kiddie brands

Transformers Toys Go Back to Their Roots Ahead of Fourth Film

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 22, 2014 08:14 PM

In the three decades that Transformer toys have been on the market, they've inspired three big-budget Hollywood blockbusters and inspired hundreds of merchandising endeavors.

But the toys as they were orginally imagined—the ones that actually transformed from a vehicle to a robot with a few simple moves—aren’t around anymore. The transformation process, it seems, is now extremely complicated. Some may disagree, but the instruction booklets for today’s Transformers are much more involved than when it was first released. 

So Hasbro CEO Brian D. Goldner has decided to restore the toy back to its simpler days in honor of its 30th anniversary.Continue reading...

chew on this

General Mills Drops GMOs from Original Cheerios After Consumer Outcry

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 3, 2014 01:57 PM

So long, Cheeri-GMOs. In a victory for anti-GMO proponents and outspoken consumers, General Mills has stopped using genetically modified ingredients in Original Cheerios. The raging debate pits critics who cite the dangers of genetically modified crops against those who say there is no scientific consensus on the issue. 

Exactly a month before the brand makes its Super Bowl debut on Feb. 2, General Mills VP Tom Forsythe stated in a blog post dated Jan. 2 that the decision wasn’t driven by critics or safety concerns, but by consumer demand.

"It's not about safety," he wrote. "Biotech seeds, also known as genetically modified seeds, have been approved by global food safety agencies and widely used by farmers in global food crops for almost 20 years." 

His post also clarified the cereal's GMO content:Continue reading...

cocktail hour

All the News You Can Drink: Jack Daniel’s Bottle Battle, Johnnie Walker Wears Gold, Molson's Weather Intuition and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 25, 2013 07:17 PM

Jack Daniel’s Launches Bottle Battle with Little Whiskey Brand

When liquor buyers go looking for a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, they know what they’re looking for: a squared-off chunk of glass with the black label and the trusty No. 7. The famed distiller, though, is a bit concerned that shoppers are going to be confused by a new whiskey on the shelf: Popcorn Sutton's Tennessee White Whiskey.

Sutton’s originally marketed its whiskey in Mason jars in honor of the moonshiner who created it, but the brand switched its packaging recently to a bottle that is “square shaped with angled shoulders and beveled corners, with white-on-black labeling color schemes,” the Associated Press reports. The lawyers at Jack Daniel’s have taken notice and filed suit, claiming they've cornered the market on square whiskey.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Pressed to Improve Results, P&G Turns to Its 'New-Age Plastic'

Posted by Dale Buss on October 21, 2013 03:39 PM

Procter & Gamble long has relied on innovation to shake things up with new products and features that gain sales and market share and even create new brands, like Pampers disposable diapers, Swiffer, and Crest White Strips. During his first tenure as CEO, many of those innovations came from A.G. Lafley.

Now, in his second turn at the top, Lafley reportedly is pushing acceleration of a "new-age plastic" developed internally by P&G with a "high-velocity injection molding" system that could save the CPG giant alone $1 billion in cost savings—and result in the establishment of a colossal B2B business selling the revolutionary material to non-competitive customers.

"P&G's patent applications say its manufacturing system can make packages with material as much as 75 percent thinner than existing ones," Advertising Age said about the new material. "The technology also makes it easier to use recycled resins or plant-based alternatives to petrochemicals and will help P&G make packages more recyclable because it allows caps and closures to be made from the same material as the rest of the package."Continue reading...

cocktail hour

All the News You Can Drink: Dogfish Head’s Moon Brew, Bud’s Packaging Fail, Wine Biz Gets Corona Boost and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 4, 2013 06:45 PM

Dogfish Head Gets Spaced Out

Delaware brewery Dogfish Head is always up for experiments. Its latest is a small-batch Oktoberfest ale, Celest-jewel-ale, that features an ingredient probably never used before in the brewing process: moon dust. 

According to Fox News, Dogfish made a deal with ILC Dover, which produces spacesuits for NASA, in order to have access to “lunar meteorites” that it ground up and put into the brew like a big teabag.

Much more experimental than that, though, is the brewery’s plan to open a 16-room, beer-themed hotel. It’ll open next year about 11 miles from the brewery, Eater.com reports. Each room will have its own micro-fridges and beer glasses as well as a bottle opener on the wall.

In the spirit of inventiveness, Dogfish has also created a little gadget known as the Randall Jr. that allows consumers to infuse their own beers with interesting ingredients and flavorings. At Dogfish, the brewers want everyone to catch the creativity bug.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Hershey's Adjusts Sweet Tooth Pursuit with New Packaging, Global Expansion

Posted by Dale Buss on September 23, 2013 10:52 AM

Hershey is gearing up to take advantage of chocolate season—from Halloween through Christmas—but the company also has larger, longer-term goals in sight that amount to a significant refinement of its traditional approach.

The iconic confectionery brand is hot on portion-controlled, resealable packaging; is moving late but eagerly into international expansion; believes sustainability is important but not a sine qua non for its brands; and is open to making more acquisitions. All of that will help Hershey achieve its goal of reaching $10 billion in annual sales compared with the $6.6 billion it notched in 2012.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Lafley Emphasizes P&G's Broad Brand Value in 2nd Term as CEO

Posted by Dale Buss on September 5, 2013 01:54 PM

A.G. Lafley's first turn running Procter & Gamble was transformational for the company as he bought Gillette, shed the company's food brands and put innovation on a pedestal. For what he has called his "second shift," Lafley has indicated that his emphasis will be less on overhauling the company and more on making sure P&G as now constituted is doing the best that it can.

"I'm just elevating the focus on execution, everybody gets it," the P&G CEO said this week at the Barclays Back to School analysts conference in Boston. "When we execute, we like the results. What's more important, consumers like the results better, customers like the results better and in the end we like the results better and our shareholders like the results better."

Lafley said he's focusing on boosting productivity, "improving operating discipline," "investing in innovation and go-to-market capabilities" and "re-establishing value creation as our primary measure of success." He's also making some big bets by restrategizing some of P&G's iconic brands.Continue reading...

brand strategy

P&G Looks to Wring More Value Out of Tide Brand With Lower-Priced Detergent

Posted by Dale Buss on September 4, 2013 01:52 PM

New/old CEO A.G. Lafley is beginning to shake things up at Procter & Gamble, and one of his most interesting first moves reportedly is to explore potential further value in one of the company's most iconic and lucrative brands: Tide.

One of the things that his predecessor/follower as CEO, Bob McDonald, did well was exploit the promise of Tide Pods, which he launched in early 2012 and which already are on their way to becoming another $1 billion sub-brand for P&G. Despite growing concerns and one reported death of kids poisoning themselves by mistaking the colorful Pods for candy, Tide has managed to grow quickly—and dominate—a laundry-detergent segment that it essentially created.

But Tide Pods—which recently debuted in new, opaque packaging to curb temptation from kids—are priced above regular liquid Tide. American detergent buyers have steadily drifted to bargain-priced products to do their laundry over the last few years in adjusting to a stingier "new normal," but even regular Tide has retained a price premium.

Now Lafley is pulling the lever on a lower-price gambit for Tide that has always made the company hesitant. He announced today at the Barclays Back to School conference in Boston that P&G plans to release a lower-priced, mid-tier detergent, Tide Simply Clean & Fresh, in February, according to an AP report that noted other Tide products launching in the first quarter.Continue reading...

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