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Advertisers are hungry to connect ad spend to consumer purchases, and publishers want to grow their non-advertising revenue. Meredith is trying to serve up products that address both problems.

The women-focused publisher partnered in March with eMeals, a subscription meal-planning app, where editors from Better Homes and Gardens, EatingWell and Allrecipes contribute meal plans and recipes to the app in exchange for a portion of subscription revenue. People can click to buy the ingredients in those recipes though grocery stores or delivery services.

meredith artwork

Last fall, Meredith integrated AmazonFresh into some recipes in the meal-planning section of Allrecipes, which lets readers click to add groceries to a shopping cart. It plans to add some of these capabilities to its other lifestyle sites as well as the food titles it got through the acquisition of Time Inc.

Since Meredith added shoppable features to its food sites two years ago, commerce and shopper marketing now deliver nearly 25 percent of its food sites’ digital revenue, said Corbin de Rubertis, vp and gm of Meredith’s shopper marketing.

“Over the last year, we’ve really started to think about our content as much more solution- and utility-focused,” de Rubertis said. “We’ve started to position commerce — and making that commerce dead easy — as a fully integrated component of the content itself.”

First, Meredith made individual recipes on some of its sites commerce-enabled. Then, it started to grow the revenue from its food content by expanding individual recipes into meals and meal plans, which can dictate an entire week’s worth of food for a family.

The titles’ commitment to growing consumer revenue extends beyond Meredith’s sites. To promote the launch of eMeals, for example, Meredith used content marketing on its own sites, social promotion and full-page ads in the participating titles’ print editions.

“We’re acting against our overall strategy of trying to develop recurring revenue streams from readers,” said Andy Wilson, Meredith’s svp of consumer revenue.

Selling advertising is part of the strategy. Advertisers can sponsor the recipes themselves or run contextual ads against ingredients. The site’s editorial team chooses the ingredients in a recipe. But Bertolli, for example, could pay to become the olive oil that’s added to the cart when someone decides to buy the ingredients for eggplant parmigiana.

While customers can add different products to their cart before checkout, the initial placements tend to stick: 80 percent of the brands included in the sites’ preselected shopping lists remain through checkout, de Rubertis said.

Letting advertisers buy their way into consumers’ shopping carts gives Meredith access to advertisers’ shopper marketing budgets, which have mostly been stuck in coupons and physical media that most publishers haven’t been able to access.

To tap those budgets, Meredith in 2015 acquired Qponix, a location-specific grocery and shopping platform. In the fall of 2016, it partnered with The Trade Desk to launch a programmatic shopper marketing network.

Read more at Digiday: https://digiday.com/media/meredith-serving-shoppable-content-food-sites/

Publix Super Markets and Wegmans tied for first place, with each scoring 77% on Market Force Information’s most recent Customer Loyalty Index. Trader Joe’s Market was a close second with a score of 76% and H-E-B was third with a score of 69%.

Publix has ranked second for the past four years. This is the second consecutive year Wegmans has earned top honors. Both companies have repeatedly been named to Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

The Results

A group of 12,774 consumers was surveyed and rated their favorite grocery chains on attributes including value for money, cashier courtesy, fast checkouts, availability of items, ease of finding items, specialty department service and store cleanliness. Participants were asked to rate their satisfaction with their most grocery shopping experience and their likelihood to recommend it to others. The results were then averaged to rank each brand on a Composite Loyalty Index Score.

Publix outshone the competition in ease of finding items, having the cleanest stores and fastest checkouts. Wegmans was tops in its specialty department service and second in item availability. Trader Joe’s was number one in cashier courtesy, followed closely by Publix and Wegmans. ALDI won the top spot for value, followed by WinCo Foods and Costco; Wegmans was 14th on that attribute and Publix wasn’t ranked.

The complete rankings were:

1. Publix (77%)
1. Wegmans (77%)
2. Trader Joe’s (76%)
3. H-E-B (69%)
4. Aldi (68%)
5. Harris Teeter (66%)
6. Hy-Vee Food Stores (65%)
6. Costco (65%)
7. WinCo Foods (62%)
8. Whole Foods Market (61%)
9. Fry’s (58%)
10. Kroger (57%)
11. Target (56%)
12. Winn-Dixie Stores (54%)
13. Shoprite (53%)
14. Food Lion (52%)
15. Albertson’s (49%)
15. Meijer (49%)
15. Sam’s Club(49%)
16. Giant Food Stores (43%)
17. Safeway (39%)
18. Stop & Shop (38%)
19. Walmart (31%)

Disruption May Be Coming

Market Force also reported that click-and-collect services, where shoppers put products in an online shopping cart and then pick their order up at the grocery store, are becoming increasingly popular.

The use of click-and-collect has more than doubled since 2016, the company reported, and 78% of those who have reported using it were very satisfied or satisfied with the service. The stores most frequently cited for use of click-and-collect services were Walmart, Kroger, Sam’s Club and Harris Teeter. Twenty-six percent of those surveyed used the service at least monthly.

Read more at Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/marciaturner/2018/01/18/publix-and-wegmans-named-americas-favorite-grocery-stores/#7ebd40e66d69

Jeff Lotman has tried for years to get to Nobuyuki Matsuhisa to license his name. “I don’t believe in ‘no,’” the brand-licensing executive says. “I only believe in ‘No, right now.’ I have chased people for years before they’ve said yes. Chefs are often afraid they can’t get control. They can.”

wolfgang puck

Where Matsuhisa, the world-renowned chef behind Nobu, has refrained, other household-name chefs have done the opposite, signing over their names to restaurant operators, manufacturers, and retailers, lending their image to everything from sauces (Bobby Flay) to spatulas (Alton Brown), chilled ready-made meals (Jamie Oliver) to pressure ovens (Wolfgang Puck), knife sets (Rachael Ray) to K-cups (Emeril Lagasse).

Lotman, the founder and CEO of Global Icons, a Los Angeles-based licensing agency, has been consulting and acting as a middleman in the business of branded goods and services since the early aughts. His agency works more closely now with corporate rather than personal brands, but he remains an opportunistic observer of the market.

The reasoning, as Lotman explains it, is simple: “Ribs I might not buy, but Bobby Flay ribs, yes, I would pick those up.” Flay is as good an archetype of the multi-interest celebrity chef as any, his empire comprising five restaurants — one of them, Bobby’s Burger Palace, is a nine-year-old chain — 11 cookbooks, and a line of sauces and rubs for meat. Flay has been in the eye of the American public since 1994, and a TV regular since 1996.

“You need profile,” according to Lotman. “No matter how great the chef is, if I haven’t heard if him, I won’t buy. Once you have that profile, you, as the licensor or brand owner, are in the stronger position.”

According to Lotman, one of the biggest growth areas for chefs and culinary personalities recently has been in restaurant licensing. “Restaurants have learned that consumers see this as a good thing,” he says. “It makes them feel good about a restaurant, it drives them back. Fifteen years ago, there were three restaurant brands bearing people’s names. Now, there are about 80.”

Delivered meal kits lately popularized by companies like Plated and Blue Apron represent another possible conduit for celebrity chefs’ brands, says Lotman, pointing out the logic behind an alliance that grants a chef custody over ingredients as well as recipe and instruction. Chefs like Dominique Crenn and Fabio Viviani have signed on to curate meals with Chef’d, a meal kit company based in Southern California, but straightforward name licenses where chefs have even less responsibility are also on the table. “There may be one or two such licensing deals being negotiated behind the scenes,” Lotman says.

Read more at Eater.com: https://www.eater.com/2017/11/29/16233364/chef-name-licensing-wolfgang-puck-frozen-foods-jet-tila-brands

Kevin the Carrot, the star of Aldi’s Christmas campaign last year, returns after the brand’s previous successful campaign, which resulted in sales growth for the discount retailer.

This year’s push, created by McCann U.K. and animated by Psyop, sees the lovable vegetable falling in love with a female carrot, Katie, in spots that cheekily reference several movies, including new release “Murder on the Orient Express.” The debut ad, which breaks today, sees Kevin board a “midnight express train” where a gingerbread man has been “murdered.” He comes to Katie’s rescue while she’s reading a book titled “9 and a Half Leeks.” The spot also references “Titanic” and “The Bodyguard,” and 14 future 20- and 30-second executions, which continue the Kevin and Katie story, will include nods to movies including “Love Actually.”

Once again Jim Broadbent is the narrator and the music is the soundtrack to “Edward Scissorhands.”

Ahead of the launch of the campaign, Aldi teased it by putting Kevin the Carrot on dating app Happn with a message that he was “looking for love.”

Aldi saw Christmas sales rise by 15.1% last year and cites the Kevin the Carrot campaign as a contributor to its success. The campaign recently won the Grand Prix at the Euro Effie awards. Aldi marketing director Adam Zavalis says that the retailer considered several ideas for this year before deciding to go with a sequel–and added that it wanted the campaign to be “more ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ than ‘Grease 2.'”

from Creativity-Online: http://creativity-online.com/work/aldi-kevin-the-carrot-is-back/53193

With Christmas fast approaching, the current retail climate suggests consumers will be looking for a bargain.

Morrison's Supermarket

John Lewis has already predicted the mood around big ticket items will be subdued for quite some time – suggesting Brits will be less likely to trade up this Christmas.

The reality, according to GfK, is Brits are slightly upping their spend on bigger buys such as electricals, but only because they are borrowing more money on credit cards. It has labeled this trend “worrying” and says rising interest rates and inflation will also dampen the mood among many consumers this Christmas.

Despite this negative backdrop, big four supermarket Morrisons will be taking a lot of positive momentum into the crucial Christmas trading period. Today (2 November) it revealed like-for-like sales rose 2.5% in its third quarter.

Although this is a slower rate of growth than the 2.6% and 3.4% growth it recorded in the previous two quarters, it represents the supermarket’s eighth consecutive quarter of sales growth – a reality far removed from the struggling brand inherited by Morrisons’ CEO David Potts when he took the job in February 2015.

And asked by Marketing Week during a press call whether Christmas 2017 will most benefit discount brands, Potts answered: “Our job is to serve core customers as well as we can whatever the prevailing circumstances are. Equally, everyone is welcome at Morrisons and with our ‘Best’ premium range doubling its sales over the last year – the quality message is now there at the business.

“This Christmas we will be holding the prices of 100 of the key festive items – from potatoes to mince pies – so customers will need to decide [if they want to spend more somewhere else] as ultimately everyone has to eat.

“There’s every chance Brits will dial down on eating out and come to Morrisons instead so there’s plenty to look forward to. We’re in better shape this year with more stock in store and more research completed. We feel more chipper going into Christmas.”

Morrisons is trying to tread the line between low prices and high quality

Under Potts, Morrisons has repeatedly talked up its brand positioning as a shop keeper and as a food maker, with it looking to find the middle ground between similar prices to the German discounters Aldi and Lidl as well as high food quality perceptions.

Reflecting on the year, Potts says the brand has most benefitted from word of mouth buzz due to the improvements it has made to its core offer.

He concluded: “The Most important thing we have done with our brand is listen hard to customers and colleagues, and wherever possible respond quickly to their concerns.

“That has led to priorities within the business around competitiveness increase and allowed us to serve customers better. There’s now great value on the shelves and great work completed on our own brand around both notching up quality and notching down pricing combined. All of this combined with cleaner stores has made the shopping trip better than it was and our brand stronger in the market.”

from Marketing Week: https://www.marketingweek.com/2017/11/02/morrisons-feeling-chipper-going-into-christmas/