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Nike online sales rise by 31 percent

Despite some early backlash and a slight dip in sales, Nike’s online sales increased by 31 percent from Sunday through Tuesday of this week, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The company introduced controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” advertising campaign. President Donald Trump, police officers and many football fans objected to the choice, arguing that Kaepernick taking a knee to protest police brutality and racial injustice was out of line. 

>> Colin Kaepernick face of Nike’s new ‘Just Do It’ ad campaign

The ad, released Monday and featured on television for the first time during Thursday’s NFL opener between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons, featured a close-up, black-and-white image of Kaepernick with the words, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” 

On Friday, San Francisco-based Edison Trends revealed that after an initial drop in sales, Nike recovered strongly. Its 31 percent rise is nearly double its 17 percent gain over the same time period in 2017.

“There was speculation that the Nike/Kaepernick campaign would lead to a drop in sales,” Edison Trends co-founder Hetal Pandya said in a statement. “The data does not support that theory.”

>> Nike campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick sparks boycott

But after Nike’s stock fell 3.9 percent to touch a low of $79 per share on Tuesday, it rebounded to end the week at $80.30 per share, The New York Post reported.

’Country over company': Missouri college removes Nike logos from uniforms

A private Christian college in Missouri said it would “choose its country over company” and remove all athletic uniforms bought from Nike or those that contain the Nike logo, KMBC reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The College of the Ozarks, which is an NAIA school in Point Lookout, made the announcement in a release Wednesday. The college was responding to Nike’s 30th anniversary advertising campaign that features former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee before the national anthem during the 2016 season to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

>> Colin Kaepernick face of Nike’s 30th anniversary ad campaign

“In their new ad campaign, we believe Nike executives are promoting an attitude of division and disrespect toward America," College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis said in a statement. "If Nike is ashamed of America, we are ashamed of them.

“We also believe that those who know what sacrifice is all about are more likely to be wearing a military uniform than an athletic uniform."

>> Nike campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick sparks boycott

Nike has retained Kaepernick on its endorsement roster since signing him in 2011. He has not appeared in any of the brand's ads since 2016, KTRK reported.

"We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward," Gino Fisanotti, Nike's vice president of brand for North America, told ESPN.

Kaepernick is suing the NFL for allegedly colluding to keep him out of the league, KTRK reported. An arbitrator sent Kaepernick's grievance with the NFL to trial, the television station reported.

>> Critics suggest Pat Tillman was better choice for Nike campaign

In October 2017, the College of the Ozarks changed its contracts for all sports, adding a stipulation that all players and coaches show respect for the American flag and national anthem. KMBC reported.

Critics suggest Pat Tillman was better choice for Nike campaign 

Fans of the late Pat Tillman criticized Nike’s choice of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of the company’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” ad campaign, The Arizona Republic reported. 

>> Read more trending news 

The ad, which was released Monday, features a close-up, black-and-white image of Kaepernick with the slogan, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

>> Colin Kaepernick face of Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ ad campaign

Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals football player and Army Ranger, was killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire in 2004. Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, saying he was drawing attention to racial inequality.

While many people on social media lauded the choice of Kapernick, others were just as vigorously opposed, the Republic reported.

“Just putting it out there that Pat Tillman sacrificed just a *bit more than Colin Kaepernick,” commentator Stephen Miller of Fox News tweeted.

Others suggested that Tillman would have supported the players’ right to protest before games. Meanwhile, other posters criticized using Tillman to politicize the issue.

Tillman’s widow, Marie Tillman, released a statement last year saying her husband's service "should never be politicized in a way that divides us," the Republic reported.

Tillman’s family has not commented on the Nike campaign, the newspaper reported.

Coca-Cola agrees to buy Costa Coffee chain for $5.1 billion

Coca-Cola is getting a jolt of caffeine.

>> Read more trending news 

The company agreed to buy Costa, the largest chain in the United Kingdom, for $5.1 billion, The Guardian reported Friday.

Alison Brittain, the chief executive of Whitbread, which owns Costa, said Coca-Cola’s offer led to “an absolutely stonking deal,” the newspaper reported.

Costa has nearly 4,000 stores in 32 countries, The Guardian reported.

The deal will give Coca-Cola “a strong coffee platform across parts of Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, with the opportunity for additional expansion," the company said in a statement.

Whitbread bought Costa in 1995 from its founders, Sergio and Bruno Costa. Stock for Costa jumped 15 percent Friday, The Guardian reported.

The deal still needs to be approved by shareholders and regulators, CNN reported. The companies expect to complete the deal in early 2019.

KFC offering college fund for first baby named for Colonel Sanders on Sept. 9

Want to name your child Harland? Doing so could be worth $11,000 toward the baby’s college education, Kentucky Fried Chicken announced in a news release.

>> Read more trending news 

To commemorate the 128th birthday of its founder, Colonel Harland Sanders, KFC said the first child named Harland on Sept. 9 will receive the cash.

Sanders was born Sept. 9, 1890, and founded Kentucky Fried Chicken while he was in his 60s. He died Dec. 16, 1980.

"Even though vintage names are making a comeback, our iconic founder's name was dwindling in popularity, and we couldn't just stand idly by and let that happen," Andrea Zahumensky, KFC U.S. chief marketing officer, said in the news release. "We hope that this birthday celebration honors the Colonel and encourages the next generation of people aspiring to live the American dream."

On Sept. 9, parents can submit the name, date and time of their baby Harland's birth along with their contact information on www.kfc.com/babyharland. The site will be live for 30 days. The baby's first name must be Harland to qualify. 

California mall offers prime parking spaces -- for a price

A California mall is offering prime parking spots for its customers on the weekends -- for a price.

>> Read more trending news 

On Aug. 11, the Vintage Faire Mall in Modesto introduced a paid parking program called Front & Center Parking at its busiest entrance, The Modesto Bee reported.

There are 200 parking spaces designated in the “assisted valet service” area of the mall, and customers can park all day for $5, the newspaper reported. 

It deviates from traditional valet service, because while the attendant takes the customer’s money, the driver parks his or her own car.

“Over Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, we’re typically at capacity for parking, or close to it,” Vintage Faire Mall Marketing Manager Annie Amies told the Bee. “We just wanted to make it more convenient to shoppers who maybe didn’t want to look around the parking lot for spaces. It’s another service and amenity we thought shoppers would enjoy.”

Handicapped and electric vehicle charging spaces will remain free, the Bee reported. The service will remain in effect through Dec. 31, and while few drivers have taken advantage, it may become more popular during the holiday shopping season.

“For today, I figured it would be good because it gets packed on the weekends,” shopper Teresa Souza told the Bee on Saturday. “It made things a lot easier.”

Some of the mall tenants were not happy with the arrangement.

“This used to be the busiest entrance at the mall and now there are 20 cars parked there,” said Jeff Klotz, who runs a kiosk inside the mall near the premium parking entrance.

The Modesto mall is owned by Macerich, which owns and operates major retail real estate properties. Another mall owned by Macerich, the Freehold Raceway Mall in New Jersey, opened a similar service in July, NJ.com reported.

Starbucks offering 'buy one, get one free' deal for frappuccinos

Fans of Starbucks frappuccinos will be able to buy one and get a second one free during a promotion the company is offering on June 29.

>> Read more trending news 

The offer is valid beginning at 3 p.m. at participating Starbucks stores across the United States, the company said on its website. Customers must buy a grande or larger frappuccino or espresso drink to receive one of equal or lesser value for free.

Customers who have a registered Starbucks card are already eligible for the promotion. Customers who do not must sign up for a card here. After filling out the information, customers will receive a promotion code to take advantage of the buy one, get one free deal, Starbucks said on its website.

Kroger CEO addresses grocery industry, Target merger rumors

The grocery landscape is constantly changing and Kroger has to stay ahead of what the customer wants, the grocery chain’s chief executive said.

>> Read more trending news

Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO of the Cincinnati-based grocery giant, talked about some of those changes from the rise of organics, to the merger rumors to looming trade issues in a new interview with Bloomberg.

“The only thing that stays consistent is people keep eating, but the way they eat will constantly change,” McMullen said.

McMullen said one of those big industry changes is the more than 9 million shoppers that come to Kroger’s store each day want more natural and organic grocery products, like Kroger’s Simple Truth, which is over a $2 billion category today for the retailer.

Addressing looming threats of international trade disputes, McMullen said Kroger’s main concern would be if the company was at a competitive disadvantage.

“From a trade perspective, our competitors are going to have to deal with the same things we would, so we leave it up to the government officials because they have a lot more knowledge than what we would,” he said.

A month ago, there had been rumors of merger talks between Target and Kroger, which Kroger had declined to comment on.

When asked in the Bloomberg interview about the previous reports of merger talks, McMullen said with any type of merger considerations, Kroger is looking at how would it create new capabilities that neither company would have independent of each other.

“To me, we’re big enough at $120 plus billion that scale isn’t really what we need from merging with someone,” McMullen said.

Subway announces it will close 500 stores in US

Subway announced that it will be closing nearly 500 stores in the United States while adding more than 1,000 shops worldwide, WPVI reported Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

The chain, which got its start in August 1965 when founder Fred DeLuca opened a shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut, has nearly 27,000 stores in the United States and 44,000 worldwide. According to the National Retail Federation, the next highest chain is Yum Brands, which runs KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, CNN reported. McDonald’s has 14,000 locations, the federation reported.

Subway’s sales dropped 4.4 percent last year as competition from newer fast-food chains gave consumers more options.

While there will be shutdowns in the U.S. the chain will focus on opening stores in the United Kingdom, Germany and Asia, WPVI reported.

Candy company introduces gummy beers

You’ve heard of gummy bears. A candy company that caters to adults is introducing gummy beers.

>> Read more trending news

Sugarfina has teamed up with Corona Light to celebrate Cinco de Mayo by launching limited-edition Corona Light and lime-flavored gummy candies ahead of Cinco de Mayo, WFLA reported.

The company is introducing two products: But First, Cerveza; and Here For a Good Lime.

But First, Cerveza, features a gummy shaped like a bottle of Corona Lite and tastes “like sunshine in a bottle,” according to a release on the Sugarfina website. 

Here For a Good Lime is shaped like a lime slice and are described as “tart and zesty.”

Although both candies have a beer-like taste, neither flavor is alcoholic, WFLA reported.

Both come in individual boxes for $7.50, according to the company website. A combination bento box that also includes a lime-shaped bottle opener costs $26.

The candies went on pre-sale on Monday, with in-store sales to begin April 1 at Sugarfina boutiques and Nordstrom stores, WFLA reported.

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