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Mars and Coors relaunch to tackle falling sales as Camel goes in search of slackers

Mars spent £10m to take it from work, rest and play to pleasure beyond measure, while Coors thinks it can sell more beer with a switch of names, writes Jennifer Whitehead in this week's Brand Watch.

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Faced with plunging sales, Mars unveiled a £10m campaign this week to reposition the Mars bar in the increasingly competitive snack world. Grey Worldwide unveiled its first advertising for the chocolate bar since it replaced 40-year incumbent D'Arcy on the account last year. The agency has come up with a new slogan: "Pleasure you can't measure", which sees the bar launch with new packaging.

The Mars bar itself has also been modified to make it lighter, after consumer research showed that people found it too heavy. With a poster campaign breaking across Europe in May, Mars hopes the activity will arrest its declining sales, which plummeted from 2bn to 1.09bn last year.

Relaunches were the theme of the week, this week. Along with Mars bar, US beer Coors made a huge leap by rebranding Original Coors to... Coors Original.

Unfortunately, there was no word on how much brand consultants were paid to come up with this new name, which is to be backed up by a change in Coors' packaging. What is known is that the new design will feature mountains "to connect back to the brand's Colorado heritage". Coors, the number-three brewer in the US, saw sales fall by 4.1% over the last quarter of 2001.

Camel cigarettes are also set for a relaunch in all markets outside the US. It has dropped Joe Camel from its advertising and plans to target slackers -- but only the ones who already smoke, of course -- with a new slogan: "Slow down, pleasure up", which to some sounds more like an invitation to do something quite different.

Still, no one can have a bigger relaunch task on his hands than Iain Duncan Smith. Yesterday, Francis Maude warned that the Tories had a choice between "stagnation and oblivion or radicalism and revival".

Red faces at Lee Kum Kee this week, as it was revealed that its traditional prawn crackers were found to be missing a vital ingredient -- prawns. The particular brand featured the face of TV chef Ken Hom on its packaging. The omission of prawns from the prawn crackers was discovered when a trading standards officer noticed there was no mention of prawns in the ingredients.

Hundreds of years of tradition came to an end when Lloyd's List said ships would no longer be referred to as "she". The editor has said he expects a "full mailbag" from its readers when it switches to the neutral "it" -- however, in the end it boiled down to technical issues, rather than cultural ones.

Another tradition ended as Vauxhall closed its factory in Luton yesterday with the loss of 1,900 jobs. Vauxhall blamed the strength of the pound against the euro, and follows in the footsteps of Ford, which earlier closed its Dagenham plant after 71 years of production. However, there was better news for the UK motor industry as Rover inked a deal with China.

Andersen entered discussions with KPMG to sell its non-European operations, as the fallout from the Enron scandal continued. Meanwhile, Marketing revealed that PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte & Touche are talking to branding agencies about how they can distance their consulting businesses from their accounting arms -- no doubt taking a cue from Andersen's former consulting arm Accenture, which has avoided being tainted by the Enron collapse.

From big business to not-for-profit. Ms magazine, the feminist magazine founded by Gloria Steinem in 1972, has started to take ads again for the first time in over 10 years.

Yves Saint Laurent may have announced his retirement earlier this year, but the brand lives on. The French fashion and cosmetics label was keen to remind Marks & Spencer of this, as it opposed the high-street retailer launching a chain of MSL shops. MSL stands for Marks & Spencer lingerie, but Yves Saint Laurent feels that the chain is trying to cash in on its YSL brand. A decision on the case is expected from the Register of Community Trademarks by the beginning of 2003.

The greenback is no longer -- the US Treasury, in an attempt to deter forgers, is to introduce colour to US dollar bills. However, the treasury is not going to do a Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen and go colour-crazy, but will simply add some subtle tones to the background of the notes, which are currently a neutral shade.

Apparently, some 39% of forged US notes in circulation were printed from personal computers.

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