food & beverage

September 05, 2009

Microwave Fries from Burger King

Burger_king_fries Burger King has just announced an agreement with ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston, who will introduce a retail line of microwaveable Burger King french fries. Dubbed King Krinkz, the fries are slated to hit shelves at Wal-Mart this fall. They are to be followed by King Kolossalz (extra-large fries) and King Wedgez (seasoned potato wedges). The box is meant to evoke Burger King’s “frypod” container.

The brand extension “gives Burger King Corp. the ability to take our ‘have it your way’ brand promise beyond our restaurants and engage customers in a new way,” said John Schaufelberger, senior VP at Burger King.

The deal was brokered by Broadstreet Licensing Group, and complements a broad array of brand extensions that include snack chips, greeting cards, and apparel.

In a related fast-food vein, Panda Express is now selling its orange and kung-pao sauces at its retail outlets. FYI, McDonald’s has been selling ketchup at retail in Germany under its own name for some time.

August 18, 2009

Travel Extensions, Upmarket and Down

Mobiltravel The Mobil Travel Guide will be rebranded with the Forbes name, effective October 1, the Associated Press reports. Started in 1958, the Mobil series includes 45 books.  The move will certainly add more luxe to a respected name in travel. More here.

Those looking for a more down-to-earth vacation might consider a Samuel Adams Hopfenpflücken Adventure. “This once-in-a-lifetime trip will have you joining Boston Beer Company brewers and execs on a trip to Bavaria, Germany — the birthplace of beer,” says the promotional copy from travel agents at Abercrombie & Kent. What might appear to be a glorified keg run will set you back $2,980.00 (the morning of day 8 is your last chance for a “final beer before your flight home”). More here.

August 07, 2009

Tru Blood, The Beverage

Trueblood Perhaps the last entertainment vehicle you’d imagine extending into retail beverages would be vampire-themed True Blood. That’s not stopping Omni Consumer Products – who achieved a modicum of fame by bringing the world Sex Panther Cologne, based on the movie Anchorman. Coming to your grocer’s in time for Halloween is a carbonated drink called Tru Blood, whose name derives from an elixir drunk on the show when human blood isn’t readily available.

Cleverly labeled with blood type (O positive) and flavor (blood orange), and beautifully packaged in shades of crimson, the drink is meant to be more than a novelty. A New York magazine taste-test gave it a thumbs-up: “Compared to most soft drinks, it's refreshing and not too sweet. It also foams just like real blood.” At $4 for a four-pack, we’ll see whether the public’s thirst will accept no substitutes.

June 17, 2009

Popup Extensions: Angels and Demons

Popupstores Two leading brands have chosen the popup-store concept to extend themselves, with decidedly different flavors. Axe is taking over a Hamptons, NY nightclub; its brand will be splashed liberally over the premises, with Axe products on sale in the restrooms. The extension is nothing if not logical. Michael Heller, a marketer quoted in the New York Times, observed, “Axe is all about the mating game, and the best place for a mating game is at a nightclub.” According to the Times, Axe is paying a promotion fee and is not participating in the revenues from the club. More here.

Those looking for a more, um, wholesome brand extension need look no further than Martha Stewart’s Popup Wedding Chapel. The last week of June, brides in New York City can get hitched cost-effectively at a Martha-Stewart-branded venue. “For $500, couples will get a gorgeous chapel and ceremony with champagne toast,” says the promotion. More here.

April 21, 2009

Coming Soon: PlayStation Food

Playstation Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) recently named Target Entertainment Group as licensing agent for PlayStation software IP across Europe and Asia. Target Entertainment plans on developing a wide range of consumer products, including PlayStation apparel and accessories, stationery and gifts, housewares and – yes – food.

Stephanie Freeman, licensing manager at SCEE, said, “Many of Sony Computer Entertainment’s ’s first party software titles and characters are now recognized by millions of people around the world – from the legendary Ratchet and Clank through to the iconic Sackboy from LittleBigPlanet. We really want our consumers to have the ability to interact with our brands and characters in ways other than just on screen.”

March 16, 2009

The German Touch

Obamafingers While American hucksters wasted no time in cranking out the Obama T-shirts and memorabilia, it took a German company to come up with the questionable idea of marketing Obama-branded fried chicken.

German newsweekly Der Spiegel reports that frozen-foods firm Sprehe wanted to ride the wave of Obama-mania and nothing could appear more natural than chicken fingers (with curry sauce, by the way).

The magazine quotes the firm’s marketing manager, Judith Witting, who remarked that, “It was supposed to be an homage to the American lifestyle and the new US president.” When asked by the magazine whether they might be playing off traditional racial stereotypes, Ms. Witting remarked that the thought had never occurred to her. More here.

February 26, 2009

The Last Laugh

Bk_snacks Brand marketers, in their ivory towers, may get a chuckle out of seemingly eyebrow-raising brand extensions. But the brand owners may be getting the last laugh, all the way to the bank.

Case in point: Burger King apparel (such as BK boxer shorts), which was singled out in TippingSprung’s 2008 Brand Extension Survey as a questionable fit.

The folks at Broad Street Licensing Group who have been spearheading an extension program for Burger King naturally have a different take on the situation. First, Burger King apparel is just one piece in a larger program, which includes some innovative extensions like BK-branded salty snacks (which won an award for best brand extension in License! magazine), barbecue sauce, and frozen appetizers.

Bill Cross, VP of food licensing at Broad Street, thinks that non-food extensions like Burger King boxer shorts get a bad rap for no good reason: brand owners are often overly concerned about issues ranging from product liability and dilution of brand equity to cannibalization (forgive the metaphor) of core products. In reality, he says, many of these products are simply “fun” and have little risk of impacting brand equity. These non-food applications are often “of the moment” – a moment which, quite often, is a very profitable one.

January 22, 2009

Extending the iPhone

Iphoneapps This week, Apple announced that 15,000 applications are available at its App Store and that they’ve been downloaded a total of 500 million times -- not bad for a service launched only last July. In this week's Brand Elastic, we look at some innovative ways brick-and-mortar brands are extending into the iPhone app arena.
 
Kraft’s iFood Assistant offers a wide range of simple recipes, and is one of the iPhone's 100 most popular paid apps. For a single payment of 99 cents, users can browse recipes by ingredients, meal type, or prep time. They can also register at KraftFoods.com to save recipes and build shopping lists.
 
When Target realized that most of the traffic to their mobile site was coming from iPhones, they created the Target Snow Globe to capture holiday sales. After shaking the iPhone like a regular snow globe and waiting for the digital snow to settle, users are shown a gift idea from the retailer that they can tap through and purchase from Target.
 
Audi was the first auto manufacturer to launch an iPhone app back in August ’08. The Audi A4 Challenge is a driving simulator that takes advantage of the iPhone’s accelerometer, and allows users to steer an A4 through a series of courses. The game links to a dedicated A4 iPhone microsite featuring content optimized for viewing on the iPhone.
 
Of course, brands looking to enter the App Store universe need to make sure they avoid the type of misstep that Chipotle made with their Mobile Ordering app. The app failed to deliver on its promise of fast food ordered directly from your phone, and was pulled within hours of appearing in the App Store.
 
Any other branded iPhone apps you’ve come across or would like to see? Let us know.

January 16, 2009

CES Spotting: Lego camera and Swiss Army laser pointer

Lego-digital-camera Some interesting brand extensions to report from the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, where we saw an unlikely entry into the crowded digital-camera category. Lego announced it will launch a line of branded tech products this summer, including digital cameras, video cameras, and MP3 players. The new line will let fans "express themselves through photos, videos and music, while displaying their enthusiasm for one of the world's all-time favorite toys," says Jill Wilfert, VP licensing for Lego Group.

CandyEarphones And if you’re looking for headphones for your Lego MP3 player, you may want to try Candeez earphones which, for $4, will allow you to walk around looking like you have a pair of Tootsie Rolls or Jolly Ranchers in your ears. 
 
Swissarmy Finally, from the literal cutting edge of technology comes the Victorinox Presentation Pro, a Swiss Army Knife that comes with built-in USB thumb-drive, laser pointer, biometric fingerprint scanner, and Bluetooth remote that connects to your laptop so you can change slides in your presentation.

Your thoughts on these new extensions, or any others we may have missed at CES?

January 07, 2009

Hard Rock Theme Park Shuttered

Hardrock The Hard Rock theme park lived an intense, all-too-brief existence like one of its idols. It opened in Myrtle Beach this year, only to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy by year-end. Hard Rock International was apparently guaranteed an annual minimum of $2.5 million for its name; the park covered 55 acres and was built for $400 million. More coverage here. Visit the theme park’s site, while it lasts, at www.hardrockpark.com.

* * *

Burgerkingcologne Burger King men’s apparel was one of the extensions which raised eyebrows in TippingSprung’s fifth-annual survey. Just after the survey results were released, another questionable Burger King extension made headlines, in case you missed it: Burger King cologne (titled "Flame"). The $3.99 stocking-stuffer, available over the holidays exclusively in New York City at novelty shop Ricky’s, sold out in the first three days. More here.

About This Blog

Brand extensions are all around us — clothing from the Sierra Club, furniture polish from Steinway and, yes, even the kitchen sink from Jacuzzi. TippingSprung, a New York-based brand-extension consultancy, publishes an annual survey on brand extensions with Brandweek. If you spot a noteworthy extension for the blog or survey, email us.

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