chew on this

Food Companies Put the Squeeze On Adults

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 1, 2013 03:37 PM

Toddlers and kids love their squeezable food and marketers have taken note. What better way to serve up products to America’s on-the-go adults? Mr. Whipple may have wanted to keep you from squeezing the Charmin but that’s all these companies want you to do with their products. Welcome to Squeezable Nation.

You’ve got your squeezable hummus, your squeezable sour cream, your squeezable condensed milk, salsa, cheese, pizza sauce and squeezable Dr. Pepper Cherry Dessert Topper. In other words, you’ve got pretty much whatever you want in squeezable form and you shouldn’t be surprised when all-squeezable restaurants start popping up.

OK, maybe not a full-on squeezable restaurant, but at least—as Saveur points out—a much more exciting condiment tray in your fridge: squeezable sun-dried tomato pesto and garlicky tzatziki from Canada’s Maison Le Grand get a shout-out from the publication.

Continue reading...


The Week in China: WeChat vs. Weibo, Ikea, Marvel and more

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 1, 2013 12:01 PM

At top, Brad Pitt phones in his new role as Cadillac China spokesman.

China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's 10 reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.

This week, the cat cafe... bodyguards... WeChat... Ikea's horse meatballs... Victoria's Secret... HTC... best selling sedans... Hollywood... Yum!... Bradillac and more. Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Yahoo!, Barnes & Noble, Weight Watchers and more

Posted by Dale Buss on February 26, 2013 09:08 AM

In the News

Yahoo! work-from-home edict by CEO Marissa Mayer sparks debate.

Barnes & Noble breakup possibility highlights leadership differences.

Weight Watchers sees workers push back over low pay.

Airbus considers adding assembly line for A350.

Alcatel bets on AT&T and Verizon to keep U.S.-market growth.

Amazon losing its edge in e-commerce satisfaction.

BP begins its trial in 2010 Gulf oil spill.

Diageo hopes to create frozen-cocktail frenzy in U.K.

Google is the most trusted online brand in India, followed by Facebook.

HP board signals more oversight of CEO.

Hooters launches new brand campaign.

IKEA pulls more meatballs over horse meat.Continue reading...

brand strategy

KFC Tries to Rebuild Brand in China

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 25, 2013 03:17 PM

KFC has more than 4,000 outlets in China and it counts on them to come up with more than 40 percent of its overall revenue. That overreliance on cash-flow from the world’s most populated nation took a massive hit back in December when Chinese state television let the world know that “some suppliers violated rules on the use of drugs to fatten chickens,” which led to January sales dropping a customer-estimated 37 percent, according to the Associated Press.

The word from the Shanghai Times was that Chinese authorities were investigating the business practices of “Doyoo Group, a poultry company that reportedly bought sick and dead chicken from farms, then resold the sick ones to fast food restaurants such as KFC and McDonald's and processed the dead ones into animal feed."

Though the company was never fined by China food safety authorities for the incident, it caused KFC owner Yum! Brands to reconsider its overall 2013 profit outlook and now has it attempting to show the people of China that nothing quite like what happened last year will ever happen again. It t is promising “to test meat for banned drugs, strengthen oversight of farmers and encourage them to improve their technology,” the AP notes. Plus, KFC is saying that more than 1,000 small producers that its 25 poultry suppliers use have been axed. It is still planning to add 700 new locations in China this year. Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: KFC, Barnes & Noble, IKEA and more

Posted by Dale Buss on February 25, 2013 09:07 AM

In the News

"Argo" wins Oscar for Best Picture as 85th Academy Awards widely distribute recognition among films, actors and others, while The Onion runs into critical barrage over tweet about young actress.

KFC launches campaign in China after an antibiotics scandal damaged the brand.

IKEA withdraws Swedish meatballs from store restaurants in 14 European countries on horsemeat scare.

Barnes & Noble chairman mulls buyout that could split it in two and put B&N's Nook e-reader up for sale.

BP may be closing in on a settlement as spill trial nears.

BYD targets electric-vehicle sales.

Darden warns of sales declines at its restaurant brands including Olive Garden.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: NASCAR PR Crisis, Dish Network Daytona 500 'Memoriam' TV Ad

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 24, 2013 11:06 AM

NASCAR brand refresh thwarted by P.R. crisis and YouTube takedowns after Saturday's fan-injuring accident during Nationwide race, while Danica Patrick is poised to make history as first female driver in pole position at Daytona 500. Dish Network, meanwhile, released "Memoriam" Daytona 500 campaign yesterday for its Hopper ad-skipping feature, a campaign that Fox has refused to run and Dish is trying to circumvent.

Microsoft joins list of hacked brands as Internet Explorer 11 rumored and Toyota Racing creates trackside app for Microsoft Windows 8.

Huawei unveils "Make it Possible" global branding campaign for Ascend P2 at Mobile World Congress, where Orange unveils own-brand 4G smartphone.

Coca-Cola forms major co-branding partnership in the Middle East.

Donald Trump tells the Financial Times his brand is worth $8 billion.

Dunkin' Donuts tops Brand Keys loyalty index for seventh straight year.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: American Airlines, Comcast, Yahoo, Adidas and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 13, 2013 08:43 AM

In the News

American Airlines and US Airways finalize merger details.

Comcast buys balance of GE's stake in NBCUniversal for $16.7 billion.

Yahoo CEO Mayer looks to focus mobile, expresses disappointment in Microsoft search deal.

Adidas will reveal Boost running innovation at New York event.

Apple CEO Cook feels brand's stores are too small; a Google payday might help.

Barclays CEO pressured to get moving on revamp.

BBC Worldwide appoints global editorial director.

Blockbuster UK closes 164 more stores.

Dior sees former designer John Galliano re-offend Jewish community.

Facebook eyes books, movies and TV content as Zuckerberg's full philanthropy revealed.

Ford assures dealers on Lincoln MKZ supplies.Continue reading...

brands under fire

IKEA Apologizes to Thai Transgender Community for TV Commercial

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 24, 2013 12:27 PM

IKEA is in hot water in Thailand for its holiday campaign that aimed for the funny bone and ended up hitting the Adam's apple — and offending some viewers in the process. The TV commercial, released on Dec. 25th and promoting an end-of-year sale, shows a couple strolling through the store, only the gentleman doesn't realize his companion is transgender.

As Reuters reported, "The 20-second commercial shown on YouTube and on Bangkok's trains in December and January entitled 'Luem Aeb' ('Forget to Keep Hidden'), was disrespectful to transsexuals, according to the Thai Transgender Alliance, which demanded an explanation from IKEA. Transgenders, or "Ladyboys" as they are often referred to, are widely accepted in Thailand and are commonplace in the fashion, beauty and entertainment industries, but are not officially recognized as women."

According to Reuters, a letter of apology from the company to the transgender group is now in the works. See the commercial, along with other holiday spots from IKEA Thailand, below.Continue reading...

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