• Hit Chicken Snack Came From McDonald's Test Kitchen
    One of the most successful product launches in McDonald's history--the 6-month-old chicken-based snack wrap--is the product of a new method of developing menu items at the fast-food giant. Years ago, McDonald's relied on creative franchisees to concoct new items. Restaurant owners invented the Big Mac, the Egg McMuffin and other favorites. Now McDonald's uses a far more sophisticated system that has increased the variety and ambition of the menu in a redesigned test kitchen. Dan Coudreaut, a chef whose resume includes a stint at the Four Seasons hotel in Dallas, leads the effort. He winnows as many ...
  • F.D.A. Institutes 18-Month Review On New Drugs
    The Food and Drug Administration announced a new system yesterday to assess systematically a drug's safety 18 months after its introduction. The effort to ensure that marketed drugs are as safe as advertised is the latest effort to fix the agency after a series of missteps. The agency also announced the creation of an advisory panel to improve the way it announces safety worries and a collaboration with the Veterans Health Administration to track how real patients fare after taking drugs. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, (D-Conn.), says that far greater changes are needed at the agency. Dodd promises ...
  • Social Responsibility Helps Drive Corporate Reputation
    After a seven-year reign as the company with the best corporate reputation, Johnson & Johnson has been toppled by Microsoft, according to the eighth-annual Harris Interactive/The Wall Street Journal ranking of the world's best and worst reputations. Respondents gave Microsoft very high marks for leadership and financial results, but chairman Bill Gates's personal philanthropy also boosted the public's opinion of Microsoft.3M finished third. Social responsibility, which is becoming an ever-more critical component of corporate reputation, contributed to the positive survey results for several other companies, including Whole Foods Market and Merck. Whole Foods placed 12th and received the ...
  • Executive Shakeup At Wal-Mart
    Sweeping changes in Wal-Mart senior management will include Doug McMillon, now CEO of the Sam's Club unit, replacing Eduardo Castro-Wright as CEO of the Wal-Mart Stores Division in the U.S., according to people close to the company. Castro-Wright may move to an international position. John Westling, who had been senior vice president-general manager of consumables (covering most package-goods categories), reportedly will move to head the giant unit's inventory-replenishment operations. Meanwhile, a memo from John Fleming, the company's newly minted chief merchandising officer, and Bill Simon, exec vice president-professional services and new-business services, outlined six additional changes among top ...
  • Shrek Promotes Health And Candy Bars
    Shrek, the green ogre voiced by Mike Myers, will be a featured addition to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Small Step obesity-prevention campaign, which encourages children and families to lead healthy lifestyles. HHS and the Ad Council are hosting a press conference tomorrow to announce new PSAs featuring Shrek and his sidekicks, including the donkey voiced by Eddie Murphy in the DreamWorks Animation films. This is the same Shrek once pummeled by Sen. Tom Harkin (D.-Iowa) for his promotional efforts on behalf of a sugary General Mills cereal named in his honor. "We ...
  • Pepsi Kicks Off 2007 With Big Super Bowl Presence
    PepsiCo--which will air three new 30-second ads for its Sierra Mist lemon-lime soft drink and sponsor the halftime show starring Prince on Sunday's Super Bowl broadcast--is also launching a massive TV, print and outdoor ad campaign this week to tout the Pepsi brand and 35 new can designs. "2007 is going to be one of Pepsi's all-time years," says John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest. "There will be new products, new packaging, new advertising and a bigger presence in the Super Bowl." One likely driver of this intense consumer courtship, Sicher says, is that Pepsi may have to ...
  • Ford Using Vodcasts To Push Its Edge
    Ford is launching a series of free video broadcasts -- known as vodcasts -- that feature popular bands and can be downloaded to portable media players from popular Web sites. Called "The Edge Music Videocast," the vodcasts will have an ad promoting the new Edge crossover at the beginning of the vodcast and between songs. Each will last about 15 seconds. The content will have a hint of NPR-esque, "programming presented by..." rather that the overt, muscular creative that has marked most auto campaigns. "We realize that much of the audience for these vodcasts will tune out if there ...
  • Prilosec Rolls The Dice With Bunco
    Procter & Gamble's over-the-counter heartburn medication Prilosec has gone bonkers over bunco--an old pastime played with three dice that now has four regional tournaments and a nationally televised Bunco World Championship. When the "Bunco World Tour" kicked off with a tournament in Kansas City, Mo., attended by 135 players recently, P&G had a pharmacist on hand to answer questions about heartburn and pass out samples of Prilosec OTC. Another P&G brand, Folgers, passed out free coffee, including its indigestion-friendly line, "Simply Smooth." P&G has signed a contract with Leslie Crouch, a Newport Beach, Calif., entrepreneur who founded the ...
  • New Trend In Seattle Coffee: Bikini-Clad Baristas
    Candice Law, leaning provocatively out the drive-through window in a black bra that didn't quite cover her shiny purple pasties, and Toni Morgan, wearing a skimpy halter top, seemed to know every customer who ordered a cup of java at Cowgirls Espresso drive-through in Tukwila, Wash., recently. Law and Morgan are part of new trend of "naughty baristas" in and around Seattle that illustrates how cutthroat the competition can be in the hometown of Starbucks. Cowgirls Espresso owner Lori Bowden opened her first stand four years ago. Law and other employees suggested doing "Bikini Wednesdays." Bowden approved, and ...
  • Marketing Efficiencies Could Drive Bristol-Myers, Sanofi Merger
    As shares of both Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis traded heavily yesterday on speculation that the companies might merge, analysts considered the impact the deal might have on the marketing efforts of the two firms. One reason a merger makes sense is that the companies already jointly market the blockbuster anticoagulant Plavix and the blood-pressure medicine Avapro, products with a worldwide sales value of more than $8 billion. A combined company could market those products under one management structure. A Banc of America Securities analyst, Christopher Schott, says the companies overlap in several therapeutic areas--including treatments for diabetes, ...
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