chew on this

General Mills 2013 Mantra: Improve Yourself Through Better Snacking

Posted by Dale Buss on December 20, 2012 03:01 PM

If innovation is the lifeblood of business, then General Mills will be pumping hard in the new year. The CPG giant released news about more than 100 new products that it will launch in its U.S. retail portfolio alone during its fiscal 2013.

General Mills would like to generate between 4 percent and 5 percent of its sales from new products "and we think we will be very much in that range," CEO Ken Powell told Wall Street analysts during a conference call this week, according to Ad Age. "We want to make sure that we are launching products that are bringing new consumers into [their brand] franchise, and we have steadily improved that number."

The new products range from new varieties of Fiber One products to a Snickerdoodles flavor of Chex Mix Muddy Buddies. And if there are some underlying themes to the whole list, they would be peanut butter and chocolate, along with fiber and protein, according to a General Mills blog post detailing the roster of new products.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: NFL, Tempur-Pedic, American Greetings and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 27, 2012 09:06 AM

In the News

NFL settlement with referees clears the way for marketers.

Tempur-Pedic goes to the mattresses to buy Sealy for $228.6 million.

American Greetings hears buyout offer from founding family and CEO.

Amazon rejects false advertising claim in Apple app store suit.

Apple-Google maps talks failed on voice navigation.

BAE proposed merger with Airbus parent EADS hits snag in Germany.

Bayer partners with feline vets.

BlackBerry 10 will determine RIM's fate as company courts app developers.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: AIG, BK, Chick-fil-A and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 2, 2012 09:00 AM

In the News

AIG pushes plan for independence from U.S. government.

Burger King says that menu and marketing changes have boosted bottom lilne.

Campbell Soup creates limited edition to help food bank.

Chick-fil-A supporters (and Wendy'sshow up for "Appreciation Day."

Christina Aguillera lends her voice to a good cause.

Costco experiences strong U.S. sales.

Crocs celebrates milestone a little too exuberantly.

DirecTV sees U.S. subscribers decline for first time.Continue reading...

chew on this

Life, Liberte and the Pursuit of US Greek-Yogurt Market Share

Posted by Dale Buss on July 2, 2012 05:05 PM

Just because Chobani has opened up a huge lead in the Greek-style category it invented — and that is reshaping the U.S. yogurt business — doesn't mean that others can't try to chip away. Dannon has grabbed a significant share after sensing the opportunity with Chobani's rapid rise.

Other players, big and small, also are attempting to make more noise and get their stakes of a Greek-style market that has been calculated at about $1.5 billion a year now and still growing by strong double-digits — even coming up in discussions of Greece's Eurozone crisis. Yoplait, Hain Celestial and the Pinkberry chain are among the brands that are making their own plays. Ben & Jerry's just revamped its frozen yogurt line to make Greek Yogurt the basis of the line. Fage and Chobani have a friend in U.S. senator Chuck Schumer.

The most closely watched Greek yogurt brand is Yoplait. The General Mills line, which has shared the top of the U.S. yogurt market with Dannon for many years, got a particularly late start in the Greek segment. But now it's launching 40 new yogurt products, and Greek yogurt will be the centerpiece of that rollout this summer.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Chobani Doubling Down To Extend Greek-Yogurt Dominance

Posted by Dale Buss on June 21, 2012 10:01 AM

Chobani made Greek-style yogurt part of the American food mainstream, and now the brand is trying to stay on top against catch-up efforts by every other major yogurt brand in the land.

Dannon, with its Oikos brand, has managed to join the startup Chobani brand on the top tier of the only category of yogurt consumption that is growing in the U.S. market these days. But the original Greek-yogurt brand in America, Fage, and Yoplait, which also is trying to play catch-up, are fading in their efforts to ride the boom that Chobani created.

Chobani already has become about a $1-billion concern over the past few years and owns nearly 50 percent of the category, according to a recent report by the Sanford Bernstein securities firm. Even after a furious catch-up effort, Dannon USA still has a less-than-20 percent share, and Fage 14 percent, while General Mills' Yoplait brand limps in with just 6 percent.

"We're dealing with some large organizations that aren't as nimble as Chobani," Niel Sandfort, director of marketing for Chobani, told brandchannel. "We're a billion-dollar company but still entrepreneurial. And we're continually investing in our core."Continue reading...

branded entertainment

Ford's "Escape Routes" on NBC Brings Social TV to Branded Entertainment

Posted by Dale Buss on April 4, 2012 01:01 PM

Because it owned the house, it was predictable that Ford's new reality-TV show on NBC, Escape Routes, would find every angle to tout the automaker's new 2013 Ford Escape — the namesake inspiration for the show. And it did.

But what viewers of the first installment of the show might not have expected was to see a number of other blue-chip brands — including McDonald's, J.C. Penney, several Procter & Gamble marques, even Ford rival Volkswagen — go along for the ride.

The six-week Escape Routes series, which debuted on March 31st, is the latest way for Ford to push the envelope with new-era marketing formats, where it has demonstrated industry leadership.

And while the first installment was hardly Emmy-worthy appointment viewing, Ford executives tell brandchannel they're pleased with the social TV meets branded entertainment experiment.Continue reading...

ad watch

Super Bowl Ad Tracker: Dannon Debuts With John Stamos for Oikos Greek Yogurt

Posted by Dale Buss on January 19, 2012 07:01 PM

Dannon USA hasn't advertised in the Super Bowl before, but executives of the American arm of France's Groupe Danone know a good Super Bowl ad when they see one.

"It has to be memorable," Michael Newirth, senior director of communications for Dannon USA, told brandchannel. "It tends to have a healthy dose of humor. And usually it's got some element of surprise. And you can expect to see some of all of those in [the ad] we share on February 5."

And actually, Dannon has given a lot away already about what its first-ever ad in the Big Game will entail.Continue reading...

chew on this

Kraft and General Mills Preview 2012 Product Launches

Posted by Dale Buss on December 23, 2011 03:29 PM

It's tough to run a multinational CPG brand these days. There's tepid consumer spending in the U.S., Europe and even Asia, on top of that "new normal" thing that came out of the Great Recession. Regulators are pursuing food and beverage companies that aren't getting on the better-for-you train fast enough. And commodity prices and currency-exchange rates vacillate wildly.

In its just-released list of new products planned for 2012, Kraft Foods reflects many of these pressures — but also reveals a determination to use the strengths of the brand and the company to take advantage of developing opportunities. General Mills likewise provided a sampling of its new-product forays for the new year, in a conference call this week.

Whether it's transfering successful product ideas from one national market to another, or doggedly trying new ideas in nutritional products, Kraft has laid out an ambitious schedule of 70 new items for the new year.Continue reading...

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