a technology-driven cultural phenomenon that is changing how people are connecting to brands and commerce.” Continue reading...

black friday

Black Friday In-Store Sales Undercut by Thanksgiving Early Birds, Mobile and Web

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 25, 2012 10:10 PM

The so-called "Grey Thursday" pre-Black Friday rush didn't seem to stop Walmart from having its best Black Friday ever. So how did it all play out over the weekend, and as Cyber Monday morphs into Mobile Monday?

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Total spending for the weekend reached an estimated $59.1 billion, a 13% increase from a year ago, according to the National Retail Federation. Last year the group said sales rose 16% over the weekend. A consumer survey conducted for the trade association by BIGinsight found that shoppers spent an average of $423 over the weekend, up 6% from $398 last Thanksgiving weekend."

As noted by Reuters, comScore estimated that "Black Friday sales during the 24 hours of November 23 passed $1 billion ($1.042 billion) in online sales for the first time, making it the heaviest online spending day to date in 2012 (with 57 million shoppers visiting e-commerce sites) and a 26-percent increase versus Black Friday 2011. Thanksgiving Day (November 22), while traditionally a lighter day for online holiday spending, achieved a strong 32-percent increase to $633 million."

According to IBM's Black Friday 2012 report, US shoppers once again took advantage of early promotions this holiday season, driving a 17.4 percent increase in online sales Thanksgiving Day. This increase set the stage for 20.7 percent growth on Black Friday. Online sales on Black Friday increased 21% over last year, IBM estimated by analyzing data from 500 retailers, including 50 of the 100 largest web retailers. The biggest surge came from mobile consumers, with sales reaching 16.3 percent, led by the iPad. Other takeaways by IBM:Continue reading...

black friday

Google Expands Indoor Retail Maps in Time for Black Friday

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 22, 2012 03:03 PM

This holiday shopping season is all about mobile, and Google wants to help Black Friday shoppers not get lost. Last November, the Google Maps app headed indoors, mapping the interiors of locations such as IKEA, airports and shopping meccas such as Mall of America. This month, it expanded its indoor retail mapping in time for Black Friday sales beyond Android devices, and now offers "over 10,000 detailed floor plans of locations in nine countries," including Macy's New York City flagship. Google is also promoting its voice-activated search app this holiday season.

holidaze

Peeps on Earth: Not Just for Easter Any More

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 22, 2012 11:55 AM

The folks that make Peeps, those little marshmallow-chick candies found nesting in Easter baskets each year, have tried to market their product to fit other holidays such as Christmas (snowman and Christmas tree Peeps!), Valentine’s Day (heart Peeps!), and Halloween (Guys: there are pumpkin, ghost, and cat Peeps!) Nice try, Peeps, but the enduring image of the candy is still poking out of Easter baskets, no matter what Just Born seems to do. After all, 700 million of the sugar-beeked things are sold around that time of year.  

Undeterred, Peeps is soldiering on and making another effort this year to break the wall down and market itself as a year-round sweet treat. The brand's holiday 2012 collection includes a new Peeps on Earth line of T-shirts, infant clothing, and water bottles, according to a press release.Continue reading...

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