Procter & Gamble to Feature Multiple Brands in Interactive Super Bowl Spot

Procter & Gamble owns a slew of the world’s best-known CPG brands, from Tide to Always, SK-II to Head & Shoulders. In the conglomerate’s Super Bowl spot, several of those brands will be highlighted–in a single commercial. P&G’s Super Bowl 54 spot will feature several of its most recognizable mascots and spokespeople, including Head &…

Can a New Marketing Campaign Bring Vitality Back to GNC?

While health and wellness retailer GNC isn’t as physically fit as it once was, a new ad campaign might help restore some vitality. In a lighthearted, self-deprecating spot from Havas New York that debuted earlier this month, GNC invited viewers to see the company in a different light by focusing on an asset more valuable…

Upheaval at Gap Shows a Need to Reconnect With Its Core Customer

It’s been a tumultuous time at Gap Inc. Over the past several weeks, the San Francisco-based retail conglomerate, which owns seven brands including Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy, has seen the departure of three senior executives and the scrapping of a previously announced plan to spin off Old Navy. The latest exit is marketing…

Top Advertisers, Media Platforms Get Tough on Harmful Online Content

While they may be rivals on retail shelves, some of the world’s top brands have joined forces to eradicate a common enemy: harmful online content. At the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the Global Alliance for Responsible Media announced a new initiative to fight back against the flood of damaging content uploaded…

Glossier and Taco Bell Rank Among the Top Brands in Building Online Communities

Dirty Lemon, Glossier and Taco Bell are ranked as the three most culturally relevant consumer brands effectively building online communities by Zyper, a peer-to-peer marketing platform. The software company’s rankings of the Top 40 brands building online communities is known as the Zyper Community Index 2020. The full results will be revealed at the World…

Consumer Demand for Better Packaging Might Just Save the Planet

When he founded TerraCycle in 2001, Tom Szaky was in the business of keeping tough-to-recycle products out of landfills. In 2019, he expanded that mandate with a service called Loop, which focuses on reusing packaging instead of merely recycling it. In partnership with several well-known brands, Loop offers household goods from olive oil to laundry…

Payless ShoeSource Emerges From Bankruptcy, Relaunching Brand in the U.S.

Payless ShoeSource has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after filing last February, the retailer announced this morning. The company has appointed a new executive management team led by CEO Jared Margolis. The discount footwear retailer, however, declined to provide specific details at this time about its strategy to relaunch the brand in the U.S.,…

Here’s What Allbirds Has Learned About Ecommerce in China So Far

Earlier this month DTC footwear brand Allbirds debuted in Japan, about nine months after it started selling in China through Alibaba’s online B2C marketplace Tmall. As Allbirds mulls where to go next, international president Erick Haskell spoke at the National Retail Federation’s conference in New York this week about how the brand tackled the world’s…

What’s Your Fashion Footprint? ThredUp’s Quiz Will Tell You

Sustainability has become one of those buzzy terms in recent years that’s thrown around so often that it can start to feel meaningless–and in the complicated and often opaque world of fashion, it can be difficult to know where to begin. But it’s true that clothing production has a huge environmental impact: 1.2 billion tons…

How the North American International Auto Show Reinvents Itself for a New Decade

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit has been a launching pad for automakers to announce new vehicles and product innovations for more than three decades. But recently, the influential auto industry event, known for kicking off the global show circuit every January, has seen a slowdown in engagement. In 2019, the show…

P&G Is Making Sure No One Sees Its Ads Too Often

At the National Retail Federation’s annual conference in New York, Procter & Gamble reinforced the axiom that sometimes more is less, and less is more. During a featured session, Monica Turner, P&G’s svp of sales for North America, said technology is changing consumer expectations and how the company operates, including how brands connect with consumers–even…

Retailer Media Networks Are Coming, but Where Are They Coming From?

Like so many changes in commerce to date, the rise of retailer media networks can be traced back to Amazon. The ecommerce giant introduced its media business in 2012 as it sought to monetize its own properties. And, along the way, it not only found additional revenue for other projects that may or may not…

Lululemon Projects Higher Comparable Sales for the Holidays

Lululemon is continuing its momentum into the new year, reporting that comparable sales for its fourth quarter ended Feb. 2, which encompasses the holiday shopping season, will be in the high teens. The company, as a result, revised its guidance upward for the quarter. The higher than expected results at the athletic apparel retailer is…

Campbell’s Goes Veggie, Gluten-Free and No-Grain With New Products

In recent weeks, the Campbell Soup Company has introduced several on-trend, health-conscious versions of its most popular snacks, a sign of continuing pressure in the CPG industry to keep up with consumer demand for more nutritious options. The latest is Campbell-owned Late July, unveiling a grain-free tortilla chip made with tigernut flour. The product comes…

CPG Industry Shines in New Report on Brand Trust

A handful of consumer staples are some of the most trusted brands out there, according to a new survey from Morning Consult. In the market research firm’s first annual Most Trusted Brands report, 12 familiar CPG names placed among the top 25 most trusted brands in America. From highest to lowest, they are Hershey’s (at…

General Mills Makes It Official: Sugar and Cereal Are Back Together

Bucking recent conventional wisdom, General Mills is fine, just fine, with sugary cereals. In a licensing deal with Hershey’s, General Mills recently debuted three new cereal lines: Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s Puffs Big Puffs and Jolly Rancher, which features the flavors green apple and blue raspberry. If that sounds like a lot of sugar in every…

P&G’s First Acquisition of 2020 Is a DTC Shaving Brand for Women

The new year is only nine days old, and P&G has already made a major acquisition. The CPG giant has acquired Billie, a direct-to-consumer women’s shaving brand, for an undisclosed amount. Billie launched in November 2017 and had raised $35 million to date, with a Series A round in January 2019 of $25 million led…

Secret’s Latest Ad Campaign Offers Nothing New—and That’s Exactly Why It Works

Secret’s latest ad campaign, which debuted during Sunday’s Golden Globes telecast and will run throughout the year on digital platforms and linear TV, features a diverse group of strong, confident women among superimposed statements such as “Don’t sweat taking the spotlight,” “Don’t sweat calling the shots,” and “Don’t sweat raising the bar.” The spot’s central…

After 1,000 Meals, Here's What Made the Frozen Food Review King Call It Quits

For six years, Gregory Ng has held the uncontested title of Frozen Food Master, a grocery guru who has eaten his way through 1,000 microwaved meals and recorded the results for a loyal audience. 

But a few days ago, in mid-review, he abruptly quit. The breaking point? A $2 children’s meal that Ng felt was “breading with a hint of chicken on the inside.”

“You know what? I can’t do this anymore,” he said into the camera after a pause. “This is horrible. We should not be feeding our kids this. We should not be eating this frozen food anymore. I’m done with this.”

Obviously, it’s not the frozen food industry that’s changed since Ng’s video review series, Freezerburns, began in 2008. What’s changed is Ng himself.

In recent years, while working his day job as CMO for optimization firm Brooks Bell, Ng has become an advocate for healthy, active living. He even quit Freezerburns briefly in 2012, noting, “I was feeling great every day, and shooting more episodes of Freezerburns was my daily downer.”

He soon returned to the show, reinvigorated with ideas for how to make it better. Today, he estimates the Freezerburns audience across multiple video platforms totals 75,000-100,000 viewers per episode.

This time, though, he says the end is truly the end. In a blog post, he explains how he’s become increasingly uncomfortable with the influence the show has had on his life, such as motivating him to feature the unhealthiest items because he knew they’d be the most popular.

We wanted to know more about his decision to close down a niche he’s spent so much time carving out. Check out our Q&A with Ng below:

AdFreak: So, what are the final stats for your time creating Freezerburns? How much frozen food did you eat? How much video did you create?
Gregory Ng:
I published my first episode on Oct. 4, 2008, and in the nearly six years since then I reviewed over 1,000 frozen food items in nearly 700 episodes. One fan calculated that it would take four days to watch every video back to back. Not quite the longevity of The Simpsons marathon, but still a lot of time to watch me eat.

You’re an all-around healthy guy and committed father. Do you feel Freezerburns did more harm than good by promoting the frozen food category?
Absolutely not! While the issue of healthy eating eventually ended the show for me, the frozen food category as a whole did not and does not contradict my health and my parenting.

There are a ton of items in the freezer aisle that are extremely nasty, unhealthy, sodium-laden and fattening. They truly fit the stereotype of frozen food. But there are also a ton of options that cater to organic, healthy eating as well as special dietary needs like gluten-free or vegetarian.

As the Frozen Food Master, I was able to uncover those gems in the freezer aisle that were great tasting and good for you with the added convenience that frozen meals provide. And when I reviewed things that were great tasting but not great for you, I feel like I represented the tradeoffs in eating them. Because of this, I feel like I promoted the frozen food industry in a positive but realistic way.

How did your “mic drop” moment of walking off set come about? A lot of people would probably assume a scene like that was staged.
In the last couple of months I had a few “moments of clarity” that caused me to question my motivations in keeping my show going. Some of it was simply the time aspect of producing online video in addition to my day job as well as my family commitments and whether the financial benefits outweighed the effort.

I’m typically an impulsive person but I didn’t want to make an impulsive decision to end something I spent a lot of time building. My brand was strong, my relationships with frozen food companies were strong, and my revenue coming in was strong. I had told myself that I would finish out the calendar year. I felt that would be a great time to end things.

Then I reviewed this particular Kid Cuisine meal and I just got very angry during the review. It is geared at kids, and it just isn’t anything I would serve to them. It was also a meal that has a commercial tie-in with the How to Train Your Dragon 2 movie, and the commercialization of the meal made me upset. I record every episode in one take and it just happened. So it wasn’t staged, but there was certainly a buildup to this moment.

You mentioned when you quit that you were starting to be bothered by the fact your audience was closer in age to your kids than yourself. Why was that uncomfortable for you?
I knew that college-aged kids is a great segment to be marketing to, and I exploited that in the beginning years of my show. It fueled a lot of the decisions I made regarding content, publishing times, sponsors I pitched, and merch I designed.

As the years progressed, I tried to evolve the age of my audience into grocery shopping moms. I was successful doing that on my website and on Facebook but not so much on YouTube. My average audience is 19. My oldest child is nearly12. I’m nearly 40.

Good YouTube community management involves conversation and engagement. It was getting to the point where I was no longer aware of what my audience was talking about. And when I dropped a pop culture reference in my dialogue from a movie like Back to the Future, most of them didn’t get it.

You also noted that you felt a bit corrupted by the allure of traffic. Did you feel you were starting to lose control of your content and your own choices?
Absolutely. Over the years, I optimized everything about my show: which items I reviewed to gain the most views and comments, the time to publish, the best way to title my videos for SEO benefits, and the best video length for my audience.

There are a lot of best practices around YouTube optimization but those should just be viewed as guidelines. Every channel is afferent because every show is different. I figured out mine and I didn’t like the decisions I was making to drive more subscribers and revenue.

For example, I would review a Hot Pocket over a vegan Indian meal because I knew the views would be 10 times larger. I could have reviewed what I wanted, but that wasn’t my goal. I was in it to build audience, prove that you could monetize by owning a niche and fine tune my camera presence.

Eventually I realized I accomplished those things and it wasn’t good for me to continue down this path just for a little more revenue.

Like most YouTube personalities, you get a lot of nasty comments. While you seem to have fun mocking them, did they factor into your decision to quit?
Oh no. I know for people not used to publishing a lot on YouTube the troll comments are very scary, emotionally damaging, and offensive. I have always said that a sign that you are popular on YouTube is that the trolls come out. They did not factor into me ending the show.

Do you see yourself starting another ongoing video series with revenue potential? Will you be conquering another niche?
Yes! I am already in the ideation phase of my next project. Freezerburns was the result of careful planning and identifying of a profitable, untapped niche. My next project will be online video-based but not necessarily capitalizing on an exploitable niche. I will not be eating on camera nor will I be reviewing things. This one is coming more from my soul as I will be focusing on crafting behind the camera instead of in front of it. If revenue comes, great. My goal on this one is to create something where the reward is in the emotion it creates.



Coke: Is it the Deadly Thing?

234937-300-0-1Coca Cola, invented in the late 19th century and marketed as a “cure-all” for diseases like morphine addiction, dyspepsia, neurasthenia, headache, and impotence has come a long way in a century. A friend once told me that Coke’s special formula used cocaine. Which is true, although at the time I called him a “lying pooh-pooh head.” In fact, a single glass of Coke contained nine milligrams of blow. The nice thing? No crusty white boogers or mirror checks before going outside. ‘Cola’ was spawned from the Kola nut, which added caffeine to the mix. It’s a wonder Ritalin wasn’t invented sooner.

One thing fair to assume in a company the size of Coke; upper management probably doesn’t have a clue about work in the trenches. So, when a plant worker at a Coke bottling plant in Columbia was gunned down for trying to unionize, no one upstairs was any wiser. (It was actually seven murders…). Well, this week that all changes.

Activist organization “The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke” plans a negative PR blitz in Atlanta against the beverage giant. The group, which claims Atlanta-based The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) is guilty of labor, human rights and environmental abuses, will have this week a mobile billboard truck on metro Atlanta streets campaigning against Coke’s alleged abuses. One billboard says “Unthinkable! Undrinkable! Murders in Colombia, Child Labor in El Salvador, Stealing and Polluting Water in India, El Salvador and Mexico.” A second billboard says “Killer-Cola: The Drink that Represses!”

Coca Cola’s response, stunned that a PR blitz consists of a single billboard, has called an agency review.

Jeff Louis is a Strategic Media Planner, Project Manager, and New Business Coordinator. His passion is writing, contributing to BMA as well as freelancing. He’d love to hear from you: www.linkedin.com/in/jefflouis or on twitter @jlo0312.