Monday, January 22, 2024

Recent Marketing News: Product Packaging, Brand Transparency, and More

This past week - okay, during the past few weeks - there were news stories that reflected product packaging, new product launches, personal branding, brand transparency, advertising, corporate sponsorship, and more.


While Artificial Intelligence, also known as AI, was on everyone's mind at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, (remember, it was the word of the year for 2023 according to Collins Dictionary), one company did not want it anywhere near its brand. Tropicana, the top-selling orange juice brand, released limited-edition bottles with a slight change to its name. On the bottles, the letters "A" and "I" were removed from the name so that it showed as "TROPCN." According to a company press release, the marketing campaign highlighted the "fact that there is nothing artificial, and never has been anything artificial" in the orange juice.

Most likely inspired by the "Barbie" blockbuster film that appealed to movie fans of all ages during the summer of 2023, Mattel announced that its annual "Career of the Year" collection would feature a slate of film-related occupations including a film director, a studio executive, a cinematographer, and a movie star. 

While Barbie has worked in more than 250 professions, the annual "Career of the Year" dolls highlight positions in which women are under-represented. According to Mattel, the dolls "inspire imaginations with endless possibilities."

In 2023, Mattel's "Career of the Year" collection represented "Women in Sports" and included a general manager, a coach, a referee, and a sports reporter. And in 2022, Mattel introduced the "Eco-Leadership Team" and included a Chief Sustainability Officer, a Conservation Scientist, a Renewable Energy Engineer, and an Environmental Advocate.

Defense Secretary Austin had health scares and needed surgery, however, he did not inform his boss, in this case, the President of the United States. What would have happened in the case of an international emergency? Several days went by before President Biden was informed. (Can you imagine having a personal health situation and not informing your boss?) While brands understand transparency, this situation was a lesson in personal branding transparency. Furthermore, this situation resulted in a new procedure at the White House whereby all Cabinet Secretaries are to notify the President when they are unable to perform their duties. A memo was distributed. (Can you imagine???)

Did you hear about the door that fell off the Alaska Airlines airplane? Airplane disasters are not the news anyone wants to hear. But no one wants to hear about defects on airplanes. How can Alaska Airlines and airplane builder Boeing turn this negative news around? Time will tell with this story - it depends on the reason for the defective door.

However, once the cabin pressure changed due to the door flying off the plane, the crew attempted to close the cabin crew's door (it opened due to the change in pressure). Unfortunately, they DID NOT KNOW that the door was supposed to open and remain open. Who trains flight crews???

Golf legend Tiger Woods and Nike ended their advertising partnership that began in 1996. According to Tiger, "Over 27 years ago, I was fortunate to start a partnership with one of the most iconic brands in the world. The days since have been filled with so many amazing moments and memories...Phil Knight's passion and vision brought this Nike and Nike Golf partnership together, and I wanted to personally thank him." Does this mean that another co-branding and advertising partnership is on the horizon?

Microsoft became the most valuable publicly-traded company. Time will tell if this has any marketing consequences.


The International Olympic Committee signed Anheuser-Busch InBev as the first beer brand in the 40-year history of its sponsorship program. Corona Cero, the zero-alcohol version of the Corona brand that is ranked second most valuable worldwide in the brewing industry, will be the "global been sponsor of the Olympic Games."


What goes best with a foot-long sandwich? How about a foot-long cookie? Subway announced in a press release that its new Sidekicks menu will feature "a collection of three new foot-long snacks: a foot-long cookie, a foot-long churro, and a foot-long pretzel, all costing between $2-$3." The company partnered with Auntie Anne's to create the pretzel and Cinnabon to create the churro.

Applebee's will offer a limited number of subscription date night passes for $200. The pass will cover a year of weekly date nights starting on February 1 and ending on January 31, 2025. The pass is valid 52 times and will only cover up to $30 of food and non-alcoholic beverages. Alcohol will not be included.

Burt's Bees teamed up with Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing to create a lip balm with the flavor of ranch dressing and buffalo wings. According to CNN, the lip balm sold out immediately.

Beginning in January, a new law took effect in California requiring schools to teach cursive writing in first through sixth grades. This is a good thing because it introduces the art of cursive writing to young people (who are always glued to their electronic devices), some may actually become fans of calligraphy and art.

What other marketing news stood out to you?

What will be the marketing buzz in the next few weeks, keeping in mind the Super Bowl ads are a only a few weeks away?

Image Credits: Tropicana and Barbie.

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