Marketer's Brief: Why Panera Put Sugar Content on Cups

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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 [email protected]

So much for grams. In this week's Brief find out why Panera is showing sugar content in teaspoons -- and slapping it on cups. Meanwhile, another restaurant chain is trying to have some fun with protest imagery. Risky? Or smart? Read on to find out more …

Panera is now putting calories and added sugar details on its cups
Panera is now putting calories and added sugar details on its cups Credit: Panera Bread

'We're not here to be the food police'
Panera Bread is quite literally putting its added sugar messaging in the hands of its diners. The chain began displaying calorie and added sugar information near beverage machines in March. Now it is starting to show calories and added sugar info about regular cola and Panera's own six beverages on "sweet facts" fountain beverage cups. "We're not here to be the food police but we do want guests to understand they could be drinking seventeen teaspoons of added sugar per 20 ounces depending on their beverage choice," Sara Burnett, Panera's director of wellness and food policy, said in a statement. Panera said it has seen an 8% shift in people choosing medium- and lightly-sweetened drinks rather than fountain soda since the signs went up and new drinks debuted. Center for Science in the Public Interest praised the cups, particularly as they show teaspoons of sugar rather than grams, which are harder for people to understand.

Restaurant chain channels political protests to sell chicken
Nando's Peri-Peri is heating up its marketing with some provocative protest-like imagery and wording that at first glance appear to be protest rallying cries, but also tie into calls to buy its chicken. Reproductive rights, racial equality, and President Trump's travel ban are among the issues Nando's winks to in the campaign rolling out in Chicago. The ads, created by Havas Chicago, include lines such as "We are pro-pro choice -- From Lemon & Herb to Extra Hot PERi-PERi, the power is in your hands." Another ad reads: "White meat dark meat, equal heat -- We believe all chicken deserves the same spicy PERi-PERi treatment." It's not the first time Nando's has used political commentary in ads. During the inauguration in January the chain promoted "Everyone is Welcome" messaging, as the Washington Post reported.

Nando's Peri-Peri is protest-art iconography in a "Stand Against Bland" campaign. Photo credit: Nando's.
Nando's Peri-Peri is protest-art iconography in a "Stand Against Bland" campaign. Photo credit: Nando's.
Nando's Peri-Peri is protest-art iconography in a "Stand Against Bland" campaign. Photo credit: Nando's.
Nando's Peri-Peri is protest-art iconography in a "Stand Against Bland" campaign. Photo credit: Nando's.

"Nando's often uses advertising as a mirror reflecting back our culture," Sepanta Bagherpour, VP of Marketing at Nando's Peri-Peri USA, said in a statement. "We hope that the campaign will to tap into the proverbial dinner-table conversation that is happening all over the country about some very big issues." The new "Stand Against Bland" campaign is hitting Chicago first, in time for the Sept. 4 opening of its 12th Chicagoland restaurant, and will later run in Washington, D.C. In the Windy City, plans include wrapping the exterior and interior of two Chicago Transit Authority Red Line train cars. The outside will include the line "Rage Against the Routine." Inside the cars will be peel-away coupons and buy-one-get-one-free offers shaped like the peppers that the chain uses in its marketing. Outdoor, social media, and Spotify and YouTube ads are also part of the effort for the chain which began in Johannesburg in 1987 and debuted in the U.S. in 2008.

Bud Light rising?
Here is some rare good news for Bud Light, which is looking to overcome a long-running sales slump: The brand is showing positive growth in quality perception and consumer satisfaction metrics over the past three weeks, according to the YouGov BrandIndex, which tracks consumer perception. "Bud Light has increased its purchase consideration with consumers since early May, while Miller Lite has essentially stayed flat," YouGov states in a new blog post, which notes that Bud Light's new product-focused ads appear to "further strengthen its case."

Arby's Smoked Turkey Leg
Arby's Smoked Turkey Leg Credit: Arby's

A meal fit for a 'Game of Thrones' fan
HBO doesn't run ads during its shows, but brands are figuring out ways to link their products to the highly-anticipated "Game of Thrones" season finale. Arby's is selling a medieval-style fast-food meal, smoked turkey legs, at nine locations starting Sunday. While Arby's doesn't mention the show by name, it clearly played on the show's themes in announcing the locations that will serve the $5.99 turkey legs. They include a restaurant in Fargo, N.D., "a frigid land in the north with ruthless winters and relentless snowfall," and one in Denver, "a land of treacherous mountains divided by fertile river valleys with an abundance of stones." And, of course, there's a location in Atlanta, "a land where the crown jewel of the Arby's family, our headquarters, resides."

Credit: Ocean Spray

Number You Need to Know
$1 billion -- Annual alcohol beverage sales at Walgreens, which re-entered the business in 2010 after it exited alcohol in the 1990s, according to Shanken News Daily.

Would You Buy This?

Ocean Spray has relaunched its cranberry-infused Pact water with new marketing.

Tweet of the Week

Restaurant chain Del Taco named M. Barry Westrum as its CMO earlier this month. Westrum was most recently exec VP-marketing for International Dairy Queen Inc. Prior to DQ, he spent 17 years with Yum Brands.

Contributing: Jessica Wohl, E.J. Schultz

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