Posted by Dale Buss on July 8, 2013 10:42 AM
The Milwaukee Brewers are mired in the basement of their division in Major League Baseball. They were recently swept by the division-leading Pittsburgh Pirates, their former dormat; are beset by injuries and shaky starting pitching; and are nervously awaiting the outcome of the sport's investigation of the Brewers' Ryan Braun and other baseball stars in the sport's growth-hormone scandal—all while former Brewers star Prince Fielder helps lead a resurgent Detroit Tigers team.
But as the Milwaukee baseball franchise heads into the All-Star break this week, there are some things that no one can take away from the Brewers: They came up with the idea of "sausage races" to entertain Milwaukee fans 20 years ago—a ballpark-entertainment tradition that is stronger than ever and has been emulated by lots of other teams ranging from the Washington Nationals to the Texas Rangers. The 20th anniversary of the torrid tubes has been a highlight of the baseball season in Milwaukee this year.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 1, 2013 03:50 PM
For decades, the eponymous mascot of Chuck E. Cheese has appeared to the general public as an extremely sizeable mouse that’s eaten a little too much of the famed restaurant’s pizza. For a time, the guy even carried a cigar around with him. But in a world that has heard a steady drumbeat against child obesity, it hasn’t exactly looked good to have a mascot who looked like he could lose a few pounds.
On Tuesday, Chuck E. Cheese execs and shareholders at the CEC Entertainment’s annual meeting in Texas met a slimmed-down version of Mr. Cheese, whose transformation began last year when his illustrated form changed shape in advertising and signage to become a lot more rock star than his past version.
With the change came the disappearance of the man who was his longtime voice, Duncan Brannan, and the introduction of Jaret Reddick as the new voice of Cheese, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Reddick, of course, is the lead singer of pop-punk band Bowling for Soup, which has a few albums Cheese execs probably wouldn’t want their mascot singing on, such as “Drunk Enough to Dance” and “A Hangover You Don’t Deserve.”
Changing the mascot may be the simplest thing CEC does this year. The 36-year-old company announced in February that its profits fell 20.7 percent to $43.6 million in fiscal year 2012. That’s a little surprising for a brand that was just named the No. 1 kid-friendly restaurant by Technomic's Consumer Restaurants Brand Metrics, based on customer surveys over the last two years.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 3, 2013 04:43 PM
Coca-Cola apparently doesn’t hold a grudge against famed director Ridley Scott. The perennial Best Global Brand's logo appeared in his 1982 film, Blade Runner, and then the brand suffered the so-called "Blade Runner curse" with the disastrous introduction of New Coke in 1985. That "curse" saw other brands that popped up in the film (Atari, Bell, Pan-Am) suffer serious financial difficulties soon after the movie debuted.
Since those days, Coke and Scott, who got his directing start in London's advertising world in the early ’70s before decamping to Hollywood, have paired up a few times. In 1986, he directed the brand's famed Max Headroom commercials. Now, the beverage giant has released a short film about its iconic Polar Bears that was directed by Scott and produced by him and his recently deceased brother, Tony Scott.
"The Polar Bears," as the short is called (watch it below), tells the story of the bear family that has appeared in Coke commercials since the company’s “Always Coca-Cola” campaign kicked off in 1993. While polar bears have been part of the print-advertising mix for Coke since 1922, the campaign put the polar bears front and center in consumers’ eyes. Now those who have been curious about just who these bears are will finally have their questions answered.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on November 29, 2012 12:14 PM
Looking to boost its profile globally, one city deep in China's interior turned to its most famous resident: The Panda.
Earlier this year, the “Pambassador” campaign was born, a project aimed at reinventing Chengdu as an economically sustainable, friendly city open to the world. Pambassador stunts have managed to spoof the royal family (upsetting a few Brits in the process), dance Gangnam in London, and "go wild" in Hong Kong while racking up over 404,000 fans on Facebook, hundreds of thousands of YouTube views and 60,000 commitments worldwide from people looking to live in Chengdu.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on November 20, 2012 05:02 PM
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the president of the bakers union in court-ordered mediation with Hostess Brands said he's "not too optimistic" that a settlement will be reached or the company's liquidation plan (now adjourned to 11 a.m. EST on Wednesday) reversed:
In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union President Frank Hurt, who’s not attending the mediation being held in New York Tuesday afternoon, said he’s heard "not a word" about how the talks are going. But he doesn’t think a deal will be reached to head off the Twinkie maker’s liquidation because his members aren’t prepared to take the labor concessions Hostess says it needs to survive.
Will brand loyalists have more success convincing President Obama to nationalize Twinkies — or will Pabst ride to the rescue and save Twinkie the Kid? Stay tuned.
Update: The announcement that mediation failed came at 7:08 p.m. ET: "Hostess Brands Inc. announced today that a mediation today with the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers Union was unsuccessful. The Company will have no further comment until a hearing scheduled for tomorrow at 11 a.m., EST, before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York"
no kidding around
Posted by Shirley Brady on October 19, 2012 05:25 PM
Frito-Lay's Cheetos brand Crunchy Flamin' Hot chips may be free of gluten-free and trans fats, but some school officials feel it's free of any redeeming value whatsover and are moving to ban it. The New York Times Well blog reports that "School districts in three states are waging a battle against (the) spicy snack that is so laden with artificial ingredients it leaves a trail of red fingerprints behind."
What has school administrators in Pasadena, Calif., Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Rockford, Illinois, up in arms?
...some school districts say the chips are too high in calories, salt and fat, and too spicy for most children. Teachers and parents have complained that the artificial coloring has children leaving behind bright red fingerprints in their classrooms and on their clothing. And emergency room doctors say they have seen patients complaining of stomach pain after eating hot Cheetos, and they warn that eating the chips in excess – because of the bright food dye they contain – may cause discolored stool that can lead to unnecessary hospital visits.
The PepsiCo-owned Frito-Lay brand "has said that it does not specifically market Hot Cheetos to small children, nor does it sell its snack products directly to schools." A current promotion with Ubisoft's Just Dance Game featuring its Chester Cheetah mascot, for instance, is aimed at kids 13 and older.
Below, watch a video tribute ("Hot Cheetos & Takis") by some kids, which has racked up more than 3.5 million views on YouTube since it was posted in August:Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 10, 2012 06:19 PM
U.S. auto sales had their best month in three years in August, but you don’t necessarily have to put out any cold, hard cash if you want some new wheels. It might help, though, if you can dance and know how to operate a video camera.
Korea’s Kia Motors is offering up a brand spanking new $14,400 2013 Kia Soul for whoever can come up with a 90-second music video that judges and consumers fall for — and raises the question of whether Kia has accepted the mantle of "hamster brand" after its CMO told Ad Age he wanted to avoid that nickname.
The contest ties in with its latest Hamsterrific ad campaign, the "Bringing Down the House" commercial that debuted during the MTV Video Music Awards telecast last week, that features those shuffling hamsters again — only this time around they go back in time to win over a snooty crowd of pompadoured, poufy opera fans.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 4, 2012 05:41 PM
Can football heroes do for Quaker Oats what rocket men couldn't? PepsiCo has added its Quaker and Tropicana brands to the stable of products covered by its big partnership with the National Football League, and for Quaker, which is partnering with the kid-oriented NFL Play 60, the tie-in couldn't have come too soon.
PepsiCo is kicking off the new NFL season, the first of its new 10-year deal with the league which includes a return to Super Bowl advertising, by deploying more NFL-themed displays than ever before and by highlighting its traditional blue-can Pepsi more than ever. The $2.3-billion deal, one of the largest sponsorships in U.S. sports history, involves the new brands as well as the original Pepsi, Gatorade and Frito-Lay brands.Continue reading...