brands under fire
Posted by Dale Buss on November 15, 2012 05:22 PM
Competition from huge and established beverage brands hasn't been able to dent 5-Hour Energy's dominance in the energy-shot segment it created. And criticism of its elixirs by nutritionists and dietitians hasn't been able to slow its sales past the $1-billion-a-year mark.
But here's something that might take a bit of fizz out of 5-Hour Energy: The drinks have been cited in the deaths of 13 people in the last four years, according to reports received by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. The New York Times reported, "Since 2009, 5-Hour Energy has been mentioned in some 90 filings with the FDA, including more than 30 that involved serious or life-threatening injuries like heart attacks, convulsions and, in one case, a spontaneous abortion."
The energy shot made by a suburban-Detroit-based company, Living Essentials, has been associated with 92 "adverse-event reports" over that period, including 32 hospitalizations, an FDA spokeswoman told a number of publications. The death reports comprise open cases being investigated by the agency. The FDA stressed that there is no evidence linking the 5-Hour Energy brand to the deaths or hospitalizations, but that the agency continues to investigate the reports.
5-Hour Energy spokeswoman Elaine Lutz said in a statement that 5-Hour Energy takes "reports of any potential adverse event tied to our products very seriously" and that the company complied "with all of our reporting requirements" to the FDA. She also noted that the shots are intended for "busy adults" and that 5-Hour Energy is an effective dietary supplement and not a beverage or energy drink.Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 13, 2012 12:01 PM
More than 8 million YouTube viewers watched daredevil Felix Baumgartner plummet at the speed of sound from 24 miles above Earth to a lonely spot in New Mexico. And you can bet that every one of them – along with the zillions of others who watched or read about it after the fact – noticed the Red Bull logo plastered on his spacesuit thanks to the company’s major financial investment in making the space drop occur.
It was a giant step (literally) for sports sponsorships, one that likely inspired more than a few of those watching at home to sample the brand. And now Red Bull is offering up a few more flavors to help folks feel a rush of their own (though not as likely as powerful as the one Baumgartner felt). However, if consumers want to have a taste of the new flavor and can’t wait till next spring when they are released on a wider scale, they’ll have to go to a 7-Eleven.
The convenience store chain has signed a deal to become the sole distributor of Red Bull’s first three flavor extensions, through the end of the year. The drinks, in red, silver and blue cans, will “provide the same energy and functional benefits of the original, but with the taste of sweet cranberry, fresh lime and fruity blueberry.”Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on November 6, 2012 05:08 PM
For a while, the notion of regulating genetically modified organisms (better known as GMOs) included in food seemed like a good idea, and anti-Big Food advocates in California attracted a lot of support in a state where residents like to be on the cutting edge of just about everything. Calfornians have never minded serving as a bellwether on new regulatory initiatives that end up sweeping the rest of the country, such as automotive emissions.
But the closer today's vote on Proposition 37 loomed, the more that initial support of the idea waned. And this U.S. Election Day, even backers of the anti-GMO initiative seemed resigned to its defeat, although it's still being closely watched. (Update: Prop 37 was indeed defeated at the polling booth.)
What happened? Well, a combination of huge contributions by moneyed CPG brands battered Prop 37's drive to label GMOs in a massive advertising and PR blitz with a "No on 37" drive. And backers of the added regulation alleged dirty tricks by the competition as they sought to sway voters (despite scientific evidence to the contrary) that GMO-containing products are hardly the stuff of "Frankenfood" that really harms consumers.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 6, 2012 12:02 PM
What brand doesn't want to look environmentally conscious and earth-friendly? And we're not just talking about the predicted rise in plug-in hybrid cars for Ford and Toyota or the recent increase in vegetarian and vegan businesses. Now mass-market pharmacy Walgreens is getting into the act.
The drug store chain this week launched its own Ology brand that features 25 environmentally friendly products, such as “tissues, toilet paper and paper towels made from bamboo and cane sugar husks instead of tree pulp” as well as “laundry detergent with fewer chemicals than regular brands, shampoos and conditioners for both children and adults, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and glass and all-purpose household cleaners,” according to Crain's Chicago Business.
"There's a growing trend of moms and households looking for safer products with fewer chemicals," Maurice Alkemade, Walgreen's VP of retail brands and global sourcing, told Crain's. "A lot of national brands are pushing to take out these chemicals, but we're the first affordable and widely available line to do it. We believe we can lead and own this platform."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 2, 2012 10:16 AM
Welshman Simon Doherty owns one of the smallest breweries in Wales, the wee Artisan Brewing Co. in Cardiff, but size doesn’t matter when it comes to trademarks.
PepsiCo's lawyers caught wind Doherty was looking to trademark his “Bare Naked Beer” brand two years ago. The American beverage giant thought it was a little too close to its Naked Juice drinks brand. Apparently, the courts agree as a ruling now prohibits Doherty from using the name on his brews. He needs to make the switch to a new name within the next few months, and is offering 100 bottles of his finest for the winning suggestion (that doesn't use the word "Naked.")
Doherty wasn’t a complete loser on the day, though. “We can’t use the brand mark on our beer anymore but there was no case for using the brand on clothing so at least we won that battle,” Doherty told WalesOnline. “I have still been faced with the cost of representing myself in court, which was not cheap, but if PepsiCo had won outright I would have been facing astronomical costs.”
As Doherty figures out his next move, let's just hope Canada's Barenaked Ladies don't slap their brand on a bottle any time soon. [Oops - Artisan informed us on Twitter it's too late for that.]
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 9, 2012 03:04 PM
Biodegradable shoes and clothing doesn’t sound like a brilliant idea at first. Images of shirts suddenly washing off bodies in a heavy rain or sneakers unexpectedly disintegrating on a hot day come to mind.
But the brand stewards at Puma are asking consumers to just dump all those silly ideas into a compost heap. The company, which has been a leader on the environmental front, is now producing a limited collection of biodegradable clothes and shoes to start selling in 2013 in order to capitalize on the ever-growing global love for all things green. Finally, the brand will have some shoes and gear to go with its Clever Little Bag sustainable packaging that launched in 2010.
"We have decided that sustainability is a mega-trend," chief executive Franz Koch told Reuters, which sees the move as a bid to shore up the brand's green track record against competitors Nike and Adidas. "We want to contribute to a better world. At the same time, we also want to carve out our competitive advantage." ("Better world" was likely an unintentional reference to the umbrella brand for Nike's corporate citizenship and sustainability efforts).Continue reading...
brand and bottle
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 9, 2012 01:01 PM
Heineken isn’t just James Bond's new beer of choice, with a swanky limited edition collectors' edition in Europe whetting fans' thirst for the upcoming Skyfall movie. The brand also is consumed by enough Americans to make it the nation’s top upscale beer import. And the Dutch brewer wants to keep spreading the brand love.
With that in mind, Heineken has partnered with New York's up and coming Public School fashion label to create a limited-edition camouflage duffel bag in honor of the third annual “Heineken 100,” which honors “tastemakers,” according to a press release. The pair previously collaborated on a limited-edition T-shirt that you may have missed.
"We chose Public School as a partner because their clientele, like ours, are open-minded, confident, resourceful men who know quality, seek out new experiences and are ever-evolving in all aspects of their life," said (Bond-worthy named) Olga Osminkina, senior brand director of Heineken USA. "We hope this is one of many future collaborations with innovative and accomplished designers who align perfectly with the aspirations of the Heineken consumer."
The brewer is all about new looks these days as it also has redesigned its packaging for the first time since 1946 — meaning that James Bond isn't the only star on its bottle. The brand's new “Star Bottle” design (see below) that's coming to the U.S. is now rolling out to some vendors in New York and is scheduled to be on shelves in the rest of the country by March of next year.Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 8, 2012 06:25 PM
When Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly faced off Saturday in a mock debate, the topic of whether the government should decide what size soda consumers should drink was brought up and summarily dismissed, but there are plenty of other folks — like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — who aren’t letting the issue go.
The just-passed law that Bloomberg pushed to help keep New Yorkers healthy by making it illegal to sell sodas larger than 16 oz. in many New York establishments will go into effect on March 12. And Bloomberg isn’t alone. A soda-tax measure was put on the ballot in Richmond, California, that would discourage consumers from drinking soda and collect money through a soda tax “for neighborhood gardens, recreation and other youth projects that would help fight childhood obesity,” BeyondChron.com reports.
Sick of being called a bad guy in the war against obesity, the American Beverage Association (and the soda giants it represents) today launched a "Calories Count" vending machine program that will start being distributed in the new year. The ABA's new initiative will help consumers identify lower-calorie sodas in vending machines by placing soda calorie counts right on the buttons of vending machines.Continue reading...