Friday, July 30, 2010

Danone buys Swedish probiotic brand ProViva

This morning it was announced that dairy and functional dairy giant Danone buys the Swedish functional health brand ProViva, up to now owned by the Swedish company Skånemejerier. A Danone spokesperson says its a purchase in line with the Danone brand mission - and a good move to develop their product range further.

ProViva is a successful brand in Sweden with a range of nice fruit drink products with probiotic powers. The ProViva brand is all based on the discovery of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v based on in depth clinical research in Lund, Sweden in the 1980's. Today ProViva benefits from a trusted and well researched health claim.

The ProViva brand claim is something like 'The best friend for tummies' , i.e fruit drinks that help tummies or gut bacteria to be and remain healthy.

ProViva is well represented in most Swedish supermarkets and the brand also benefits hugely from being referred to by Swedish health practitioners. It's mostly the well-kn
own product range of fruit drinks that you see being well-stocked at all leading retailers. But apart from the fruit drinks ProViva also makes an interesting range of goodies. How about the so called Shots? Similar in style to the Knorr Vie shots but also benefiting from probiotic bacteria. And how abut Proviva Active, a range of Fruit Drinks with probiotics but also with added carbs and protein - for those of us who are particularly active and need to boost our energy levels.
Last but not least, ProViva launched ProViva Female last year, a range of fruit drinks especially developed for women of fertile age, with added iron, folate and vitamin C. What a range!

I hope the involvement of Danone will help to build this great brand to even further greatness - who knows, it may even take on the world much beyond our Nordic borders. I certainly hope so! With this purchase Danone takes a further step to strengthen its portfolio of health and functional food brands. ProViva is a good addition to their brand portfolio - well done Danone!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Brand positioning case - Ben & Jerrys

Ben & Jerrys is one of my favourite brands. I can pretend that it's got all to do with the taste but... I woul

Ben & Jerry's!Image by Noeluap via Flickr

d be lying. And it's certainly expensive ice-cream to which my rational mind says: - don't buy it! But by then my emotions have already kicked into gear... I simply must have it, I crave it!

Luckily though, I manage to steer away from the ice-cream counter on most shopping trips - but if I've got a weekend night with me, myself and the telly I simply need B & J. So, what has it got that makes it so desirable?

A compelling personality
B&J is so much more than just ice-cream. Buying B&J is about making a statement about who you are. If you find yourself to be just a little bit wacky, a bit creative and in touch with your emotions - then you're sure to like the B&J brand. And if you like those personality traits in yourself - then you like B&J even more! B&J does ice-cream in a way that no one has done it before. It's wacky ice-cream with big bits and weird taste and ingredient mixes. It's fun, quirky and simply brilliant!

A brand story
B&J has a great story to tell. This amazing story is based on the beliefs and principles of the B&J founders Ben and Jerry who had a dream about making the best tasting ice-cream the nicest possible way - you can read more about that story here. And you should be able to trust those founding brand principles even today - despite Unilever buying B&J a few years ago.

Committed to serving good, honest ice-cream with a cause
B&J is committed to a bold social mission statement that should guide the way that the company and the brand interacts with the world.

All in all, Unilever appear to be committed to preserving the things that make B&J stand apart from other brands in the world. I really hope that B&J will be allowed to continue to develop the brand in its own right - I see so many more opportunities for the brand. I hope B&J will see them too!
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Inside the mind of the shopper by Herb Sorensen

I'm currently reading a great book about consumer behaviour in the retail environment. Unfortunately the process of reading is rather long winding these days. Still only managed 53 pages due to constant interactions with my little one. But the insights on those 53 pages are promising indeed - and I cannot wait to learn more about the mind of the shopper. Inside the mind of the shopper is based on sound research from millions of shopping trips and clever eye-tracking studies. The 53 pages I've read have already revealed that:
- There are three typical types of Shoppers (Quick, Fill-up and Stock-up)
- Half of all shopping trips are Quick and include 1-5 products
- Single item shopping account for a whopping 16% of retail sales!

That's just a start for you guys. If I ever get a chance reading more I'll be back with more Shopper revelations.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sex in the city 2 - suffers from too much product placement

Sex and the City: Original Motion Picture Soun...Image via Wikipedia

I enjoyed a girls 'movie night out' in Stockholm last night. These days neither movie nights, nor girls nights are frequent occurances. Last night I celebrated in style with two lovely friends, my highest heels, my lovely Tous handbag, a glass of Bollinger bubbly... and the latest Sex in the city movie.

However, as I left the theater having survived a two hour luxury brand bonanza, I couldn't stop reflecting on the sheer and rather ghastly amount of product placements that are so frequent and too obvious throughout the movie.

Don't get me wrong. I do believe in product placement and in it's power to build brand. But I was still annoyed by how obvious product placement was done in this production. There's hardly a scene without a reference to brands. And sometimes the references are so corny too. One wonders if the movie would have gone ahead at all without the brand owners push and investments.

I hope I won't have to see this kind of product placement destroying movies again. We'll see!
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ramlösa - Honest water campaign

Just a short note between all those little jobs at home. Last night, between watching some telly I enjoyed seeing the latest ad by Ramlösa water again. Ramlösa is the swedish, classic mineral water brand owned by Carlsberg.

I enjoy the new communication from Ramlösa. The new Ramlösa 'Honest water' campaign is very good. The print that can be seen across Sweden is clear, to the point and delivers well on the proposition and the brand values. The TV ad also delivers the 'Honest' message well in a lightly entertaining fashion. And the 'Honest water' comms idea is also really good, a great creative idea based on the foundation of the brand itself i.e. Ramlösa brand proposition of 'naturally refreshing'. Well done Åkestam Holst, the agency behind the latest campaign.

Enjoy the ad below. For those non swedish speakers out there. It's about a guy who comes too late to work and tries to make silly excuses. Another guy shows up and says: -Sorry guys, I overslept to the first guys embarassement.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Merci and Toffifee - Hated comms that sell?

That's what I asked myself as I picked up some Merci chocolate for my grandmother the other day. I scanned the supermarket chocolate shelves in search of something special for a grand old lady who I love. And what do I buy? Well, I got totally stuck on the emo idea of "Merci is my little way of saying thanks - merci, for being you". I even had the tune in my head. Somehow that emotional, tacky, euro ad tune got me buying into the Merci brand.

And as I walked out of the shop I thought of all those tacky commercials that we hate, but somehow also love... Those ads are often German or French for some reason. And the Merci brand owners Storck have managed to create quite a few of those hated ads. Toffifee is another brilliant example. Apparently a quick check on Facebook confirms that there are now 5244 swedes who have signed up to the Facebook group 'The guys who have never had fun times with Toffifee'. This is in response to the much hated 'You have so much fun with Toffifee' ad that's frequently shown over here. Well, is it good or no good for a brand and ad to create this kind of response? Well, as long as Toffifee meets or exceeds its sales objectives I'm sure the Storck guys will laugh all the way to the bank... It's not about creating wonderful ads - it's about effective communication.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How do you find out if you work for an organisation that embrace and encourage innovation?

We often here about well-known and leading edge innovative organisations like Google, Amazon and Apple. Those companies are very open about their relentless focus on innovation and on how to encourage idea generation and development from within.

But then there are all those other companies. The ones who talk a great deal about innovation and about how important it is, but somehow never do anything about innovation apart from designing some long winding innovation processes that will either kill all ideas that come into sight or, if the organisation have got the money, execute all ideas that come into sight - even if those ideas are sure to fail...

Personally I belive that a truly innovative organisation benefits from an innovation agenda and an innovation focus that has been set and communicated top-down, encouraged by top-level openeness to creative thinking. Without this innovation focus at CEO or leadership level an organisation can never become truly innovative and creative.

So, if innovation is important to you and you want to find out if you work for an organisation that's already innovative or at least on the path to becoming innovative, how do you find out? Well, based on my belief in top-management commitment I would suggest that you try to find out what your top-management have got to say about innovation. Do they believe in innovation as a future profit generator? Do they encourage innovative thinking? Do they understand what innovation is all about in your business? Do they know how to drive innovation processes forward in your line of business?

Those are just some of the fundamental questions that you can utilise to understand if your organisation already is or if it is likely to become ahead in the innovation game. Good luck!

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

NA - Nature Addict concept spotted in France

As promised follows the first product spotting from the France trip. The first I'll give you is Nature Addict or N.A. as the name it goes by on the eye catching packaging. N.A. is an all fruit snack concept that's nothing but 100% dried fruit in flavoursome and fun formats. A great snack for adults but also, as I soon noticed, for toddlers. My little one and a half year old insisted on chewing down a few little chewy fruit bits too. Much to the dismay of her mother who wanted all bits for herself...

So what's so brilliant about this concept then? Well, what I like about it is that's it's not only a great tasting all fruit snack but that it's also packaged and conceptualiased in such an appealing way. It's energetic, fresh and fun - nothing like the dreary 'health' snacks look that you often see on shelf. No, this snack is speaking the language of confectionary retail and shopping - but it's still a very healthy, all natural alternative to more sugar loaded confectionary alternatives. My guess is that the bulls eye target group are health oriented women aged approx 18-35 but I actually think it can appeal to all adults, men and women alike. The packaging is eye catching, fun and perfect size to easily fit into small handbags or pockets. And you feel really good after having your one a day fruit portions in a tasty format too.

So, if you ever spot it on shelf - go ahead, have one too! I'm sure we will see much more of this brand outside France.

Maisons du Monde - their designs are divine!

Back after a week in the wonderful Languedoc region of France. What a holiday! It was indeed a perfect start to summer. Sunny days in the garden, glasses of wine on the patio and cool dips in the pool. But I also managed to do some great shopping. The supermarkets of France are the best! And I will tell you about some of the nice little treats that I found there later. But best of all was my visit to Maisons du Monde - an interior design and furniture heaven that specialises in beautiful French style designs - the stuff that I love. And I got some lovely stuff there - mainly little chic knick-knack style things due to the limited space in my suitcase and the very unsympathetic staff at the Ryanair luggage drop... But lovely stuff no less... Maisons du Monde is a lovely retail concept that I wish I could enjoy back home.