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trademark wars

Red Bull Loses Trademark Fight in Europe

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 19, 2011 12:26 PM

Red Bull got up its energy enough to get into a legal fight with 214-year-old Dutch company Frisdranken Industrie Winters B.V. over its trademark recently, but the Austrian beverage maker ended up on the losing end of the stick this time around.

Bloomberg reports that Red Bull took the battle all the way to the European Union’s highest court before finally losing to Frisdranken, which had earned Red Bull’s ire by “filled up cans bearing logos and texts such as ‘Bullfighter’ and ‘Red Horn’ with drinks for another company, called Smart Drinks.”

The court wasn’t buying Red Bull’s argument: “A service consisting of the mere filling of cans bearing a sign protected as a trademark is not use of that sign which is liable to be prohibited,” the EU Court of Justice declared, according to Bloomberg. “The service provided by Winters consists of the filling of cans and this service does not have any similarity with the product for which Red Bull’s trademarks were registered.”

Meanwhile, Red Bull “stunned” the Formula One racing world by tossing all of its team’s drivers and replacing them, according to a press release on motorsport.com. And while Red Bull is clearly sinking some cash into that auto adventure, it has now finally exited the NASCAR world. According to Yahoo! Sports, the company’s decision to leave the sport has about 150 people, who worked with drivers Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers, looking for work.

going green

Coca-Cola Hastens PlantBottle Progress

Posted by Dale Buss on December 16, 2011 01:01 PM

Coca-Cola wants you to know that, sure, it could have waited until its initial 2020 target date to guarantee that its PlantBottles would all be made from 100-percent plant-based materials. The company also wants you to know that it has moved up that timetable by several years. This week the beverage giant announced multi-million-dollar partnership agreements with three biotech companies in an initiative meant to achieve that acceleration.

"At 30 percent [plant-based materials in its bottles already], we already have a commercial solution that we've deployed in 20 countries over the past two years," Rick Frazier, Coke's vice president of commercial product supply, said on a media call on Thursday. "We could have taken several years to refine that to 100 percent [with a new process] and then started a slow rollout. But we chose to make a difference immediately," he added.

Of course, this promise doesn't mean Coke will be able to roll out 100-percent plant-based bottles to consumers by then. Or, as the New York Times notes today, that Coca-Cola will beat PepsiCo, which has espoused ambitious sustainability goals in regard to its plant-bottle technology.Continue reading...

sip on this

Bad News, Bears: Coke Pulls Back on White Cans in Holiday Campaign to Save Polar Bear [Updated]

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 1, 2011 01:34 PM

Even the big guys occasionally get it wrong. Coca-Cola is pulling back on its limited-edition white cans designed for the holidays, reverting back to its traditional red background can amidst consumer confusion and criticism.

As announced on Oct. 25, 1.4 billion white cans and caps on bottles of Coke (the first time the brand ever changed from red) were planned to blanket the U.S. and Canadian markets through March, featuring the iconic Coke polar bear in a holiday promo with an environmentally-friendly related cause dubbed Arctic Home.

In addition to boosting holiday sales, the white can heralded Coca-Cola’s partnership with the World Wildlife Fund with white bottle caps, on these and other Coca-Cola brands, including a special code for texting $1 donations to the WWF in their campaign to protect the polar bear's Arctic home. Coke committed up to $1 million to match consumer donations. 

"It's the most important holiday program we've ever launched," stated Katie Bayne, president of sparkling beverages at Coca-Cola North America, about the campaign whose messaging included "We're turning our cans white because turning our backs wasn't an option."

The cans hit store shelves Nov. 1 and were supposed to remain on shelves through February. "We were very careful to make sure people know it's the same Coke they've always loved," Bayne added. Now, Coca-Cola is pulling back on the limited-edition white cans due to customer confusion and complaints, with the first batch now in stores the only batch (good news for collectors, at least).

"We are not pulling our white cans from store shelves or replacing them with the red can," Coca-Cola spokesman Ben Sheidler tells brandchannel. "The limited-edition white 'Arctic Home' cans will remain on store shelves until supplies last and then we will switch out to a red Arctic Home holiday can" with the same polar bear motif.

Good intentions, a smart tie-in with Coca-Cola's brand mascot (the polar bear) and the best laid plans for a polar-white cause this Christmas were all foiled by social media, it seems. It was through the social web that Coke heard growing rumblings that all was not well.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Philip Morris Sues Australia Over Cigarette Packaging Laws

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 22, 2011 01:01 PM

Tobacco giant Philip Morris isn't one to dawdle. As soon as Australia's controversial mandatory "plain packaging" for cigarette brands (examples above) were passed on Nov. 21st, Morris launched a multi-billion-dollar legal action against the Federal Government. 

The country's Health Minister Nicola Roxon called it a "great day for Australia," while Philip Morris Asia (which oversees its brands sales in Australia) announced it would fight tooth and nail to challenge the laws both domestically and internationally.

“We are left with no option," said Philip Morris Asia spokesperson Anne Edwards in a press release. "The Government has passed this legislation despite being unable to demonstrate that it will be effective at reducing smoking and has ignored the widespread concerns raised in Australia and internationally regarding the serious legal issues associated with plain packaging.”Continue reading...


Method Introduces Ocean Plastic Bottles

Posted by Michael Waltzer on November 15, 2011 04:30 PM

Sick of all of that ocean garbage washing up on shore, especially on the west coast in the Pacific? Method cleaning products may have the solution — to not only get rid of ocean waste and promote marine conservation, but to salvage and re-use ocean-salvaged plastic and even create jobs with it.

Method co-founder and "chief greenskeeper" Adam Lowry stated that "Our ultimate goal is to raise awareness that the real solution to plastic pollution lies in reusing and recycling the plastic that’s already on the planet." That's why the brand has put R&D focus into an innovative way to use plastic washed up on the shores from the North Pacific Gyre, often referred to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The bottle is 100 percent post-consumer polyethylene, 25 percent of which is plastic from the Gyre. Partnering with Envision Plastics, one of the largest recyclers in the U.S., Method was able to make bottles out of a novel and potentially profound new plastic material – Ocean PCR, or post-consumer recycled plastic packaging.Continue reading...

doing good

John Deere Brings Can Do Spirit to Facebook Cause Marketing

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 15, 2011 03:01 PM

John Deere, best known for its agricultural machinery and iconic slogan, "Nothing Runs Like a Deere," has just leaped like a deer into social media with the “Can Do” Project.

The brand is constructing a combine out of cans, using upwards of 300,000 cans of food and replicating a full-sized S-690 Combine, the world’s most powerful combine that can harvest over 350 acres of grain a day.

The cans are being collected via a Facebook drive with support from Hy-Vee Food Stores, and the completed sculpture will be 60 feet wide, 80 feet long and 16 feet tall weighing about 170 tons and exhibited at the John Deere Pavilion in downtown Moline, Illinois.Continue reading...

health matters

Big Tobacco Wins FDA Injunction Against Graphic Cigarette Packs

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 8, 2011 12:28 PM

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon yesterday blocked the new FDA Graphic Warnings Rule mandated by Congress in June under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009.

The controversial ruling forces tobacco companies (already on the hook for a public education campaign) to show graphic images on cigarette packs, including rotting and diseased teeth and gums; a man with a tracheotomy smoking; the corpse of a smoker; diseased lungs; and a mother holding her baby with smoke swirling around them.

Six tobacco companies — R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Lorillard Tobacco Co., Commonwealth Brands Inc., Liggett Group and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. — filed the suit, which Leon said it’s likely they would win.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Bank of America, Zynga, Big Tobacco & more

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 7, 2011 07:01 PM

Brands to Watch

Michael Jackson's personal physician, Conrad Murray, found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Republican presidential wannabe Herman Cain slapped with more charges of sexual harassment.

U.S. district judge sides with tobacco companies and finds FDA's proposed graphic cigarette packages unconstitutional.

Bank of America must pay $410 million to settle debit card overdraft class action suit.

Coca-Cola named Ad Age's marketer of the year.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tells Charlie Rose that Steve Jobs was an advisor (but says Apple didn't attempt to buy him out).

Google's head lobbyist steps down.

National Geographic Channels names new U.S. president and CMO.

New York Times top digital exec announces retirement.

& Zynga reportedly plans post-Thanksgiving IPO, on Nov. 24.

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