truth in packaging

Kellogg's Kashi Still Battling GMO Foes

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 17, 2012 05:00 PM

Kellogg's Kashi brand has just introduced two new USDA Certified organic cereals, touting that it's using real organic fruit and whole grains in the wake of its Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) flap earlier this year. "We've always believed that nature makes the best-tasting ingredients, like the hearty whole grains and luscious organic fruit you can see and taste in our Berry Fruitful and Blackberry Hills cereals," states Keegan Sheridan, natural food and lifestyle expert at Kashi, in a press release.

Each serving of Berry Fruitful provides 6g of fiber and 46g of whole grains, nearly 100% of the recommended daily value, while Blackberry Hills offers 3g of fiber and 16g of whole grains per serving – and like all Kashi foods, both are free of preservatives, artificial flavors, colors and high fructose corn syrup. Equally important, both cereals carry the official Non-GMO Project Verified seal. But that still won't convince its GMO foes to re-embrace the brand.

Kashi doesn't broadcast the fact that it's owned by Kellogg, nor that it has used GMOs, because it's trying to be perceived as an independent brand to win a bigger share of the natural and organic food category, which grew 9.5% in 2011 to $31.5 billion in US sales. The brand's still recovering from being engulfed in a social media firestorm back in April, when a New England store boycotted it after discovering "that 100% of the soy used in Kashi products is genetically modified, and that when the USDA tested the grains used there were found to be pesticides that are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors."

Kashi's Keegan Sheridan defended the company's GMO usage with a YouTube video, but it's still getting flack from consumers opposed to GMOs on its Facebook page, as you can see at top.Continue reading...

political brands

A Fight Over Reagan's "Peace Through Strength" Motto

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 14, 2012 10:01 AM

It doesn’t much matter what a high-ranking Republican’s actual politics are. At some point along the way, if he or she wants to be accepted by mainstream Republicans, he or she should pay some kind of homage to beloved GOP icon Ronald Reagan. And to those who somehow besmirch his name or his policies, look out.

As for those of you who try to actually own a piece of the 40th US president's hallowed legacy, be ready to feel the heat. The 54-year-old American Security Council Foundation (ASCF) is feeling it right about now after it trademarked one of Reagan’s most famous campaign mottos: “Peace Through Strength.”

That has left a few Republicans, especially those who worked in the Reagan White House, feeling a little frustrated. Seventeen former members of Reagan’s national security team put their names on a letter to the ACSF asking it “to back off its intent to sue any organization using the slogan in a proprietary fashion,” according to HumanEvents.com.

“For those of us who proudly served with President Reagan, it is unimaginable that anyone would seek to own a phrase immortalized by him – and, as a result, made not only an enduring feature of our country’s political lexicon, but a touchstone for all those who love freedom, and understand what is required to safeguard it,” they wrote, the site reports.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

Obama Pitches CEOs on His Fiscal Cliff Message; Is He Listening to Them Too?

Posted by Dale Buss on December 6, 2012 09:55 AM

President Obama lobbied a group of big business leaders in Washington this week with his views about the looming fiscal cliff. But at least one of the most important heads of a major American business, Ford CEO Alan Mulally, was taking no guff either from Obama or from the leaders of the Senate and House with whom the president is deadlocked — and apparently willing to push to the edge, if not over it, in a political stand-off.

"It's a concern to all of us, because this is a very, very fragile recovery," Mulally said on MSNBC this week. "It's just so important that we come together on a plan to deal with both the revenue side, but also the expense side, because really what we're talking about is keeping the economic development going. That's the most important thing about this issue."

And while so far the U.S. auto industry has more than carried its weight in the nation's sluggish economic recovery, Mulally said that he couldn't guarantee that it would be able to post continued sales increases if Obama and Congress don't deal quickly and decisively with the fiscal cliff.Continue reading...

Dupont Finds Chinese Consumers More Trusting of Green Messaging

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 5, 2012 12:59 PM

The urban Chinese consumer has greater confidence that green products are better for the environment than their North American counterparts, according to the a new study from DuPont — its China Green Living Survey: Consumer Awareness and Adoption of Biobased Products.

Seventy percent were either very or somewhat confident that green products are better for the environment, while of North American consumers, 65% of Canadians and 60% of Americans held similar beliefs.

The findings have exponential potential for greening-up in the world’s largest consumer market with growing demands for China to meet its sustainability targets. “Greater adoption of biobased products in China could help the country reduce its energy intensity and carbon emissions and advance a new era of green manufacturing,” stated Jeremy Xu, VP, Global Sales and Applications, DuPont Industrial Biosciences.  

A majority of Chinese consumers are likely to purchase apparel, personal care, hygiene and household products made from biobased ingredients that offer environmental benefits. More than three quarters of respondents would definitely or likely buy such products in a range of categories including: Detergents 82%, Personal hygiene 81%, Clothing 78%, Personal Care Products 77%.Continue reading...

executive decision

Restaurant Brands May Want To Start Biting Their Tongues on Obamacare

Posted by Dale Buss on December 4, 2012 03:01 PM

The heads of more US restaurant brands are taking out their frustrations on Obamacare, with David Overton of the Cheesecake Factory becoming the latest. And even if you agree with their plaint, their actions prompt the question: Are they only hurting themselves by making a campaign out of their oppostion to the Affordable Care Act and to the new costs it places on their chains, however onerous they may be?

Instead of promoting, say, his chain's holiday campaign to give away 2013 cheesecakes on Facebook, Overton aired his grievances on CBS This Morning, saying that "for those businesses who don't cover their employees [with health insurance already], they'll be in for a very expensive situation." He noted that the Cheesecake Factory already provides some health insurance, but he warned that the costs of complying with Obamacare would be passed on to customers by the industry.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Australia Now Selling Shocking Cigarette Unpackaging in World First Roll-Out

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 3, 2012 01:27 PM

America's FDA keeps working toward forcing cigarette makers to encase their product in packaging with some incredibly nasty images in order to help consumers understand what could happen to them if they continue smoking. Australian health officials don’t have to wait anymore. 

Thanks to a world-first law that went into effect on Dec. 1st, nicotine lovers (and haters) in the land Down Under are now faced with images a gangrene-mangled limb and a skeletal cancer victim when they buy their cigarettes. The images, which caused an uproar when revealed last year, take up most of the pack’s packaging with the cigarette’s brand name (no logo) printed on the bottom quarter of the packaging, in plain text on an olive-toned blah background.

“They’re so horrifingly ugly that they are magnificent,” Fiona Sharkie, executive director of anti-smoking campaigner Quit Victoria, told Bloomberg. How horrifyingly ugly? Check out the grotesque warning images below.Continue reading...

cause marketing

US Budget Crisis Pressures Bono's ONE and (RED) World AIDS Day Push

Posted by Barry Silverstein on November 28, 2012 01:09 PM

There's good news and bad news when it comes to AIDS, and ONE wants to make sure the world's population is aware of both this December 1, the 24th annual World AIDS Day.

The ONE Campaign, the global advocacy organization co-founded by U2's Bono, just released a new report on the global fight against HIV/AIDS. The good news: Scientists now have the tools to "turn the tide" on AIDS, and the world should be heartened that the UN set targets for the "beginning of the end of AIDS" to be met in 2015. The bad news: Unless "sufficient funding, coordination and political will" are brought to bear in the fight against AIDS, it will be 2022 before the "beginning of the end of AIDS" can be reached.

With America mired in a heated national debate over how to fix the debt and the looming fiscal cliff, Bono has been personally lobbying U.S. lawmakers to urge them not to cut U.S. foreign assistance and aid funding. ONE is stoking up the urgency through a variety of actions in conjunction with World AIDS Day 2012.Continue reading...

social marketing

#My2K Hashtag Campaign Spurs Twitter Townhall Fiscal Cliff Debate

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 28, 2012 12:06 PM

In July 2011, President Obama warned House Majority Leader Eric Cantor that he would pressure Republicans to compromise and make a deal by "going to the American people" in order to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, and he's doing just that.

The White House (with more than 3 million Twitter followers) and Obama (with 23.9 million followers) created a trending topic on Twitter today by promoting the #My2K hashtag to rally support for the president's call for legislation before the year-end fiscal cliff deadline for former president George W. Bush's tax cuts package.

Obama is stepping up his effort to get Americans to lobby their elected representatives to pass the middle class tax cuts, personalizing the message with "My 2K" as a reference to the $2,000 (well, $2,200) that may be coming out of their pockets: "If Congress fails to act before the end of the year, every American family’s taxes will automatically go up. A typical middle-class family of four would see its taxes rise by $2,200 starting in 2013."Continue reading...

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