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truth in advertising

POM Wonderful Loses Latest Legal Battle, Against Coca-Cola

Posted by Dale Buss on May 18, 2012 02:51 PM

POM Wonderful can (and does) take credit for introducing Americans to pomegranate as a beverage. But as competitors came into the segment and created their own pomegranate beverages, Pom Wonderful's grip began to slip — especially as the FTC started clamping down on POM's "super health powers!" advertising claims.

The beverage-maker was sued by the FTC in 2010 and it has remained under the watchful eye of the feds, who are cracking down on health-related promises by marketers (ask Skechers about their $40 million pay-back to customers).

And in its latest legal twist, this week, POM wasn't able to get a U.S. District Court judge in California to agree with its stance against a tough competitor, Coca-Cola.Continue reading...

truth in advertising

Skechers Settles FTC Toning Shoe Suit for $40 Million

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 16, 2012 01:14 PM

The Federal Trade Commission announced today that Skechers has agreed to pay $40 million to settle false advertising charges that, as to USA Today puts it, "mislead consumers with claims that its toning sneakers would do everything from help them lose weight to make their 'bottom half their better half' without ever going to a gym."

The settlement, which will be used to provide refunds to buyers of Shape-ups and other Skechers toning sneakers, is believed to be the FTC's largest ever involving consumer refunds, David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, told USA Today.

“Skechers’ unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles. The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health,” stated Vladeck in a press release. “The FTC’s message, for Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims.”

The announcement follows Reebok's $25 million settlement in September following similar FTC charges regarding its toning shoe marketing claims. Skecher's settlement was larger than Reebok's, Vladeck told USA Today, because it has a bigger slice of U.S. market share for toning sneakers. Skechers' toning shoes were promoted with celebrity endorsements by Brooke Burke, Joe Montana and Kim Kardashian (in a 2011 Super Bowl commercial).Continue reading...

health matters

Obesity in America: Whose Shoulders Should the Weight of the Nation Rest On?

Posted by Dale Buss on May 11, 2012 02:11 PM

The obesity debate continues to dominate the public conversation in America. Policymakers and nutritionists and bureaucrats pondered "The Weight of the Nation" at a federal-government conference this week while the four-part HBO series of the same name that debuts on Monday. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are trying to position their brands as part of the solution, via the lobby group where they're the 800 pound gorilla members at any meeting.

The American Beverage Association's "Delivering Choices" campaign has already launched on TV to promote "how America's beverage companies are making it easier to choose the drink that's right for you — with more choices, smaller portions, fewer calories and clear calorie labels." (The sub-text: consumers have choices, and should take personal responsbility for their weight and health.)

The campaign is now getting more targeted with local marketing in the Big Apple. A New York-centric website talks up the Delivering Choices platform while promoting good works by the ABA's members in the city, such as Dr Pepper Snapple Group funding playgrounds in Brooklyn, and the recent Great Recycle event staged by Coca-Cola's Honest Tea brand in Times Square. Facebook and Twitter marketing are reinforcing the messaging.

Now the ABA is expanding its NYC push to the subway system, with a new campaign placing posters on trains and in the stations — New York being the same market where the mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has been promoting a healthy agenda, including a PSA campaign depicting their beverages with globs of fat and packets of sugar.Continue reading...

health matters

Stanford Study: Tobacco Ads Target Disadvantaged Communities, Kids

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 25, 2012 11:56 AM

The tobacco industry spent $10 billion on marketing in 2008, according to the FTC, and a good part of the portion being spent in California was targeted at low-income and African-American youth, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

If you’re an African-American high schooler in the Golden State, you may have noticed the advertising for menthol cigarettes that aren’t far from the school. Researchers that are funded by the state of California found that such ads were more prominently displayed when they were in proximity to a school that served the African-American community, the Union-Tribune adds.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: JetBlue, Dodgers, Foxconn, more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 28, 2012 09:00 AM

Vows review after captain goes berserk in mid-air (and a New York Post punning cover).

Los Angeles Dodgers sell for record $2 billion to group including Magic Johnson.

Foxconn banks on Apple future with Sharp investment. And in other news:

Airbus faces more woes as A380s abandon flights.

BATS chairman plans to give up post.

Bank of America turns focus to overseas markets.

Budweiser snags naming rights at Texas Rangers' center field.

EBay targets growth in India.

Fox pulls trailer for Ben Stiller movie Neighborhood Watch in wake of Trayvon Martin death.

GM consolidates global Chevrolet ad account with Omnicom and Interpublic.Continue reading...

FTC and Facebook in Spotlight as Privacy Issues Escalate

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 26, 2012 03:03 PM

The Federal Trade Commission today released its framework (and the cautionary video above) for protecting consumers’ privacy online. Building on its draft privacy proposal from last year which outlined guidelines for companies to handle personal data and recommended the “Do Not Track” button option, the FTC has legal authority to sue companies that violate privacy policies.

Under FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, the agency last year brought charges against both Google and Facebook for alleged violations. At issue, in addition to personal privacy, the tougher the regulations the bigger the incursion on profits reaped by web giants who use the data from targeted advertising to offer their services for free.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Apple, Hunger Games, Tiger Woods & more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 26, 2012 08:58 AM

In the News

Apple in sight of $1 trillion valuation, according to analysts.

AstraZeneca fails to stop entry of generic versions of its antipsychotic drug to U.S. market.

Bats alarms Wall Street with derailed IPO.

Bloomberg and CNN continue transition to digital.

Bulgari tries to make a name in wine.

Chick-fil-A pressure heats up.

Dairy Queen benefits from early warm weather.

Darden finds restaurant consumers remain fickle.Continue reading...

auto motive

Hyundai's Super Bowl Strategy: Hungry But Humble

Posted by Dale Buss on January 24, 2012 11:01 AM

Wherever you look, Hyundai is racking up big gains in sales, quality and in many cases market share. While top management of the Korean chaebol that owns the Hyundai brand has predicted slower sales growth for Hyundai this year than last year, the reasons mostly have to do with limits on production capacity worldwide and other self-imposed restraints, such as a desire to further boost quality, than with any kind of slacking in demand for Hyundai vehicles.

in the U.S. market, Hyundai continues to be bolstered by rising sales and market share; the opportunity to continue to steal sales from Toyota and Honda as those brands try to re-attain earlier levels of inventory; new products like the 2012 Elantra, the North American Car of the Year; and the gung-ho attitude of Hyundai of America CEO John Krafcik. "We're an ambitious company," Krafcik told brandchannel. "We're hungry, but we try to stay humble as well."

That's difficult to do when Hyundai can sell practically every vehicle it makes for the American market, is stealing market share from every major competitor, and even seems to be succeeding in Krafcik's bold move to stretch the Hyundai brand upscale with vehicles such as up-to-$47,000 Genesis and the $59,000 Equus, even while the $15,000 Elantra continues to anchor its product lineup.

In its biggest marketing push yet, Hyundai is getting ready for a bigger-than-ever Super Bowl this year, with the first of three spots airing just before kick-off on February 5th. The automaker is stepping carefully as it builds pre-game buzz, following the FTC's admonition to be mindful of disclosures following a pre-Super Bowl social campaign with bloggers.Continue reading...

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