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Posts Tagged ‘PepsiCo’

‘SodaStream’ Ad Pulled in UK (For Being Effective?)

If you’ve been watching TV in the US over the past several days, you may have seen this new ad for SodaStream, a device that allows bubble-lovers to create their own soft drinks at home, thereby saving both money and bottles.

Personally, we found the 30-second spot created by Alex Bogusky clever and visually appealing. Authorities in the UK pulled the commercial, however, citing their own opinion that it “could be seen to tell people not to go to supermarkets and buy soft drinks, [and] instead help to save the environment by buying a SodaStream”. This message, they determined, could be seen as “denigration of the bottled-drinks market”. Um…gee, a commercial that encourages customers to ditch the competition in favor of the product it’s pushing? Witchcraft!

OK…so what’s the problem?

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PR Kerfuffle Over Caffeinated ‘Cracker Jacks’

Fans of Cracker Jacks will soon find something other than temporary tattoos, cheap trinkets and miniature games hidden in their sweet and salty treat bags: a jolt of caffeine.

Not thrilled with the idea of your little tikes loading up on “jacked up” cracker jacks and bouncing off the walls? Fear not! PepsiCo (parent company of Cracker Jack makers Frito-Lay) assures us that it will only market the soon-to-be-released Cracker Jack’d Power Bites to adults. Not buying it? Neither is the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which charges that the planned snack violates federal food regulations.

In a letter to the Food and Drug Administration, CSPI argued that “Caffeine is generally recognized as safe only in cola-type beverages and only at concentrations of 0.02% or less (about 72 mg per 12 oz.).”

When asked about these allegations, a Frito-Lay spokesman told Ad Age that Power Bites will include “two flavors that will contain coffee, a natural source of caffeine, as an ingredient…We stand by the safety of all products in the Cracker Jack’d line, including those that contain coffee. It is worth pointing out the regulation referenced in CSPI’s letter to FDA speaks to caffeine–not coffee–and is not an exhaustive list of the safe uses of caffeine in foods and beverages.”

The FDA wasn’t the only organization to receive a strongly-worded note from CSPI.

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Roll Call: WISE Public Relations, Ruder Finn, Resolute Consulting, PepsiCo

NYC-based WISE Public Relations appointed John McCartney to the newly created role of director of media relations. McCartney will be responsible for leading the media relations programs and providing strategic communications counsel to clients. Prior to WISE Public Relations, John served as US Account Director, Earned Media at Splendid Communications Group. (Revolving Door)

Dushka Zapata joined Ruder Finn to head the agency’s west coast operations. Dushka will become the agency’s Managing Director, Ruder Finn San Francisco, a newly created position. She was most recently Executive Vice President and Head of the San Francisco office for Ogilvy & Mather, where she oversaw the agency’s full offering in San Francisco. (Release)

Resolute Consulting hired John Cohen as executive vice president of its national security strategy and communications practice in Washington, D. C.. Cohen was formerly principal deputy coordinator for counterterrorism at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In his new role, John will work with Resolute Consulting clients to assess the public environment surrounding complex issues and develop strategic communications and outreach strategies to help solve them.  He will leverage his extensive experience working with the news media and preparing and implementing crisis communications plans for public and private sector entities. (Release)

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Coke and Pepsi Get Real with Calorie Counts

As PR professionals, we know that transparency is an important attribute for any marketing campaign or brand image. Embracing reality is a wise strategy–even if it means being candid with details that the public may find ugly, undesirable or disturbing.

A lack of transparency breeds doubt, suspicion and distrust. The public won’t remain loyal to any brand that greets challenges with obfuscation or employs evasive tactics when dealing with customers. Venerable soda brands Coke and Pepsi seem to understand these points, and they are now taking a big public relations step by offering calorie counts on vending machines that stock their beverages.

In the midst of a much-publicized obesity epidemic, Americans are prone to place blame–and hopefully reverse the circumstances that got us into this peculiar situation. This means the public is taking a closer look at what they put into their bodies and taking more responsibility for their dietary habits. In order to do this the public needs information to make educated decisions, and calories counts are a sensible place to start. Read more

Edelman Nabs PSB’s Berland to Head New Analytics Biz

Edelman announced today that it has hired Michael J. Berland of WPP’s Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates to act as CEO of a newly-formed research and analytics business known as Edelman Berland.

The new company will be integrated with StrategyOne, Edelman’s existing market research firm, but the StrategyOne brand will live on with current CEO Steve Lombardo working under a yet-to-be-announced title.

In announcing the hire, company CEO Richard Edelman said, “I have known and admired Mike Berland’s work for close to a decade. When it comes to fully integrating research with PR programs and partnering with both account teams and clients, he is simply the best.”

Berland, an acclaimed author and veteran strategic adviser to political figureheads like Hillary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg, most recently served as president of Washington, D.C. based PSB, where he put his market research experience to use in serving clients in politics and other fields around the world.

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Little White Lies: What Good Are Fact Checkers Anyway?

Today in Negative Retail News, New York State’s attorney general is investigating the makers of popular caffeinated energy drinks like Amp, Monster and 5 Hour Energy for playing a little loose with their facts and ingredients. On the other side of the grid, nearly every opinionator across the board—and yes, that includes Fox News—has pointed out a series of glaring inaccuracies in the speech that Republican VP nominee Paul Ryan gave at his party’s convention last night (while also noting that his presentation was impressive and that he hit all the right notes for the home team).

How do these stories relate? They both highlight the role of the independent fact-checker, and they raise a series of questions about the value of accuracy and transparency in public relations. So:

  • Does the additional of “herbal supplements” like guarana allow 5-Hour Energy and Monster drinks to contain “undisclosed” amounts of caffeine large enough to raise eyebrows?
  • Are they particularly dangerous when paired with alcohol?
  • Are big soda makers like Pepsico and Coca-Cola downplaying the unhealthy aspects of their most popular get-up-and-go products?

And:

  • Did Paul Ryan serve as the best-known Republican representative on the bipartisan debt commission that he just excoriated President Obama for ignoring?
  • Did he in fact vote against the very proposal that he seemed to suggest the President should have followed?

The answer to all these questions is yes. But in the interests of the brands in question, does it even really matter?

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The Lawyers Are Coming for Your Food Biz Clients

What do the phrases “organic” and “all-natural” mean to you as a consumer? Does the fact that Sun Chips have that great “whole grain taste” make you more likely to eat them in the interest of your own health?

While the vast majority of consumers want to eat well, a recent survey conducted by iModerate Research Technologies confirms the fact that most don’t have enough information to make truly educated decisions regarding the food they buy—and that leaves them more vulnerable to dubious claims made by marketing teams and ad agencies.

In the eyes of the law, these questionable taglines might not mean much, and they may even qualify as “misleading.” But do they amount to bad PR practices or grounds for lawsuits? According to a recent story in The New York Times, a group of very successful litigators thinks they do—and they plan to raise a big stink about it.

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Roll Call: PepsiCo, MXM, News Corp, and More

PepsiCo, Inc. announced that Jon Banner has been named senior vice president, global strategy and planning. Banner will be a senior member of PepsiCo’s global communications team responsible for synchronizing, coordinating and planning the company’s communications efforts worldwide and partnering with PepsiCo’s business units to support key business priorities. Banner joins PepsiCo from ABC News. (Release)

Meredith Xcelerated Marketing (MXM) has named Steve Kerho senior vice president/chief strategy officer. Kerho most recently served as senior vice president of strategy, media and analytics at Organic, inc. Also at MXM, Doug Rozen has been named senior vice president/general manager of MXM’s mobile unit, The Hyperfactory. Rozen most recently served as senior vice president, global lead at Aimia Inc. Kerho will be based in Los Angeles, Rozen in New York. (FishbowlNY)

Nathaniel Brown has been named vice president of corporate affairs and communications at News Corp. Brown most recently worked as MTV’s senior vice president of corporate communications and had been with the network since 2010. Prior to his time at MTV, Brown held the same position at XM Satellite Radio from 2005 to 2008. (FishbowlNY)

Marc Grabowski has been named COO at Nanigans. He had been VP of media sales for North America at Yahoo!. At Nanigans, Grabowski will lead the sales, marketing, business development, and operations teams. Highlights of his tenure at Yahoo include driving its acquisition of Interclick and leading Genome sales, mid-market sales, and reseller relationships. (AllFacebook)

Roll Call: Proof and B-M, Carmichael Lynch Spong, RF Binder

Proof Integrated Communications has chosen Michael Bassik (left) as CEO. Bassik was previously B-M’s U.S. digital practice chair, a position he will continue to hold. Interim CEO Tony Telloni will become MD of brand integration and innovation in the consumer and brand marketing practice. He’ll also continue as the New York market leader. Proof is the marcomms and advertising agency formed from the Burson-Marsteller and PSBcreative advertising units.

Emily Buchanan has been named senior principal, chair of brand marketing and social engagement at Carmichael Lynch Spong. She was previously at MSLGroup where she was SVP, deputy practice director for the consumer marketing group. She’ll be based in Minneapolis.

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Roll Call: PepsiCo, Idea Grove, Weber Shandwick, and More

Jim Wilkinson has joined PepsiCo as EVP of communications, leading the company’s comms team. He’ll report directly to company CEO Indra Nooyi. Wilkinson joins from Brunswick Group where he had been a managing partner since 2009. He also previously served as Chief of Staff for U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson.

Former Weber Shandwick SVP Reg Rowe has joined Idea Grove as an SVP. He had been an SVP at Weber for seven years before his position (and others) was cut in February, according to PRWeek.

At Weber Shandwick, they’ve named Brooke Shepard executive creative director, leading the creative services team in Seattle. The position includes management of the video production and graphics teams as well as leading the strategy behind digital efforts. Shepard has worked with the firm’s technology and consumer teams for 15 years.

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