Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Recent Marketing News: Product Launches, Banking, Social Media and More

During the past few weeks, there were news stories that reflected new product launches, personal branding, corporate sponsorship, and more.

Remember the marketing news discussed here on this blog back on January 22nd? I wrote, "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." I asked, "Does this mean that another co-branding and advertising partnership is on the horizon?"

Well, less than two months later, here's the announcement according to GolfWeek: "The worst-kept secret in golf was officially unveiled: Tiger Woods and TaylorMade have partnered to launch a new premium active-lifestyle apparel and footwear brand. According to TaylorMade CEO David Abeles, "This was not an endorsement, but instead, a full-blown, unequivocal partnership with Tiger...We're going to sunrise a brand, Sun Day Red, as a standalone business."

Coca-Cola has launched its newest flavor, Coca-Cola Spiced, to cater to tastes changing along with America's demographics. The company explained that the new Spiced flavor blends the traditional Coke flavor with raspberry and spiced flavors. It will be available both in full sugar and zero-sugar varieties as well as in both cans and bottles. According to Coke's VP of Marketing for North America, Sue Lynne Cha, "Spiced was selected because it's all about being responsive to our consumer preferences. Consumers are looking for more bold flavors and more complex flavor profiles. That's a trend we started to see in food, but also in beverage, and we thought that was a unique space for us to play in."

William "Bill" Post recently passed away, and while you may not recognize his name, you will definitely recognize his claim to fame: He was credited with inventing the beloved Pop Tart breakfast treat. He was one of seven children born to Dutch immigrants in Michigan, and at the age of 16, he went to work at the Hekman Biscuit Company. After serving in the military during World War II, he returned to Hekman and worked in various divisions of the business. After 20 years, he was plant manager of Hekman, later known as the Keebler Company, and he invented the concept of "a shelf-stable toaster pastry" that was brought to market in the span of four short months. Pop Tarts made their debut in 1964 with four original flavors: strawberry, blueberry, brown sugar cinnamon, and apple-currant; and today, 60 years later, there are between 20-30 flavors at any time with new flavors constantly in development.


Starbucks customers who use a Bank of America card will now get additional cash back for their purchases as part of a new partnership between the two companies. However, in order to be eligible for rewards and cash back, a customer must be a member of the Starbucks Rewards program and either use Bank of America online banking or Bank of America Mobile Banking.

Capital One announced that it will acquire Discover Financial Services for $35.5 billion in an all-stock deal; and the deal will close in late 2024 or early 2025. Discover is considerably smaller than the other three major credit card networks in the United States: Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. But with the acquisition of Discover, Capital One will have a major leg up against competing credit card-issuing banks, such as, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup.

According to the Daily Mail, "The Chicago Cubs were forced to rapidly change their marketing campaign ahead of the new MLB season after fans claimed its slogan resembled an X-rated term. Four days before their spring-training schedule begins, the Cubs released a promo video on their social-media pages to build anticipation for the 2024 season. However, fans were quick to poke fun at the team for using the hashtag: 'YouHaveToCIt'. What seemed a clever marketing tweak to the phrase 'you have to see it' quickly backfired as several users on X (formerly Twitter) pointed out the rude meaning it could have if read as an unfortunate typo. And after realizing their error, the Cubs later edited their post to include a new hashtag of 'YouHaveToSeeIt'."

When you watch a professional baseball game, do you pay attention to the uniforms? Most of the time, the home team wears white. Other teams, such as the Colorado Rockies, have four different uniform color choices. For the 2024 season, Major League Baseball hired Nike to design new uniforms, and they are being manufactured by Fanatics. However, many players are complaining about the poor quality, the smaller letters and numbers on the jerseys, and the fact that the pants are see-through!

According to MLB officials, “The new uniforms improve mobility by providing 25 percent more stretch and will also dry 28 percent faster. The lettering, sleeve emblems, and numbering are less bulky in an attempt to make uniforms more breathable and comfortable.” Players and fans hope improvements are made before Opening Day so that the everyone can focus on the brand (baseball games) versus product packaging (the uniforms).

Strikes can impact local economies, and more so, if the people who go on strike work at a tourist attraction. The Eiffel Tower in Paris welcomes nearly 7 million visitors each year and is the defining image of the French capital and the “city of lights” brand. So how can workers who maintain the Eiffel Tower go on strike? Eiffel Tower employees went on strike for six days and demanded changes to the landmark’s business model and better maintenance of the structure, which is showing widespread traces of rust. Since the Paris Olympics are set to begin in July, the 135-year-old attraction will feature prominently (in tourist visits as well as in all forms of media coverage).

How valuable is a name? If you’re a well-known international brand, there is incredible equity, association, and positioning resulting from a brand’s name – think of Disney, Nike, Coca-Cola, to name a few. But in the case of X, other than Elon Musk, who will admit to calling the social platform X? The reality is that most of us refer to the social platform as “X, formerly known as Twitter.” This is certainly not what Musk envisioned when he changed the name in July 2023 and rebranded the platform – especially since the URL continues to be and even redirects to the original link. According to Wikipedia, “A few days after the rebrand took effect, an AP Stylebook update recommended that journalists refer to the platform as “X, formerly known as Twitter;” and in September 2023, The Harris Poll noted that the rebranding had not publicly caught on, with the majority of users as well as notable brands still referring to X as Twitter.”

According to CNN Business, “Twitter pervaded every part of online life and popular culture. In 2011, the phrase “tweet” was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and “retweet” was added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary in the same year.” According to Ramon Jimenez, Global Principal at brand consultancy Wolff Olins, “Twitter became one of the few companies with a product experience so unique that its brand name has become synonymous with a behavior. We tweet, we Google, and so on.”

And, did you hear that an estimated 123.4 million people watched Super Bowl 58 on February 11, 2024, across all platforms? That number was the most-watched American television broadcast in a generation, so large, in fact, that it approached the all-time most-watched television broadcast in the United States set in 1969, when an estimated 125 to 150 million viewers watched the Apollo 11 moon landing, according to ABC News.

Of course, we could chalk up the reason for the high viewership to the ads - even though the football game was probably the most exciting of all Super Bowls, since the winner was decided in the final seconds of OVERTIME. But again, there were those $7 million ads!

What other recent marketing buzz caught your attention? There's always something happening that impacts marketing, so tune in to #DebbieLaskeysBlog for the scoop!

Image Credits: Tiger Woods/TaylorMade, Coca-Cola, and Pop Tarts.

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