• Accelerade Campaign Plays Up Protein, Endurance
    Cadbury Schweppes is supporting the launch of a liquid version of Accelerade with a campaigns distinguish the sports drink from its rivals by promoting its protein content. The campaign -- which includes new-media elements like a Web site (accelerade.com), podcasts, search-engine marketing and a chat room--carries the assertive theme "Sweat smarter." The campaign has a hefty budget, estimated at $50 million to $100 million, reflecting the fact that perspiring Americans gulp almost 1 billion cases of sports drinks a year, according to Beverage Digest. Although that is only one-tenth of the annual case sales of carbonated soft drinks, ...
  • Applebee's Too Caught Up In The Past
    In a business where fashions in food, decor and general restaurant ambiance shift fast, Applebee's stayed too long with a formula that's out of touch with today's consumer. Attracting diners are newer eateries with sleek interiors--a contrast with Applebee's busy walls of photos and sports memorabilia. Menus at many newer-generation restaurants stress the freshness or naturalness of their food, a contrast with the fried-and-breaded fare at traditional bar-and-grill chains like Applebee's. And its menus have lacked distinctive "destination items." Last year Applebee's began upgrading some of its best-selling items. At the bar, it designated Jose Cuervo as ...
  • Microsoft Uses Gigantic Pushpins In 'My Maps' Campaign
    Microsoft has installed huge red push pins on the sides of several buildings in Seattle to drum up interest in the Collections custom-mapping feature on Microsoft's Live Search Maps. Each of the businesses has a sign in the window pointing to the promotional site: thepushpinproject.com. Although Microsoft's Collections mapping feature isn't as well-known, it was actually released well before Google's "My Maps" custom-mapping feature. The push pins are inflatable, about 8 feet x 4 feet. Since they're technically considered art installations, they didn't have to go through the city permit process. Microsoft didn't pay to install the pins. ...
  • Wieden + Kennedy Will Lead Visa's World Cup Efforts
    Visa International has formally signed on as the sixth and final premier World Cup sponsor and has named Wieden + Kennedy, London, as its agency for the sponsorship. Billings are estimated at $200 million. The others World Cup sponsors are Adidas, Sony, Hyundai, Coca-Cola and Emirates Airline. Visa began an agency review last year, but suspended it due to a lawsuit filed by former World Cup sponsor MasterCard that was dismissed last week. Visa's advertising will cover a wide range of FIFA games, including the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and the Women's World Cups. A Visa ...
  • Starbucks Will Boost Environmental Film
    Starbucks plans to announce today that it will promote "Arctic Tale" -- from Paramount Classics and National Geographic Films -- in its stores this summer. The film is about a walrus pup and a polar bear that grow up and find their frozen environment melting underneath them. The Seattle coffee chain marketed the uplifting spelling-bee tale "Akeelah and the Bee" in its stores last summer by printing hard-to-spell words on cup sleeves and asking baristas to tell customers about the film. Executives have conceded that the movie's ticket sales came in lower than they had hoped for. ...
  • Kroger Markets Milk Said To Cut Cholesterol
    Kroger, the nation's largest traditional grocery chain, is adding a new milk under its Kroger's Active Lifestyle brand that it says will help customers manage their cholesterol levels. The milk uses an ingredient with plant sterols -- found naturally in some vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other foods -- that is recognized by the Food and Drug Administration as potentially helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease. The CoroWise plant sterols extract, from Cargill, already is offered in a range of national brand products, from orange juice to granola bars. The cholesterol-cutting milk adds to Kroger's expanding ...
  • Basketball Star Picked For Endorsements
    Greg Oden, the 7-foot, 19-year-old basketball star who opted to turn pro after only one year at Ohio State, has already inked sponsorship deals with Nike, Take Two Interactive, Spalding, Topps and Raymond Weill. He is expected to be the first player selected in today's National Basketball Association Draft. Contracts such as these -- for shoes, cards and games -- are what sports marketers call "tools of the trade deals." It remains to be seen if Oden will be able to branch out beyond them to the broader endorsements for cars, clothes and packaged goods. Usually, they go to ...
  • Mulally: Ford May Return To Golf Sponsorships
    Ford CEO Alan Mulally says that he would like the automaker to return to backing professional golf tournaments once it gets its turnaround "on track." Mulally, an avid golfer, played in the pro-am Buick Open tournament Wednesday. Last year, Ford pulled out of sponsoring tournaments, including the PGA Tour's Ford Championship and the Champions Tour's Ford Senior Players Championship. It is the only company among the Big Three that doesn't sponsor a PGA Tour event. Mulally's participation in the event was somewhat of a novelty because no one could recall when a rival CEO had ever played in ...
  • Netflix, Blockbuster Settle Patent Case
    At the request of both parties, San Francisco U.S. District Judge William Alsup has dismissed a 14-month-old patent infringement lawsuit that online DVD rental service Netflix brought against rival Blockbuster. Terms of the settlement were kept confidential; Alsup refused to oversee the settlement because the parties refused to provide him with a copy of the agreement. Netflix's lawsuit alleged Blockbuster had illegally copied its ideas when it diversified beyond its video stores and began renting DVDs through the Internet in 2004. Specifically, Netflix contended it held two patents covering its automated techniques for managing its customers DVD wish ...
  • Toyota's Prius May Get A Big Brother
    Toyota is planning a new dedicated hybrid-only model for launch in 2009, according to Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan's leading business daily. The details in the report are scant, but the paper claims the new hybrid will offer a better ride, due to its larger size and engine displacement of 2 to 3 liters, compared to the Prius' 1.5-liters. The paper adds that the annual sales target for the unnamed new model is 100,000 units, compared with Toyota's total hybrid sales of 310,000 last year. The extra sales would go a ways to help Toyota reach its target -- ...
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