London 2012

London 2012 Watch: McDonald's All-Star Olympics Crew Includes Mayor McCheese

Posted by Shirley Brady on July 30, 2012 05:42 PM

We've noted how McDonald's, as one of the TOP sponsors of the London 2012 Olympics, is promoting its new lower-calorie menu and Team USA contest in the US, and encouraging kids (and adults) in the UK to get active and check out its revamped Happy Meal, among other local marketing efforts ahead of the games.

The company brought its top executives to London for the Games opening last week, where the big message was "McDonald's Takes Olympic Stage to Announce Advances in Children's Well-Being, Menu Innovation and Access to Nutrition Information."

Now the Summer Games have started, the fast-food giant is rolling out digital and social content that aims to "match the fun, competitive spirit of the Olympics," according to a spokesperson.Continue reading...

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New York Mayor Bloomberg Faces Big Soda Ban Foes

Posted by Dale Buss on July 24, 2012 04:43 PM

New Yorkers were girding for a showdown Wednesday between Mayor Bloomberg and the opponents to his proposed ban on 16-ounce or bigger soft drinks. A mid-afternoon public hearing was scheduled to debate the measure, which still needs approval by the city Board of Health — appointed by the mayor — to take effect.

The ban's opponents could always sue or appeal to the state legislature (or not, judging by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's recent remarks), but the "hundreds" of people who gathered on the steps of City Hall on Monday to oppose the ban, organized by a American Beverage Association coalition called New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, would rather put a stop to Bloomberg's legislation before it goes into effect.Continue reading...

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...

chew on this

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 Nick.com 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...

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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...

sip on this

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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