Thom Forbes, Aug 26, 2008, 10:30 AM
  • Nadal Decides Old Nike Garb Is Good Luck The Wall Street Journal

    Rafael Nadal was set to debut a new look at the U.S. Open Monday, but at the last minute decided against it after having captured two Grand Slams, Olympic gold and the top spot in the world rankings in his old garb. The exuberant Spanish star had practiced in a new wardrobe that included such radical adjustments as shirts with short sleeves and pants that stopped above the knee.

    The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 25 that Nadal had decided to shift his image from adolescent muscle T-shirts and Capri-style pants. Nike had unveiled Nadal's new look after months of careful planning that began with a trip by Nike's design team to the star's home in Majorca, Spain. But perhaps no one is more resistant to change than an athlete on a winning streak.

    "Frankly, Nadal is on a roll," says Kilee Hughes, a spokesman for Nike, which designs Nadal's clothes. "We listen to the voice of the athlete." Hughes says Nadal is still committed to switching to the new gear, perhaps at a smaller tournament after the U.S. Open. Read the whole story...

  • P&G Lathering Up Its Laundry Business; Enlists Tim Gunn Ad Age

    Procter & Gamble has launched a three-store test of a dry cleaner under the Tide brand name in Kansas City; begun a full-scale test of its Swash youth-focused sub-brand in Lexington, Ky., and enlisted Tim Gunn of Bravo's "Project Runway" and "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style" to support the $60 million positioning of Tide Total Care and Downy Total Care as an ultimate solution for all laundry problems.

    The dry cleaning test includes construction of a new company-owned store and partnership in two other stores with a local dry cleaner, GreenEarth Cleaning, which uses a dry-cleaning solvent it says is environmentally safer than traditional chemicals.

    Swash, a lineup of products to freshen up, de-wrinkle and remove stains from clothes without actually washing them, is rolling into several Lexington stores, including Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, Walgreens, Family Dollar and Bed Bath & Beyond.

    Gunn offers his laundry and fashion commentary for Tide at DresstotheSevens.com. Read the whole story...

  • Sheraton's Makeover Is Well Underway USA Today

    Starwood Hotels hopes to complete the renovation of 86 of it Sheraton hotels -- out of 204 in North America -- in 2009. The $1.7 billion project is aimed at reinvigorating the brand with fresher decor, brighter colors and lobbies that beckon guests with new restaurants and cafes.

    Starwood is betting that an enhanced reputation will result in more dollars. Sheraton generates about $100 in per-room revenue, compared with about $120 for Marriott, according to the company.

    The new rooms feature more primary and less masculine colors; furniture is smaller and more modern in style. New lobby features include more plants, game tables, alcoves for working and small group meetings, a new cafe called Link and individual computer stations. A majority of the renovated Sheratons features a casual dining restaurant called Relish. Other improvements include flat-panel TVs, increased ventilation and new equipment in the fitness center, in-room Starbucks coffee, and a new lounge with snacks. Read the whole story...

  • Coke Regains Its Design Savvy Business Week

    While there are few companies with a richer design heritage than Coca-Cola, in recent years the company seemed to have lost its design savvy. Five years ago, David Butler joined the company with a mandate to reverse that trend. The vp for design has learned the most effective way to implement design strategy at a company as large as Coca-Cola is to avoid the word "design" as much as possible.

    Instead of generating ideas and then trying to find a place for them, Butler focuses his efforts on identifying basic problems that design can solve. "If I'm at a meeting with manufacturing people, I'll say: 'How can we make the can feel colder longer?'" he says. "Or, 'How can we make the cup easier to hold?'" In other words, he talks about the benefits of smart design in a language to which those he's talking to can relate.

    Based on several recent brand redesigns -- including the new Coke identity work that won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions in June -- and innovations such as an aluminum bottle and a new family of coolers, the surreptitious approach seems to be working. Read the whole story...

  • Sara Lee Wants Bigger Slice Of Bread Business Chicago Tribune

    Seven years after it dove headlong into bread, Sara Lee has built the nation's best-selling brand, and sales have been climbing despite a big run-up in commodity costs. Over the years, it has shed 72 regional bread brands and currently has 46, but it has focused on building a national brand under the well-known Sara Lee name.

    Bread is a supermarket's No. 2 food sales category after chilled meats, but it's also a business that's still highly fragmented and lacking in national brands. The nation's top three bread producers --Sara Lee; George Weston, which makes Brownberry; and Flowers Foods, which makes Nature's Own -- each had only 9% to 10% market share in 2008, according to Information Resources Inc.

    Sara Lee came up with one of the biggest innovations in the bread world in recent years: Soft & Smooth. A bread with 30% whole grains, it's aimed at providing more nutrition than white bread but with white-bread texture. Soft & Smooth has become Sara Lee's best-selling bread line, and has prompted competitors to offer their own whole-grain hybrids. Read the whole story...

  • Marketing Moves To The Blogosphere The Washington Post

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  • 'Swiss Army Drugs' Present Challenges Brandweek

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