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brand challenges

For Kraft Foods, Recalling 2.4M Macaroni & Cheese Boxes Isn't the Only Challenge

Posted by Dale Buss on March 17, 2015 09:09 PM

As Kraft Foods' new CEO John Cahill commented on a quarterly earnings call last month, times are tough for the consumer packaged goods giant—and that was before the company voluntarily recalled 242,000 cases or 6.5 million individual boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese today, or fell out with dietitians over a "Kids Eat Right" logo on Kraft Singles.

"Our brands can be found in 98% of the United States and Canadian households. They are some of the most well-recognized in our markets, if not around the world. Yet Kraft Foods hasn't gained share as a company for some time," Cahill told analysts on last month's earnings call. "And in 2014, we did not grow share in any individual category. We merely held flat at 60% of our US businesses, and lost share in the other 40%."

So if you’re Cahill or a fellow Kraft Foods executive these days, you realize that your competition isn't just other CPG giants such as ConAgra or Unilever or even Mondelez International, the Kraft spinoff where you’ve probably got several former colleagues.Continue reading...


Tesco Launches Turnaround By Cutting Prices on Beloved Brands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 8, 2015 02:18 PM

Tesco, one of the top three food retailers in the world, has had a very rough stretch, thanks to an accounting scandal last fall that had the company overstating its first-half results by £263 million, or about $424 million.

The UK retailer today announced its plan for a much-needed turnaround for Britain's largest food retailer, including slashing prices, closing (or not even opening) a number of stores, replacing its UK CEO and selling off some of its assets, such as its Dunnhumby data-analytics business. It also just sold its unprofitable movie-streaming service, Blinkbox.

The lower prices aren’t on just a few things, either. Tesco has started a price war by lowering the prices on about 380 branded products, such as Warburtons Crumpets, Nutella, Branston pickles, Cadbury chocolates, Kellogg's breakfast items and (gasp!) Britain's beloved Marmite yeast spread.Continue reading...

chew on this

Agent Provocateur: Regional Grocer Lowe's Foods Attracts with Word Play

Posted by Dale Buss on November 20, 2014 05:29 PM

Supermarkets have never been hotbeds of cutting-edge marketing. As a low-margin, commodity-oriented business, they've typically put most of their efforts into promotionally-oriented ads in Sunday newspapers and the like. They've also largely deferred to the desires of their CPG vendors—and when they haven't, it's been to produce stripped-down private labels.

Though U.S. megachains Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have made forays into the hip, farm-to-table feel that millennials love, most traditional grocery stores have lagged far behind when it comes to intriguing branding.

But look out for Lowe's Foods, a regional grocer with nearly 100 stores in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, with its determination to tackle this branding thing. They enlisted the help of a Winston-Salem, NC-based agency, The Variable, to accomplish a total rebranding—to rave reviews.Continue reading...


British Holiday Ads 2014: Don't Go to War Against a Penguin

Posted by Abe Sauer on November 19, 2014 04:01 PM

War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing—except pulling at the heartstrings, perhaps.

During this most lucrative retail holiday of the year, a pitched battle is underway by UK brands looking to wrench hearts and wring a few pounds out of shoppers.

Sides have been taken by bystanders (like PETA) while newspapers' op-ed pages are weighing in on the gentlemanliness of the contest.

The winner—by a flipper—turns out to be this year's first mover waddler in the annual battle that is British holiday advertising.Continue reading...


Sustainability a Key Issue that Tesco's New CEO Must Address

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 21, 2014 01:47 PM

Sustainability has a new battlefront, and the abrupt departure today of the head of the UK's largest supermarket demonstrates just how important and influential the topic has become to major grocers.

Struggling to compete against German discount rivals Aldi and Lidl, Tesco is replacing CEO Philip Clarke as it continues to see sales fall and customer visits drop. Despite a push to turn its stores into retail destinations, the grocer has struggled to respond to the surge in online shopping and turn data into smarter marketing to help revive the brand.

But besides price points and Clubcards, Tesco, along with grocers around the world, is facing increasing pressure to deliver on sustainable promises including the need to curb food waste. While the retailer was one of the first major chains to disclose figures associated with its stores' food waste, other chains like Sainsbury's have not only been transparent, but have implemented unique tools that help both workers and consumers make a change for the better. 

But just because Clarke is leaving doesn't mean that Tesco is giving up on its sustainability initiatives.Continue reading...

sip on this

Keep On Slurpin' On: 7-Eleven Celebrates 87 Years with Freebies All Week Long

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on July 10, 2014 11:07 AM

Ready, set, SLURP!

7-Eleven's Free Slurpee Day kicks off Friday, July 11 at participating locations where fans of the frozen, carbonated beverage will no doubt line sidewalks in hopes of snagging a free small Slurpee before supplies run out. But this year, as the convenience chain celebrates its 87th birthday, 7-Eleven is extending the festivities for an entire week (actually eight days).

Consumers that download and register with 7-Eleven's app will get access to special daily coupons from July 12 through July 19 for free snacks like M&M's birthday cake candies, free Hostess Twinkies, a Snickers or Twix-brand ice cream bar or a free Big Gulp soft drink.

The celebration marks the 12th year that the brand has given away the free drinks, which are celebrating 49 years of frozen goodness.Continue reading...


Rite Aid Puts Healthy Lifestyles at the Forefront of New Wellness Store Concept

Posted by Dale Buss on June 26, 2014 11:02 AM

Rite Aid’s new Wellness concept store in Beverly Hills, Calif., is just the latest attempt by a major retailing chain to deal with a problem that has become universal to the industry: how to sustain and even increase relevancy in an era that endangers their very existence.

In this case, Rite Aid has unveiled a remodeled superstore that it says represents the future of the drugstore, including larger departments for pharmacy, private consulting rooms, a café and patio area that functions as a mini-Starbucks, and broader merchandise centered around health, such as gluten-free and organic foods as well as home fitness equipment.

“We will continue to push the envelope in leveraging our Wellness stores to launch and expand innovative merchandising concepts, with the ultimate goal of delivering a more personal and engaging customer experience,” Ken Martindale, Rite Aid president and chief operating officer, said in a press release.Continue reading...

sip on this

Starbucks and Schultz's Shares Expand but Hiccups Persist in Finicky Market

Posted by Dale Buss on June 23, 2014 01:13 PM

Starbucks continues to pursue share-of-gullet with news that it is expanding its test of made-to-order Fizzio sodas to the southern half of the US and Hawaii. Previously the “hand-crafted” sodas were tested in Atlanta, Austin and Japan. A national rollout is eyed soon, and more of Asia will be covered.

While the drinks are expected to drive only modest sales growth in an era when conventional soft drinks are under duress as never before, Fizzio is expected to help Starbucks’ broader goals for brand expansion, including not only a greater array of beverages but also as an entrée into other day parts such as lunch, Bloomberg Businessweek noted, and perhaps even home beverage-making systems. This summer it’s introducing new Teavana iced teas and two sandwiches, as well. 

But there are hiccups for Starbucks to be had, for sure. It now must raise prices in US cafes and stores after drought in Brazil pushed up the price of Arabica coffee. Prices will rise less than 1 percent in Starbucks outlets but by about eight percent at retailers where Starbucks ground coffee is sold on a CPG basis.Continue reading...

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