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London 2012 unveils new look June 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Sports.
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The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has unveiled a new logo and brand identity for London 2012. It was launched by London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe today.

The new logo, which has been designed by Wolff Olins, is based on the number 2012, the word London and the tradtional Olympic rings. It has four variants and will be used for the both 2012 games and the Paralympic Games, which will also take place that summer.

LOCOG says the new logo has been created for a “brand savvy world where people, especially young people, no longer relate to static logos but respond to a dynamic brand.”

The logo will be used as part of a nationwide “pledge” campaign, which aims to use the Olympics to inspire people “to make positive changes in their lives”. It will be launched this summer with a 10-week roadshow that will tour the country. A film called “Everyone’s 2012” showing changes that people have already made after being inspired by the Olympics has been released online.

Related Links > http://main.london2012.com/en

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Martini revamped with new look June 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Drinks & Beverages.
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Bacardi-Martini is relaunching Martini vermouth in a new bottle and introducing a new variant called Rosato in a bid to shake up the brand’s old-fashioned image. The revamp will also include the  roll out of a contemporary bottle shape and new labelling.

Martini Rosato, a rosé style of vermouth, aims to capitalise on the current popularity of rosé wines and in a bid to lure 25 year old to 35 year old female drinkers to the brand. The relaunch will be supported by a radio, press and outdoor campaign.

The move is the first major marketing initiative led by the newly appointed director of marketing Liam Newton. Newton, a former InBev brands director, joined Bacardi Martini last October as director of marketing for Bacardi Rum portfolio and Martini vermouth.

The Martini brand was popular in the Seventies and it became famous for its iconic advertising, which featured the strapline “Any time, any place, anywhere.” More recently, actor George Clooney has starred in its campaigns.

Dolls living the high life June 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business, Marketing.
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Since its US launch in June 2001, doll brand Bratz has run former doyenne Barbie off the scene. But as its success escalates, industry insiders wonder how much longer it can maintain this momentum.

MGA Entertainment, the company behind the brand, is setting up its own UK business in 2008 having severed its four-year partnership with Vivid Imaginations, which has held the UK licence for Bratz since 2004, it launched in the UK in 2003 under Bandai. Both parties say the split is amicable despite refusing to say whether the partnership came to a natural end, but rival Mattel says the move raises questions over the brand’s future.

According to the latest figures from consumer and retailer information provider National Purchase Diary (NPD), Bratz owns 55% of the £100m-a-year British fashion dolls market and Vivid says Bratz has remained the dominant leader in the industry for 27 consecutive months.

Vivid marketing director Emma Sherski says the brand’s success has been driven largely by new product development. “MGA continues to deliver fresh, innovative dolls that appeal to girls above the age of seven,” she adds.

The dolls would perhaps never have materialised had MGA chief executive Isaac Larian not taken his 11-year-old daughter into the office. Although Larian thought the prototype doll unsightly, he was swayed by her approval and pressed ahead with production. Yet, industry buyers were unimpressed with the first samples in 2001 and Toys R Us cancelled initial orders due to poor sales.

Despite this, Larian borrowed money for extra advertising and by Christmas 2001 sales had taken off. Since then more than 150 million Bratz dolls have been sold around the globe and now generate annual sales of £1.26bn, although MGA refuses to disclose profits from the brand.

And the brand’s portfolio of products has grown inexorably. In the past year alone fashion line Bratz Couture has been rolled out, a hand-held games console called Miuchiz launched to take on established brands such as Nintendo in targeting young girls, and a live-action Hollywood film will hit cinema screens later this year. It also launched the Bratz Diamond products including a DVD, playset, video games and dolls packaged with a real diamond.

Ronnie Dungan, editor of Toy News, says Bratz has stolen a big chunk of market share from rival Barbie since its launch. “I can’t however confirm who is actually the market leader,” he says. “There are two sets of figures provided by both brands claiming it is them, but the leading position is just too close to call.”

He does acknowledge that Bratz has expanded on Barbie’s target market by enlarging its age group to include girls aged between seven and 12. “Bratz has found the winning formula and is pushing the right buttons. It is expanding as a franchise but that is the norm. Children are no longer just impressed by toys, they want the whole package, the mobile technology and online social networks, it has to be much more than just a doll.”

Anna Eggleton, senior consultant at The Value Engineers, says the Bratz success rests on a variety of factors including a strong “collecting appeal” for youngsters, affordable prices and functionality with items such as make-up, combs and lip balm. “The dolls also allow girls to emulate adults, and hold a strong appeal to the Hello magazine generation of mothers,” she adds.

Although Bratz leads the UK doll market with 55%, this has fallen from 65% last September, according to NPD figures. Sherski claims the decrease can be seen across the whole toy market and is only a blip, but other industry insiders are not so sure. Vivid invested heavily in the marketing of Bratz, increasing TV advertising spend by 50% year on year since its UK launch in 2004.

But whatever the marketing investment, Eggleton warns the brand’s solid link to fashion trends may be its ultimate downfall. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Bratz has already peaked, as the toy market is very fickle. There is a certain type of fashion around at the moment that is associated with the brand and I don’t think it has had a good idea in the past eight months. The only way it can keep expanding at this rate is by extending its franchise – and there are only so many options it can explore.”

Barbie’s UK general manager, Jean-Christopher Peant, admits Bratz identified a gap in the market and “used it in an exceptional manner”, but he says its reign in the toy market is nearing an end. “A few years ago it was incredibly popular in Europe but now it has only a small market share, a trend I think will continue in the UK.”

According to NPD, Bratz holds 4.1% of the value market share in France and less than 3% in Germany. Peant also believes MGA’s move to the UK will prove to be challenging and it will take time for the company to adapt.

Certainly, MGA has much to preoccupy it, not least a legal battle between Mattel and MGA after Mattel filed a lawsuit in 2005 claiming Carter Bryant, the doll designer of Bratz, sold the range to MGA while employed by the Barbie owner. MGA counterattacked with allegations of “serial copycatting” by Mattel when it launched new lines.

In spite of this contention, Bratz has achieved success on the back of urban fashion and sassy characters. But fashion is notoriously fickle.

Facts and figures > Bratz
1994 > Brand first launched in June 2001
2002 > Dolls named Girl Toy of the Year in the UK. As well as the dolls, the Bratz-branded products include playsets, vehicles and accessories, Lil Bratz, the Bratz Babyz, plush Petz toys and a series of video games
2006 > MGA Entertainment withdrew the Kiana doll after Barbie-owner Mattel claimed it owned the trademark to the name “Kianna” with its Teen Trends doll line. The two companies are now entangled in a legal battle More than 150 million dolls have been sold and generate an annual profit of £1.26bn.

European online adspend reaches €8bn June 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Advertising, Marketing.
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IAB Europe has announced that European online adspend reached €8bn  during 2006. The UK accounted for the largest slice of online spend, taking 39% of total spend.

The research, which covers 13 countries, shows that the UK is leading the way in online advertising with Germany in second place with a 22% share. France is in third place with a 15% share and The Netherlands accounts for just 7%. Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Finland, Greece, Slovenia and Croatia account for the remaining 12%.

It also shows that search dominates spend across Europe and it accounted for 45% of all spend online last year. Display advertising accounted for 31%, classified for 22% and just 1.6% on e-mail marketing.

IAB Europe president Alain Heureux says: “These figures demonstrate without any doubt the significance of the European online advertising industry”.

The body announced the results of its first pan-European online advertising spend report at its “Interact” congress on digital marketing in Brussels today.

Starbucks switches to reduced fat milk June 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Drinks News.
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This new conversion will establish reduced fat milk, also known as 2% milk, as the standard dairy in all beverages served in North American coffeehouses.

Starbucks Coffee Company announced plans to adopt a new dairy standard for all espresso-based drinks, switching from whole to reduced fat of 2% milk in all Starbucks stores in the United States and Canada by the end of 2007. At the same time, Starbucks is assessing options for conversion to lower fat dairy in the 39 markets we operate in outside of North America.

Today, when Starbucks customers order a beverage such as a Vanilla Latte, it is made with whole milk unless otherwise requested. This new conversion will establish reduced fat milk, also known as 2% milk, as the standard dairy in all beverages served in our North American coffeehouses. As always, customers can continue to customize their beverages to their liking by requesting it be made with whole, skim, soy or, in the U.S., even organic milk.

“Choice has always been at the heart of what we offer,” said Denny Marie Post, senior vice president of Global Food and Beverage, Starbucks Coffee Company. “The move to reduced fat milk as our core dairy offering comes directly from our customers’ requests, and while they will still have the option to customize their drinks, our standard beverages will now come with fewer calories and less fat.”

Product nutrition information is available online at www.starbucks.com