truth in advertising
Posted by Shirley Brady on May 16, 2012 01:14 PM
The Federal Trade Commission announced today that Skechers has agreed to pay $40 million to settle false advertising charges that, as to USA Today puts it, "mislead consumers with claims that its toning sneakers would do everything from help them lose weight to make their 'bottom half their better half' without ever going to a gym."
The settlement, which will be used to provide refunds to buyers of Shape-ups and other Skechers toning sneakers, is believed to be the FTC's largest ever involving consumer refunds, David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, told USA Today.
“Skechers’ unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles. The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health,” stated Vladeck in a press release. “The FTC’s message, for Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims.”
The announcement follows Reebok's $25 million settlement in September following similar FTC charges regarding its toning shoe marketing claims. Skecher's settlement was larger than Reebok's, Vladeck told USA Today, because it has a bigger slice of U.S. market share for toning sneakers. Skechers' toning shoes were promoted with celebrity endorsements by Brooke Burke, Joe Montana and Kim Kardashian (in a 2011 Super Bowl commercial).Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on May 15, 2012 06:33 PM
While they suffer from even more ignominy under a new glare induced by the HBO documentary series The Weight of the Nation, the roundly condemned purveyors of "junk" salt, sugar and calories aren't exactly lying low and saying their mea culpas. McDonald's, Coca-Cola and 7-Eleven are each fighting back in their own way.
Coca-Cola has launched a test of its own new "mid-calorie" sodas to join PepsiCo in trying once again the concept of a "hybrid" diet/non-diet drink even though other attempts by both companies to mine a moderately-minded market have failed. Coke plans to test Sprite Select and Fanta Select products this summer — with only half the calories, 70 of regular drinks per 12-ounce can — in test markets in Atlanta, Detroit, Louisville and Memphis.
Interestingly, Coke's new toe in the mid-calorie water will depend on a blend of sugar: Cargill's Truvia brand of natural sweetener stevia plus erythritol, a "sugar alcohol" (unlike the ingredients in PepsiCo's new, nationally available mid-cal, Pepsi Next, which includes sucralose and high-fructose corn syrup). That gives Coke a leg up on an "more natural" claim it might want to make for select beverages against Next.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 15, 2012 02:02 PM
American consumers have felt a crush of pressure in recent years to lay off consuming so many sugars and work on eating healthier. Smart businesspeople have been happy to jump on the new opportunity, of course. You can now add Kraft's Oscar Mayer to that list.
The 129-year-old deli-meat maker that taught a generation of North Americans how to spell "b-o-l-o-g-n-a" has introduced a new line of products that contain absolutely no artificial preservatives, flavor, or coloring.
"Listening to consumer needs and finding better ways is just the way we do business," stated Heather Buettner, Senior Director New Product Development at Oscar Mayer, in one of two press releases the company issued to promote the launch today. "Our goal is to have 20 percent of our portfolio made with no artificial preservatives by 2015.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 11, 2012 02:11 PM
The obesity debate continues to dominate the public conversation in America. Policymakers and nutritionists and bureaucrats pondered "The Weight of the Nation" at a federal-government conference this week while the four-part HBO series of the same name that debuts on Monday. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are trying to position their brands as part of the solution, via the lobby group where they're the 800 pound gorilla members at any meeting.
The American Beverage Association's "Delivering Choices" campaign has already launched on TV to promote "how America's beverage companies are making it easier to choose the drink that's right for you — with more choices, smaller portions, fewer calories and clear calorie labels." (The sub-text: consumers have choices, and should take personal responsbility for their weight and health.)
The campaign is now getting more targeted with local marketing in the Big Apple. A New York-centric website talks up the Delivering Choices platform while promoting good works by the ABA's members in the city, such as Dr Pepper Snapple Group funding playgrounds in Brooklyn, and the recent Great Recycle event staged by Coca-Cola's Honest Tea brand in Times Square. Facebook and Twitter marketing are reinforcing the messaging.
Now the ABA is expanding its NYC push to the subway system, with a new campaign placing posters on trains and in the stations — New York being the same market where the mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has been promoting a healthy agenda, including a PSA campaign depicting their beverages with globs of fat and packets of sugar.Continue reading...
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...
chew on this
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 9, 2012 03:07 PM
The branding-refreshed Girl Scouts are expanding from the iconic cookie sales into candy bars, which will be sold at U.S. retailers from June through September. For many, it’s a match made in heaven.
"The idea of working with Girl Scouts clicked on so many levels," commented Cherry Joh, marketing manager at Nestlé Crunch, which came up with the idea of a limited-edition candy bar and pitched it to the Girl Scouts USA, who sold $760 million worth of cookies last year through increasing digital savvy as they celebrated their 100th anniversary in March.
To whet your appetite, here’s what’s cooking:Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on May 7, 2012 12:53 PM
McDonald's latest limited-time U.S. promotion touts its icy fruit drinks, including "Pucker Up," below. Now the fast-food giant has received something of a wet kiss from an unexpected corner — The New York Times — for turning around its reputation in America.
Sunday's New York Times Magazine paid tribute to McDonald's for engineering a comeback in a feature, titled "How McDonald's Came Back Bigger Than Ever," that gives credit to its U.S. brand strategists and franchisees. And, to some extent, for succeeding on the terms of the activist opponents who've been criticizing the chain over its ingredients, menu and marketing to kids.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Shirley Brady on May 2, 2012 07:54 PM
As part of McDonald's cross-USA "listening tour" to discuss nutrition, health, sustainability and its menu and marketing (especially to kids), the fast-food brand recently sent Julia Braun, Director of Nutrition, and Jessica Droste-Yagan, Director of Sustainable Supply, to meet with Duke University students and professors to discuss nutrition and sustainable food practices. Listen in above, and check out earlier discussions on the tour that were held in March and August.