mixes in AmazonFresh ordering and delivery

Meredith Corp. brand will now include AmazonFresh as a featured retailer within the site’s recipes, allowing consumers to click to buy a recipe’s ingredients and have them delivered the same day, according to a press release. The recipe sites claims to be one of the first major food brands to partner with AmazonFresh in this way.

Cooks who select the AmazonFresh option can send all of the ingredients for a recipe to an AmazonFresh shopping cart where they will find product and pricing information. Allrecipes will curate the brands selected for each recipe ingredient, which users can change.

amazon fresh

The partnership brings Allrecipes into e-commerce, an area which Nielsen predicts will drive more than 90% of sales growth for CPG companies over the next three years. Consumers that browse Allrecipes regularly are 33% more likely to use online grocery services than those who don’t visit Allrecipes, per the release.

Dive Insight:

This partnership will likely benefit both companies: AmazonFresh gets access to Allrecipes’ engaged user base of 80 million, and Allrecipes gets to provide added convenience to its users while bringing the brand into the e-commerce space. Allrecipes previously incorporated grocery shopping functionality, including geo-targeted offers from retailers, but the AmazonFresh integration takes place at a deeper level.

The Meredith Corp. brand that sees 1.5 billion annual visits online aims to save consumers time with the new grocery shopping functionality through AmazonFresh, as the average American consumer spends 53 hours grocery shopping over the course of a year, per the release.

As the grocery industry continues to buzz about Amazon’s latest moves, Fresh delivery service is quietly — and surprisingly, to some — cutting back its services in some states at the end of November. This comes just as Allrecipes announced the Fresh integration on its site, which may signal that Amazon is looking to reorganize the program in light of Fresh’s slow growth and its Whole Foods acquisition.

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KFC’s $10K ‘internet escape pod’ wards off Cyber Monday madness

KFC is selling an “internet escape pod” to help people find sanctuary from the madness of Cyber Monday shopping. They’re available on the brand’s e-commerce website, KFC Ltd., and cost $10,000 — a price discounted, in the spirit of the sales day, from $96,485.34, the brand said.

The dome-shape pod is constructed of steel and stainless steel mesh, with dimensions of 7′ x 7′ x 6′ 6″. It’s straddled by a representation of brand icon Colonel Sanders that’s made of 8-pound high-density architectural foam and enamel paint. Assembly and installation service is included in the price.

The product description suggests that the pod will genuinely be able to block outside signals trying to reach smartphones or other devices, although the brand can’t guarantee it’s a fool-proof solution. “In case you haven’t noticed, our specialty is fried chicken, not internet-blocking cages,” the product description reads.

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Dive Insight: 

While the $10,000 price tag is steep, this isn’t KFC’s first foray into e-commerce offerings that fall a little outside the brand’s typical budget range. In July, with the launch of KFC Ltd., it sold a single, 400-year-old meteorite carved to look like its Zinger sandwich for $20,000.

Just as that item helped drum up early interest for KFC Ltd., the internet escape pod does a clever job of poking fun at the often overwhelming nature of Cyber Monday, which has quickly won over the attention and spending of deal-hunters who want to avoid the brick-and-mortar chaos of its sister sales day, Black Friday. KFC, while ribbing Cyber Monday madness by taking people back to the days without the internet, is also capitalizing on it by offering a ‘discount’ and selling the pod exclusively online.

Beyond these pointedly gimmicky items, KFC Ltd. also offers more affordable branded merchandise like T-shirts and sweatshirts. It’s not the only marketer in the quick-serve or food category that’s eyed this strategy to generate extra revenue from dedicated fans who want to rep their favorite brand.

Taco Bell, which, like KFC, is owned by Yum Brands, recently launched a clothing line in partnership with the fast-fashion retailer Forever 21. Around this time last year, Frito-Lay’s Cheetos also introduced a holiday catalogthat included hot pants, lounge chairs and even a $20,000 piece of jewelry.

With its latest play, KFC continues a run of quirky marketing efforts this year that’s included turning Col. Sanders into the lead in a romance novella for Mother’s Day and making the mascot a playable character in the “WWE 2K18” video game.

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Mountain Dew sits new brand mascot down for a contentious interview

Mountain Dew has entered the second phase of introducing its new brand mascot with an in-depth interview, per news made available to Marketing Dive. In a 2:40 docu-short, the fictional Dewey Ryder and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. sit down to chat with ESPN’s Kenny Mayne, with some contentious results.

Earnhardt, who is retiring from both NASCAR and his partnership with the PepsiCo brand, agreed with Mayne that it’s actually the worst interview he’s participated in. The full clip, which aired around ESPN’s SportsCenter program last week, is available to view on YouTube below.

Mountain Dew introdued Ryder, played by comedian and actor Danny McBride, as its new NASCAR spokesperson late last month via a press release mostly written in a tounge-in-cheek tone by Ryder. While the brand is passing the proverbial torch on, both Ryder and Earnhardt Jr. will continue to appear together in Mountain Dew content through the year’s end and into 2018.

Transitioning to a new brand mascot or ambassador is always a tough move for a company, as the switch can be off-putting to consumers who’ve become accustomed to a particular face representing its product. This is likely doubly true for Mountain Dew, which has worked with Earnhardt for nearly a decade on its NASCAR-related endorsements.

Rather than suddenly swap out Earnhardt for a different professional driver, the soft drink maker appears to be pulling out more creative stops, building a world and persona around Ryder that gels with Moutain Dew’s broader sense of humor and can make the change easier to digest. McBride is an inspired choice to play the character as well given his previous roles as the similarly brash Kenny Powers on HBO’s “Eastbound and Down” and a warped version of himself in the film “This is the End.” McBride here matches those performances with his belligerence and comic lack of awareness.

In the interview, which has a largely improvisational feel — all three of those involved appear to be on the verge of laughing at several points — the forty-ish Ryder claims to be a millennial, which Mayne pushes back against, earning Ryder’s ire and a comparison to Stephen Lang’s villain from the movie “Avatar.” The broader campaign around Ryder, which will extend into next year, also includes social media marketing such as a #DeweyRyder hashtag for NASCAR fans to keep an eye out for.

The popularity of soft drinks is overall on the decline as consumers search out healthier, less sugary alternatives. While Mountain Dew still ranks high as the fourth most popular soda in the U.S., per NBC News, PepsiCo’s other products in its snack category have started to outpace the CPG’s beverage sales.

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Kellogg opening grrrrrreat big cereal bar in New York City

Kellogg, the maker of Frosted Flakes and Rice Krispies, is opening its new cereal cafe on Dec. 7 in Manhattan’s Union Square neighborhood, according to the company. Kellogg’s NYC Cafe in Times Square closed in August after a successful first year so the company could invest in a larger location.


The new location will be five times as big as the prior cafe, and the new design will feature an open-concept kitchen and new menu items.

Kellogg’s Union Square Cafe also was decorated with social media enthusiasts in mind. The company reports cereal and Kellogg characters will “come to life” in an engaging way that is ideal for selfie and Instagram users.

Dive Insight:

Pop-up cafes are a big hit right now for food manufacturers, drawing positive attention in the store and online via social media. Three hundred reservations for a Cheetos pop-up restaurant in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood were booked just six hours after its opening was announced during the summer. It was so popular it had a waiting list more than 1,000 people.

Kellogg is now doubling down on its cereal cafe concept, expanding it to an even larger restaurant space.

The cereal maker reported its smaller cafe was successful, so it must have seen a solid enough profit to invest in a significantly larger retail space. Considering it was charging $7 for a bowl of cereal, it’s conceivable there was a potential for a good profit margin.

The new Kellogg’s NYC Cafe will offer a modified menu compared to the first location, but it will still be cereal-inspired. Favorite recipes from the Times Square restaurant will return, along with new combinations reportedly inspired by surprise partners.

Kellogg’s launch of this new cafe is further confirmation that cereal is still popular and relevant to consumers. It’s a category that has been losing ground to options that are higher in protein and more portable in recent years, but is increasingly popular as a snack. Kellogg’s NYC Cafe would be an ideal stop for travelers looking for a quick breakfast, or an afternoon treat. It also benefits Kellogg, too. It’s an ideal way for it to try out new ideas on consumers, and get feedback from cereal lovers on which products they would like to see on the market.

“We’re excited to see how people re-think the possibilities of cereal and how their creations might inspire us to bring new products to life,” said Aleta Chase, Kellogg’s marketing director, said in a statement.

It will be interesting to see if this new concept has any impact on grocery sales of cereal. Consumers may be inspired by their recipes, particularly for ice cream cereal sundaes, and try to recreate them at home. Even if sales don’t budge, it will still be a PR success for the company with the initial press they’ll receive with the opening and continued exposure from consumers posting on social media when they visit.

Kellogg also may be considering expanding the cereal cafe concept with pop-ups in other large cities. It’s proven to be a successful model, and would likely be one that would translate well to consumers in other areas.

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Bud Light drives 20% completion rates for branded in-stream video

Bud Light is driving 20% completion rates on an 100-second piece of in-stream branded video content by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning technology provided by IRIS.TV’s platform, per news made available to Marketing Dive. IRIS.TV, a video personalization firm, partnered with The ID Agency to distribute the short film on premium publisher sites where it played after contextually-relevant editorial video, with the goal of attaining better engagement rates than social or outstream placements. 

The idea behind IRIS.TV is to allow marketers to use creative video storytelling that emphasizes quality user experience and brand affinity as opposed to the sheer volume of impressions that’s typically the focus of pre-roll ads. The IRIS.TV data network, for its part, is based on billions of video views segmented by geography, device and contextual content verticals.For brands, the in-stream videos’ cost is based on how long the content is viewed. The IRIS.TV platform has been adopted by CBS, Time Inc., Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter, the release said.

Dive Insight:

Video has become a necessary piece of any digital content marketing strategy, but marketers are still trying to suss out the best ways to grab users’ attention and retain it as metrics like viewability become the industry standard. In the case of Bud Light, it’s managed to keep one-fifth of viewers engaged for the entirety of a lengthy video short, which details the vibrant boxing community in East Los Angeles and has driven nearly 1.5 million hits on YouTube since being published in May. 

 Bud Light’s strategy and IRIS.TV’s platform, more generally, go against the grain of where a lot of video trends are heading online, opting for in-stream over outstream placements and eschewing extra-short ads that have become popular for bumper and pre-roll spots. Those formats, which typically run under 10 seconds in length, have been criticized by some agency creatives for hindering storytelling and emotional resonance, which IRIS.TV’s approach to branded content seeks to push back against by putting a premium on entertainment value. “Today’s brands need to take an audience-first approach and ensure that content is engaging and delivered at the right time and place,” Alex Boyce, The ID Agency, said in a statement. “Traditional and pre-roll ads aren’t delivering the same return as they used to.

Branded content allows the opportunity to present a story versus a pitch, and with IRIS.TV, brands can optimize content strategies, dial-in audience engagement and actually increase brand perception.”Marketers are expected to spend $135 billion on online video in 2017, according to recent research from Magisto, a number 2x than what they’re forecast to pay for TV spots and 1.5x what they will for digital ads. Some of that difference is indicative of how the focus for many companies is shifting from branding to engagement — a goal Bud Light is achieving based on the numbers for its campaign with IRIS.TV and The ID Agency. 

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