health matters

USDA Food Pyramid About to Crumble

Posted by Dale Buss on June 1, 2011 05:00 PM

The next effort by the federal government to get Americans to eat better: junk the iconic food pyramid in favor of a new healthy-eating logo and visual systems that looks more like a dinner plate.

That makes sense. With the original pyramid conceived decades ago, consumers were supposed to favor foods depicted in the icon’s wide base, such as whole grains and vegetables – as the “basis” of a healthy diet.

The allegedly worse-for-you stuff, such as fats and meats, were relegated to smaller portions near the top of the pyramid. But not surprisingly, this confused many Americans. Isn’t the best stuff supposed to be at the pinnacle of anything? Besides, geometry is a tough subject.Continue reading...

brand aspiration

Ralph Lauren's Billion-Dollar Polo Brand Expansion

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 27, 2011 05:00 PM

Fresh from a rare interview as one of Oprah Winfrey's last guests and seeing First Lady Michelle Obama dazzle this week in one of his couture designs, American fashion icon Ralph Lauren is in the spotlight this week.

His Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. may have had its net income decline almost 36%, bringing in “only” $73.2 million, in the fourth quarter that ended April 2nd (prompting at least one analyst to issue a 'buy' recommendation for its stock), but that isn’t stopping the company from investing a cool $1 billion to expand its global retail operation, according to Women’s Wear Daily.

Roger Farah, president and COO of Polo Ralph Lauren, told WWD that in the next fiscal year, $325 million of that would be laid out, with 70% of the cash would go to “growing the company’s store base internationally, particularly in Europe and through concession shops in China and Hong Kong.” But Polo won’t be just throwing money new retail locations.Continue reading...

brand bites

Brand Bites: Dodge, Sonic, Apple & more

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 27, 2011 12:00 PM

Dodge puts new spin on the "pro driver, closed course" blink-and-you'll-miss-it fine print of car commercials, above.

Black MacBook costs more than the white MacBook garners "Manhattan Apple Store Accused of Discriminating Against Black Men" headline.

Apple, meanwhile, sues teen who made white iPhone conversion kit.Continue reading...

brands under fire

POM Wonderful Marketing Isn’t, FTC Says

Posted by Dale Buss on May 25, 2011 05:00 PM

POM Wonderful executives may be enjoying all the attention spawned by buying the title sponsorship of Morgan Spurlock's product-placement documentary, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. But there’s another show going on, in Washington, D.C., that actually may have more to say about the long-term fate of the brand.

And this one could be called The Obama Administration Presents: Watch What You Say. After first clamping down on the brand's ad claims last year, the Federal Trade Commission is still squeezing the pomegranate juice giant as part of the agency’s campaign to get food and beverage companies to throttle health-benefit claims in their marketing and advertising.Continue reading...

sustainability

Walmart Upgrades "Sustainability" to "Global Responsibility"

Posted by Barry Silverstein on May 19, 2011 12:30 PM

If you've been following Walmart's recent Twitter posts, you'll see a marked emphasis on sustainability.

That's because the company recently released its "2011 Global Responsibility Report," renamed this year from the Sustainability Report to reflect "the new social and environmental dimensions we have added to our efforts, as well as new data and metrics to track and measure our progress," according to Michael Duke, president and CEO.

Five years ago, Walmart launched its sustainability efforts with three broad goals: 1) to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy, 2) to create zero waste and 3) to sell products that sustain people and the environment. The latest report suggests that Walmart has done an admirable job working towards all three goals, but the company is selective in noting its specific accomplishments.Continue reading...

place branding

Wisconsin Town Launches 'Teach Me How To' Tourism Campaign

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 19, 2011 11:30 AM

From America's hallowed land of cheese comes a case study about what can happen when a popular viral movement gets adapted by a commerce-driven entity.

With an eye to the University of Wisconsin-promoting video Teach Me How to Bucky, above, the Wisconsin county of Sheboygan has launched a new tourism campaign, "How do you Sheboygan?" Local reaction is hostile, but that doesn't mean it won't work (though it probably won't).Continue reading...

brands under fire

Skechers Lobbied to Drop Shape Ups for Girls

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 11, 2011 03:00 PM

Abercrombie and Fitch got into hot water with its push-up bikini top aimed at girls. Walmart's tween makeup line raised a few parental eyebrows. Now it's Skechers turn in the hot seat.

The brand's Shape Ups for Girls commercial (above) has been out since September, but it's still raising hackles among parents and others who don't feel "slimming" shoes should be targeted at girls.Continue reading...

chew on this

Teenage Drama in White House's "Tough" New Food-Ad Guidelines

Posted by Dale Buss on April 29, 2011 02:00 PM

Michelle Obama is trying to woo kids to put down the cheeseburger and get moving in her Let's Move healthy kids campaign — even co-opting Beyonce in her anti-obesity campaign's latest effort: a May 3rd "dance-in" in America's public schools.

But the White House wants to put teeth in those efforts by regulating food advertising, yesterday announcing proposed federal guidelines for marketing food to kids. The biggest issue to come out of the "tough new rules," as the Wall Street Journal described them — when does a minor become impressionable by advertising?Continue reading...

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