Tag Archives: branding

When is it Necessary to Rebrand?

Everyone is likely to be familiar with the pizza brand Papa John’s. And, many people likely also recognize the image of the head of the company, founder John Schnatter. After all, it’s his face and name on the company and the product. Schnatter’s entrepreneurial story has been a big part of the company’s brand image and his visage has prominently been featured in its marketing and promotion activities.

However, Schnatter’s name and face have been in hot water after he recently made a racial slur on a conference call with its ad agency. (Note: The agency dropped Papa John’s as a client after the call.) This comes on top of Schnatter’s controversial NFL statements a year ago, criticizing football players who knelt (instead of standing) for the national anthem, and blaming them for lower pizza sales.

Eventually, the NFL ended the Papa John’s relationship and signed with Pizza Hut as the official pizza partner of the NFL. Also breaking ties with Papa John’s is Major League Baseball, eliminating its co-branded marketing efforts.

The big question: Should Papa John’s rebrand?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: When should a company rebrand? What is the impact of a visible company leader who crosses a line in society?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team research and discuss what happened with Papa John’s in regards to negative press.
  3. Poll teams: Should the company rebrand?
  4. Have teams list what would be involved in order to rebrand. What should the new brand look like?
  5. View the response from Papa John’s to its customers: https://www.papajohns.com/open-letter/
  6. Debrief the exercise.

Source: CNN Money,  USA Today, Brandchannel.com, and other news sources

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Uncle Drew – The Movie Hits the Big Screen

Branding knows no bounds. Well, at least it knows when it’s “in-bounds” in this case (on the basketball court)…

It’s here – the Uncle Drew movie has finally arrived and fans have been ecstatic! What began eight years ago as a series of short, online scripted videos by Pepsi MAX has now hit the big screen as a full movie starring NBA star Kyrie Irving as the elderly (but still talented) basketball player Uncle Drew.

The story focuses on how one of the characters drained his life savings to enter the Rucker Classic street ball tournament in Harlem, only to see his longtime rival take over his team. Desperate to win the tournament and regain his money, he stumbles upon “the man, the myth, the legend” – Uncle Drew! What ensues is a road trip to round up Uncle Drew’s old basketball squad and prove that the old guys still have what it takes to be winners on the court. With a supporting cast including great players such as Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson, and Lisa Leslie, the movie features quick moves and plenty of laughs.

The short films are still winners online. All quickly went viral and have remained fan favorites:

  • Part 1, May 2012, 52 million views. Pepsi MAX visits a New Jersey pick-up game where Uncle Drew first appears.
  • Part 2, October 2012, 13 million views. Uncle Drew is on a mission to get his old team back together in Los Angeles.
  • Part 3, October 2013, 22 million views. Uncle Drew visits an underground jazz club in Chicago to convince his old point guard to revisit the game.
  • Part 4, November 2015, 15 million views. Uncle Drew is in Miami settling old scores.

This is likely one of the largest brand promotion projects done by Pepsi. It’s a Pepsi-funded movie based on a character and concept featured in its soda commercials. Like Pepsi, other companies have been increasing their spending on branded content – films that look more like editorial content than advertising. Clever move – consumers accept the story more easily than accept advertising.

It’s all about the buckets, young blood.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. This is a great summer case study when students are restless and need some screen time.
  2. Discuss the benefits and expenses of branding. How did the original Uncle Drew accomplish this for Pepsi?
  3. Watch the movie trailer: https://youtu.be/Ept29ceiVfk
  4. If you have not seen the original viral videos, here they are:
    1. Part 1: https://youtu.be/8DnKOc6FISU
    2. Part 2: https://youtu.be/MLyvkBifQ3w
    3. Part 3: https://youtu.be/spDdO_ZB-lE
    4. Part 4: https://youtu.be/ZY6GAOPGuPs
    5. Interview with Drew: https://youtu.be/sW2sobJXI4s
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team discuss the pros and cons of this brand extension and movie. What should Pepsi, and other companies, do next?

Source: Brandchannel.com

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Paper, Not Plastic

Plastics and trash are quickly mounting and are endangering the beauty and health of our environment. All acts – large and small – are important to protect the environment. As consumers, we recycle, repurpose, or try to reuse. And, for corporations, the stakes are even higher as they look at their responsibility to people and the planet.

Many corporations have committed to reducing waste in their operations. For example, McDonald’s committed to having 100% of its packing globally come from renewable, recycled, or certified sources by 2025. And, beginning in September 2018, McDonald’s in the UK will be replacing plastic straws with paper ones. McDonald’s has 1,361 outlets in the UK and it uses around 1.8 million straws per day in the UK alone. While it may seem like a small item, plastic straws are the sixth most common type of trash on a global scale. Because of the plastic’s composition, it is difficult to recycle plastic straws.

McDonald’s is implementing the program in response to petitions calling for the switch from plastic, warning that plastic straws pollute the oceans, harm seabirds and marine life. An estimated 1 million birds, and more than 100,000 sea mammals die each year as a result of eating or getting tangled in plastic waste.

Let’s skip the straws.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of social responsibility.
  2. What is the triple bottom-line for social responsibility?
  3. View video on the McDonald’s change: https://youtu.be/wH61dYMieJo
  4. View Blue Planet video clip about plastic waste: https://youtu.be/I4QNolP7Khc
  5. Divide students into teams. Each team should identify a simple environmental problem and a solution.
  6. How should the solution be marketed?

Source: The Guardian, New York Times, Brandchannel.com, other news sources

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