Saturday, June 8, 2024

Marketing News of the Week: Product Naming, Product Pricing, and More

During the past week, there were news stories that reflected producing naming, product pricing, product launches, brand purchases, personal branding, brand identity, philanthropy, and more.


According to Headout, "Manhattanhenge is a nod to Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument in England where the sun aligns with the stones on the summer solstice. New York astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson re-coined the term for New York! Manhattanhenge is a twice-yearly natural phenomenon in which the setting sun aligns perfectly with the Manhattan street grid...where the sun and the city's skyline come together for a breathtaking spectacle." This year, the event occurred May 30th and will also occur on July 11th.

According to the Farmers Almanac, "The colloquial usage of 'henge' refers to any place where the rising or setting sun lines up with the surrounding architecture."


Dollar Tree has confirmed that it acquired the rights to 170 99 Cents Only store locations in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas. The announcement followed news that 99 Cents Only would close more than 300 store locations and would file for bankruptcy.


T-Mobile announced that it will acquire most of US Cellular's wireless customers and stores. According to Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile, "With this deal, T-Mobile can extend the superior Un-carrier value and experiences that we're famous for to millions of UScellular customers and deliver them lower-priced, value-packed plans and better connectivity on our best-in-class nationwide 5G network." According to Laurent Therivel, CEO of UScellular, "T-Mobile's purchase and integration of UScellular's wireless operations will provide best-in-class connectivity to rural Americans through enhanced nationwide coverage and service offerings at more compelling price points."


After years of slowly gaining market share, Dr Pepper inched ahead of Pepsi as the number two soda brand in the United States, according to Beverage Digest. FYI, Coca-Cola leads the sector by a comfortable margin. Founded in 1885 in Waco, Texas, Dr Pepper established a small but devoted following in the American South. Today, Dr Pepper experiments with new flavors including Strawberries & Cream and Creamy Coconut.


Costco announced that the price of its hot dog will remain at $1.50. Costco has been selling its hot-dog-and-soda combo for $1.50 since it first hit menus in the mid-1980s. The price tag has held steady over the years despite inflation — otherwise it would be closer to $4.40 today.

According to Jamie Loftus, author of Ray Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs, "It's a good PR move for Costco to not change the's like a PR slam dunk for them, it's like, 'No, we're not going to change the price. We've got your back.'"

According to NPR, "The $1.50 hot dog and the $4.99 rotisserie chicken are what experts have called an example of loss-leader pricing - a strategy in which companies sell certain products below their market cost in order to get customers in the door and, ideally, putting more profitable goods in their carts."


In a historic decision on May 30, a New York jury found former President Donald Trump guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records, marking the first criminal conviction of a United States President. While the legal repercussions are still to be determined, so, too, is the impact on his personal brand.

According to AdWeek: "On February 17, as former President Donald Trump prepared to face 34 felony counts in his hush money trial in New York, he found time to head to Philadelphia to attend Sneaker Con. And there, standing at the podium, he announced the launch of his new Trump-branded sneakers. Price: $399. The Never Surrender hightop in gold lamé — a limited edition of 1,000 pairs — sold out almost immediately. Weird? Not really. Having licensed his name for everything from condo towers to mail-order steaks over the years, Trump has long fashioned himself as a commercial brand. He is also a presidential brand, as is current President Joe Biden.

But will last week's ruling against Trump in federal court hurt his personal brand? Experts say it may do the opposite. Ever since Trump's famous escalator ride into presidential politics nine years ago this month, he has built his brand around the image of an anti-politician who promised to drain Washington's swamp and give the working man a voice. But after the four criminal indictments filed last year, "He positioned himself as a victim and does a remarkable job of trying to turn his victimhood into a strength," said Kate deGruyter for think tank Third Way. In that context, these most recent guilty verdicts may have strengthened Trump's brand positioning."

Time will tell on November 5th!


Ukraine's Oreo production is back in business after snack maker Mondelez repaired its war-damaged factory (in Trostyanets) that was badly damaged during Russia's invasion two years ago. According to CNN, Oreos, chocolate wafers with a creme vanilla filling, are one of Mondelez's biggest brands. The company said that products made in the Trostyanets factory are exported to Eurasian countries such as Georgia and Kazakhstan in addition to being sold in the domestic Ukrainian market.


Jeep unveiled its first electric SUV and joined the congested segment already featuring GM, Honda, Kia, and Hyundai. Jeep's new Wagoneer S, will go on sale this fall, and shares little with its gas-powered namesake. The EV utilizes the same architecture as the upcoming Dodge Charger EV, and its starting price tag will be $72,000.


In an amazing first, Special K features a pregnant woman on its cereal box. The box, which shows Molly Baz with an exposed pregnant belly, is available for purchase on the Kellogg website. It's part of the brand's "Special for a Reason" marketing campaign, which features "inspiring individuals."


Former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum won a landslide victory to become the country's first female president and the country's first Jewish head of state. According to Reuters, "Victory for Sheinbaum is a major step for Mexico, a country known for its macho culture and home to the world's second largest Roman Catholic population, which for years pushed more traditional values and roles for women." Women have only voted in Mexico since 1953. "Sheinbaum has a complicated path ahead. She must balance promises to increase popular welfare policies while inheriting a hefty budget and low economic growth...And among the new President's challenges will be tense negotiations with the United States over the huge flows of US-bound migrants crossing Mexico and security cooperation over drug trafficking at a time when the US fentanyl epidemic rages."


Melinda French Gates is following in the steps of MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, who has chosen to disburse money from her divorce as fast as she can. French Gates revealed in a New York Times essay that her first project, after leaving the foundation that she co-founded with her ex-husband Bill Gates, would focus on advancing women's rights around the world. According to Amy Pasic, the dean of the Indiana University School of Philanthropy, citing research from the Women's Philanthropy Institute, "Women tend to be more social in the way that they approach giving, and they're more collaborative."


Banknotes featuring King Charles III entered circulation in the United Kingdom this week. This marked the first time that the Bank of England changed the monarch on its notes, and this is only the second time that the monarch has appeared on banknotes issued by the Bank of England - the first was Charles' mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Charles' portrait appears on the 5, 10, 20, and 50 pound notes; and the rest of the design remains the same as the current notes that feature the late Queen Elizabeth II on their fronts. The Bank of England expects the new notes "to enter circulation very gradually."

According to the British Retail Consortium, "Fewer Brits use cash. In 2023, there was an increase in cash usage for the first time in a decade, making up about 19 percent of total transactions. Cards still make up the overwhelming proportion of money spent, at 85 percent."

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: CNN/Lucy North/PA/AP and Business Insider.

Read more about Manhattanhenge:

Read more about Trump's conviction:

Read: 22 Experts Predict What the Trump Conviction Will Mean for 2024 and Beyond

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