social marketing

Sun-Maid Brand, at 100, Brings Their Quintessential California Girl to Facebook

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 21, 2012 10:10 AM

Raisins went mainstream thanks to the classic California Raisins television claymation commercial in the 1980's featuring I Heard it Through the Grapevine as its signature anthem.

Fast forward to 2012 and raisins are raising interest once again with the Sun-Maid Raisin Girl’s launch on Facebook to help celebrate the brand's 100th anniversary. That's her doing yoga on the beach, above — she's presumably a pro at the sunrise salutation, too.

"While the process of making raisins and dried fruits has remained relatively unchanged over the past century, information technology and international commerce continue to close the distance between the grapevine and consumer," stated Sun-Maid President Barry Kriebel.Continue reading...

health matters

McDonald's UK Faces Heat Over Five-a-Day Fizzy Drink for Kids

Posted by Dale Buss on May 11, 2012 11:44 AM

While there's plenty of attention given to getting children not to eat junk food, as a countermeasure to childhood obesity many brands are putting substantial efforts into persuading kids to eat healthier. This week two companies — one a veteran of "better-for-you" foods, the other not heralded for nutritious fare — have stepped forward to promote childhood consumption of fruit and vegetables.

McDonald's is the unlikelier player here. McDonald's UK is getting ready to launch a fizzy drink for children as an option with its Happy Meal packs on May 16th that claims to provide one of the recommended five-a-day portions of fruits and vegetables.Continue reading...

doing good

The Michael J. Fox Foundation Embraces Its Future, and Fox, With Logo Redesign

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 8, 2012 03:45 PM

The Michael J. Fox Foundation made headlines last fall with a limited-edition collection of Nike shoes inspired by the actor's Back to the Future character. The high-profile auction raised $9.4 million for the foundation, the largest private funder of Parkinson's Disease research in the world.

Fox's foundation is now heading into its own future with a new look and feel, one prompted by its humble founder, who wants to take the focus off himself and shine a spotlight onto the community of people helping find a cure for P.D.

Founded in 2000, the Foundation has just unveiled the first logo refresh in its history. "While our mission remains exclusively to speed research progress, we are increasingly a portal to engagement for the PD community at large — not just researchers but patients, their loved ones, physicians and members of the general publich who are inspired to give back," writes Holly Barkhymer, the organization's VP of marketing and communications, in a blog post.

The logo refresh features an updated font, simplified color scheme and a few tweaks to its iconic fox, who now features a dashing tipped tail and has added an ear. "We adore our fox, and it was very clear to us that the fox would remain," Barkyhmer told brandchannel. "One of the goals of the refresh was to make sure that people saw that the fox is a fox with a second ear and more defined tail. He's still fleet, intuitive, cunning, resourceful and smart."Continue reading...

chew on this

McDonald's Keeping Its Eye on the Prize this Olympics Year

Posted by Dale Buss on April 24, 2012 10:33 AM

What does a brand do when most of its competitors are recasting or overhauling themselves in a highly competitive industry? If you're McDonald's, well, you keep doing what you've been doing. Because everyone else is — still — trying to catch you.

And as he takes over from Jim Skinner as skipper of a smooth-sailing ship in a high-profile year with the London 2012 Olympics looming, new CEO Don Thompson has pledged to do exactly that: double down on the fundamentals that have enabled McDonald's basically to skate above the Great Recession and global economic stagnation even since then, and keep finding ways to improve its brand, menu and customer experience.Continue reading...

kiddie brands

McDonald's Touts Healthier Happy Meal with Olympics Mascot Promotion

Posted by Dale Buss on April 19, 2012 05:37 PM

While fast-food chains are responding to nutritional criticism by enhancing their kids menus, American children appear less and less interested in what they're peddling. NPD Group calculated that visits to fast-food restaurants in which kids meals were purchased have declined every year since 2007 and fell by 5 percent last year from 2010.

It's not that parents don't want healthier fare to their children when they eat out. In the U.S., analysts are suggesting that the notion of kids' meals is becoming increasingly outdated as family eating patterns change. And for that reason, they say, even sales of McDonald's iconic Happy Meal might be only flat these days at best — and at a chain whose other product lines are growing robustly, that's not good performance.

One factor, for example, is tight budgets that continue to afflict many American households — especially fast-food consumers — at a time of high unemployment and continued economic uncertainty. Mothers have "probably switched to the value menu because it was cheaper than the kids meal" at many chains, Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant-industry analyst, told the Chicago Tribune.

It also appears that kids are becoming disenchanted with the licensed toys packaged in the meals, at a younger and younger age, dropping from age 12 to eight. Blame digital entertainment, cell phones, and other rivals for kids' attention. But all of that apparently doesn't hold true in the UK, where McDonald's is using the revamped Happy Meal as a marketing hook to win over parents (via their kids) around its London 2012 Olympics sponsorship.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Amazon, Google, Virgin and more

Posted by Dale Buss on April 16, 2012 09:01 AM

Amazon looms as nemesis of book publishers, as children's book publisher pulls its titles.

Apple denies designer Philippe Starck's claim of 'revolutionary' device.

Arby's makes social media blunder over Rush Limbaugh advertising.

Archie comics legal battle heats up.

Audi may select its North American plant site this week, with Mexico the favoriteAutomotive News says.

CBS emphasizes hard news to regain an edge.

Citigroup reports better-than-expected revenue growth.Continue reading...

response mechanism

Listen In on McDonald's USA Listening Tour

Posted by Shirley Brady on March 26, 2012 06:31 PM

McDonald's announced a cross-country "listening tour" last August, a local market effort to get feedback in local markets about its nutritional messaging.

Above, watch a recent session led by Dr. Cynthia Goody, McDonald's USA director of nutrition, who spoke with a group of parents, educators, PTA members and local community organization members in the greater Washington, D.C. area about the company's commitment to improved nutrition choices and children's well-being. And yes, Ronald was there.

The video was released as new research indicates that McDonald's customers were the "unhappiest" with their health last month out of the eight top U.S. fast food chains.Continue reading...

brand mascots

Mascots Make a Comeback Thanks to Social Media

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 26, 2012 04:02 PM

When M&M’s Ms. Brown appeared on TV screen during the Super Bowl, she represented a whole new resurgence for brand mascots. They may seem retro, but branded characters and icons are making a comeback because, as the Wall Street Journal reporter Suzanne Vranica points out above, who wants to talk to a logo?

While mascots took off in the 1950s, the use of icons had fallen out of favor in recent years ... but that was before Twitter and Facebook. Mr. Clean, for instance, has 277,000 fans via his Facebook page. The latest example: a new ad campaign by StubHub, which is using a talking tree as its mascot.Continue reading...

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