The Lowdown is Ad Age's weekly look at news nuggets from across the world of marketing, including trends, campaign tidbits, executive comings and goings and more.
Lowdown: Barbie Models Target Swimsuits, Coke Overhauls Zico
Barbie's new body has helped her land a modeling gig. Target is using the Mattel-owned dolls to help push its swimsuits as part of its ongoing "Target Loves Every Body" effort, which targets all body types. Barbie is a fit for that strategy because the brand recently debuted in a range of skin tones and shapes, including curvy, petite and tall. Opting for models, no matter how small, in a diverse assortment of body types will help Target customers shake off body insecurities, according to a recent blog post from the retailer. As part of the bigger campaign Target will encourage consumers to use the "#NOFOMO" hashtag, which is "all about shaking off body insecurities and not letting anything get in the way of having fun in our swimsuits," the retailer said in the blog post. The video below is by Mother, N.Y.
Coca-Cola Co.-owned Zico is making packaging and formula changes as it battles Vita Coco for coconut water sales. Zico's makeover includes overhauling all of its beverages to use not-from-concentrate coconut water. The brand will also be sold in larger 16.9-ounce clear, resealable PET bottles. The suggested price of $2.49 for the new bottles equals the price of the old 14-ounce bottles.
Trade publication Bevnet reported that its "been a challenge for Zico to have to justify having a product in both concentrate and not-from-concentrate formulas." The publication also stated that Zico has "fallen well behind independent rival and onetime equal Vita Coco in the race for volume." Zico had sales of $18.1 million in the 52-week period ending Aug. 9, compared with $174.1 million for Vita Coco in the aseptic juice category, according to IRI data cited by Bevnet.
In other beverage news, Juicy Juice is getting more media support under new owner Brynwood Partners. Brynwood bought Juicy Juice from Nestle USA in 2014 and last year began overhauling the brand with packaging and logo changes. Now the brand is out with a new TV campaign that will be accompanied by its "first-ever serious digital marketing campaign and aggressive in-store sampling and promotion plans," according to a spokeswoman. The agencies involved are: Source for the TV creative; Women's Marketing Inc for ad buying; 360 Public Relations; and Brand Connections, which is handling social media. The brand is also launching Juicy Juice Teasers, which is a blend of fruit juice and decaffeinated tea aimed at kids. "Our research found that older kids are looking for more beverage variety, but most options have sugar and/or caffeine," stated Ilene Bergenfeld, CMO at Harvest Hill Beverage Company. "Juicy Juice Teasers is a beverage both moms and kids will reach for in the grocery store aisle and at home." Harvest Hill is division of Brynwood Partners. Here is one of the new TV ads:
Turning to booze, 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey is putting a couple of red-heads in a new campaign that broke this week ahead of St. Patrick's Day. Ads depict the "original two gingers" -- Mary and Delia, who are the mother and aunt of Irishman and 2 Gingers founder Kieran Folliard. The campaign includes print, outdoor, social and retail and marks the first work for the whiskey by VSA Partners, which won the account in October. The 2 Gingers brand was acquired by Beam Suntory in 2012 and the liquor marketer has been working to expand distribution. The new ads put Mary and Delia in scenes that play off drink phrases like "on the rocks."
"The whiskey world can be a pretty serious, stuffy place, with lots of old stories and leather armchairs," stated Bob Winter, partner and executive creative director at VSA Partners. "So we thought Mary and Delia, the namesakes of 2 Gingers, could bring a little fresh air."
From our movie marketing files: Johnny Rockets is promoting limited-time sandwiches and a shake tied to "Allegiant," the upcoming third film in the Divergent series. The four items have movie-themed titles: the Defiant Smoked Gouda burger, the Cheddar & Bacon Chicken Rebellion, the Bleu Bacon Allegiant burger, and the Dauntless Brownie Brittle shake.
The limited time "Allegiant" menu is available through May 1 and may give Johnny Rockets a chance to connect with the series' fans. Each of the first two films grossed well over $100 million in theaters. Johnny Rockets' plans include a chance to win a trip to Hollywood, Amazon and Fandango gift cards, and free Johnny Rockets food. This is the first time Johnny Rockets has promoted a movie in the Divergent series. It follows another movie tie-in aimed at a younger crowd. In September, the chain had a limited-time Goosebumps shake to promote the kids movie.
There are new signs that the changes Starbucks made to its loyalty program could be hurting the brand -- at least in the short term. The coffee giant recently announced it would switch the program to one where spending, not the number of orders, is rewarded. When the change was announced on Feb. 22 Starbucks had a buzz score of 60, but that fell to 29 by Feb. 29, according to the YouGov BrandIndex, which measures consumer perception. YouGov also reported that "the news seems to have dampened purchase consideration among current customers as well, which is an indicator of future revenue." On Feb. 24, 80% of current Starbucks customers said they would consider making their next purchase at the coffee shop, while now that number has drifted down to 71%," YouGov stated.
Finally, a look at some key executive moves:
Moët Hennessy North America has promoted Rodney Williams to CMO and executive VP, where he will oversee marketing strategy for Moet's wine & spirit brands, which include Belvedere Vodka, Grand Marnier liqueur and Hennessy Cognac. Mr. Williams was previously Moët Hennessy USA's exec VP for spirits. He also held roles at Jackson Family Wines, Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.
Starbucks said that Troy Alstead resigned Feb. 29, following a year of unpaid leave or what the company called a Starbucks "Coffee Break." Mr. Alstead, who was most recently chief operating officer and had served as chief financial officer, spent 23 years with Starbucks before taking an extended unpaid leave that began March 1, 2015.
Brinker International said John Cywinski will become exec VP-strategic innovation as of March 7. Mr. Cywinski resigned as president of KFC U.S. in early 2014. According to Brinker, which runs the Chili's Grill & Bar chain, his other restaurant experience included being a franchisee for Dunkin' Brands and Sonic Drive-In, along with roles at Applebee's, McDonald's and Burger King.
Contributing: E.J. Schultz, Jessica Wohl, Adrianne Pasquarelli