Monthly Archives: June 2016

At McDonald’s, butter is The New Nimble

We talked in class about brand equity’s dependence on marketing programs, including product innovation and trade relationships, and I used McDonald’s as an example of what this concepts look like in practice.

Now Bloomberg is just out with an article about how McDonald’s is trying to turn its fortunes around with more responsiveness and speed than any time in its past – it’s what they’re calling “the new nimble.”

Case in point? It took McDonald’s 4 years to develop McGriddles, and only 6 months to switch from margarine to butter. Seems simple, but that’s a Titanic shift. It better be. As the graphic of the chain’s food quality score above illustrates, if McDonald’s doesn’t get its changes right, it might just go the way of the Titanic. (with special sauce.)


You know an ingredient is popular when…

sriracha beer Rogue

This is the beer I mentioned in class, a product of Oregon-based Rogue Beer. I did not buy it, so I can’t say if it’s deliciously spicy, or just strange.

Does the beer “steal” too much from its source? Or does it provide important brand and product associations? Do we forgive the “Rogue” version because it’s an independent, craft beer–and it’s going rogue–or is it appropriating another brand’s identity?


A different type of personal branding

You may remember our recent class discussion about experiential marketing campaigns and using social media to create brand buzz. We watched the most recent WestJet Christmas Miracle campaign, and watched as the WestJet employees dashed about delivering mini-miracles.

What you may not know is that your classmate Paige has a cousin who works at WestJet and delivered a mini-miracle right to her! Here’s the shot Paige took and the photo caption for context:

West jet Mini Miracle_Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 7.12.11 PM

“So as I got off the plane last week, I joked to my cousin @reneejosee that I wanted my @westjet Christmas miracle to be a tree for the vacation condo. I was totally shocked and excited when she personally delivered one to Canmore tonight, complete with official WestJet gear and decore! 🎄🎁 #westjetchristmas#westjetmiracle #bestpresentever#merrychristmas” 

How cool is that?

A Tiny Toast with High Hopes


General Mills has launched its first completely new cereal brand in 15 years. It’s called Tiny Toast, and fits in the New Age of Food, with no high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colours or flavours.

Targeted at 15-18 year olds, news media are reporting that a large percentage of the promotional efforts for the new brand will be in digital and social media.

As the company notes, its new product introductions usually aren’t altogether “new”:

“It is is General Mills’ first new cereal brand since 2001, when we introduced the since discontinued [sw note: just 2 years after launch] Harmony cereal. Basic 4, which debuted in 1991, is the last newly branded cereal that remains part of our cereal portfolio. During the last 25 years, General Mills has launched dozens of new cereals. However, those cereals arrived via extensions of existing brands or licensing agreements, such as Reese’s Puffs.”

One interesting issue for the new brand is that the category as a whole has been in steep decline. Can a new brand with a new approach reinvigorate the cereal aisle? Or have consumers moved on?

How we created a new cereal brand



Is Snapchat Useful for Brands?

2-snapcode-to-special-discover-channelA recent article in Fast Company touts the ephemeral nature of Snapchat as a way for brands (and particularly start-ups) to get the attention of new media users.

Is this wishful thinking, or a distinctive way for brands to communicate their messages “for a limited time only”?

I’m the wrong person to ask, as I’ve downloaded but never actually used the app. Let me know what you think (and respond before this message disappears…)