Saturday, 27 February 2016

Major Mars Recall

Chocolate maker Mars has ordered a recall of chocolate products in 55 countries. In the UK the products affected include funsize Mars and Milky Way bars and boxes of Celebrations.  In the Netherlands Mars and Snickers bars were also affected. It comes after a customer in Germany found bits of plastic in a Snickers bar in January. The plastic was traced back to the Mars factory in the southern town of Veghel in the Netherlands. A Mars Netherlands spokesperson said: "We cannot be sure that this plastic was only in that particular Snickers. We do not want any products on the market that may not meet our quality requirements, so we decided to take them all back." The company is one of the largest privately owned businesses in the US and had global sales of $33bn last year.

Gigner Nuts Coming Back

McVitie’s ginger nuts are to return to the shelves after production was halted three months ago by flooding at a factory in Carlisle. United Biscuits, the owner of the McVitie’s, Carr’s and Jacob’s brands, has told its retail clients, who include Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda, that stocks of ginger nuts would be available from mid-March. The Carlisle-based facility is the second biggest biscuit factory in Europe, supplying the UK and other countries around the world. The factory should soon be producing 7m ginger nuts a day to meet demand. About 400 staff, contractors and suppliers are now working at the factory, about half its usual workforce.

Swapping Robots for Humans

The seemingly unstoppable march of robots replacing humans may have hit a snag: high-end customisable cars. Mercedes says it is replacing many of its production line robots with humans - a reversal of recent trends. That is because its S-Class sedan has a growing array of options like carbon-fibre trim and heated cupholders, which humans are better at dealing with. Head of production Markus Schaefer said: "Robots can’t deal with the degree of individualisation and the many variants that we have today. "We’re saving money and safeguarding our future by employing more people." Schaefer seeks to reduce the time taken to produce a car from 2005’s standard of 61 hours to just 30. To do so, Mercedes is shifting to what it calls “robot farming” - equipping workers with an array of smaller, lighter machines. Traditionally robots would operate behind safety fences in isolation from human workers.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

£2.56 Smartphone


An Indian company has launched what is being billed as the world's cheapest smartphone. Ringing Bells said their Freedom 251 phone would cost just 251 rupees ($3.67; £2.56), and there was huge demand in the first hours of sale. But sceptics have raised questions about the device and the company's price strategy. India is the world's second-largest mobile market and has one billion mobile phone subscribers. Freedom 251 is expected to target a market already dominated by low-cost handsets. The phone has 8GB storage and cameras in the front and back, and its model resembles Apple's iPhone 4, including the home button and icons. "This is our flagship model and we think it will bring a revolution in the industry," the AFP news agency quoted a spokeswoman as saying.The smartphone went on sale on Thursday morning but, just hours later, the company had to stop accepting orders after its website crashed due to huge demand: 600,000 hits per second, it said.


Love them or hate them, emojis are not going anywhere anytime soon because marketers just can't seem to get enough of them. Witness Pepsi, which is the latest big consumer brand to make the wordless icons the centerpiece of a campaign. The soda brand is planning to market specially designed emoji cans and bottles in more than 100 global markets this year, including the U.S, drastically expanding a program that began last year in Russia, Canada and Thailand. The marketer calls them "PepsiMojis." "Emojis are the language of today but no one has put them in the world like Pepsi will in 2016. With more than 70 global and locally uniquely designed emojis printed on cans, bottles and cups all over the world, you're going to be able to 'say it with a Pepsi' all through the summer of 2016," 

Cadbury Medley

Cadbury just got a little bit fancy with its new chocolate bars. Forget your basic Whole Nut, move over Marvellous Creations, because these newbies are all sexy dark chocolate and berries. Introducing Cadbury’s two new Dairy Milk Medley bars, where the luxury ingredients are sprinkled on top of the bar, rather than hidden inside. Unlike the classic Dairy Milk bars, these indulgent newcomers are made up of larger chunks – so that, according to the press release, ‘just a couple of pieces make a perfect treat’.First up is the fudge Medley which comes scattered with dark chocolate chips, crunchy biscuit and hunks of soft fudge. Or, if you still want a little fruit and nut in your bar, there’s the Nut & Raspberry Medley, which is topped with dark chocolate chips, sweet caramelised hazelnuts and raspberry pieces. ‘We wanted to create something special for our adventurous chocolate fans who are seeking a new taste experience,’ said Matthew Williams, Mondelez International marketing director. ‘With the combination of a smooth centre, visible toppings and luxurious taste, we’re confident Cadbury Dairy Milk Medley will become a firm favourite on a cosy evening in.’ It’s Dairy Milk, but not as you know it.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

When Brand Extensions Go Bad...

Would you buy ready meals from Colgate, disposable underwear from Bic or perfumes made by Zippo? Companies don't always get it right when launching entirely new product ranges. While some have worked – the beer brand Guinness has had success with its World Records and tyre maker Michelin is well known for its haute cuisine guides – other attempts to step into new territory have been less successful. Compiled with bathroom retailer PlumbWorld, here are some of the odder brand extension ideas. Follow the link to look through some products that brands would prefer to forget.

The $5m Superbowl

When is 30 seconds worth $5m? That is the question facing Super Bowl advertisers as they gear up for February 7, the biggest day in US marketing.  The price tag that broadcaster CBS is charging for a television commercial for this year’s National Football League championship game is double the average $2.5m price a decade ago, according to Kantar Media. But the game regularly breaks US TV viewing records, with 114m people tuning in last year. This Sunday’s pie will be even bigger, as CBS will for the first time make its livestream of the game and all national commercials available over internet TV boxes including Apple TV and Roku. Advertisers are already teasing their ads well before game day, using digital channels to extend their reach.

Milk Tray Man

Patrick McBride has been named as the new Milk Tray Man for the Cadbury’s chocolate box advert with the iconic tagline. McBride, who has been with the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service for 14 years, won the role over 20,000 people after he performed a rescue lift at the audition. The senior brand manager at Mondelez International, Hortense Foult Rothenburger, said McBride had the qualities of the new Milk Tray Man which is “someone that is thoughtful as well as adventurous”.

easyFood Store

The founder of easyJet has opened a discount food store that is selling everyday groceries for 25p each. Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has launched easyFoodstore in an attempt to take advantage of the fast-growing discount market in the UK, which is led by Aldi and Lidl. The venture could eventually be another threat to the “big four” supermarket chains – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. The pilot easyFoodstore has opened in Park Royal in north-west London. It will sell items for 25p each in February as an introductory offer. The spokesman said the company had been surprised people were prepared to queue up to buy its range of just 76 grocery items including pasta, biscuits and beans. was forced to close on Thursday, less than two days after it first opened because it had run out of stock. “We anticipated we had enough stock to last a couple of weeks but it has just gone in a day and a half.”