Monthly Archives: January 2016

Hip, hip, hooray! (Barbie’s got hips)


Mattel announced today that it is now offering Barbie dolls in three new body types: tall, curvy and petite. The move is widely presumed to be a response to long-standing calls for the dolls to better represent “real” women, including flattening her feet so she can wear something other than high heels.

According to Yahoo! News, Mattel spokeswoman Michelle Chidoni claimed the brand wanted “the product line to be a better reflection of what girls see in the world around them.”

What do you think: is this a savvy move for the brand, or too little, too late? What does it say that we still distill a doll down to her body, rather than the imagination of the child playing with it? Do children need to see “representative” dolls?

Note too, in the Time magazine article, that the company not only had to find three “appropriate” words for the three new body types, but translate them to international audiences without offending anyone – no small feat for a global brand.

Barbie’s Got a New Body




Bottom line: Do you care?


The “Intel Inside” campaign, launched in 1991, is an oft-cited example of “ingredient branding.” At the time (and probably, ever since), the idea was considered revolutionary: meaningfully branding a microprocessor chip that no one ever saw, touched — really, never interacted with at all. As if the vast majority of consumers would have known what to do with it if they did.

The problem is, it worked too well – consumers recognize the Intel Inside slogan, but may not know why they know it, and what it means for them. Now Intel has launched an extension of the campaign, called, “Intel inside makes amazing experiences outside.”

Take a look and ask yourself:

a.) Do I understand what having an Intel chip means?

b.) Do I care?

Well….do you?

[More here:]

Speaking of Food Safety…


Campbells Soup has broken with other food companies to support the labeling of products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs long have been a source of controversy, with some claiming that modified food crops result in health problems and environmental degradation and others claiming that the crops provide innovative means to maintain food sources and feed more people.

(see here for one summary of the issue: )

Does Campbells’ move make sense? Will it make consumers trust the brand more or less (or will they even notice)?

What do you think?

Can Chipotle Get a Do Over?

Chipotle will close all of its restaurants February 8, 2015 for a "reset."

Chipotle will close all of its restaurants February 8, 2015 for a “reset.”

After a series of reports of food-borne illness at Chipotle restaurants in the northwest United States, the restaurant chain is taking the extreme step of closing all of its stores on February 8 to have a “conversation” with employees about food safety. The move has been compared to a hard reset: turning a device off and restarting it to clear any problems.

While this is presumably what the company’s executives want consumers to believe, will it be enough to restore the brand’s reputation as driven by consumer and planet-healthy choices?

Starbucks made a similar move in 2008 (coincidentally, also in February). Did it work to clear that brand’s flagging reputation?

Is this good crisis management, or smoke and mirrors?