London 2012

London 2012 Watch: McDonald's Touts Team USA Gold Contest With Lolo Jones

Posted by Dale Buss on July 23, 2012 05:39 PM

Just as McDonald's is gearing up its controversial sponsorship of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London that begins this week, the world's biggest fast-food brand is introducing a new US Olympics tie-in marketing program designed to continue to reposition the brand as at least a reasonable alternative for healthful fare in the eyes of American consumers.

"Favorites Under 400 Calories" is a new menu "platform" featuring existing popular food and beverage choices at McDonald's, in an attempt to remind customers that they have plenty of healthful and even diet-friendly choices under the golden arches. Team USA gold medal contenders hurdler Lolo Jones (above) and boxer Marlen Esparza are featured in a new series of commercials supporting the Olympics contest.Continue reading...

London 2012

London 2012 Watch: Real Olympics Challenge - Getting Viewers Off the Couch

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 18, 2012 04:24 PM

Just as Britons start greeting visitors descending on London for the Summer Olympics, news this week will either have them leaping off the couch to get moving — as Olympic sponsors such as McDonald's have been urging folks to do — or slump back in despair and reaching for another handful of crisps.

Apparently the 60 million good citizens of the UK are the, well, fattest in Western Europe, and when London was awarded the 2012 Summer Olympics back in 2005, officials pledged to use the Games as incentive for 2 million Britons to increase their physical activity by the opening ceremonies.

“When the torch is lit July 27," writes the Associated Press, the U.K. "government will not only have failed, it will have backed away from its pledge entirely. Last year, the U.K. quietly dropped its aim to get 1 million more Britons into sports; the pledge to get another 1 million people more active through things like biking or walking to work has also been scrapped.”Continue reading...

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Birds Eye Promotes GenVeg to Kids with iCarly Contest

Posted by Dale Buss on July 10, 2012 11:09 AM

It's a dilemma as old as the first wild stalk of broccoli: How do you get a child to eat it? The latest twist on the ancient battle for kids' gullets is a new campaign by Birds Eye, the frozen-vegetable giant, with Nickelodeon and the Partnership for a Healthier America.

As part of an initiative that launched in May called "GenVeg" — for Generation Vegetable, of course — Bird's Eye is marketing directly to children through a cross-promotional partnership with the popular kids TV show iCarly. The centerpiece of the co-branded campaign is a contest, "iCarly Cooks with Birds Eye," in which kids visiting the website will be encouraged to develop wacky new recipes for vegetables. The contest kicked off Monday with a video featuring Jennette McCurdy, one of the stars of the show.

"We're hoping that will add to the cachet with kids, and we're also filming a commercial with kids that will be airing on Nickelodeon," Alan Creveling, Bird's Eye brand manager, told brandchannel. "It's a very Nickelodeon way: putting kids in charge of things."Continue reading...

brand extensions

Spoon Boom: Why PepsiCo is Dipping Into US Yogurt Craze

Posted by Dale Buss on July 9, 2012 03:01 PM

It may be too early to say the cola wars are over, although it's clear that PepsiCo is ready and willing to take on another archrival. Following years of competing with Coca-Cola with its array of beverage and snack food brands in the U.S., PepsiCo is now getting into the red-hot yogurt market and adding Dannon to its competitive set.

Faced with a U.S. yogurt market that is more crowded than ever with brands, and demonstrating almost no growth except in the Greek yogurt category, PepsiCo announced Monday that it's introducing a fresh brand to yogurt-loving Americans — and one that isn't focusing on Greek — via a new partnership with the Theo Muller Group, Germany's largest privately held dairy

That's the prospect for Muller Quaker Dairy when it finally enters stores in northeastern and mid-Atlantic states with three lines of yogurt products birthed by the joint venture. Muller Quaker promises "innovative premium" products that aim to create differentiation and taste excitement in a U.S. yogurt category that PepsiCo executives believe is lacking both.

"It's been an 'I gotta have it because it's good for me' kind of a product," Dr. Mehmood Khan, who oversees PepsiCo's global research and development, commented to the New York Times. "The 'wanna have it' was missing."Continue reading...

London 2012

London 2012 Watch: Coca-Cola Stays On Message, Defies Critics

Posted by Dale Buss on July 9, 2012 12:01 PM

While many global marketers are aiming Olympics-related campaigns at young consumers, the real core of TV watchers of London's Summer Olympics are expected to be older Gen X-ers and boomers. Those generations also struggle more than younger ones with obesity and other health issues.

All of that may be why Coca-Cola is using its Olympics sponsorship to do more than promote its new global "Move to the Beat" campaign, which is aimed at teens. Another new initiative by Coke is highlighting active lifestyles by centering on an "eight-pack" of athletes even though the first one revealed — Shawn Johnson — won't be competing in London following her recent surprise retirement from the sport.

In a challenging time in America for soft drink brands, led by New York City's proposed ban on large soft drinks, Coke is hoisting a healthy living banner into the London 2012 Olympics with a campaign which claims that — despite being dismissed as overcaloric sugar water by many health critics — the brand actually has an association with healthy lifestyles.Continue reading...

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NYC Soda Wars: US Beverage Giants Swat Back at Bloomberg Proposal

Posted by Dale Buss on July 3, 2012 01:11 PM

If the battle between New York and Big Soda were a sumo wrestling match, it might shake the entire Eastern Seaboard. The two giants have only begun squaring off in a titanic battle for the gullets and obeisance of Manhattan residents and the moral high ground too, after Mayor Bloomberg's proposed ban on selling carbonated soft drinks above 16 ounces in regulated outlets in Gotham.

The American soft-drink industry is ramping up its campaign to fight New York's proposed restrictions on large sugary drinks. Now the city is in the midst of a public-comment period on the proposal ahead of a scheduled July 24th public hearing, and PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and allies aren't sugar-coating their words in letting it be known exactly what they think of Bloomberg's idea.Continue reading...

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Life, Liberte and the Pursuit of US Greek-Yogurt Market Share

Posted by Dale Buss on July 2, 2012 05:05 PM

Just because Chobani has opened up a huge lead in the Greek-style category it invented — and that is reshaping the U.S. yogurt business — doesn't mean that others can't try to chip away. Dannon has grabbed a significant share after sensing the opportunity with Chobani's rapid rise.

Other players, big and small, also are attempting to make more noise and get their stakes of a Greek-style market that has been calculated at about $1.5 billion a year now and still growing by strong double-digits — even coming up in discussions of Greece's Eurozone crisis. Yoplait, Hain Celestial and the Pinkberry chain are among the brands that are making their own plays. Ben & Jerry's just revamped its frozen yogurt line to make Greek Yogurt the basis of the line. Fage and Chobani have a friend in U.S. senator Chuck Schumer.

The most closely watched Greek yogurt brand is Yoplait. The General Mills line, which has shared the top of the U.S. yogurt market with Dannon for many years, got a particularly late start in the Greek segment. But now it's launching 40 new yogurt products, and Greek yogurt will be the centerpiece of that rollout this summer.Continue reading...

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Butter is Back, But Don't Blame Paula Deen

Posted by Dale Buss on June 29, 2012 01:01 PM

Lest traditional June Dairy Month close before dairy products get their well-deserved day in the marketing sun, let's turn our attention to a rising star in the milk-products firmament: butter.

That's right — congealed animal fat. The traditional Public Health Enemy No. 1 — cue the Paula Deen references — when it comes to clogged arteries. The iconic dairy product that you thought was a goner long before Oldsmobile. Butter is actually enjoying a renaissance these days — perhaps a halo effect from the popularity of bacon, and certainly thanks in part to efforts by the leading U.S. butter brand, Land O' Lakes.

Whether margarine or butter actually is more healthful has been a confused issue for decades now after margarine took an early lead. "People have become concerned about industrially produced trans fatty acids found in margarines, which increases risk factors for heart disease," Gregory Miller, EVP of the National Dairy Council, told brandchannel. And "we have learned that saturated fat intake is not as important a risk factor for heart disease as previously thought."Continue reading...

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