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Pepsi is putting images of two dead music icons on its cans this summer, reaching back once again to its pop culture glory days in an effort to boost sagging sales. Michael Jackson and Ray Charles will front limited-edition packaging along with Britney Spears, who isn’t exactly in her prime (although to be fair, her recently concluded four-year Las Vegas residency concert was considered a major hit).

Pepsi celebs

The cans continue the retro-heavy “Pepsi Generations” campaign that Pepsi kicked off earlier this year with a Super Bowl ad that included quick glimpses of classic Pepsi ads starring Spears and Jackson. A follow-up ad for Diet Pepsi included shots of Charles that harkened back to a 1990s-era spot when he sang “You got the right one baby” for the brand.

But putting the singers on cans ups the ante, while raising questions about much resonance the one-time mega stars have with younger consumers today.

“The first thing I thought was, ‘Oh, they must be going for the older folks’—because the younger kids are drinking a lot less soda these days,” says Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist and professor at Golden Gate University in San Francisco who studies millennial consumers.

But on the plus-side for Pepsi, “young people today kind of like the retro-chic stuff. Michael is iconic, Ray is iconic. And I guess by rubbing shoulders with them Pepsi becomes a little bit more iconic,” she adds. “It is calling out some of [Pepsi’s] shining moments, I suppose, and elevating the stature of the brand though association. But I don’t think that’s going to be enough.”

Read more at Ad Age:

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Continuing a series focused on industry craft, Fine partner and chief strategist Josh Kelly looks at how a craft mindset has come to define the beverage industry and influence all aspects of branding, from making to serving, and (most of all) how creatives are guiding the story.

There’s never been a more confusing and refreshing time to be thirsty.

A dizzying array of drinkable brands crams grocery store aisles, bar shelves, and restaurant menus. In the U.S., that’s 6,000+ craft breweries, 9,600+ wineries, 1,500+ craft distilleries, and ubiquitous options in coffee, tea, sodas, bottled waters, energy drinks, and even exotic new ciders, coconut waters, kombuchas, bubble matchas, and chais. Now you’re just making this stuff up.

All these brands can’t reasonably be looking for mass consumer adoption; they’re looking for a more limited, but highly involved, audience. In beverage categories, it falls to marketers to find points all along the “supply chain” to win over those willing to pay a higher price point for a brand that has a story behind every sip.

It’s why craft in the creative trade has become more critical than ever, adding perceived value to the brands you drink.

Read more at The Drum:

Starbucks says it has a plan to reverse a disappointing same-store sales trend.


Same-store sales (stores that have been open at least a year, or comp sales as the industry calls it) increased by only 2 percent during Starbucks fiscal first quarter, which ended Dec. 31. That’s down from a 3 percent increase the same quarter a year before, and down from 9 percent the year before that.

Investors and analysts keep a close eye on comp sales, which Starbucks kept at or above 5 percent until recent years. In 2016, former CEO Howard Schultz called the same-store sales growth slowdown an anomaly and blamed it on that year’s elections.

“Our focus is getting the U.S. business turned back to what we expect,” Starbucks Chief Financial Officer Scott Maw told investors, according to a Factset transcript. “Sometimes we lose focus of those long-term growth drivers that make Starbucks a pretty unique long-term investment opportunity.”

Maw went over ways Starbucks plans to stabilize and drive growth in the U.S., including increased personalization, more innovation and better operational execution in stores.

One thing Starbucks has done in recent weeks was to change the way employees are used in stores at different times, not just around peak times, which they adjusted after the problems with mobile ordering bottleneck.

Read more at Biz Journals:

Del Monte Foods announced today that it has hired Bibie Wu as its Chief Marketing Officer, effective February 28, 2018. Wu will report to Chief Executive Officer Greg Longstreet and be responsible for all marketing, innovation, and R&D for the company.

delmonte foods

Wu has vast consumer packaged goods experience with many well-known and respected brands spanning food at General Mills and Campbells, and laundry and home care at Henkel. Most recently, Bibie served as VP of Marketing, Head of Laundry Conditioners and Home Care at Henkel. She led the unit’s portfolio which includes Snuggle, Purex Crystals, Renuzit, Soft Scrub, and Combat. She also led Omni-Channel and Visual Branding for Henkel and was a member of Henkel’s executive committee.

Bibie’s experience also includes ten successful years in marketing at General Mills where she led such iconic brands as Yoplait and Progresso. While with General Mills, she also served as Marketing Director for the Walmart/Sam’s Club Sales Region in Bentonville, Arkansas. Bibie is a graduate of Amherst College and received her MBA from Dartmouth.

“Bibie’s wealth of knowledge will bring a fresh perspective in helping us unlock growth for our great brands,” said Greg Longstreet, Chief Executive Officer, Del Monte Foods, Inc. “By organizing R&D under her direction along with marketing and innovation, we will create improved synergies in bringing our products to market.”

“I am delighted to join Del Monte Foods to help make innovation and marketing key growth drivers for the company,” said Wu. “I look forward to working with the team to bring a positive difference to today’s families by providing healthful foods that bring us all closer together.”

Longstreet, who became Del Monte Foods’ CEO in September 2017, has outlined a four-point growth strategy for the brand: building relevance through product differentiation, driving innovation to address shifting consumer habits, expanding distribution into key growth areas — perimeter of store and foodservice, and optimizing the supply chain to make it more efficient and agile.

“There’s been a fundamental shift in how people purchase, prepare and enjoy their food, and the pace of change will only intensify,” said Longstreet. “Success will require great execution against each of our four growth strategy areas. Bringing talented people like Bibie on board will help us in reaching our goals.”

from Business Wire:

Beer spots tend to follow a similar (arguably outdated) formula: a bunch of young dudes partying it up while watching the Big Game and plenty of ice-cold brew to go around. But marketers might be missing out on some key demos.

Origin’s survey of 2,000 beer drinkers analyzed preferences and habits across gender and generational lines, and the results make at least one thing clear: “While beer brands have typically pulled from the traditional ‘bro’ playbook in their marketing, they would do well to explore creative approaches that connect with fans across gender and generational lines,” said Ken Faro, senior manager of research at Hill Holliday’s consumer research arm, Origin. “The [Super Bowl] audience looks significantly different than it did just 10 years ago,” added Faro. “In fact, it is increasingly watched by growing segments of female and younger-generation fans.”


from AdWeek: