Welcome to the latest edition of Marketer's Brief, a quick take on marketing news, moves and trends from Ad Age's reporters and editors. Send tips/suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maybe McDonald’s just isn’t meant to be fancy. Below, find out how the fast-feeder is cutting back on premium burger toppings. We also revisit Oreo’s famous “you can still dunk in the dark” tweet, as a former Mondelez executive this week suggests it wasn’t worth the hype. “Sorry to have wasted your time,” he says. Now he tells us? But first, 4/20 is three days away, which means marketing is about to go to pot.
Just like cannabis, the unofficial holiday celebrating it has gone mainstream. Get ready for a lot of 4/20 pot tweets from brands trying to look hip. But how edgy is it, really, now that cannabis is legal in multiple states? Even a couple of food brands are going beyond social media to launch actual 4/20-inspired products.
A Carl’s Jr. restaurant in Denver, for instance, plans to sell a “Rocky Mountain High: CheeseBurger Delight.” The special sandwich features two beef patties, Carl’s Jr. Santa Fe Sauce infused with hemp-based CBD oil, pickled jalapeños, pepper jack cheese and fries (yes, fries), and goes on sale at 6 a.m. on April 20. It will sell for, you guessed it, $4.20. The hemp-derived CBD oil being used comes from Colorado’s Bluebird Botanicals. Voters in Colorado approved the legalization of recreational marijuana use in 2012. According to Bloomberg, the cheeseburger will have 5 milligrams of CBD.
For those outside Denver, there’s a way to satisfy the munchies from the comfort of home. Andy Capp’s is releasing a special take on its Hot Fries: Andy Capp’s Fully Baked Hot Munchies are available through delivery via goPuff on April 19 and 20, according to parent company Conagra Brands. As Conagra co-Chief Operating Officer Tom McGough joked during an investor presentation last week, “this brand is growing like a weed.” Once again, the price is a play on the day, as four 4-packs will be sold for $20.
Revisiting ‘dunk in the dark’
Who can forget Oreo’s famous “you can still dunk in the dark” tweet sent when the power went out at the 2013 Super Bowl? It was widely praised as one of the first examples of “real-time marketing,” a practice that now occurs so regularly that these kind of tweets rarely break through, unless they're exceptionally witty or timely.
On Wednesday, Jerry Daykin, a former marketer at Oreo-owner Mondelez International, headed to Twitter to re-examine Oreo’s famous tweet, while calling out M&M’s for its attempt at tying into the final season of “Game of Thrones” with a tweet a couple of days ago.
“I feel morally responsible for leading Mdlz social when Oreo Dunked in the Dark,” Daykin wrote as he retweeted a post from M&M’s U.K. account. Mdlz is shorthand (and the ticker symbol) for Mondelez. “Everyone got excited by our real-time success, but we forgot to say that our bigger conclusion was that ongoing (paid media supported) targeted relevance was better. Sorry to have wasted your time.”
Daykin, who is currently a media director at GSK, was head of social media marketing at Mondelez in London when the “dunk in the dark” tweet was sent by a team in the U.S.
But one person familiar with the effort disagrees, telling Ad Age: “Not sure where he was during the Super Bowl, but it wasn’t with the brand or its agencies. The tweet had no media support behind it—just earned attention. The lesson is to find unique opportunities to be relevant, but not to create a monster of a sub-industry of real-time marketing without a strategy, focus or reasons to be.”
Bye bye, Signature Crafted
McDonald’s is abandoning a two-year-old experiment with more premium burgers, while sticking with updates to its classic Quarter Pounder. The move suggests the Signature Crafted line meant to attract diners looking for premium toppings wasn’t a hit. After introducing fresh beef Quarter Pounder patties in 2018, the Golden Arches began offering bacon on the Quarter Pounder this year, as well as a Quarter Pounder Deluxe with lettuce, sliced tomatoes, mayo, American cheese, onions and pickles. Now, saying those changes have been successful, it will eliminate Signature Crafted, which debuted in 2017 and featured groupings of higher-end toppings for hamburgers, grilled chicken or crispy chicken sandwiches.
Camaro vs. Mustang, Part II
Chevy Camaro is again trying to crash Ford Mustang’s birthday. A new video from the Commonwealth/McCann’s office in Dubai shows a mustang horse winking, then blowing out the candles on a 55th birthday cake with a Mustang logo. The birthday present turns out to be a Camaro. Last year on the Mustang’s 54th video, the same agency produced a video showing a speeding Camaro producing enough wind to blow out the candles on Mustang’s cake.
MullenLowe, which recently won the Grey Goose account from BBDO, is out with the brand's first work, called “Live Victoriously.” Ads encourage people to drink the premium vodka more often, rather than saving it for special occasions.
Would you buy this?
Here’s more fodder for the millennial avocado toast jokes: Potbelly is now selling it. The chain’s limited-time Avo Toast comes with sliced avocados, cucumbers, red peppers, onions, and feta, and is served on open-faced bread. It suggests the avocado toast trend isn’t going away anytime soon, but may be getting a bit less pricey.
Tweet of the week
Comings and goings
Papa John's board has created a marketing committee. Its three members are its three newest board members: Dollar Shave Club founder and CEO Michael Dubin, who gets the committee chairman seat; Him for Her founder and CEO Jocelyn Mangan; and the company's newest paid endorser, Shaquille O’Neal.
Hostess Brands named Chad Lusk SVP and chief marketing officer. Hostess also says it plans to open a corporate office in Chicago that will become its hub for marketing and category management while keeping its headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. Lusk was most recently CMO of Chamberlain Group, which sells garage doors and other products, and prior to Chamberlain was chief strategy officer and then SVP of marketing at Ferrara Candy Company.
Contributing: E.J. Schultz, Jessica Wohl[from http://bit.ly/2VwvxLm]