Welcome to the latest edition of Marketer's Brief, a quick take on marketing news, moves and trends from Ad Age's reporters and editors. Send tips/suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ahh, mid-June. That time of year when kids can almost taste the long, lazy days of summer vacation … that is, until they get home from class and find a back-to-school catalog in their mailbox. Last week, Lands' End roiled parents by starting its fall marketing before many students have even finished the current year. "WTF, @LandsEnd? We got your #backtoschool catalog in the mail. Our kids still have two weeks of school left this year! #fail #marketing," tweeted Greg Magin. "@LandsEnd Sorry, too early. #BacktoSchool in June??" tweeted Jennifer Garone.
P&G Lets Bugs Go Gently Into That Wall Outlet With Zevo
In what may be the first soft launch of a bug killer at Cannes, Procter & Gamble Co. Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard lifted the lid, sort of, on a new brand from the company during a panel with The Economist at the International Festival of Creativity. He didn't name it, but it's Zevo, sold only online through Zevo.com for now and starting at $12.99. As marketers for SC Johnson, marketer of Raid, looked on, he described the product as "not a repellent" but "an insect captor" that plugs into the wall and traps bugs without using "chemicals that are harmful for you. This actually attracts insects to the light and to the product. Actually kills them in a very humane way, just lets them die."
Nestlé USA Hungry for Quick Prepared Meals
Nestlé USA was the lead investor in a $77 million round of funding announced by Freshly. The deal gives Nestlé, the maker of frozen brands including Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine, and Stouffer's, a minority stake in Freshly, which delivers fresh meals to your home that subscribers heat in about three minutes. Jeff Hamilton, president of Nestlé USA's food division, also snags a seat on Freshly's board. Freshly currently ships meals to 28 states and plans to use some of the investment to help build its new kitchen and distribution center on the East Coast with the aim of nationwide expansion. "While most food choices are still made in supermarkets, it's clear that consumers are responding to a growing universe of direct-to-consumer options, made possible through innovation," Nestlé USA Chairman and CEO Paul Grimwood said in a statement. The investment news comes days after Nestlé said it was looking at strategic options for its U.S. confectionery business, including potentially selling that unit, known for brands including Butterfinger.
Check the map before you tweet
Coca-Cola learned that the hard way after tweeting about the weekend heat in Pittsburgh with a map of Philadelphia. Plenty of social media followers, from Pennsylvania and elsewhere, noticed. Here's a take on the mixup from PhillyVoice.com and here's what the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had to say.
Number you need to know
24.8 - That's the high percentage of revenue ($60.6 million for a brand with $244.8 million in revenue) Blue Apron spent on marketing in the first quarter as the meal prep delivery company increased advertising and promos to attract and retain customers. Blue Apron, which is preparing to go public next week, spent 18.1% of revenue on marketing in 2016. At its current ad spending rate, Blue Apron could rank among the top 200 U.S. advertisers in 2017, Ad Age Datacenter calculates. But Blue Apron already said its marketing expenses should tick down significantly during the remainder of 2017.
Would You Buy This?
Chick-fil-A introduced a gluten-free 150-calorie bun with ingredients including quinoa and amaranth, sweetened with molasses and raisins. It's packaged in its own wrapping to reduce potential cross-contamination and costs $1.15.
Tweet of the week
Twins are a beautiful thing. Congrats on the matching pair! pic.twitter.com/gZ0dMX9z4o— M&M'S® Brand (@mmschocolate) June 19, 2017
Contributing: Jessica Wohl, Adrianne Pasquarelli, Jack Neff, Bradley Johnson