no kidding around

Cheetos Crunchy Flamin' Hot Chips Come Under Fire

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 19, 2012 05:25 PM

Frito-Lay's Cheetos brand Crunchy Flamin' Hot chips may be free of gluten-free and trans fats, but some school officials feel it's free of any redeeming value whatsover and are moving to ban it. The New York Times Well blog reports that "School districts in three states are waging a battle against (the) spicy snack that is so laden with artificial ingredients it leaves a trail of red fingerprints behind."

What has school administrators in Pasadena, Calif., Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Rockford, Illinois, up in arms?

...some school districts say the chips are too high in calories, salt and fat, and too spicy for most children. Teachers and parents have complained that the artificial coloring has children leaving behind bright red fingerprints in their classrooms and on their clothing. And emergency room doctors say they have seen patients complaining of stomach pain after eating hot Cheetos, and they warn that eating the chips in excess – because of the bright food dye they contain – may cause discolored stool that can lead to unnecessary hospital visits.

The PepsiCo-owned Frito-Lay brand "has said that it does not specifically market Hot Cheetos to small children, nor does it sell its snack products directly to schools." A current promotion with Ubisoft's Just Dance Game featuring its Chester Cheetah mascot, for instance, is aimed at kids 13 and older.

Below, watch a video tribute ("Hot Cheetos & Takis") by some kids, which has racked up more than 3.5 million views on YouTube since it was posted in August:Continue reading...

brand challenges

As IPO Anniversary Approaches, Groupon Remains a High-Wire Act

Posted by Dale Buss on October 8, 2012 05:07 PM

The stock woes of Facebook, Zynga and other can't-miss investment darlings of the internet have distracted people from Groupon's travails. But as the daily-deals website nears the November anniversary of its IPO, Groupon appears to have many long-term challenges on its plate.

Groupon has run into stiff competition for signing up the local merchants across the country that provide the deals to fuel Groupon's discount machine. At the same time, some analysts assert, it's been difficult for Groupon to engender brand loyalty among consumers because, after all, ultimately what discount-seeking consumers want is the biggest discount — whoever provides it to them.

As a result, Groupon's growth has been slowing. And even as the Chicago-based company has tried to counter that by hiring more salespeople to sign up local merchants to provide discounts, other digital companies are trying to poach Groupon's best talent because they see weakness in the company.Continue reading...

brands with a cause

Ben & Jerry's Co-Founder Freezes Out Occupy Wall Street

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 1, 2012 01:27 PM

Ben Cohen may be a member of the elite 1% in America, but he’s a hippie at heart and always has been up for helping out the other 99%. Although the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand he co-founded with buddy Jerry Greenfield is now owned by Unilever, the brand still reflects their left-leaning vision by maintaining a commitment to activism, funded by a foundation to support “social justice, environmental protection, (and) sustainable food systems.” Plus, what makes the world happier than free ice cream? Ben & Jerry’s has been hosting a free cone day every year since it started in 1979.

Well, there’s one group of folks who aren’t too happy with Cohen today: Occupy Wall Street.Continue reading...

sustainability

Frack and Roll: Exxon, Other U.S. Energy Brands Open Tap on Hydraulic Fracturing

Posted by Dale Buss on September 25, 2012 06:03 PM

The revolution in discovery and exploitation of shale oil and gas in the American heartland, starting with North Dakota, is turning global energy economics and, potentially, politics upside-down. It's also prompting major shifts in strategy for the big brands on the energy map in the United States and the world.

ExxonMobil became the latest iconic energy brand to boost its stake in the Bakken Shale formation when last week it agreed to buy assets of Denbury Resources there for $1.6 billion in cash and interests in two oil fields. The move increased Exxon's acreage in the formation, centered under North Dakota, which has helped make the state the second-largest oil-producing state in America, after Texas.

Royal Dutch Shell also has invested more in such "unconventional" oil assets lately, recently buying $2 billion worth of such properties from Chesapeake Energy. And in efforts to exploit the growing potential of shale reserves worldwide, Chevron is helping the Chinese company Sinopec.Continue reading...

the revolution will be televised

Occupy Wall Street at One: Still in Search of a Brand Identity

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 17, 2012 03:15 PM

Occupy Wall Street protesters gathered in New York's financial district to mark the first anniversary of the movement, their presence contained by metal barriers and riot-clad police forming human walls. The current activities, dubbed a “roving carnival of resistance” include “nonviolent civil disobedience” as well as events planned in at least 15 other cities including Asheville, North Carolina, San Francisco and Hilo, Hawaii. 

Chants of "All day, all week, Occupy Wall Street" and "We got sold out, banks got bailed out," greeted Wall Street workers arriving at their offices, echoes of the original goal of the protest to generate "a swirl of mobile occupations of corporate lobbies and intersections," as stated on the Occupy website for the Sept. 15-17 anniversary events, promoted on Twitter with the hashtags #S15, #S16 and #S17.Continue reading...

China's Violent Anti-Japan Protests Hit Japanese Brands

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 17, 2012 11:07 AM

"Car destruction ahead. Japanese made cars should turn around now."

So read the warning on a flattened cardboard box one Chinese man held up to traffic in the city of Xian. The man's advice was not based on fearful speculation either, as cities across China erupted in anti-Japanese protests over the weekend (including, The Economist notes, about 3,000 at the Japanese Consulate in Shanghai on Sunday), Japan's auto brands were bracing for the backlash. One man set his own Honda Civic on fire in front of a dealership. One of the more moving photos shared on social media was of a young woman, weeping as she begged protesters to spare her car.

Targeting Japanese products for boycott or destruction is nothing new in China. But this weekend's actions — sparked by ownership dispute over islands between the two nations — were especially dire, called the worst flare-up of tensions between the nations in decades by The New York Times. As Japanese companies ordered their workers to stay home and closed their factories over fear of reprisals, what's unknown is the degree to which Japanese brands have been hurt in China's marketplace.Continue reading...

brands under fire

GLAAD Kiss-In Caps Wild Week for Chick-fil-A

Posted by Dale Buss on August 3, 2012 03:39 PM

The numbers were probably stacked against them from the start, but Friday's protest of Chick-fil-A by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) didn't turn out nearly as many participants in the planned LGBT "Kiss-in" as the chain was able to generate at former Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee's nationwide "Appreciation Day" for the restaurant chain on Wednesday.

Or gauging by another measure, by mid-afternoon Friday, nearly 14,000 Facebook users had subscribed to GLAAD's "National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A" event, while some 630,000 subscribed to Wednesday's "appreciation day," according to a report by Politico.com.

And while Politico reported that the "kiss-ins appear to have occurred without incident" in Chick-fil-A restaurants, there was one ugly scene: The exterior of a Chick-fil-A in Torrance, Calif., was defaced with graffiti reading, "Tastes Like Hate."Continue reading...

brands under fire

Chick-fil-A Day Lures Same-Sex Marriage Foes as GLAAD Gears Up Friday Protest

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 1, 2012 03:12 PM

If Mike Huckabee ever runs for U.S. president again, he’ll be sure to get the Chick-fil-A vote. The former Arkansas governor suggested that consumers go eat at the fast-food chain in order to show their appreciation for the organization’s disdain for same-sex marriage. 

Chick-fil-A pulled in $12.7 million a day in 2011, according to ESPN’s sports business reporter Darren Rovell. And that’s without doing any business on Sundays, since the chain closes down in case its workers want to attend church.

Observers on both sides will be paying close attention to how much traffic and how many dollars Chick-fil-A pulls in today. (According to Huckabee's podcast and BuzzFeed's report, Chick-fil-A restaurants saw line-ups across the country.) But the chain will also get a few customers on Friday as well, CNN reports, when GLAAD is encouraging same-sex couples to visit Chick-fil-A’s across America to protest with a "Kiss Day" public display of affection.Continue reading...

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