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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 In the U.S., analysts are suggesting that the notion of kids' meals is becoming increasingly outdated as family eating patterns change.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...

brand mascots

Spam Celebrates 75th Birthday With New Mascot: Sir Can-A-Lot

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 2, 2012 01:26 PM

FDR was president, the Hindenburg crashed, the Golden Gate Bridge opened, and Spam was born. In 1937, the pork-centric meat dish sold in the trademark can hit store shelves.

So to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its birth, Hormel Foods, the owner of the Spam brand, are “launching a loveable character to rescue the world from routine meals,” according to the company's press release.

The 2½-inch mascot is a cartoon knight named (what else?) Sir Can-A-Lot and he’ll appear in Spam marketing across the board. In one new commercial, he pops out from an egg carton to remind the cook to include Spam in her recipe.Continue reading...

retail watch

Target Charms Toronto With Jason Wu Pop-Up Store

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 24, 2012 01:37 PM

As Target prepares to expand to Canada in 2013 by taking over Zellers stores coast-to-coast, the retailer brought Torontonians a taste of its latest designer collaboration on Thursday — the red-hot Jason Wu lin which sold out on the eve of New York Fashion Week.

Its one-day (and first-ever) pop-up store in Canada saw another first for the market: a charitable donation to the United Way that matched 100% of sales that day. Bullseye, the Target mascot, also made the trip north with Wu.

brand faces

2 Guys, 1 Campaign: Sonic Puts 2 Guys Back in the Front Seat

Posted by Dale Buss on February 22, 2012 02:25 PM

Raising hopes that fans might hear a reprise of classic lines such as "Go long!" for tater tots, Sonic is bringing back "those two guys" who sat in a car outside Sonic restaurants in TV commercials for eight years, letting their friendship humorously unfold over bites of Sonic burgers and whatever special the chain was running.

With a new, character-driven viral campaign seeded on a mock websiteYouTube, Twitter, Facebook and, er, LinkedIn, America's fourth-largest fast-food chain is bidding to have the two guys join Old Spice's Isaiah Mustafa and Ford's Focus Doug in the pantheon of heroes of recent marketing campaigns that have relied heavily on social media.Continue reading...

rebranding

Nitro Infuses Brand With Aussie Attitude

Posted by Michael Waltzer on February 21, 2012 04:28 PM

Friendly technology. It may sound like an oxymoron to some, but through thoughtful branding and visual design, it can be portrayed as exactly that. Nitro, which offers a PDF conversion product, has just rebranded for that very reason.

The brand, which started in Australia in 2005 and is now headquartered in San Francisco, felt its visual identity did not reflect its culture, products, or approach. In short, they wanted a brand "we could be proud of." Below, find out how they rebranded and why.Continue reading...

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