Then again, never mind. VP-Marketing Services Susan Edwards and her staff at GlaxoSmithKline have done an admirable job of using the accident in some portions of Alli's marketing (urging consumers to bring an extra pair of pants to work, for instance). In other spots, well, Alli is doing fine on its own.
Analysts predicted sales would be between $200 million and $500 million for the year when Alli launched June 14. In its first five weeks on store shelves, GSK sold $155 million worth of Alli. Need a better indicator of its success? In the four months Alli has been on the market, shares of diet-food company NutriSystem have slid from $69 to $28 as of Nov. 2.
The "Simpsons" promotion in July turned 11 stores into Kwik-E-Marts, the name of the fictitious stores in the film and TV show, and filled the entire national chain with "Simpsons"-themed products such as Buzz Cola and Krusty O's. It was all part of a slew of integrated efforts aimed at young men this year.
"We received hundreds of calls from customers telling us how much they enjoyed the 'Simpsons' experience in our stores and how, for some, it reconnected them with our brand," Ms. Bargerhuff says. "Plus, the 2 million Sprinklicious doughnuts that were sold and enjoyed helped generate awareness of our bakery and sandwich products."
One exec says visits to 7-eleven.com and slurpee.com have tripled over the past year.
It still might sound yucky, but Adams Respiratory is riding the nasty little computer-animated critters all the way to the bank. Sales of the adult Mucinex franchise grew 7% in the first half of 2007, to $254.7 million, led by growth in Mucinex DM, which generated sales of $94.6 million, an increase of 60% over the first half of 2006.
Sales of the children's version of the product are also contributing, helped by Ms. Arnett's partnership with DC Comics to create a comic book for "The Adventures of Mr. Mucus and Family."
Facebook's growth really started to accelerate in May, when 23-year-old CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he would allow third-party developers to create applications for the site.
Mr. Zuckerberg saw the importance of providing valuable communication and entertainment services to Facebook's users. He gave developers the incentive to make money off their creations, and innovation -- and services for Facebook users -- exploded, making the social network a much more valuable place.
Today, not only is Facebook a booming consumer service, it is the center of a major development ecosystem. Microsoft acquired a 1.6% stake in the site in October for a reported $240 million.
Jeff Bell, 39, corporate VP-global marketing, Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business, and his team at Microsoft Corp. built buzz online with free beta tests for players beginning in the spring, as well as live-action videos and documentaries about its making.
One partnership created a "Halo 3" Mountain Dew Game Fuel soda; there were similar deals with Burger King, Pontiac, 7-Eleven, Nascar, Samsung, GameStop and Comcast. McCann-Erickson, San Francisco, and its TAG arm, did their part with a haunting one-time TV ad followed by a "Believe" launch campaign that went beyond traditional video-game advertising in style and concept. Both earned kudos from critics and consumers.
A 2005 launch in a crowded cola category fizzled. But then viral marketing, including videos posted on YouTube of a faux lawsuit alleging "taste infringement," got attention for low-calorie Coke Zero. Sampling plus aggressive network and cable TV, radio, and online ads via Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, invited guys to join the movement. Coke Zero is a regular part of ESPN fantasy-sports podcasts.
"We regrouped and put a laser focus to Coke Zero, giving it black packaging [vs. red for Coke and silver for Diet Coke] to differentiate it, and younger consumers understood this was their brand, created for them," says Caren Pasquale Seckler, Coke's group director for low-calorie sodas.
It worked. One of only six new soft drinks that surpassed and maintained a 1% share, Coke Zero is here to stay.
Second-quarter operating income was $329 million, a 17.5% increase from last year's $280 million; total sales increased 3.6%, and comparable-store sales increased 1.9 %. Next up, Mr. Boylson says, is the launch of Ralph Lauren's American Living. "If we can get them in store, they'll be surprised," he says. "It's not the same Penney's store you'd have seen even three years ago."
When it was rethinking its brand image in mid-2006, Mr. Boylson, 52, says all of his competitors were trying to "out-Target Target." But it was a much-applauded campaign from new agency Saatchi & Saatchi that got the revamp noticed. Thank you, Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts, for the primer in Lovemarks and retail.
The answer: Webkinz. The stuffed animals with coded tags that allow entry to the Webkinz virtual world swept through playgrounds up and down the East Coast.
"[We created a] concept that offered all of the best play factors of great toys with the internet experience," says Mr. Ganz, president of the company. By the end of the last holiday season, Webkinz had become a hit, reportedly selling more than 2 million and registering more than 1 million online. Ganz retailers advertised Webkinz parties and events, and even the simple sign "Webkinz sold here" became a marketing draw as the brand expanded into trading cards, charms, mouse pads—even lip gloss and body spray.
Photo: Tony Pettinato
"We're not allowed to say the 's' word, so we need others to spread the word," says Michele Bene, marketing and communications director. And they have. As a result of raves by Ms. Hemingway and other celebs who have sampled it at awards shows and events, including in Starbucks coffee at this year's Sundance Film Festival, the herbal sweetener raised its consumer awareness more than 80% vs. last year. Ms. Bene, 37, says the company expects growth of at least 30% in '07. Stevia grew 14% to $1.3 million (excluding Wal-Mart) for the 52 weeks ended June 17, according to Information Resources Inc.