Posts tagged with "Competition"

Aston Martin ballyhoos bespoke automotive ‘galleries and lairs’ at Pebble Beach

August 26, 2019

Aston Martin revealed a new design service for car enthusiasts this month at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance in Monterey, California—the top-ranking collector car competition in the world.

The over-the-top amenity from the British independent manufacturer of luxury sports cars will enable collectors to create the perfect space for their beautiful car(s)—whether they envision that to be a bespoke garage or a complete, luxury retreat.

Q by Aston Martin is the marque’s bespoke personalization service, working with customers to create their perfect Aston Martin. The company describes Aston Martin Automotive Galleries and Lairs as “an opportunity for clients to work with [not only] the Aston Martin Design Team, but also with renowned architects, focusing on those with local knowledge and an excellent understanding of the specifics of the brief.”

Aston Martin Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman says his team already has produced “exquisite interior design work” for the 66-storey Aston Martin Residences in Miami and also has collaborated on the design of Aston Martin’s first global brand center, the House of Aston Martin Aoyama, in Tokyo.

 “Imagine a home or luxury retreat built around your car,” said Reichman. “Picture creating the ultimate space to showcase your own automotive works of art. This is now achievable with this new offering. For the car enthusiast, the garage is as important as the rest of the house and a bespoke auto gallery designed by Aston Martin that either focuses on showing off the car or is part of a larger, integrated entertainment space with simulators and such like, takes Aston Martin ownership to the next level.”

Research contact: ampartnerships@astonmartin.com

Prime time: In rivalry with Amazon, Target offers ‘deal days,’ eBay plans a ‘crash sale’

June 27, 2019

Amazon is promoting its “Prime Day” again—but other retailers aren’t going to be caught out again this year. They are offering a bevy of their own deals, which they hope will dazzle shoppers and draw them into their websites and brick-and-mortar locations.

According to a report by CNBC, both Target and eBay so far have announced their own deal strategies following Amazon’s announcement on June 25—in which the company said Prime Day will actually run for two days this year and begin at midnight (PT) on July 15.

Target is plugging its “deal days” on July 15 and 16. The discount chain said in a June 25 press release, “Savers, start your engines. Today we’re unveiling Target Deal Days, two (yep, two!) days of red-hot online sales, no membership required. On Monday, July 15, and Tuesday, July 16, you’ll be able to save big with thousands of deals across Target.com and on the Target app, with new deals each day.”

As it says above, Target is emphasizing that no o membership is required to shop the special deals—as is the case with Amazon’s event. Customers can also receive 5% in savings when they use a Target credit card.

Last year,  CNBC reminds us, Target held a one-day sale on its website that aligned with Prime Day. It was one of the retailer’s biggest days of the year for online sales, according to Target’s Chief Merchandising Officer Mark Tritton.

Amazon rival eBay, meanwhile, is holding what it calls a “crash sale.” It said it will start offering some deals as early as July 1. But on July 15, it will be offering deals on major brands including LG, Apple, Samsung, KitchenAid, and Garmin.

What’s more, eBay snarks,  it will drop more deals if Amazon’s website crashes, as it did last year at the start of Prime Day.  “July has become a massive shopping season,” Jay Hanson, COO of eBay’s Americas division, told CNBC.

On Prime Day, which started in July 2015 as a way to mark the company’s 20th anniversary, Amazon Prime members can buy highly discounted products. The deals are applied to most of the goods Amazon sells. And many items will sell out within minutes, creating a sort of Black Friday scramble where people are trying to buy things as quickly as possible.

Amazon said last year’s Prime Day was its biggest ever, topping a record in 2017. And so it’s plausible this year could be even more successful since it runs longer, CNBC says.

Amazon shares are up about 25% so far this year. Target’s stock has rallied close to 30%; eBay shares are up more than 39%.

Research contact: @CNBC

Edgewell to ‘shave off’ industry disruptor and competitor Harry’s in $1.37B acquisition

May 10, 2019

The dream of many entrepreneurs is to launch a great idea—and then get bought out for millions of dollars. That’s just what happened to Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider, who founded New York City-based Harry’s in 2013 because “they were tired of overpaying for overdesigned razors, and of standing around waiting for the person in the drugstore to unlock the cases so they could actually buy them.”

Now, they offer a starter set—a weighted rubberized handle, a five-blade razor cartridge, foaming shave gel, and a travel blade cover—for just $8. Customers can choose to continue buying with a subscription service that will send customized refills every two, three, or five months.

Not only have Katz-Mayfield and Raider disrupted the entire shaving industry—until that time, dominated by just two brands (Gillette and Schick)—but now, they’re joining forces with one of them, The New York Times reports.

Edgewell Personal Care—the company that owns the Schick and Wilkinson razor brands (as well as Hawaiian Tropic)—announced on May 9 that it plans to buy Harry’s for about $1.37 billion in stock and cash. And the founders, Katz-Mayfield and Raider, will stay on to run Edgewell’s operations in the United States.

It is the one of the largest recent examples an established business buying a younger, nimbler competitor born of the Internet and predicated on reaching consumers in new ways, the Times reports. That has included deals like Unilever buying Dollar Shave Club, the other shaving start-up sensation, for $1 billion three years ago; as well as Walmart acquiring the online men’s wear purveyor Bonobos for about $310 million.

In the men’s shaving market, the combined Edgewell and Harry’s will remain a distant second to Procter & Gamble’s Gillette brand, which commanded 47.3% of the American market last year, according to data from Euromonitor. Edgewell’s top brands held about 13.6% of the market, while Harry’s had about 2.6 percent.

But executives from Edgewell and Harry’s said in an interview with The New York Times that they saw a chance to form a big, new consumer products company infused with both global reach and new ways of marketing to customers.

“We’ve had an interesting product portfolio, but we’ve lacked a way to communicate with the consumer,” Rod Little, Edgewell’s chief executive, said.

Talks between the two companies began in earnest shortly after Little was appointed to his post in March, the executives said. The Harry’s management team had considered alternatives, like an initial public offering, but combining with an established brand ultimately made the most sense.

“This got us where we wanted to go more quickly than some alternative route,” Katz-Mayfield said.

Under the terms of the deal, which was approved by both boards on May 8, 79% of Edgewell’s offer—just over $1 billion—would be in cash. The remainder would be in stock, giving Harry’s investors a roughly 11% stake in the combined company.

Katz-Mayfield and Raider will become co-presidents of Edgewell’s American operations, giving them a bigger perch and more brands to oversee and overhaul.  Little will remain chief executive of the combined business.

The deal is expected to close by March 31, 2020.

Research contact: @harry’s

As McDonald’s loses EU trademark, Burger King slyly advertises, ‘Like a Big Mac, but actually big.’

February 13, 2019

After McDonald’s lost its trademark for the Big Mac in the European Union on January 15, Burger King in Sweden revamped its menu in a snarky hat tip to the rival fast-food chain. Imitation, it turns out, is also the sincerest form of trolling, The Washington Post reported on February 11.

The trademark was ceded to Irish entrepreneur Pat McDonagh, whose fast-food chain, Supermac’s, won the landmark legal battle against McDonald’s. The Galway-based firm persuaded the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to cancel McDonald’s’ use of the “Big Mac” trademark, opening the way for Supermac to expand across Britain and continental Europe.

It also left the way clear for Burger King—maker of the grilled Whopper—to have some fun with its global competitor.

In early February, the Post reports, Swedish outposts of Burger King featured menus with names grounded in Big Mac comparisons, including: “The Kind of Like a Big Mac, but Juicier and Tastier” and “The Big Mac-ish but Flame-Grilled Of Course.

Other options were even more derogatory, the DC-based news outlet said—among them: “The Burger Big Mac Wished It Was” and “The Anything But a Big Mac.”

“It’s too much fun for us to stay away,” said Iwo Zakowski, CEO of Burger King’s Swedish operation, according to report by The Guardian.

Burger King’s marketing campaign was created by Stockholm-based ad agency INGO. The agency released a video of customers awkwardly navigating the newly renamed menu to announce the campaign.

And as for Supermac’s, “We’re delighted,” McDonagh told The Guardian, adding, “It’s a unique victory when you take on the Golden Arches and win.”

In a statement provided to The Washington Post, McDonald’s said it plans to appeal the EUIPO decision.

“We are disappointed in the EUIPO’s decision and believe this decision did not take into account the substantial evidence submitted by McDonald’s proving use of our BIG MAC mark throughout Europe. We intend to appeal the decision and are confident it will be overturned by the EUIPO Board of Appeals,” the statement said. “Notwithstanding today’s decision, McDonald’s owns full and enforceable trademark rights for the mark ‘BIG MAC’ throughout Europe.”

Research contact: taylor.telford@washpost.com

Consumer wallets ‘spring a leak’ as prices soar on diapers, kitty litter, and toilet paper

February 12, 2019

Most of us cut back on everything but the essentials when household prices go up, but our budget remains the same. However, according to a February 10 report by The Wall Street Journal, the cost of staples—including such fundamentals as diapers and cat litter—is expected to increase in 2019, leaving us little choice but to ante up.

Producers of household products, from toilet paper to bleach, are set to raise prices again this year after already hiking prices in 2018, hoping to offset higher commodity costs and boost profits, the financial news outlet says.

New Jersey-based Church & Dwight already has increased prices for about one-third of its products, including Arm & Hammer cat litter and baking soda, and some OxiClean cleaning products.

“The good news is that competitors are raising [prices] in those categories as we speak,” Church & Dwight CEO Matthew Farrell said on a conference call last week, during which the company reported higher quarterly sales and lower profits.

What he left out of that statement to financial analysts was that it was good news for the company and its stockholders—but not for America’s consumers.

The company is now discussing more price increases with retailers, including for personal-care products, Farrell told analysts Tuesday. Those brands include Nair, Arm & Hammer Toothpaste, Orajel, Simply Saline, Waterpik, and Viviscal, among others.

Other household names that are planning to release similarly “good” news, according to the Journal, include Procter & GambleColgate-Palmolive, and Clorox, which are raising prices in response to higher costs of raw materials and transportation, as well as unfavorable foreign-currency swings.

For much of the past decade, the Journal notes, price cuts have been far more common than price increases as U.S. companies were mostly reluctant to test consumers’ spending power and brand loyalty in a fragile economic recovery.

When companies tried to raise prices, “they better have had a uniquely strong innovation or be willing to lose market share to competitors,” Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Ali Dibadj told the news outlet.

Adding to the challenge of raising prices is that more shoppers have been switching to store-branded paper towels and discount detergents, or opting for online upstarts such as Dollar Shave Club.

Traditional brands also have been under pressure from big-box retailers such as Costco and discounters like Walmart Inc. and Amazon to keep prices low—pushing the manufacturers to focus on lowering costs in their supply chains or pare back advertising.

Finally, after failing to see success when they tried to combat weak demand by lowering prices, the industry’s biggest player, P&G, shifted its course last summer, announcing it would charge more for several of its brands—and several rivals followed suit, the Journal reports.

The recent price increases are largely playing out in the companies’ favor, Wells Fargo Securities analyst Bonnie Herzog told the Journal. Sales volumes of household and personal products in the United States. declined 1.4% in January, according to Bernstein’s analysis of data from Nielsen. Dollar sales of those products rose 0.7% in the period, Bernstein said, indicating that the price increases, on balance, are padding the bottom lines at consumer-goods companies.

How consumers will deal with the price hikes long-term remains to be seen.

Research contact: aisha.al-muslim@wsj.com

Getting into DAZN: Former ESPN boss builds new global sports network

November 19, 2018

John Skipper, who resigned as head of the ESPN sports network late last year, is back—and is looking to build a new global media giant covering professional fighting and team athletics, Axios reported on November 16.

His new company, DAZN (pronounced “Da-Zone”) which charges $9.99 a month for membership now, already has contracts for “over 100 fight nights a year, plus exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage.” The events will include boxing and mixed martial arts.

Globally, the company already has made inroads in some major markets, including Japan, Italy, and Germany. The company won’t say how many subscribers it has overall, but it has more than 1 million in Japan, thanks in large part to a deal with a telecom firm there.

What’s more, Axios reports, Skipper just announced a deal with Major League Baseball, Axios reports, that will allow the network “to show live look-ins throughout its prime-time programming” within the United States.

But it won’t be easy for DAZN to make its mark in an already-saturated U.S. market. “We understand we are coming in as the upstart into a very crowded, very good market,” Skipper told Axios. “We think we will actually punch above our weight.”

Indeed, Axios noted, Skipper not only will need to excel against ESPN’s many cable channels—but also its ESPN+ over-the-top service as well as the many other over-the-top services, including those run by each of the big league sports.

Skipper, who left ESPN under duress, following an extortion attempt related to his cocaine use, told Axios that he is now in a better place, both personally and professionally.

“Change can be a good thing, however inelegantly it may occur,” he said. “I happen to be very happy where I am working. I am very happy with my personal life.”

Research contact: ina@axios.com

Hen parties: Chick-fil-A tests catering and home deliveries

November 6, 2018

With a growing demand for food to-go, Chick-fil-A—the home of the Original Chicken Sandwich with two pickles on a toasted, buttered bun—is testing a new restaurant prototype. New locations that opened in Nashville and Louisville last month have no dining rooms; and, instead, focus on catering and delivery.

Customers in both cities now are able to place orders at any of the local Chick-fil-A restaurants, but the new locations will serve as hubs for catering and delivery.

One of the things that makes the Nashville hub so unique is the lack of a dining room or drive-thru. Roughly 4,200 square-feet of the restaurant’s 5,800 square-feet will be dedicated to kitchen space. That’s more than two times the size of a normal Chick-fil-A kitchen.

Using the regular Chick-fil-a menu, customers can place a single order for one sandwich and fries either by walking up to the front counter inside the restaurant, or through the DoorDash delivery service. They also can order catering to be delivered or picked up at the restaurant.

There’s just one catch: no cash. The new location will only accept credit/debit, making the Chick-fil-A Mobile App the easiest way to order.

Along with the new location in Nashville, a similar format will be built in Louisville. At 4,800 square feet in size, the new Chick-fil-A Louisville Catering and Delivery location also has no dining room or walk-up ordering; and is focusing solely on preparing catering and delivery orders for Chick-fil-A restaurants in the city’s East End.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to create a better experience for restaurant Team Members and customers alike,” said Bruce Smith, Operator of the new location. “Team Members can stay focused on making sure every customer has the best possible experience at our restaurants. It’s never been easier for customers who are picking up their catering orders.”

According to Thrillist, Chick-fil-A just keeps getting bigger. It’s on track to become the third-largest fast-food chain in America and for the third year in a row, it’s bheen named the nation’s favorite fast-food joint.

Research contact: @ChickfilANews