Oct 30 2015
Let’s be clear. I am not giving up bacon. Why would I eliminate such crispy, crumbly, savory goodness from my diet? And I’m not alone in my defiance.
If you’ve been in a coma (or an Empire binge-watching marathon) this week, then let me quickly catch you up on a new study that instantly achieved global attention in both traditional and social media. On Monday, October 26th, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared red meat to be “probably carcinogenic to humans” and processed meat to be most definitely “carcinogenic to humans.” The story was covered from the U.S. and Europe to Asia and Australia with the most creative (and inflammatory) headlines. My personal favorite might be: “If bacon causes cancer, what does it mean for meat lovers who want to live?”
But this is where it gets interesting.…
Oct 28 2015
Football season is upon us and I am inevitably thinking about beer. Beer & football go together like peanut butter & jelly, like Cheech & Chong. Football means big business for beer brands, and PR professionals should have brews on their minds as well. Take advantage of halftime to “tap” into these three beer trends that have the marketplace buzzing this season.
Craft Beer Finds Its Footing
Craft beer consumption is on the rise. More and more often, we are seeing Americans opt out of Megabrews in favor of local or domestic craft brews. According to Beverage Information & Insights Group, domestic craft beer sales were up over 15% in 2014, despite that fact that overall beer volume sales actually fell half of a percent from 2013 to 2014. When we’re talking about 2.8 billion cases of beer sold in the US last year, half of a percent accounts for way more beer than you might think. Megabreweries are noticing this shift in consumer purchases. In response to dropping market share, Anheuser Busch (AB InBev) recently announced a deal to acquire MillerCoors for over $104 billion dollars. If…
Oct 23 2015
Ah, fall. There’s a crisp chill in the air and, what’s that? Oh yes, the smell of pumpkin. Pumpkin spice, to be exact, likely drifting towards you from the nearest Starbucks location or perhaps the girl in UGG boots, a North Face and leggings standing next to you.
In any case, we’re excited, right? I am. Bring on the pumpkin! I found myself walking through the grocery store a few weeks back, pumpkin pie spice and a can of pumpkin puree in my cart, when I came to a halt. Before me I found a girl squatting to take a snapchat of a nearby display: pumpkin spiced dog treats. My jaw hit the floor. For two reasons:
Jokes aside, these treats do exist (so does unisex…
Oct 16 2015
Autumn is a time of harvest, reflection, change and gratitude. The season comes quickly and marks a pivotal shift of energy which is visually obvious at every turn, as we notice all of the efforts of the growing season come into fruition. The land becomes abundant with ripened fruits, like figs, apples and pears. Grapes in the wine producing regions get picked for the new wine production. Fall represents remarkable results of spring and summer growth and evidence of Mother Nature’s fierce activity all around. Farmer’s markets begin to overload racks of brussel sprouts, rosettes of cabbage, and piles of fragrant onions. It’s the end of the growing season, so naturally we grieve and begin to decompress. We may have to clean the cobwebs from the corners and put the garden beds to rest, as we say goodbye to summer once again. We begin to consume more food to prepare our bodies for winter, as we let go of things that no longer serve us and ground ourselves to earth, much like how the trees drop leaves and refocus their energy to their roots.
The cooler breezes that first sneak upon us are gentle reminders to ease off the cooling…
Oct 9 2015
The food world mourned the passing yesterday of famed Louisiana chef Paul Prudhomme. Even if you don’t recognize his name, you’ve probably enjoyed the benefits of his influence at some point, as he is noted for having made Cajun cuisine, especially blackened redfish, famous and popular across the country in the early 1980s. Today, spicy pan-seared “blackened” proteins of every kind dot the menus of mainstream chains from BJ’s Brewhouse to California Pizza Kitchen.
Thinking about this bit of history reminded me of how I first became fascinated by the world of chefs and cookery – maybe some of you reading this have similar experiences. Around the same time that Prudhomme was serving plates of the real deal to folks lucky enough to be in New Orleans, I was a tween learning about crawfish and andouille sausage by watching “Louisiana Cookin’” with chef Justin Wilson on PBS on Sunday afternoons. There was no Food Network and the culture of celebrity chefs hadn’t really arisen yet, so educational TV programming about cooking tended to be what we today derisively call “dump and stir” demonstrations on unrealistic-looking kitchen sets in studios. Except for the…
Oct 6 2015
It’s the boldest move from Burger King since it stunned rival McDonald’s with its proposal to create a McWhooper – a mashup of the Whopper and the Big Mac – to commemorate Peace Day on September 21. McDonald’s passed on the idea.
It’s commonly said that we eat with our eyes. So does Burger King’s black-bun burger have some customers seeing red … or in some cases, green? Numerous media outlets are reporting that the new burger has an unusual side effect – green poop.
Not surprising, social media’s reaction to the Halloween Whopper has run the gamut from curiosity to delight to dismay. But one thing is certain, Burger King’s new marketing campaign is garnering buzz.
This black burger isn’t completely out of left field for Burger King. It’s similar to a burger it offers in Japan. However, the Japanese burger…
Sep 16 2015
I don’t like taking a public stance. It’s not that I’m lacking opinions – I’m full of them. It’s because I could alienate people and I like to avoid that risk.
Many alcohol beverage brands are also driven by this fear. It’s equivalent to a brand identifying their target audience as “men and women over the age of 21.” They want to cast their nets far and wide to capture anyone and everyone that might possibly buy their product.
Yet in doing so, they often appeal to no one. It’s like a generic online dating profile. How am I supposed to know how to feel about a person who doesn’t express clear interests, goals, likes or dislikes? Where is the point of connection?
As a marketer, I challenge brands that want to be universally appealing to ask themselves one question: “How am I to build a meaningful dialogue with consumers when my brand personality is watered down and, frankly, boring?”
Put a stake in the ground
Sep 11 2015
When Chris Pratt ran with velociraptors and fought colossal dino-beasts on the cineplex screen this summer, moviegoers munched popcorn nostalgically and cheered “rah!” in celebration at the revival of a beloved movie franchise. Now, as summer begins to wane, we see in the pages of food industry news that a well-known single-cup coffee brewing machine and a renowned canned soup company have joined forces to launch a “brewed on demand” soup cup that sorta reminds me of the dorm room cooking hacks in which nearly anything, but especially ramen noodles, could be “cooked” in a standard drip coffee pot, for lack of real kitchen equipment.
Everything old is new again.
But as the protagonists of the original movie franchise-starter Jurassic Park debated:
John Hammond: “I don’t think you’re giving us our due credit. Our scientists have done things which nobody’s ever done before…”
Dr. Ian Malcolm: “Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
What is this genetically modified brewing beast that wrought noodle soup whence the nozzle…
Aug 26 2015
According to Global License, food and beverage licensing grew 9.5 percent representing $8.04 billion in licensed merchandise in 2010. It remains to be a growth segment today and increasingly you see it in brand extensions in the craft beer industry.
From Fulton Brewery and New Belgium Brewing to Brewery Ommegang and 21st Amendment Brewery, a number of breweries are partnering with big brands like Wheaties, HBO, Ben & Jerry’s, and Count Chocula to create craft beers to reach broader audiences.
Here are three ways your brand can improve consumer brand awareness with a strategic beer partnership:
1. Get creative and forge authentic partnerships.
Just listen to these creative beer descriptions: 21st Amendment’s homage to Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts with its release of Toaster Pastry, an India-style Red Ale, New Belgium’s Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream inspired Salted Caramel Brownie and Fulton’s Wheaties and Hefewizten beer, HefeWheaties.
Although not technically a licensing deal, the Wheaties brand extension didn’t come out of nowhere. The idea for the limited-edition HefeWheaties came about because Fulton has close ties to General Mills, which owns Wheaties. It also doesn’t hurt that the two Minneapolis companies use…