• Four-Year Sales Skid Accelerates For Soda Pop
    U.S. soft-drink volume fell 3% in 2008, the steepest drop on record and the fourth year in a row that has shown a decline, according to Beverage Digest. The cumulative 6% decline over four years erased gains made by the industry between 1997 and 2004, Valerie Bauerlein reports, which has the industry's high-water mark. The sales drop is due to the slow economy and increases in pricing, along with some continued interest in alternative beverages such as enhanced waters, says John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest. Sales of energy drinks have slowed, too, as they tend to be ...
  • Jollying The Downtrodden Masses Through Bleak Times
    Products that make folks smile are flying off the assembly line, Bruce Horovitz reports, though it's apparently too early to tell whether they're succeeding. The manufacturers aren't cheesy novelty operators. We're talking Kraft, Procter & Gamble, Denny's, and Frito-Lay, which this week is introducing Cheetos the size of ping-pong balls. "People are looking for anything to break the negativity," says Ann Mukherjee, marketing guru at Frito-Lay, which, at one point considered -- but junked -- the idea of Cheetos the size of tennis balls. The products are targeted to adults, by the way. "When we're stressed, we revert ...
  • Detroit Left Wondering About Marketing Under Obama Plan
    Labor costs and union concessions are the most pressing financial issues at both General Motors and Chrysler, reports Jean Halliday, and marketing has not been a major topic of discussion beyond a revelation by GM that it would cut those costs by $800 million this year. But observers are speculating that Fritz Henderson, who is succeeding Rick Wagoner at the helm of GM, won't be as staunch a supporter of marketing as his predecessor. "Rick had a strong desire to be aggressive in marketing," which "may be diminished" under Henderson, says Mike Jackson, who left GM in mid-2007 as ...
  • Carnival Uses Digital Aquariums As Bait For Passersby
    Carnival Cruise Lines is placing interactive digital "aquariums" into empty store windows in Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., through the end of April, Brian Quinton reports. The virtual aquariums aim to entice customers with their mobile interactivity. When passersby walk past the window display screen, seaweed and underwater plants move in response. A window sign instructs them to call a number on their cell phones. The promotion uses computer vision, Flash animation and mobile gaming software to let them create, and then control, their own fish in the aquarium using their phones. When ...
  • Judge Tosses Cuba's Trademark Suit Over Havana Club Name
    A federal judge dismissed a Cuban lawsuit Monday over the termination of U.S. trademark rights for its Havana Club rum, Elaine Walker reports. It is a victory for Bacardi's effort to take over the brand name as its own in the United States. Cubaexport, Cuba's state-owned export enterprise, filed the lawsuit appealing a decision in August 2006 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that deemed the current registration on Havana Club trademark "canceled/expired." Cubaexport has a joint venture with Pernod Ricard to sell Havana Club internationally. "This is a very significant ruling and a watershed moment in ...
  • P&G Chairman Blasts Obama Tax Proposal
    A.G. Lafley says a provision in President Obama's budget proposal regarding income made overseas would cost American jobs and give foreign businesses an unfair advantage.
  • Parts Dealer Sues Ford Over Trademark Slogan
    Frank's Auto Supply, of Uniontown, Pa., says it has been using the slogan "We Speak Car" for nearly six years. It wants Ford to stop using it, and it seeks unspecified damages.
  • USAA, Apple Have Highest Net Promoter Score
    USAA insurance and Apple are the brands that consumers recommend the most, according to research from Satmetrix, originator of the Net Promoter score.
  • Sara Lee Reviewing Offers For Household Products Division
    Sara Lee says it's "reviewing strategic options" for its household and body care products business after receiving "expressions of interest" from unidentified potential buyers, Mike Hughlett reports. "We will carefully evaluate all opportunities and do what is in the best interest of the company and its stakeholders," Sara Lee CEO Brenda Barnes says in a statement.
  • U.S. Shreds Auto Plans; Waggoner Out At GM
    President Barack Obama is giving General Motors 60 days to develop a new survival plan without chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, and is setting a 30-day deadline for Chrysler to either partner with Fiat or shut down, Justin Hyde and Tim Higgins report. The ultimatums come with promises of additional aid, including up to $6 billion for a Chrysler-Fiat partnership. The administration will attempt to ease workers' concerns by appointing a director of auto recovery, and will back the warranties of GM and Chrysler vehicles in an attempt to keep shoppers coming. The Freep's Tom Walsh says "simple ...
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