Brands in the News

Three Reasons to Fire a Customer

6 May , 2015  

Shipping and logistics giant UPS reported its quarterly earnings last week. Results were good and the stock jumped. One reason UPS did well is that it dropped several large customers. On the surface this makes no sense at all. Companies generally want to keep customers, not lose them. The way to grow a business is to […]

Brands in the News

U.S. Airlines Fight Back

23 Apr , 2015  

The big three U.S. carriers are fighting back. The aviation giants are appealing to the U.S. government, claiming that Emirates, Qatar and Etihad are competing unfairly. They hope the government will limit the new carriers’ access to the U.S. market. The strategy makes perfect sense. Delta, United and American have to defend. The Mid-East carriers […]

Brands in the News

Learning from Kraft: Results Matter

15 Apr , 2015  

It has been a rough few months for Kraft Foods. In late December CEO Tony Vernon stepped down. This was a blow for the organization because many people at Kraft liked his approach to leadership. He valued brands and people and was making some smart moves. Then in March, 3G Capital announced plans to acquire […]

Brands in the News

March Madness Advertising

7 Apr , 2015  

Last night Duke and Wisconsin battled it out for the NCAA championship. It was a terrific game. The advertising wasn’t as impressive. Some advertisers ran the same spot over and over. Other brands got so caught up in the basketball that they lost track of their basic task: selling some product. Here is my assessment […]

Brands in the News

Wild, REI and the Power of Product Placement

27 Mar , 2015  

Last week I was in Europe teaching in Germany and Denmark. On the flight home I finished Cheryl Strayed’s book Wild and then watched the movie. I recommend both. Two brands get special recognition in Wild: Snapple and REI. Outdoor retailer REI particularly stands out. In the movie, Strayed struggles with blisters because her boots […]

Brands in the News

Apple Watch and Pay: Searching for the Benefit

13 Mar , 2015  

Apple is rolling out two big innovations this year: Apple Watch and Apple Pay. These new products will be important growth drivers. Of course, that assumes they will be successful. Most people think the both products will do well. After Apple’s press conference this week, business and technology writers celebrated the watch. People are excited […]

Brands in the News

Cadillac’s Curious Start

5 Mar , 2015  

GM is trying to rebuild Cadillac, again. While the brand has a long history, it is struggling today as it deals with tough competition in premium autos. It now ranks #4 in the luxury segment, far behind BMW, Mercedes and Lexus. More important, the associations around Cadillac aren’t positive. Many people think of the brand […]

Brands in the News

Spirit Airlines: The Power of a Clear Strategy

23 Feb , 2015  

This weekend I had the opportunity to fly on Spirit Airlines for the first time. My assessment: the company has a terrific strategy, but the branding needs some work. I hadn’t planned on flying Spirit, but last week I spent a few days skiing with my family in Breckenridge, Colorado (and dislocated my shoulder in the process, but […]


Super Bowl

Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review: 2015 Results and Analysis

2 Feb , 2015  

The 2015 Super Bowl featured serious, emotional advertising. While the event usually tends to skew more towards humor, this year the laughs were in short supply. Overall the advertising was strong. Marketers are clearly focusing on creating spots that will resonate broadly and build both sales and the brand. Still, this year had its highs […]

Super Bowl

Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review: The Results

2 Feb , 2015  

McDonald’s won the 2015 Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review. Almost 70 Kellogg MBA students reviewed all the spots and put McDonald’s at the top of the list. Here are the grades. I will publish a full analysis later today. Grade: A McDonald’s Always Budweiser and Bud Light Clash of Clans Coke Fiat Grade: B Avocados […]

Super Bowl

The Super Bowl Social Media Challenge

1 Feb , 2015  

Today I’ll be tweeting during the Super Bowl, commenting on the ads and the Kellogg Super Bowl Advertising Review. You can follow me: @timothycalkins Many and perhaps all of the advertisers will be commenting on Twitter as well, hoping to engage people and get as much impact as possible from their Super Bowl investment. They […]

Super Bowl

Four Super Bowl Spots That Missed on Linkage

30 Jan , 2015  

One of the most difficult things for a Super Bowl advertiser to get right is linkage. It isn’t enough to develop a clever commercial that stands out and is memorable. You have to link the creative idea to the brand. If linkage isn’t strong, the ad simply won’t work very well. People will remember the […]