Food and Beverage
It’s amazing the PR trouble one disgruntled employee can create with a good old-fashioned roadside sign.
The Burger King billboard at left, which reads “Now Hiring Must Be Mexican,” was recently photographed at a franchise in Ephrata, Washington. After the issue was reported by local radio station KFFM, the story began drawing broader attention — and plenty of ire.
In response to the widening controversy, Burger King released the following statement on its Facebook page, explaining that the offensive sign was the act of a single disgruntled employee, who has since been fired.
“The sign in question was posted briefly last summer, without approval, at a franchisee-owned and operated restaurant. Please know the franchisee has informed us that the employee who posted and photographed this sign was immediately terminated as a result. The Burger King® team is dedicated to diversity and inclusion.”
Whatever your thoughts on industrial meat products, you have to agree that the McRib has been a big, fatty win for McDonald’s. When your product inspires a memorable plot line in a Simpsons episode, you can officially call it a success (and yes, this was well before the show turned into Family Guy 2.0 so it still counts).
Just kidding, everyone knows there are no ribs present in a McRib. But we have to say that this image isn’t as scandalous as we imagined it would be. We don’t think McD’s will have to go on damage control, and we wonder whether they should even issue a response. If they do, here’s our suggestion:
“What the hell did you expect a slab of ground pork parts pressed into the shape of a ribcage to look like?”
On the other hand, if you’ve never actually watched your sausage being made, we’ll just say “ignorance is bliss.”
Shocking Confession: We like beer. A lot.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s review some other facts: Bud Light is the best-selling beer in the world by a fairly wide margin, and when you ask someone to name the prototypical American brew they will, more often than not, say Budweiser.
At the same time, lots of small-label “craft” beers have begun earning greater market share in recent years, so Anheuser-Busch InBev decided to offer customers a little variety with a “brewmaster innovation platform” called Project 12 whose biggest product so far has been Budweiser Black Crown.
Bud’s latest step in the Project 12 campaign is a little different: it’s an experiment designed to “[expand] the brand’s offerings” by dipping a toe in that craft barrel while armed with descendants of the original Bud yeast cultures.
We had a chance to both sample the beers and speak to Budweiser VP Brian Perkins about the campaign. His comments and our completely objective critical review of the new suds after the jump:
Kellogg’s UK is the latest brand to learn a fairly basic lesson in social media marketing: charity should never be conditional.
We get why this tweet seemed like a good idea at the time: it’s tough to get people to engage with you on social even when they follow your feed, and nobody wants to say “no” to feeding a vulnerable child. But the equation seriously undermines the message here.
The brand thinks: “We’re sponsoring a charity program to provide breakfasts for underprivileged children, and we want our fans to share the announcement so more people will associate it with our brand.”
The audience reads: “If you don’t retweet this, a vulnerable child might not eat breakfast tomorrow. Only a terrible, terrible person would allow that to happen. You’re not a terrible person, are you?”
Generous interpretation for sure—but this is how social works, remember? Here’s a clearer version of the statement:
Asking followers to participate in wordplay can be a fun way to get people to interact with your brand on Twitter. But When coffee brand Kenco decided to ask its followers to complete the following sentence, I’m a bit surprised it didn’t consider how easy it would be for clever tweeters to turn the message into something decidedly different from what the brand had probably intended.
— KencoCup (@KencoCup) November 8, 2013
Maybe it’s just because I teach high school (and recently experienced the hilarity of playing the Apples to Apples word game with them), but how did Kenco not see what was coming? Read more
We’ve all seen Coke and Pepsi‘s pro-health, obesity-prevention campaigns that insist their sweet beverages can be a part of an active, healthy lifestyle, especially given their calorie-free options. But these ads never seem to mention diabetes, which is quickly becoming an even bigger PR problem for sugary brands than obesity. As it turns out, there’s a reason for the glaring omission.
Adweek reports that information released by Wall Street bank Credit Suisse and research done by Georgetown University show that most people who saw a sugary soda ad with a pro-exercise, anti-obesity message reacted with a positive attitude toward the products’ parent brand. When the ad was changed to send an anti-diabetes message, however, participants’ attitudes toward the brand became 37 percent more negative.
That’s a huge shift in reaction.
“People are not willing to punish the brand for obesity, which seems like a lifestyle problem. But diabetes is considered a disease, and many consumers see the parent brand as contributing to it,” said Kurt Carlson, a Georgetown marketing professor who oversaw the study.
Though trying to sugar-coat the diabetes issue (no pun intended) seems to rub consumers the wrong way, the brands’ decision to simply ignore the issue won’t make it go away, either; Read more
It’s barely been a month since every frat bro’s favorite pasta maker Barilla suffered a whole lot of bad publicity when its CEO decided to let an Italian radio host know that the company would “never” feature gay people or their families in its ads. This boneheaded move not only led to lots of negative headlines—it also gave competitors like Bertolli and Ronzoni a great opportunity to set themselves apart.
At first, Guido Barilla went out of his way to clarify how few craps he gave about the issue, saying “if the gays do not agree, they can always eat pasta from another manufacturer.”
It was a little shocking how little he knew about the company bearing his name. As one helpful commenter pointed out, Barilla hired the openly gay chef Ted Allen for an American PR campaign several years ago while his show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was still on the air.
At any rate, Guido seems to have received the message six weeks later:
If you have children of most ages, you have certainly ripped open a box of processed, delectable Kraft Mac N’ Cheese. The kids clamor for it, and be honest, you enjoy making it in 10 minutes or less on a school night.
However, if you have carefully investigated what you are cooking, you may have noticed that balmy, nuclear orange glow that slightly resembles Speaker John Boehner (or one of Willy Wonka’s Oompa-Loompas) on a bright summer day. How can that mess be edible with that enriched food coloring from the planet Angina?
To wit, AP is reporting Kraft will remove artificial (and nearly retina-tearing) coloring from three of its products in 2014.
This Halloween stunt will be especially fun for food people. Chicago’s Alinea consistently ranks as one of the top three restaurants in the country. As you can see from this clip and this clip, they’re famous for making extremely weird stuff and presenting it in even weirder ways.
It’s a bit misleading to call fellow Windy City eatery Real Kitchen a “competitor” because they serve takeout dinners, but they do have a sense of humor about being in the same town as food snob royalty, and they displayed it with panache on Halloween. They even made a promo video poking fun at the very idea of a “high-concept kitchen”, and it is a hilarious five minutes:
Some quips we love:
“The chicken was powderized and then reconstructed with fresh-squeezed chicken juice…”
“The potatoes are then arranged as if they were scattered on a forest floor…”
“A walnut highlights the earthy smell of Fall decay…”
Beat that, Bourdain. This one gets our vote for best Halloween stunt.