cocktail hour

All the News You Can Drink: Heineken Star Rises, Brangelina Wine a Sell-Out and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 8, 2013 05:07 PM

Heineken’s Star Bottle Arrives Stateside with New Campaign

Heineken’s new taller, sleeker and starred bottle is already available in 170 countries and is now being rolled out in the United States with a new “Arrive Big” ad campaign featuring the brand’s “Man of the World” in such exotic locations as Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Lagos, Nigeria and New York City. In each location, the protagonist finds himself in prickly situations at various clubs, yet somehow ends up with the girl and the beer (and an #arrivebig hashtag, to boot) in the end.

“Our priority is to ‘break the mold’ in beer marketing with cinematic, sophisticated ads that feature our ‘Man of the World,’ a progressive, cultured guy, who is inventive in any situation,” said Colin Westcott-Pitt, vice president of Heineken, in a press release. Heineken doesn’t go so far as to pull a New Coke move and break the mold inside the bottle, of course.Continue reading...

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Fast Food Chains Reboot Brands with New Images, Ads and Products

Posted by Dale Buss on February 21, 2013 02:02 PM

With American consumers still hesitant to spend on restaurant meals, the biggest QSR chains keep trying new tactics in what has become a bruising battle for shares of a stagnant U.S. market.

No. 3 Wendy's has just rolled out a new campaign that will spread its new logo and brand design to everything from product packaging to its stores to crew uniforms. No. 2 Burger King has switched ad agencies (after the plastic-faced King creeped everyone out) and is debuting a set of light-hearted new TV commercials that also emphasize new products. Last but not least, No. 1 McDonald's is attempting to reinvigorate a new-product pipeline that generated mostly disappointments last year.

Wendy's said its new logo will begin appearing on Monday in advertising, on product packaging and crew uniforms, in new restaurant signage and menu boards and in digital assets. "Wendy's brand transformation is re-energizing all of our touch points with consumers," said Emil Brolick, CEO, in a press release. "We're transforming our brand — from bold restaurant designs to innovative food that consumers want, to improved customer service."Continue reading...

brands under fire

New Zealand Ready—but Waiting—to Follow Australia’s Lead Against Smoking

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 21, 2013 11:48 AM

Australia’s smokers had to start purchasing cigarette packs with extremely graphic images on the front last December, which did not sit well with the world’s Big Tobacco companies, whose lawyers have been set loose to try and repeal the Aussies' anti-smoking efforts. Now, New Zealand is ready to enact a similar effort that will remove branding from cigarette packages and sell them with plain wrapping.

New Zealand, however, won’t push forward with the practice until it sees how all that legal wrangling works out for its larger neighbor.

“This announcement demonstrates that the New Zealand government recognizes the significant international trade issues with standardized packaging and will not implement it until the pending international legal challenges to Australia’s law are resolved,” Philip Morris said in a statement. “There is no credible evidence that standardized packaging will lower smoking rates, but strong evidence that it will jeopardize jobs, benefit the black market for cigarettes, and is a breach of international trade rules that have already made Australia’s policy subject to WTO action.”

The WTO actions were set in motion by a few nations that happen to be—surprise!—big producers of tobacco: Ukraine, Zimbabwe, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Indonesia.Continue reading...

cola wars

Pepsi Does the Harlem Shake, Coca-Cola Reveals Marc Jacobs-Designed Cans

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 15, 2013 12:56 PM

Coca-Cola has spent plenty of bucks on making iconic ads in the past, but its latest 60-second spot is coming from a low-priced source—a fan of the brand—while the company just revealed a trio of new cans designed by global creative director Marc Jacobs. The details on the latest moves in the cola wars:Continue reading...

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Looking to Squeeze Profits, Pouch Baby Food Brands Eye Adults on the Go

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 15, 2013 10:25 AM

Babies, toddlers, and kids love ‘em, so why shouldn’t adults? At least that’s what a few manufacturers of packets filled with pureed fruits and vegetables are thinking.

Happy Family, Buddy Fruits, and GoGo squeeZ “are experimenting with larger portion sizes, simpler designs and sophisticated flavors like cranberry or açaí,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Those aren’t flavors that the diaper set would likely be interested in, but for adults who spend a lot of time in their cars and on the go, squeezable food may have found itself a receptive marketplace. They are certainly popular with babies, even though the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry isn’t a big fan.

Plum Organics reports that “sales of pouch-style baby food more than doubled in the last three months, while baby food in jars and tubs was down 15%,” the Journal notes. Benjamin Punchard, senior global packaging analyst at Mintel, tells the paper that 40 percent of new baby food products or flavors introduced last year came in pouches, up from two percent in 2007.

And why not? Baby foods are a $1.5 billion industry and the pouches help extend the lifespan of the products. “It’s allowing us to age up,” said Maureen Putman, chief marketing officer for the Hain Celestial Group, maker of organic brand Earth’s Best, according to the Tennessean. “Where moms may have stopped baby food at 9 to 12 months, the pouches have really helped extend the shelf life of baby food. We see growth for a long time to come.” Continue reading...

sip on this

With Soda Volume Down, Coca-Cola Pushes Teas And Low-Cal Drinks

Posted by Dale Buss on February 13, 2013 03:23 PM

Coca-Cola just wants to Open Happiness around the world, in keeping with its ongoing marketing theme, including rolling out a Valentine's Day video this week that was shot in New Zealand to thank its multitude of fans. It's just that global consumers haven't been as happy lately to open a Coke.

A slowdown in sales in Europe and China joined essentially stagnant sales in the United States to undermine Coke's fourth-quarter results. Global sales volume rose just three percent even as the beverage giant's earnings rose by 13 percent during the period.

Ongoing struggles in Europe were a main drag, with volume falling by five percent. Even sales in China, another key market, fell by four percent as Chinese consumers increasingly feel crimped. Meanwhile, the U.S., pushing an anemic economic recovery, yielded just a one percent sales gain during the quarter, though CEO Muhtar Kent said on Tuesday's earnings call that the American market "could get better."Continue reading...

campaigns

Old Spice Man Turns Wolf Man (and Hawkish) in Latest W+K Campaign

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 31, 2013 07:55 PM

The Old Spice Man is no longer on a horse, but he's got a few other creatures at his back.

The latest W+K effort by director Tom Kuntz for the P&G-owned brand promises unbridled (yet elegant) animal magnetism with The Wild Collection, a trio of manly new scents: Wolfthorn, Hawkridge and Foxcrest. The tagline, naturally, is "Answer the smell of the wild."

Watch the first two spots, featuring tuxedo-clad gents and their wolf and hawk companions, along with their social messaging, below. Update: According to Ad Age, the Wolfthorn spot will run during the Super Bowl — but only in Alaska, home to America's biggest wolf population.Continue reading...

chew on this

Nestlé Responds to Pizza Trans Fat Suit With Removal Commitment [Updated]

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 31, 2013 02:02 PM

In an unusual move by a major brand, CPG giant Nestlé responded this week to a $5 million U.S. class action suit over trans fats in its frozen pizza brands by posting a video on YouTube that pushed back against the claims.

The video, posted Wednesday on Nestle USA's corporate YouTube channel, was removed without explanation on Thursday (update: it's now back online).

The suit, filed by Katie Simpson of San Diego, Calif., claims that Nestle’s frozen pizza brands—DiGiorno, Stouffer’s, and California Pizza Kitchen—are a danger to public health because they contain trans fats. The ingredients are legal in U.S. packaged goods, though the state of California, New York City and Philadelphia have banned their use in restaurants.

"Katie has two young children and she likes to make pizza for them, and all kids love pizza," her attorney, Greg Watson, told ABC's Good Morning America. "It shouldn't have a toxic food additive that's been banned all around the world."Continue reading...

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