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Health

CVS Health Changes Name, Kicks Tobacco for More Than #OneGoodReason

Go big or go home!

Cigarettes are notably absent on the shelves of 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores today — a month earlier than expected. In their stead comes a new name (CVS Health), a new tagline (“Health is Everything”) and a new raison d’être: changing the future health of Americans for the better. (And of course a new social media campaign, #OneGoodReason.)

And yes, smoking is still a problem: 18 percent of American adults do it, and 480,000 deaths a year may be directly attributed to the nasty habit.

For Larry Merlo, president and CEO, the sale of tobacco products became inconsistent with the purpose of the company, which now boasts 900 walk-in clinics and a large pharmacy benefit management company, known as CVS/Caremark.

“Changing the name catches up with what we have been doing,” Merlo told Forbes.

It also changes the bottom line. Read more

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Burger King Learns That People Are Not Interested In Healthy French Fries

 

Back in September, Burger King introduced Satisfries, a low-fat version of their French fries. Not even a year later, two-thirds of Burger King restaurants are phasing out the “healthy” alternative. Darren Tristano,EVP of Technomic, a food industry consultancy, tells Today that people are looking for indulgence when they go to Burger King. And even though YouGov BrandIndex found that the BK brand got a bump from the healthy offering, it wasn’t long-term.

One reason the fries didn’t succeed is price. Preparing two different kinds of fries adds costs for the restaurant. But secondly, and probably more importantly, people don’t give a flying fig about eating healthy fries. Bring on the greasy stuff, the ketchup and the mayo because when it comes to fries, it’s no holds barred.

Which isn’t to say that people don’t want fast food chains to offer a healthy alternative. McDonald’s catches heat all the time for being unhealthy, and has added fruit and salads to its menu to answer criticism.

The issue seems to be the menu choice BK made for its attempt at being health-conscious. We’d propose that people aren’t sure a “healthy” French fry is an actual thing.

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CNN Thinks All African Nations Look Alike

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ICYMI: The Ebola outreak in West Africa that has killed more than 930 people is scaring everyone. In fact, the World Health Organization has recently declared it a “public emergency.” The Center for Disease Control has given it, essentially, a DEFCON 1 rating.

For a brief lesson based on the picture above: Nigeria is the world’s 7th most populous country with more than 170 million people along the West African coast. Niger, which borders Nigeria to the north, is a landlocked country with approximately 1/10th of Nigeria’s population.

Confused? So was CNN.

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#PRFail: Honda Falls Asleep at the Wheel Joking About Narcolepsy

narcolepsy hondaI could write about this in our mediabistro sister blog over at AgencySpy, but why? This is such a #PRFail! This all comes down to a car company and the ineptitude to learn something — say about “narcolepsy.” Allow me:

nar-co-lep-sy /ˈnärkəˌlepsē/ (n.) 

A serious condition characterized by an extreme tendency to fall asleep whenever in relaxing surroundings

So, there’s this up-and-coming car manufacturer named Honda. Someone in the advertising agency or in-house decided it was time to promote the “All-New 2015 Fit” with a commercial called Synth and Seattleites. 

And then, they poked fun at narcolepsy. To wit, Honda got run over by a bunch of people they apparently didn’t know existed. You know? Like the chupacabra, Bigfoot, and unicorns, only much meaner.

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Purell and TNT Team Up to Terrify Subway Riders into Cleanliness

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Ever get on a subway without your hand sanitizer and — upon realizing your terrible error — felt certain you would inevitably contract a virus that would make you patient zero in an apocalyptic pandemic? Well, if you’re one of the few who haven’t had a thought like that, this new campaign for Purell and Michael Bay‘s new post-apocalyptic TV drama will enlighten you.

New York commuters have been greeted at the Grand Central Terminal this week by an eye-catching hand-sanitizing station that boldly states, “1 virus. 6 billion dead. Don’t be next,” urging folks to clean up lest they meet a similar fate to the fictional billions who die in Bay’s new TNT show “The Last Ship.” The series will focus on a U.S. Navy destroyer fighting to save what’s left of humanity. We imagine there will also be plenty of explosions and slow-motion action scenes (it’s Michael Bay after all).

Of course, New Yorkers are no strangers to over-the-top marketing tactics — just this year alone they’ve been chased by a raging bear in search of yogurt and attacked by a demon baby in a runaway stroller, so maybe germs are the least of their worries.

STUDY: The Public Wants More Information from Food Brands

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It’s no secret that consumers are more concerned with the health benefits, purity, and environmental impacts of the food they buy than ever before.

But a recent Cone Communications survey polled more than 1,000 people to dig a bit deeper for specifics, finding that generational divides exist within these trends and that food brands have a fresh opportunity to define and differentiate themselves via consumer preferences. 74% of participants said that companies need to do a better job of explaining why they stand apart in terms of environmental concerns.

Some more key stats from the “2014 Food Issues Trend Tracker” after the jump.

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Congress Members Skip Seth Rogen’s Testimony on Alzheimer’s, Show How They Really Feel About the Issue

seth rogen alzheimersThis week, Seth Rogen made a funny, charming and impassioned appeal to members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services for research funding for Alzheimer’s disease. At the very least, he also asked for a sign of hope that the government will do more to bring attention to this disease.

He didn’t get that sign.

Rather, he spoke to a room mostly empty of Senate members with only two —  Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) – sticking around to listen. (There are 18 members on the committee.) Keep in mind: this was testimony for a subcommittee that is supposed to handle just these sorts of issues.

Congress already has a reputation as a government body that does absolutely nothing, so this doesn’t help.

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President Obama & VP Biden Show Us Their Exercise Regimen For ‘Let’s Move’

obama biden lets moveRemember last week when Michelle Obama told Jimmy Fallon that she wanted people to show her how “they’re moving“? It was during her appearance on The Tonight Show where she talked up the fourth anniversary of her anti-obesity “Let’s Move” campaign and asked everyone to take to social media with the hashtag #letsmove. If she got enough of a response she suggested that the President and Veep might show us how they get active.

“Yo babe, hook me up,” was the way she planned to pitch it. (Note: Do not try that pitch with the media. You are not the First Lady.)

Well looks like that ask worked! We have footage of both Obama and Biden getting in a workout. A couple of things that might strike you about this clip.

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‘Eat Fresh?’ Subway Will Stop Baking Bread Using a Chemical Found In Yoga Mats

subway sandwichSubway announced today that it will be removing a chemical from its bread, Azodiacarbonamide, that is used to increase elasticity in shoe rubber and yoga mats. What the…?

In a statement, Subway, which is “the world’s biggest sandwich chain,” maintains that they’re removing the ingredient despite the fact that it’s FDA and USDA approved.

“Fresh baked bread — and the perception of better-for you offerings –is a major deal to Subway. It’s one of the chain’s central selling points,” USA Today notes. It’s the “better-for you” part — the veneer of healthiness that Subway promotes about its food — that is taking the biggest hit with this news.

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CVS Quits Smoking, Gets Defensive About It

16601_10152165436598116_438158652_nThis morning’s biggest CSR news comes via the country’s largest pharmacy chain. As announced in this press release, CVS Caremark will stop selling all tobacco products at its more than 6,000 U.S. locations on October 1st, 2014.

The change comes in the wake of a January surgeon general’s report, which arrived exactly 50 years after the first and tied smoking even more directly to diseases like diabetes, colon cancer and erectile dysfunction (eek). The company spun it as a way of aligning its services and interests, which include public health—nice copy on the tagline, BTW. Here’s the key quote from CEO Larry J. Merlo:

 ”Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health. Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

This is a very smart move for several reasons.

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