The French Really Know …

November 24, 2014

… how to advertise orange juice!

Pizza Branding

November 19, 2014

pizza hutI was in marketing for quite a while before I retired. I still have a fascination with the art of marketing, and applaud when it is done well.  So I am a sucker for “insider” stories about major brand renewals, such as that happening at market-leader but aging Pizza Hut. has a great piece on how Pizza Hut is moving to a fourth rebranding in less than two decades. The campaign is being led by Deutsch LA, the same group that just completed the Taco Bell revamp.

The logo, the menu, the customer audience, black as the new red, even the buildings themselves have come under the re-design microscope. Jared Drinkwater, Pizza Hut’s VP of Marketing says:

“If you look at the trends in food among young consumers, it’s about flavor exploration. We felt like nobody was doing that in pizza.”

He shakes off any idea that Pizza Hut is going upscale:

“If you think about the cast iron in the pans in the back of our restaurant, it has that gritty look. And we think, from a design perspective, the food pops really nicely.”

Time will tell.

Les Sapeurs Rise Again!

January 18, 2014

One of the most popular posts I ever wrote on this blog was about Les Sapeurs in the Congo. That post was from more than five years ago and I still get hits on it every week.  Just the other day I was watching TV and saw this ad from Guinness that features the group.

It is just wonderful that these folks are still getting coverage.  Bravo!

Why We Eat What We Eat

December 10, 2013

Some years ago, Eric Schlosser wrote the devastating critique “Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal” which took us all inside the often hideous manufacturing processes of the American food industry. Last night, I listened to the first part (of two) of Jill Eisen’s “Stuffed” which examines exactly why we eat what we eat today.

While Schlosser’s book taught us about the manufacture of food, Eisen examines the political and commercial aspects of marketing food. It is a thorough and disturbing picture of the gathering epidemic of obesity and ill-health in the western world driven by the search for profit. I follow marketing and advertizing with keen interest, but even I was shocked by a number of the revelations she documents.

She examines how cheese stopped being something you simply ate, or used in a sandwich, and became a ubiquitous ingredient (and in turn became the primary source of saturated fat in the North American diet). She explains how the food industry taught us that cooking was boring, difficult, a chore to be avoided, and thus managed to sell us vast amounts of processed and ready-made foods. She looks at how the food industry appropriated the feminist critique to get us to eat fast food.

This is vital self-defence education and is really worth the 50 minutes of listening (don’t get confused by the 30-second commercial for “As It Happens” at the beginning).  Well done CBC Radio!  I’m looking forward to Part 2 next week.

Censorship in Vancouver

December 6, 2013

Billionaire Jim Pattison’s Outdoor Billboard company — which is almost a monopoly in the city — has refused to accept the following poster:

atheistThe ad was an attempt to recruit membership in the Centre for Inquiry Canada. “When we designed the ads, we went out of our way to make them as soft as we could. Our purpose is to find those people out there who think the same way we do but don’t know there’s an organization that will support their views. It’s like any other advertising campaign: we’re looking for people who are interested in our message and our product,” said Pat O’Brien.

This is a disgraceful attempt to enforce political/religious views by Pattison’s company.

Product Improvement Fail!

December 6, 2013

As a diabetic, I never use processed white sugar. When I need a bit of sweetening I use packaged chemicals (which no doubt have their own problems, but …)

At home I use Sugar Twin which used to come in a handy sturdy cardboard box.  Now, it is in a “flexible” plastic bag:

sugar twin

The product “improvement” geniuses have moved from a package that is easy to store and stack, easy to open, and easy to use to one that is none of those things.  Moreover they have gone from a package that can be made from recycled paper to one that cannot.  I bet the price went up too.



Another Ad That Reaches Art

September 19, 2013

As I have mentioned before, some ads are simply genius. This is the latest I have found that meets that level:


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