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Why Wendy's is on a Roll

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 9, 2012 03:35 PM

Things haven’t been great at Wendy’s in recent years, but now it looks like the little pigtailed redhead has got plenty to smile about.

The chain hired a new CEO, Emil Brolick, last September. He called the chain’s recent financial troubles “self-inflicted wounds” at the company’s earnings call in late January, according to the Associated Press.

Wendy’s sold off Arby’s last summer, which was the start of its transition. Since Brolick’s arrival from Yum! Brands, Wendy’s has moved firmly into the growing fast-casual movement by “sprucing up the chain's locations and stressing the importance of good service,” MSN reports. "We've made great progress in getting rid of those F restaurants and getting more A's and B's, but we're still in that territory," Brolick stated in January.

Its improvement has also come from the introduction of new items on its menu, such as the W burger, which is “two patties of 100% pure beef, two slices of American cheese, thick-sliced tomato, and (the company’s) savory signature sauce — all on a buttered, toasted bun” for $2.99.

The restaurant also updated its trademark burger by introducing a revamped Dave's Hot 'N Juicy cheeseburger with a thicker patty and more cheese than its previous offering, and a back-to-its-roots marketing campaign that evoked the brand's legacy by featuring the original Wendy — Wendy Thomas, the daughter of founder Dave Thomas — in advertising and local appearances.Continue reading...


Can Domino’s Continue Pizza Turnaround with Crowdsourcing - or Are Fans Crowdsourced Out?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 9, 2012 10:58 AM

Domino’s has gone public — not in the IPO sense, but by crowdsourcing ideas to improve the brand via a Facebook-based customer feedback intiatives it's calling Think Oven.

It's all part of the brand's two-year-old initiative to become more relevant and increase loyalty (and business) by engaging consumers (customers and non-customers) in its reinvention.Continue reading...

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McDonald's Takes Ammonia-Free Beef Message to China

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 8, 2012 04:23 PM

"McDonald's USA does not use ammonia-treated beef in our hamburgers. The decision to discontinue its use was not related to any particular event, but rather a result of our efforts to align our standards for beef around the world," commented Todd Bacon, the quick-serve brand's aptly-named senior director of quality systems for supply-chain management, in a recent statement to brandchannel. (Bacon is also McDonald's US point person on animal welfare issues.) 

The ammonia-free beef message is now rolling out to China with five regional spots tailored to Shanghai, Shenzhen and other markets in a campaign that translates to "Manly Man Beef." Watch another spot below.Continue reading...

design watch

McDonald's $3B Global Reno: A Progress Report

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 7, 2012 10:04 AM

While it may not be getting as high-tech glam as the French prototype above, McDonald's is undergoing a billion-dollar makeover ($2.9 billion, to be exact) in a bid to boost sales.

McDonald's global same-store sales gains for nearly nine years have consistently gone up, including the 7.5 percent uptick during the fourth quarter of last year, but its executives would like to keep it going, thank you very much. Plus, it’s got some very aggressive fast-casual rivals, such as Panera and Chipotle, nipping at its market share.

That's why the executives setting the Golden Arches strategy announced a global overhaul of its stores last year, redesigning them to look more upscale and attract more business.Continue reading...

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Did Jamie Oliver Influence McDonald's Ammonium Hydroxide-Free Burgers?

Posted by Dale Buss on January 27, 2012 01:36 PM

British media and bloggers are claiming that British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has stared down McDonald's about its use of what he has called "pink slime" in its burgers sold in America.

Oliver, who has been taking on school boards, local officials and the British government over nutrition, has made a long-running campaign of stopping McDonald's USA from using ammonium hydroxide as an ingredient in a beef filler for hamburgers, calling it not fit for a dog, according to the U.K.'s Daily Mail. 

Long a fixture of culinary entertainment, with his own magazine and media empire, Oliver made a big deal of his opposition to the stuff before ABC canceled his show, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, last spring following its second season, after he also took a swing at McDonald's Chicken McNuggets in addition to its hamburger patty ingredients (watch below).

For its part, McDonald's U.S. denied that Oliver had forced its hand about pulling ammonium hydroxide. "At McDonald's, food safety has been and will continue to be a top priority," the company told brandchannel in a prepared statement, quoting Todd Bacon, the company's aptly-named senior director of quality systems for supply-chain management.Continue reading...


Super Bowl Watch: Papa John's Borrows From 2011 Playbook

Posted by Michael Waltzer on January 24, 2012 06:01 PM

Papa John's sold more than one million pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday last year, without advertising during the game despite being the NFL's official pizza sponsor.

Its promotional stunt — offering free pizzas to its rewards program members if the 2011 Super Bowl showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers went into overtime — hinged on the safe bet that that Super Bowl games have never gone into overtime. Loyalty members were also randomly selected every 45 seconds for a $45 gift card.

This year's Super Bowl promotion for the pizza chain takes from that playbook while trying to sweeten the incentive.Continue reading...

brand vs. brand

Taco Bell Takes On Chipotle with New Menu

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 24, 2012 10:01 AM

Taco Bell has been marketing itself for a long time as an inexpensive place to eat rather than as a quality eating experience and now it turns out that those who went the other direction, such as Chipotle, are actually winning the consumer dollars. Motley Fool reports that Taco Bell has closed down 1,000 of its locations since 2000. Even with that, the restaurant makes up 60% of restaurant behemoth Yum! Brands’ profits in the United States.

Yum!’s attentions are focused on expanding Pizza Hut and KFC in China, but concern for Taco Bell has some trying to figure out how it can rebrand. One of the main reasons it needs to refresh its image is because the restaurant is still reeling from a lawsuit that alleged that the restaurant used meat that was only 35% beef, even though the accusations were later withdrawn, as Taco Bell president Greg Creed announced on YouTube.

While Taco Bell — with hopes high for a Super Bowl bump — has been suffering, rivals like Chipotle are booming.Continue reading...

brand vs. brand

Tim Hortons Goes Big to Fend Off Starbucks Venti

Posted by Abe Sauer on January 18, 2012 12:11 PM

"What’s an ounce? When did Tim go American in Canada? FYI its milliliters."

That's the first comment on Toronto Life's web piece noting that Canada's homebrewed Tim Hortons chain of coffee shops will introduce a 24-ounce extra large coffee on Monday, January 23rd. The new mega-size bests the Starbucks Venti by a full 4 ounces. In addition, Tim Hortons is sliding all of its size names to accommodate its new extra large. The gloves are off. Continue reading...

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