Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pepsi Adopts New Strategy To Fight Recession

The positive results from the recession are that large companies have had to question their business process and efficiency. In a bold move the Pepsi Company has changed its business strategy in order to increase profits. One of the biggest factors that hinder change and productivity at large beverage companies is the cost involved in altering their bottling process. Often bottling companies have binding contracts that tie the beverage company to producing a product for a certain number of years in a particular size. Pepsi Co, the second largest beverage company in the world has invested $ 6 Billion ( R53.8 Billion) to change the status quo, by buying out two of their bottling companies. This is a strategic attempt to gain total control of their brands, awarding the company greater autonomy in the decision making process about a particular brand. The acquisitions would allow PepsiCo to "unlock significant cost synergies, improve the speed of decision making and increase our strategic flexibility", said PepsiCo chairman and chief executive Indra Nooyi.

The Business Day reported that “buying the bottlers may boost earnings by 15c a share and create annual pretax savings of more than $200 million.” Pepsi will have the competitive edge over rival Coca-Cola as they concentrate on providing beverage syrup to licensed bottlers, who add water and other ingredients, put the mixture in bottles and cans, and sell it. Businesses have had to have a deeper look at their brands, strategies, and their efficiency; the economical climate has left them with two options, adapt or die.

via: Business Day

Friday, April 24, 2009

Solving The Food Crisis

PSFK has an interesting article which might perhaps help thousands in the third world who are currently starving. I'm not quite sure it sounds very appetising though...

Renowned chef Pierre Gagnaire seems to have created the world's first synthetic dish with the help of chemist Herv√© This. By using a combination of ascorbic acid, glucose, maltitol and citric acid, Gagnaire concocted an appetizer of jelly balls named “le note √† note”. The dish is said to taste like apples and lemons, with a crunchy exterior and creamy interior.

Perhaps I'm a little old-fashioned, but the idea of eating something that contains natural products seems slightly more agreeable to my palette. Then again, this latest technological "break-through" is probably not all that different to McDonald's.

Via - PSFK, London Times

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

MINI Goes Vernacular

The new MINI has commanded attention all over the world with its revolutionary styling, excellent handling and great ergonomics for such a small car. All of which probably sounds familiar to loyal MINI drivers who would remember the debut of the original MINI in 1959. The iconic MINI brand turns 50 this year and continues to capture the pulse of popular culture and social relevance. MINI’s global advertising effectively reflects the value of the brand and has elevated it to the point where it is setting trends worldwide.

In a first for the BMW Group, the new MINI campaign has ventured into local South African vernaculars, using Setswana, Sotho, Xhosa and Isizulu. The advertising now speaks the language of its growing target market of youthful, professional, ambitious, and vibrant individuals. The genius of this campaign is that it uses popular South African kwaito songs. Thebe’s “Buti Bula Boot” was changed to “Buti Bula Roof” to suit the launch of the MINI convertible. This gives a great insight into the market and reflects the strategic accuracy of the campaign, making it fresh and culturally relevant. MINI utilized TV, radio and print to make this the largest vernacular-based automotive campaign in the history of South African advertising.

Via Automotive.com

Black River FC

Almost Fully Customised Magazines

Lexus launched a new initiative with the help of TIME Inc and Publishing Magazines in the US in an effort to highlight the new 2010 Lexus RX's customisable nature.

US users can log on to MINE and select 5 magazines that are of interest to them. The process then gets underway and registered users will receive 5 free issues of completely customised editions of MINE Magazine.

Articles from the originally chosen magazines appear in their custom magazines. Readers receive several issues with an article or two from each magazine, and issues come every two weeks. Each issue also includes Lexus ads personalised with readers’ names - along the lines of “The All New 2010 RX, Now With More John Doe” - or with references to the cities where they live.

While the idea is great and should make potential Lexus buyers feel special, the execution may be somewhat flawed, according to NY Times. It was reported that computer errors have caused subscribers to receive articles from magazines they had not chosen, and some of the articles that were included seemed outdated.

Nonetheless, it's still a brave and unique venture and should inspire other brands in their future communications.

Via - NY Times

Your Choice Of A Bicycle Or A Car

A Volvo dealership in England came up with a simple solution to cut costs and show that they are paying constant attention to their clientele and the environment - aspects that are so important to the cause of brand-building during this time of global economic hardship.

When they began noticing a lot of customers dropping off their cars for services chose to bring their own bicycle instead of utilising the dealer's loan car services, it was decided that the dealership would instead offer clients the choice of either a loaner bicycle or a traditional loan car when they drop their Volvo off for service.

“It’s cheaper from a supply and insurance point of view but it’s also cheaper for customers as there is no need to fill a bicycle up with petrol and there is also the convenience factor”, according to Managing Director Clive Brook.

Via - All World Cars

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Energy Generating Dance Floors

The concept of ‘power dancing’ has just been given new meaning. Since the first sustainable dance club was launched in London July 2008, eight more have opened in Europe. The latest is Club Watt in Rotterdam boasting complete energy generation sustainability. The technology uses movement by the dancers to move the dance floor. This movement allows the energy creating battery chargers under the floor to power the club.

Enviu the Company behind this technology states that, ‘the average nightclub, with a sound system and lights blazing would consume 150 times more energy annually than a four person family.’ The new nightclub also features a variety of efficiency standards established by the Sustainable Dance Club Group that will allow it to save up to 90% on conventional energy consumption, 50% on water use, cut CO2 emissions by 30%, and reduce waste by 50%. Now a good party and dancing the night away could in fact save the world.

Via: popular mechanics

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Somebody Has Been Fired

2 Domino's employees seem to have struck social media infamy, to the detriment of their employer.

The young pair, named Michael and Kristy, posted a video on YouTube yesterday which has already received just over 440000 views at the time of posting. Michael and Kristy's video suggested that Domino's Pizza has been so successful due to the "secret ingredients". The pair then go on to insert pieces of cheese into their nose and waves pieces of salami in places where undigested food really shouldn't be. Both the salami and the cheese are then placed on the sandwiches.

AdAge reveals that this was not the first attempt at a video from Michael and Kristy. It seems that they made a series of videos, which the blog As Good As You has collected. In one, Michael appears to sneeze on cheese sticks. In another, which is not safe for work, Michael wipes his bare backside with a dish sponge.

Whilst the pair have already been terminated, Domino's spokesperson Tim McIntyre admits that the chain is looking into what can be done to prevent this in the future, but there's only so much a marketer can do.

This incident should hopefully show employers everywhere that it's often worth their while to ensure their employees are as passionate about their brand as the employers are. In the age of social media, detrimental messages are so easily spread, often disproportionately damaging brands' reputations.

Via - AdAge

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Converging On A New Medium

It would seem that innovation has finally come to televisions. There are a host of new initiatives pioneered by Yahoo!, Intel and Samsung which all have the common aim of bringing the internet to a television near you.Yahoo's new Connected TV platform is now available on selected Samsung televisions. Sony, along with LG, are also both readying their offerings to be released later this year. BusinessWeek notes the similarity between the latest applications-based strategy to that of the iPhone App Store. It's therefore not surprising that the interface design of the Connected platform has been spearheaded by a former Apple interaction designer, Arlo Rose.

According to Rose, users will simply make use of their regular TV remote to accesses the Web via a wireless or broadband connection. Four widgets are currently available, for Yahoo's news, weather, finance, and Flickr photo-sharing services. Future partners Yahoo and the various TV set makers aiming to sign them up include MySpace, Netflix, Amazon.com, Joost, and Twitter.

Content appears in a sidebar to the left side of the screen, with regular programming playing underneath (a full-screen option is also available.) The menu has been described as intuitive and easy to manage, given the primitive functionality offered by the remote.

While there are still many issues to be ironed out between the sponsors and manufacturers, the web-enabled TV initiative has been long overdue and offers plenty of potential for manufacturing brands as well as for advertising.

Via - BusinessWeek

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Coupon Comeback

It's clear that the recession has brought back some age-old marketing tactics. Coupon usage seems to have emerged as the incentive of choice for average consumers. According to ComScore, sites offering discount coupons for products have been the second-most-visited category on the internet - behind jobs - for about a year. Coupon sites had 28 million unique visitors in February, up 41% from the year before, when they drew 20 million.

The most popular site, Coupons.com had 6.6 million unique visitors, up 29% from 5 million the year before. Eversave.com came in second, with 5.5 million unique visitors in February. Coupons.com reported a 192% increase in the value of coupons printed from its site in March, compared with a year ago. The total value of the coupons was $57 million.

"Consumers printed a record amount of savings in March, almost tripling the amount printed last year," Coupons CEO Steven R. Boal said in a statement. "Consumers are using digital coupons to save on virtually everything they spend money on, from food to household essentials to entertainment items. We see no slowdown in sight."

Via: AdAge

Monday, April 6, 2009

‘Got Milk’ Campaign Turns Sixteen

In 1993 a San Francisco based advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners went to work on a brief presented by the Milk Trade Association and created a campaign that is the advertising equivalent of the cure for cancer.

Since 1980 milk sales had been rapidly declining and traditional dairy advertising continued to implement failed strategies that concentrated on the nutritional and health benefits of milk. The success of the ‘got milk’ campaign is communication that grabs the consumer’s attention. The ‘got milk’ campaign turns sixteen this year and is one of the longest and most successful campaigns in American history. The campaign has a 90% recall rate and has been responsible for increasing sales from 65% consumption to 77% in America.

Few advertising campaigns have been able to absorb themselves into the social fabric of the American Society; these campaigns are the standard to which all other campaigns should be measured.


High Tech Luxury Vendor

US company U*Tique is launching a 50-selection upscale vending machine later this month in an attempt to satisfy the elite female clientele who’d like to get past the beauty counters to get their product in the shortest amount of time.

The upscale vending machine features a touch-screen interface, interactive LED lighting design and a behind-the-scenes robot that delivers fragile products to customers.

Should the U*Tique venture attract attention, I'm sure more retailers will follow suite and design their own mobile outlets - meaning that brands will have to pay increasing attention to online optimisation in order to sell their products before consumers are at the point of purchase.

Via - U*Tique Shop

Focusing On Change

With most US banks floundering for business and credibility, Bank of America has introduced a new initiative to add value to their offerings.

While every other bank was essentially offering the same kind of checking and savings accounts, with a few minor variations here and there, Bank of America made one very minor change to their offering in order to differentiate itself from its competitors.

Called the Keep the Change program, Bank of America has endeavoured to do the following for customers who opened a combined cheque and savings account: “Each time you buy something with your Bank of America Check Card, we'll round your purchase to the nearest dollar amount and transfer the difference from your checking account to your savings account. You get to keep the change and grow your savings.”

A very simple but highly effective move which could potentially attract many new customers to the brand in today's added-value driven environment.

Via - Brandchannel

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Rise of Township Shopping Malls

It has been fifteen years since the first township Mall was built in Dobsinville, Soweto for less than R10 million. Within fifteen years the rise of township shopping centers has forced marketers to consider them a real force in the retail industry. There are currently thirteen Malls in South African townships with a total investment value of R5 billion. Maponya Mall in Soweto is the largest of these, costing the developer R700 million. Township residents no longer need to leave the township as leading retailers such as Pick and Pay, Woolworths, Mc Donald’s are now at their door steps. Mega City Shopping Mall in Kwa Mashu has published results of Consumer spending as being R 16 443 per m2 in 2007 and rising to R 20 213 per m2 in the 36 000m2 Mall. This is evidence that there is an undeniable presence of a black middle class with increased spending power at these Malls.

Via: eperop.co.za

Boxed Water Is Better

Bottled water producers worldwide have been coming under fire for their lack of eco-consciousness with plastic bottles and the energy required to produce and transport them. Furthermore, the empty bottles have also contributed to an increase in waste.

It'd seem that the innovations are beginning to shift from flavour and variants and are now focused on improving the impact bottled water has on the environment.

PepsiCo's Aquafina brand announced the launch yesterday of the Eco-Fina bottle, made with 50% less plastic than normal Aquafina bottles. The new bottle, scheduled to begin shipping in April, will save an estimated 75 million pounds of plastic each year. Aquafina also plans on removing cardboard base pads from 24-packs--a move that will save 20 million pounds of corrugated cardboard each year.

Another perhaps more innovative example for the category can be found in an innovative startup company called Boxed Water is Better who have an interesting boxed design for their product. What's more, the company ships unfilled recylable containers to the water source in an attempt to keep pollution level low, and it donates 20% of all profits to world water relief and tree reforestation organisations.

Via - Fastcompany, Boxed Water is Better

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Nike Fuels Gender Wars

Nike is fuelling the age old war of the sexes with their latest advertising campaign. The campaign is simply called men vs. women at Nikeplus.com. The basic idea of the challenge is that between March 13 and April 20, Nike will track the kilometers run by men and women through nikeplus.com. The participants are required to enter through nikeplus.com and use the Nike+ system. The Campaign’s print advertisement includes Copy like “one more thing for men to rule” and “ladies first. Men second.” The campaign is an exiting way to promote the Nike brand. All that needs to be said is may the best Man win, or woman.

Via: Nikeplus.com

Carpooling With IKEA

It seems the initial rumours of IKEA launching a eco-friendly car has been dispelled. Instead, the trendy company is introducing an online car-sharing service in conjuction with Comuto, the French ride-sharing company for 26 IKEA locations in France, which officially launched in France yesterday.

According to Isabelle Cremoux-Mirgalet, a spokeswoman for IKEA France, the program - called IKEA Leko - was a viral marketing campaign. Instead, it is a “service that has all the qualities we have promised on the Web for ‘the car according to Ikea’: a tailored car-sharing online service for all French stores.”

Via - New York Times

Prius Seemingly Runs Out Of Answers

Toyota are set to launch their 3rd generation Prius later this year. Said to be similar in appearance as the previous two versions, Toyota engineers claim that the updated version will be 10% more fuel efficient.“This time, we have both engine and motor strength. A balance between performance and fuel efficiency,” says the Prius’ chief engineer, Akihiko Otsuka.

The new Prius will have three driving modes to give the driver options, from an “eco” to “EV” to “power” mode. The power mode focuses on performance, so the vehicle drives like a sporty sedan. The EV and eco mode will remind Prius fans of the first and second generation models.

The highly inefficient manufacturing and scrapping processes aside, the fact that the Japaneses engineers have increased the car's performance is commendable. How they achieved this, however, is far less impressive.

The company has increased the engine capacity from a 1,5 litre petrol-driven version to a 1,8 litre varietal.

After all the years of hype about the hybrid being the world's solution to greener motoring, the latest changes seem to going against everything the Prius has stood for since its inception. Surely sharp minds should be focusing on decreasing the engine capacity whilst achieving equal, if not improved, performance?

Via: CNN