trademark wars

Clif Bar vs. KIND: A Clear Case of Trademark Infringement?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 14, 2014 11:41 AM

Health bars claim to be good for everyone, but that's not the case when it comes to trademark claims. 

KIND has taken Clif Bar to court, claiming that the latter’s new Mojo bars bear a little too much resemblance to their own packaging, Lexology reports. Clif, of course, “disputes that the packaging of KIND bars is distinctive,” the site notes. KIND asked the court to temporarily stop Clif from selling the Mojo bars, which are packaged in a clear wrapper, like KIND bars, while the suit is underway, but the court has declined. KIND has appealed that decision.

While the court discovered that Clif marketers thought the KIND packaging was “best in class” when the Mojo design was created, it also found that a few other health bars had similar designs and that consumers weren’t confused about whether they were buying a KIND bar or not when they purchased a Mojo bar.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Walmart Boosts Women-Owned Brands With Major Retail Push

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 3, 2014 05:36 PM

The world's biggest retailer is betting on women entrepreneurs in a big way. Starting in September, Walmart will carry a range of items by women, but not just for women, in its stores.

From lingerie to bathroom cleansers, Walmart shoppers will soon be able to spot and buy products made by female entrepreneurs thanks to a “women-owned” logo that resembles a ring of women with their arms around each other.

“Women perceive there’s a higher quality to a woman–owned product, that there's a real value in it,” commented Pamela Prince-Eason, President and CEO of Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), which certifies women-owned businesses seeking US federal contracts.

As part of its bigger Empowering Women Together commitment, Walmart's goal by 2016 is to source 20 billion dollars worth of products from women-owned businesses. Already promoting women-owned brands on its website, the women-owned logo will now accompany these products into its stores.Continue reading...

diversity watch

Burger King Courts LGBT Community and Millennials With Proud Whopper

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 2, 2014 12:21 PM

Pride Month may have just come to a close, but Burger King is looking to make it last a bit longer with the showcasing of its Proud Whopper, a burger sold in a San Francisco location during last week’s Gay Pride festivities that is no different from other Whoppers but came encased in brightly-colored paper.

When the burger was unwrapped, the text inside read, “We are all the same inside.” The brand unveiled a video today about the burger (watch below) as the chain is working “to connect with customers, particularly with the younger individuals fast-food chains are known for courting,” the Associated Press reports.

"A burger has never made me cry before," a young woman says in BK's pride burger spot. Reaching consumers on a personal level was also the rationale behind the brand’s recent replacement of its longtime “Have It Your Way” slogan with “Be Your Way.”Continue reading...

celebrity brandcasting

Want More Mariah and Jay Z? Just Sip and Scan

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 24, 2014 07:20 PM

The world of celebrity-endorsed products knows no bounds. That's why Mariah Carey and Jay Z have teamed up with former Def Jam CEO Kevin Liles on two new, interactive beverages: Butterfly and 40/40. 

The beverage bottles deliver exclusive content to super-fans via the Go N'Syde app. “With Go N’Syde, an artist like Mariah can program this every day. She could say, ‘Hey I just got out of the studio, why don’t you go inside Butterfly with me right now?’ And then you’ll see her studio,” said Liles, now chief creative officer and exclusive Curator of Content for Go N’Syde.

Simply hold a smartphone up to a Go N’Syde bottle and an interactive menu appears, sans bar code or QR code, offering photos, videos, sweepstakes offers and more to fans, much like Lady Gaga tried to do with her community for her "Little Monsters." 

“We’re really creating it so that you get a real Mariah Carey life experience, by scanning the bottle and going inside,” he added. “So when you purchase a bottle you have an antenna into Jay Z or Mariah’s network, and that’s what’s so exciting about it.”Continue reading...

sip on this

Coca-Cola Brings Lower-Cal Green Soda to UK, Share a Coke to US

Posted by Dale Buss on June 11, 2014 03:43 PM

Coca-Cola’s global efforts to preserve its sales—and the essential nature of its brand and products—is beginning a crucial new test in the UK as the company launches both its new reduced-sugar Coca-Cola Life beverage and introduces a new anti-obesity campaign there simultaneously.

With 36 percent fewer calories and 37 percent less sugar than real cola, Coca-Cola Life will hit UK shelves in September, having passed its marketing launch in Argentina and Chile in 2013. Its upcoming launch in the UK will mark Life’s arrival in Europe (and the first new Coke product there since the launch of Coke Zero in 2006); no plans have been announced to roll it out in the US yet.

One reason Coke presumably started with Life in South America is that the drink is sweetened partially with stevia, a natural plant-derived substance that is native to the continent. PepsiCo has pooh-poohed the possibilities that global consumers will embrace stevia in colas because of aftertaste concerns, while still experimenting with the sweetener.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

P&G's Green Effort Is Growing, But Critics, Consumers See Room for Improvement

Posted by Dale Buss on June 2, 2014 06:14 PM

Procter & Gamble has plenty on its plate these days as returned CEO A.G. Lafley fights to restore the CPG giant to some semblance of the sales-and-earnings juggernaut that he created a decade ago. But now more than ever, the brand is facing pressure to perform in an area that didn't much have to concern Lafley in his first stint with the company: sustainability

A leader by many measures, a laggard by others, P&G was dropped last year by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index from its list of 100 North American companies deemed leaders in that field after the company had been on the list for seven consecutive years. The index declined to explain the move to USA Today. P&G also is getting dinged as the second-highest producer of greenhouse gases among CPG companies, according to Bloomberg, and for not cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and energy consumption by as much as rival Kimberly-Clark, percentage-wise, though P&G noted it’s much bigger.

And yet P&G also recently joined with Walmart in the $100 million Closed Loop Fund to help US cities boost recycling programs. The company said by 2018 it will cut water content in laundry detergent by 25 percent, saving 45 million gallons of water annually. And P&G has responded to Greenpeace protests by vowing to begin policing its entire palm oil supply by next year.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Cool Branding: A Little Autonomy Can Boost a Brand's Perception

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 29, 2014 12:28 PM

A company's cool factor has long been driven by the instincts of management, but that can be a recipe for a seriously uncool brand.

But new research from the University of Colorado, Boulder and Texas A&M shows that companies can avoid the less-than-desirable label if they just project a certain amount of autonomy, whether it be in voice, product or packaging. 

"These findings can help us compare the brand successes of Apple versus Microsoft, for example," said Margaret C. Campbell, co-author and professor of marketing at UC-Boulder's Leeds School of Business. "Doing things that show you follow your own road, in spite of norms, leads others to perceive you or your brand as cool. But an extreme level of autonomy, or autonomy that violates a strongly valued norm is not perceived as cool. So companies need to work hard to get the right level."

One study had participants read about three up-and-coming bands, whose varying descriptions suggested different levels of autonomy. Participants were then allowed to download four songs from the bands to keep. "Participants were most likely to choose songs from the bands described as having moderate autonomy," phys.org reports. "Bands described as having low or extreme autonomy led to lower perceptions of coolness."Continue reading...

brand inspiration

On Eve of World Cup and AGM, McDonald's Taps Consumers for Input

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 21, 2014 02:20 PM

Coming off another disappointing quarter of sales, the "McScary" mascot launch and on the eve of its always feisty annual general meeting, McDonald's is turning up the volume on consumer engagement in order to tune in to what fans want from the world's biggest quick serve restaurant brand. 

Building on the user-generated content trend that's been tapped by Coca-Cola for its "Ahh Effect" campaign, as well as Airbnb, Canon and other brands, McDonald's UK is asking the public to weigh in on its newest burger. Mixing and matching 80 different possible ingredients, consumers can design the burger of their dreams on the MyBurger website and then vote on others' submissions. The top 12 will be judged and the winning combos will be sold for a limited time in 1,200 restaurants across the UK.

"Customization and digital engagement are becoming an integral part of how consumers interact with companies and we want to continue to innovate as a brand," Alistair Macrow, SVP and chief marketing officer of McDonald’s UK, told Marketing Magazine.Continue reading...

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