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Year in Review: Top Coca-Cola Journey Headlines From 2018

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The Coca-Cola Company made quite a few headlines in 2018 as it continued to forge a new strategic growth path – from new beverages and campaigns, to major acquisitions and investments, to innovative marketing, equipment and packaging, to bold sustainability initiatives and milestones.

Before the calendar jumps to 2019, here’s a look back at a few of our most notable news stories from the last 12 months:

World Without Waste

A World Without Waste: Coca-Cola Announces Ambitious Sustainable Packaging Goal

In January, Coca-Cola announced an industry-first goal to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can it sells globally by 2030. The company and its global network of bottling partners will tackle the ambitious goal, which is part of a holistic plan called “World Without Waste,” through a renewed focus on the entire packaging lifecycle – from how bottles and cans are designed and made, to how they’re recycled and repurposed. Read the full story.

The Coca-Cola Company to Acquire Costa

In August, Coca-Cola reached a definitive agreement to acquire Costa Limited from parent company Whitbread. Costa operations include a leading brand, nearly 4,000 retail outlets with highly trained baristas, a coffee vending operation, for-home coffee formats and Costa’s state-of-the-art roastery. For Coca-Cola, the expected acquisition adds a scalable coffee platform with critical know-how and expertise in a fast-growing, on-trend category. Costa is the leading coffee company in the United Kingdom and has a growing footprint in China and other markets. Read the full story here, and get James Quincey’s take here.

Diet Coke SXSW

Gabriel Alba

Diet Coke Launches Into 2018 With Full Brand Restage in North America

America’s No. 1-selling zero-calorie beverage brand entered a new era in January with an updated look, sleek new packaging, four bold new flavors and a new marketing campaign. “Diet Coke is one of the most iconic brands loved by millions of fans in North America,” said Rafael Acevedo, Coca-Cola North America’s group director for Diet Coke. “Throughout this relaunch journey, we wanted to be bold, think differently and be innovative in our approach. And most importantly, we wanted to stay true to the essence of Diet Coke while recasting the brand for a new generation.” Read the full story.

The Coca-Cola Foundation Announces $1 Billion Giving Milestone

The Coca-Cola Foundation Announces $1 Billion Giving Milestone

The Coca-Cola Foundation has given back more than $1 billion to communities worldwide since its inception in 1984, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey announced in October at the Atlanta Police Foundation’s 15th Annual Crime is Toast breakfast. In addition to serving its hometown of Atlanta, The Coca-Cola Foundation has reached more than 655 million people worldwide over the last 30-plus years through its support of more than 2,400 organizations with a focus on protecting the environment, empowering women, education, and enhancing communities. Read a Q&A with Helen Smith Price, president of The Coca-Cola Foundation, about this global giving milestone and what it means to the communities Coca-Cola serves.

BODYARMOR

Coca-Cola to Acquire Minority Stake in BODYARMOR with Path to Ownership

In August, Coca-Cola took a minority ownership stake in BODYARMOR, a fast-growing line of premium sports performance and hydration beverages. Through this strategic relationship, BODYARMOR will remain an independent company and gain access to the expansive Coca-Cola bottling and distribution system. The initial investment, part of the Coca-Cola North America Venturing & Emerging Brands (VEB) portfolio, is structured to create value for both companies and allow Coca-Cola to increase its ownership stake over time. Read a Q&A with BODYARMOR Co-Founder and Chairman Mike Repole and Coca-ColaNorth America President Jim Dinkins.

Coke Freestyle

Coca-Cola Freestyle Unveils Next-Gen Fountain Dispenser, New Operating System and More

Coke unveiled the newest member of the Freestyle family – the Coca-Cola Freestyle 9100 – in May at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) tradeshow in Chicago. The unit, which will be available nationally in 2019, features a 24-inch, high-definition touchscreen and Bluetooth connectivity, which lets fans connect to the Freestyle mobile app when they enter an outlet with a machine and cue up their favorite beverage or create a new mix. A new, agile Coca-Cola Freestyle operating system includes a revamped touchscreen menu designed to make it easier and faster for users to find the beverages they want. Read the full story.

Valser

Coke North America Uses Indiegogo for Test-and-Learn Pilot of Valser Mineral Water

Coca-Cola North America used the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform to gauge America’s thirst for Valser, a premium mineral water that has long been available in Europe. The summer campaign gave early backers an opportunity to be the first in the U.S. to purchase 750-ml glass bottles of Valser Classic (sparkling) or Valser Silence (still) – shipped directly from Switzerland – and provide feedback on its taste, brand proposition and price. The company exceeded its crowdfunding target for the one-month campaign and is now piloting the brand in select restaurants in Atlanta. Read the full story.

Arby’s Sets Guinness World Records for Largest and Smallest Ads With Coca-Cola Partnership Reveal

In June, Arby’s made big news in America’s smallest town with a larger-than-life reveal. The sandwich restaurant brand announced its exclusive beverage partnership with Coca-Cola by revealing a 212,000-sq. ft. banner on a farm in Monowi, Nebraska (population: one). Guinness World Records officially recognized the ad, which read “Arby’s now has Coke” in bold red lettering against a white backdrop spanning nearly five acres, as the world’s largest advertisement. Arby’s teased the reveal with an ad on the opposite end of the size and scale spectrum. Engineers at Georgia Tech’s Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology in Atlanta etched “A big announcement is coming. This isn’t it.” onto a sesame seed from an Arby’s bun using a focused ion beam. The 38.3um by 19.2um seed was officially recognized with the Guinness World Records title of the world’s smallest advertisement. Read the full story.

Dear Future Community Hubs

Dear Future: Coca-Cola Co. USA Calls on Young Adults for Change-Making Ideas to Renew Local Communities

This summer, The Coca-Cola Company and its 68 independently owned bottlers invited young Americans to help deliver a better tomorrow through the “Dear Future [Community] Challenge.” Through Oct. 15, 18 to 24-year-olds across the U.S. submitted ideas to tackle community-specific challenges – from recycling in Boston, to getting women and girls involved in public service in Los Angeles, to helping military veterans transition to civilian careers in Dallas. Coca-Cola and its local bottlers then teamed up with Coca-Cola Scholars and community partners to evaluate submissions and award $30,000 grants to 17 change-making ideas. These community leaders are now mentoring and collaborating with the winners to make their visions a reality. Read the full story.

Coca-Cola

Governance

Euro zone bond yields slide as Brexit, U.S. shutdown sap risk appetite

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Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May speaks in the House of Commons in London on Jan 15, 2019 ahead of the meaningful vote on the Government’s Brexit deal. (Photo: AFP/Mark Duffy/UK Parliament)

 

LONDON – 17 January 2019: Euro zone bond yields edged lower on Thursday after rising the day before, as markets continued to assess the outlook for the UK, and the U.S. shutdown failed to provide much direction to markets.

Eurozone bond markets have taken their cue this week from Britain, where Gilt yields rose on Wednesday after the UK parliament rejected a Brexit agreement.

Britain remained in focus after UK Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote on Wednesday night, though uncertainty over the passage of Britain’s exit from the European Union rumbled on.

Germany’s 10-year government bond yield, the benchmark for the region, opened 1.6 basis points lower to 0.207 percent while other 10-year bond yields in the euro zone slid around two basis points.

Euro area inflation figures, released at 1000 GMT, are expected to confirm flash estimates and drop to 1.6 percent year-on-year from 1.9 percent, brought down by lower gas prices.

The data “won’t give the markets any hint because of the storm in British Parliament and the prospect of delay in their departure from the euro zone,” said Commerzbank’s rate strategist, Rene Albrecht.

However, euro zone data are likely to surprise to the upside, Albrecht said. “We expect better data than sentiment indicators are. We think yields should bottom out at the long end.”

New supply is due from Spain, which will tap its 2021s, 2023s, 2024s and 2027s to raise 4 billion to 5 billion euros.

Elsewhere, Italian five-year government bonds continued to perform following Italy’s successful 15-year bond sale, which prompted a follow-on rally in Italian government bonds.

Italy’s five year government bond fell 13.5 basis points on Wednesday, its biggest one-day fall in over a month.

GOOD FOR GREECE Greek bond yields fell on Thursday after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras won a confidence vote in parliament, triggered by Greece’s approval of an accord to end a dispute over Macedonia’s name, which averted the prospect of a snap election.

Greece is widely expected to return to the debt markets in the coming weeks, with Italy’s deal likely to provide confidence to the southern European nation.

EU Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Wednesday that Greece should regain full access to the debt markets and all efforts should be made to that end.

Greece’s 10-year government bond yield slipped in early trade to its lowest level since December 13 at 4.22 percent .

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Company News

Diet Coke Unveils New Flavors and Marketing as Brand Refresh Enters Second Year

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Diet Coke entered a new era in 2018 by debuting a modern new look, sleek new packaging, four bold new flavors and new marketing – with the goal of reenergizing and contemporizing the beloved brand for new drinkers and loyal fans alike.

And in 2019, America’s top-selling zero-calorie sparkling beverage is picking up where it left off with the introduction of two more flavors – Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava – and releasing new content as part of the “Because I Can” campaign.

The restage helped spark a 2018 turnaround for the brand, which posted retail dollar sales growth in Nielsen measured channels for four consecutive quarters after at least five years of decline.

Diet Coke

“We focused on modernizing Diet Coke to appeal to a new consumer base while at the same time connecting with our core drinkers by preserving the essence of what makes this brand so special,” said Rafael Acevedo, group director, Diet Coke. “We took smart risks in our approach to this holistic brand restage, and everything worked together to generate excitement and draw new fans to the brand.”

Diet Coke Blueberry Acai and Diet Coke Strawberry Guava were selected from a shortlist of 20 options and tested with more than 2,000 Americans. The new flavors will offer even more variety to the existing Diet Coke lineup, which also includes Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango. They aim to satisfy adventurous fans’ thirst for bolder tastes and more dynamic experiences.

“These new flavors are highly incremental to our current flavors and will continue to drive excitement for the brand,” Acevedo said. “Flavor variety is key because it provides more points of entry into the brand. Different consumers have different favorites, so it’s important to offer a range. And we’re finding that when new drinkers try a flavor, they’re also more likely to reach for (original) Diet Coke.”

Both flavors, which hit stores nationwide in mid-January, are available in sleek 12-oz. cans and sold as on-the-go singles and in eight packs. A nationwide sampling activation will give people the chance to experience the new flavors through August. The six-month tour will hit 15 cities and more than 100 college campuses runs through August and. Learn more at DietCoke.com.

Fresh new marketing will launch in the coming weeks across all channels – from TV, to social, to experiential – and will extend the “Because I Can” invitation for fans to live life confidently and on their own terms.

“Last year’s campaign introduced Diet Coke’s new personality and philosophy,” said Tara Mathew Sahu, integrated marketing communications (IMC) director, Diet Coke. “As we enter year two, we aim to show how the brand delivers a refreshing boost to everyday moments.

Blueberry Acai

She added, “Many of our newer fans were not even born when Diet Coke first launched in 1982, so they may see the brand as a choice of generations before them. We’re reframing the brand in a youthful, energetic and aspirational tone and showing how Diet Coke can fit into their lives.”

Acevedo said that while he’s encouraged by the brand’s rebound over the last year, the team has its eye on the long term.

“You don’t restage a brand the size of Diet Coke in one quarter or one year,” he added. “This is a multi-year plan, so it’s important to stay focused on our core strategy.”

Source: Nielsen AMC, Full-Year 2018

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Governance

Samsung records 30% slump in Q4 profit

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Samsung Electronics on Tuesday flagged its first quarterly profit drop in two years and painted a grim outlook owing to mounting competition from Chinese smartphone makers and declining chip prices.

The shock warning added to concerns about the broader tech sector after Apple sent shudders through world markets last week by slashing its revenue forecast blaming weak sales in China and citing the trade war.

Samsung — the world’s top maker of smartphones and memory chips — has enjoyed record profits in recent years despite a series of setbacks, including a humiliating recall and the jailing of its de facto chief.

But operating profit during the October to December period was expected to be around 10.8 trillion won ($9.8 billion), down 28.7 percent from a year earlier, Samsung said in an earnings estimate.

The figure was below market consensus of about 13.5 trillion won, according to market researcher FnGuide.

Sales dropped more than 10 percent to 59 trillion won in the period, Samsung said.

It cited “lacklustre demand in the memory business and intensifying competition in the smartphone business” for the dismal outlook.

“Memory earnings fell significantly… due to weaker-than-expected demand amid inventory adjustments at data-centre customers,” which led to a “greater-than-expected” drop in chip prices, it said.

“We expect earnings to remain subdued in the first quarter of 2019 due to difficult conditions for the memory business but strengthen in the second half.”

But analyst Kim Sun-woo of Meritz Securities said worsening supply and demand for semiconductors and the structural challenges facing Samsung’s smartphone business will hit profits throughout 2019.

Demand for DRAM memory chips “will hit a low in the fourth quarter of 2019”, he added.

Samsung withholds net profit and sector-by-sector business performance data until it releases its final earnings report, which is expected later this month.

For 2018, the firm expects operating profit of 58.9 trillion won, up nearly 10 percent on-year, and sales to inch up 1.6 percent to 243.5 trillion won.

Shares in Samsung Electronics, the flagship subsidiary of the Samsung Group that dominates South Korea’s economy, were down 1.68 percent at the close.

Last week Apple said it expected to earn $84 billion in October-December, well down from the $89-$93 billion previously forecast as it blamed a steeper-than-expected “economic deceleration” in China and emerging markets.

(NAN)

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