Brands Brief: Reluctant Meal Kit Customers Cite Cost Concerns

Top Stories

  • Americans are either reticent to try a home delivery meal kit service at all or only willing to try it once, according to a recent Morning Consult survey — but as the industry grows, at least one company is offering a low-cost alternative. (Morning Consult)
  • Trademarks registered to Inc. indicate the company could be readying a foray into the home delivery meal kit service space, ready-made meals and possibly even fast food. (TechCrunch)
  • Signet Jewelers announced CEO Mark Light is retiring, citing “health issues,” and his successor will be five-year board member Virginia “Gina” C. Drosos. The company is currently involved in a class-action case after thousands of women alleged that they were the victims of discriminatory pay and promotion practices at its subsidiary. (The Washington Post)

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Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Digital Publishing Innovation Summit in New York 7:30 a.m.
Milestone Engage 2017 digital marketing conference in Chicago 7:30 a.m.
MozCon Seattle 8 a.m.
Innovation Congress in New York 12 p.m.
Advertising Age’s Small Agency Conference and Awards in Nashville 6 p.m.
Advertising Age’s Small Agency Conference and Awards in Nashville 8 a.m.
Innovation Congress in New York 8 a.m.
OMMA Los Angeles 8 a.m.
MozCon Seattle 9 a.m.
ANA webinar on building customer relationships 1 p.m.
GrowCommerce 2017 in New York 8 a.m.
PRNews’ Facebook Boot Camp in New York 8:30 a.m.
PR Now & Next Conference Chicago 8:30 a.m.
Adweek webinar with Office Depot on people-based marketing 1 p.m.
PR Now & Next Conference Chicago 9 a.m.

This Is the Future of Brand Reputation Tracking

See how Morning Consult Brand Intelligence is changing the way media, marketing and communications executives are managing brand reputation.


Ad tech can no longer handle all the ads available for sale
Mike Shields, Business Insider

There are so many ads for sale on the web that ad tech firms can barely even handle it. Many ad tech companies promise software designed to process thousands of ad transactions in real time.

Subway unveils ‘Fresh Forward’ redesign
Jonathan Maze, Nation’s Restaurant News

Subway wants to remind consumers that it pioneered the assembly-line restaurant model — and also give them a place to charge their phones. The Milford, Conn.-based sandwich giant is revealing its “Fresh Forward” redesign that it hopes to bring to its 44,000 global locations over the next few years, in what promises to be a massive overhaul of the world’s largest restaurant chain by unit count.

This Retailer is Taking Advantage of an Amazon Blind Spot
Emily Bary, Barron’s

When it comes to selling beauty products, one retailer might actually be doing things better than Amazon.comGoldman Sachs analyst Matthew Fassler says that’s makeup selections and delivery times still can’t compete with those found at Ulta Beauty, a national cosmetics chain.

MillerCoors Consolidates Global Creative Duties on the Miller Brand Within Omnicom’s DDB Network
Patrick Coffee, Adweek

Beverage giant MillerCoors has shuffled the creative agency roster for its Miller brand for the fifth time in less than six years, assigning global duties on Miller Lite and Miller Genuine Draft to DDB Chicago and London-based Adam&EveDDB, respectively. The change occurred after a formal review.

SurveyMonkey refreshes its brand, emphasizing curiosity
Ilyse Liffreing, Digiday

SurveyMonkey is rebranding to highlight the power of data to drive curiosity. The refresh, which includes a new logo and site design, will position the company to “power the curious,” rather than it’s previous tagline of “help make great decisions.”

Brands to face stricter ad rules around gender stereotypes
Leonie Roderick, Marketing Week

The ASA is looking to introduce new ad rules to stop gender stereotypes, as it admits “tougher” guidelines are needed to protect children from “restrictive” gender norms. The industry body has released a report today (18 July), which explores whether current regulation is doing enough to address the potential for harm arising from gender stereotypes in ads.

Media and Entertainment

Sony Pictures Loses Financing Partner Lone Star Capital
Brent Lang and Dave McNary, Variety

In a blow to Sony Pictures, Lone Star Capital is ending its co-financing partnership with the studio after a series of film flops. The deal will end at midnight on Monday. LStar had been supposed to co-finance “The Emoji Movie,” “Flatliners,” “The Star,” “Peter Rabbit,” and “Hotel Transylvania 3.”

TV Ratings: ‘Game of Thrones’ Premiere Crushes Previous Audience Record
Michael O’Connell, The Hollywood Reporter

Winter arrived in July with the seventh season premiere of Game of Thrones, but there’s nothing cold about the HBO series’ viewership. Coming back from the longest hiatus in its history, the drama nabbed a series high showing for a first-run telecast with an average 10.1 million viewers.

An Ashton Kutcher-backed media company is going public
Frank Chaparro, Business Insider

An Ashton Kutcher-backed company has launched an initial public offering on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Chicken Soup for the Soul, the publishing company known for its inspirational book series by the same name, plans to raise $30 million in an initial public offering for the firm’s entertainment unit, according to a news release.

Social Media and Technology

Trademarks show Amazon has sights on meal-kits, “single cow burgers” and other fast food options
Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch

Amazon has made no secret of its ambitions to expand into more fresh food services, from its own, homegrown efforts like AmazonFresh for groceries (first launched in 2013) and Amazon Restaurants for restaurant delivery (first launched in 2014), through to its most recent plan to acquire Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. In fact, the company has its sights set on a number of other culinary areas, such as the development of its own farm-to-table products, Blue Apron-style meal kits, and other food fixes to help it better tap the $800 billion grocery opportunity.

Netflix Surprises With Big Subscriber Gains, Shares Soar
Austen Hufford, The Wall Street Journal

Netflix Inc. blew through its subscriber-growth estimate in the second quarter, showing that its big bets on original programming and international expansion are paying off, even as the streaming market gets more crowded. The Los Gatos, Calif., company ended the quarter with nearly 104 million subscribers globally.

Tesla Names James Murdoch and Linda Johnson Rice to Board of Directors
Tim Higgins, The Wall Street Journal

Tesla Inc., which has faced criticism from its investors about a lack of independent directors, named 21st Century Fox Inc. Chief Executive James Murdoch and Ebony Media CEO Linda Johnson Rice to its board. The appointments announced Monday expand Tesla’s board to nine people, including the Silicon Valley auto maker’s CEO, Elon Musk.

You’ll soon be able to use PayPal to fund Samsung Pay purchases
Natt Garun, The Verge

Samsung Pay will soon accept PayPal as a payment method in addition to bank accounts, credit cards, and gift cards. It’s a tiny update that could be useful for PayPal customers who want more avenues to spend their PayPal balance in stores, as Samsung Pay is widely accepted anywhere a credit card is.

Tech-powered residential real estate firm Redfin sets IPO terms at $12 to $14 per share
John Cook, GeekWire

Redfin is inching closer to its proposed initial public offering, with the so-called “technology-powered residential real estate brokerage” setting terms for its debut on the NASDAQ stock exchange. In a filing with the SEC released today, Seattle-based Redfin said it plans to sell 9.23 million shares in the $12 to $14 per share range.

Snap just made it easier for brands of all sizes to create ads on the platform
Tanya Dua, Business Insider

Snap wants to make it easier for advertisers to go vertical. Starting today, advertisers of all sizes will be able to create full screen video ads in less than two minutes using just a web browser, thanks to a slick new creative tool called Snapchat Publisher.

PR and Marketing

Signet Jewelers CEO, at center of gender-discrimination case, retires for ‘health reasons’
Drew Harwell, The Washington Post

Mark Light, the Signet Jewelers chief executive at the center of a sprawling gender-discrimination case, will retire due to “health reasons” and be replaced at the end of this month, the company said Monday. Light was named CEO in 2014 and worked for 35 years at the retail-jewelry conglomerate, best known for its brands Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers.

Macy’s leads retail gains as foot traffic data favours clothing
Joe Rennison et al., Financial Times

Macy’s led gains across retailers on Monday, as data showed that the decline in customer traffic across clothing shops has been less than other sectors. Macy’s rose 3.6 per cent to $23.16 in afternoon trading in New York.

BNY Mellon names former Visa CEO to top job
Tim McLaughlin, Reuters

Bank of New York Mellon Corp on Monday said former Visa chief executive Charles Scharf will take the top job at the world’s largest custody bank, where he will focus on boosting organic growth. Scharf immediately replaces 65-year-old Gerald Hassell, who will remain chairman of BNY Mellon until the end of the year when he retires.

Tesla Shares Fall After Driver Claims Car Crashed While Using Autopilot
Claire Ballentine
 and David Welch, Bloomberg

Tesla Inc. shares dropped Monday after a Minnesota man claimed his vehicle suddenly accelerated after he engaged the car’s driver-assistance system and crashed into a marsh. Dave Clark, 58, told police the 2016 vehicle left the roadway after he activated Tesla’s Autopilot system, according to a statement released Sunday by the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office.

Bobby Flay restaurant announces plans to go public in mini-IPO
Caitlin Huston, MarketWatch

Bobby’s Burger Palace, the restaurant co-created by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, announced its intention Monday to go public in a $15 million Regulation A+ offering. Under a Regulation A+ offering, the company can offer shares to the general public, not just accredited investors.

Google told to hand over salary details in gender equality court battle
Sam Levin, The Guardian

A judge has ordered Google to hand over salary records to the government in an ongoing investigation by the US Department of Labor (DoL), which has accused the technology corporation of systematically discriminating against women. Google must provide the federal government with a 2014 snapshot of the data, along with contact information for thousands of employees for possible interviews, according to a ruling made public on Sunday.

Ashley Madison offers $11m settlement
BBC News

The owner of the Ashley Madison infidelity website, which was hacked in July 2015, has offered a settlement to the people suing the company. Millions of members had their personal details stolen when the site, which encouraged people to cheat on their partners, was breached.

As companies relocate to big cities, suburban towns are left scrambling
Jonathan O’Connell, The Washington Post

 Visitors to the McDonald’s wooded corporate campus enter on a driveway named for the late chief executive Ray Kroc, then turn onto Ronald Lane before reaching Hamburger University, where more than 80,000 people have been trained as fast-food managers. Surrounded by quiet neighborhoods and easy highway connections, this 86-acre suburban compound adorned with walking paths and duck ponds was for four decades considered the ideal place to attract top executives as the company rose to global dominance.

Fans embrace Ivanka Trump’s brand as a political statement
Matea Gold and Drew Harwell, The Washington Post

Leslie Koth was scrolling through her Facebook feed in early February when she saw the news that Nordstrom, citing low sales, had decided to stop carrying Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. She immediately went online and snapped up a Trump-branded plum-and-pink sunburst dress selling for $138.

$1 million in marijuana found in brand new Ford Fusions
Dakin Andone, CNN

Word on the street is the new Ford Fusions are dope — but not in the way you think. Authorities are looking into how marijuana worth $1 million was hidden in the trunks of brand new, Mexican-made Ford Fusions at a dealership in Ohio, according to Silverio Balzano, agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Youngstown office.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

Price Is an Obstacle to Meal Kit Popularity, Poll Shows
Laura Nichols, Morning Consult

Some Americans are willing to try out an online meal kit delivery service, Morning Consult polling shows. But the high price of getting a group of ingredients for dishes like roasted chicken with panzanella salad is causing people to cancel their existing subscriptions — or forego trying such services at all.

Look at what Amazon’s Alexa can do on a phone!
Jessica Dolcourt, CNET

Amazon’s Alexa is coming to phones. We’ve seen it on the Huawei Mate 9 and now it’s here for the HTC U11, the phone you can squeeze.

Bricks and mortar stores are not made of straw
Financial Times

Is bricks and mortar retail dead — even in the US, where shopping is somewhere between state religion and national pastime? A glance at the stock market might persuade you of it.

CMOs’ Evolving Analytics Imperative: A Q&A With Schneider Electric CMO Chris Leong
Jennifer Rooney, Forbes

As senior marketers continue to grapple with data — what to use, how to interpret it, what to eschew, what to see beyond — they’re flooded with perspectives and expertise and answers to those questions. In an effort to wade through the noise and get clarity around the evolving analytics imperative for CMOs, I’m taking questions to key participants in the advertising and marketing industry, those whose organizations sit at the crossroads of problem and solution.

The Smart Way to Find and Activate Your Brand Fans
James Russo and Jeff Gregori, Advertising Age

Connecting emotionally with a desired audience is the ultimate goal for any marketer. Unfortunately, all too often, the media supply chain is effectively broken, with ad experiences rarely matching true consumer needs.

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