michelle Obama

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McDonald’s is taking a lot of heat for pushing high calorie, high-fat products to children and promoting them with toys in their Happy Meals.  (Full disclosure, the wifus buys happy meals for the value and portion size.)  Michelle Obama is doing good work in this neighborhood, setting the tone and fighting childhood obesity. We all need to jump on that bandwagon.

Here’s my take. If we can put a TV into a phone, we can probably find a tasty, healthy alternative to french fries, soda, cheese burgers and salt.  McDonald’s answer is to reduce the number of fries in the Happy Meal and add some apple slices.  Have you ever had apple slices in a bag? 

So here you go Mickey Ds – get a few chemists in the room, along with some nutritionists, commodity traders and a chef or three and fix this thing.  If anyone can, you can. BTW, I’d love someone to invent a quarter pounder with cheese that doesn’t send my cholesterol all aflutter.  I love that burger but refuse to eat it.   

It’s a big planet.  We grow lots of things on this planet.  In the next millennium we’ll engineer food things that grow that are unlike anything we’ve ever seen or eaten before. Healthy things.  Fast food companies that invent and package good tasting healthy food products will be the new clean tech. (Another area in need of leadership.)  Peace!

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Here’s a marketing challenge:  How do we get the smartest of the smart thinking about renewable energy sources? Michelle Obama has us focused on childhood obesity and is doing a good job. The rest of the government is focused on war and debt and the crisis of financial confidence.  For good measure you can throw in a little healthcare. Sellers of consumer and business goods are “all up” in the digital world trying to leverage Facebook, Twitter and mobile geo services.  Kids are still loving sex, fun and music.

So who is looking out for the planet?  Who is focusing on the fact that we’re literally draining and burning the core of the earth — denuding it of fossil
fuels.  Where’s the water coming from in 5 thousand years?

Pop Quiz.  Name one person in the U.S. that cares the most about the planet? Al Gore is probably the answer. Sad.  Much sad. (God bless him, by the way, but he needs some help.)

Here’s what we need: A VC firm with eyes on the planet prize. Might it be Fred Wilson? John Doerr? Paul Oliver?  Who?  Until that hero emerges, and until the pages of the Wall Street Journal, FT and New York Times start writing about him/her with the alacrity that they use to cover digital tech, we’re screwed. As Thomas Friedman says oil is a destabilizer.  Who is going to step up?  Who dat? Peace!

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Here I go again about Pepsi Refresh.  Broken record,  I know. And please don’t think me a geeze for seemingly dis’ing media socialists and their heartfelt efforts to do good’s work on behalf of brands. (Liberal I am.)  But count the likes and clicks and friends and authenticity and opacity and, and, and in the soda category this week and two numbers stick out: Coke’s North American volume is up 3% and Pepsi’s is up 1%.  2 percentage points in market research may not seem like a lot, but in a billion dollar consumer business that some serious.  Especially in the much attacked sugar water marekt. Right Michelle?

Coke’s earning, announced this week, were kicking on all cylinders. First time in a long time. And Pepsi’s were down, overall.  No wonder Pepsi chief Indra K. Nooyi took a couple on the chin in the analysts call.   To be read in a whining voice “Commodity prices, really killed us. Considering the economy we did gre- ate.”  Well watch Mad Men.  Commodity prices have always been a problem for which one must be prepared.  Playing with pop marketing tactics, not well integrated into your core value prop or linked to an ersatz brand plank, do not a great earnings report make.  Head down. Sell soda. Peace!

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