Mondelez International is stepping up its investments and innovation in marketing and product development. The Kraft global-snacks spinoff may have stumbled a bit since its Oct. 1st debut as a new company on the world stage. But give it time.
Today it's hosting a Mobile Futures conference (follow on Twitter at #MobileFutures), taking pitches from "SoLoMo, mobile at retail, and social TV" startups as part of its commitment, under digital strategist Bonin Bough, to invest in mobile startups.
The company aso is crowdsourcing ideas for creating a new chocolate bar "that would deliver a fresh and unique experience to the chocolate lover" through its Cadbury, Milka and other confectionery brands. "Of particular interest are cutting-edge product concepts that expand upon the special qualities that make the chocolate bar so wonderful, comforting and fun to eat," a Mondelez press release put it.
For example, one idea already submitted in the contest that began last month, for prizes totaling $11,000, is for a Chocolate Piano concept — a chocolate bar that looks like the keys of a piano. "Every key has its own flavor so the bar itself writes a melody of flavors" such as white chocolate, white chocolate with strawberries, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate with almonds, wrote the contestant named Elena.
Mondelez also is betting heavily on a proven creative genius as it builds its brands and marketing presence: David Droga, founder and creative chairman of ad agency Droga5. The outfit is doing work for a handful of Mondelez brands (and some owned by Kraft Foods, the other part of the old Kraft company), though no one will quite specify which ones. BelVita is rumored to be one of them.
"You feel that kind of sense of calm" in working with Droga, Dana Anderson, SVP of marketing strategy for Mondelez, told Adweek.
And Mondelez has put itself down for sponsoring the 2013 world tour of One Direction, including sponsoring its current worldwide tour (and bringing its brands along for the ride via sweepstakes and cross-marketing) adding its own brands to PepsiCo's heavy support of the group.
Good things, because in non-marketing aspects of its business, Mondelez is facing growing pains. For instance, the company already is shuffling management in its developing-markets and gums businesses after missteps in Russia and Brazil hurt Mondelez sales in the third quarter, its first since the breakup of the old company.
Some investors express faith that Mondelez is getting things figured out, including on the mobile and digital front, and remains a long-term growth story because about 44 percent of its sales come from emerging markets, where food consumption — and especially of snacks — is rising more rapidly than in developed markets.