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Athletes join Team Fruity and Team Cocoa

BY Ryan Chavis

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — As part of a competition between Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles to see which cereal is more popular with fans, Post Foods announced two professional American soccer players to grace its cereal boxes. Omar Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Galaxy will join WWE star John Cena on Team Fruity, while Olympic gold medalist and forward of the Portland Thorns, Alex Morgan, will join basketball star Kyrie Irving on Team Cocoa.

“We are thrilled to add such great soccer talent to the Team Fruity and Team Cocoa rosters, especially as the sport continues to become more popular among kids and parents alike,” said Sue Fruzzetti-Reich, senior brand manager at Post Foods. “Our team captains, John Cena and Kyrie Irving, have done a tremendous job leading their respective teams this year and drumming up team spirit among all Pebbles fans. We are looking forward to having Alex and Omar join the Team Pebbles campaign and rally support among their fans.”  

Since January, Post Foods has been encouraging Fruity Pebbles fans to show their allegiance to Team Fruity or Team Cocoa. Fans can head over to TeamPebbles.com and download an interactive app that encourages them to vote, take photos and play minigames. By taking part in the online challenges and sharing them through Instagram using their preferred team hashtag (#TeamFruity or #TeamCocoa), fans have the chance to win such prizes as gift cards, iPads or signed merchandize.

Fans will be able to collect the boxes featuring Gonzalez and Morgan beginning May 2014.

 

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Target names new information officer

BY Vivian Gomez

MINNEAPOLIS — Effective May 5, Bob DeRodes will lead Target’s information technology transformation as EVP and chief information officer, as the retailer continues to recover from the data breach late last year.

Target also provided details on additional security enhancements it has made following that breach — which reportedly resulted in the theft of 40 million credit and debit card records and 70 million other records of customer details — and shared plans to incorporate MasterCard chip-and-PIN technology across its REDcard portfolio.

DeRodes will assume oversight of the Target technology team and operations, with responsibility for the ongoing data security enhancement efforts as well as the development of Target’s long-term information technology and digital roadmap. The company is continuing its active search for a chief information security officer and a chief compliance officer.

“Establishing a clear path forward for Target following the data breach has been my top priority. I believe Target has a tremendous opportunity to take the lessons learned from this incident and enhance our overall approach to data security and information technology. Bob’s history of leading transformational change positions him well to lead our continued breach responses and guide our long-term digital strategy,” said chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel.

DeRodes comes to Target with more than 40 years of experience. He has been a senior information technology adviser for the Center for CIO Leadership, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition, DeRodes has provided independent advisory services to corporations, private equity firms and boards. DeRodes has also held top technology positions at a number of industry-leading, multinational companies including CitiBank, USAA Federal Savings Bank, First Data, Home Depot and Delta Air Lines. He also serves on the board of directors for NCR Corporation.

“I look forward to helping shape information technology and data security at Target in the days and months ahead. It is clear to me that Target is an organization that is committed to doing whatever it takes to do right by their guests,” said DeRodes.

Since the initial confirmation of the data breach, Target has been conducting an investigation. During that time, the company has taken what it calls “significant actions” to further strengthen security across the network, including — but not limited to — the development of point-of-sale management tools, review and streamlining of network firewall rules and development of a comprehensive firewall governance process; reviewing and limiting vendor access; and a coordinated reset of 445,000 Target team member and contractor passwords, broadening the use of two-factor authentication, expansion of password vaults, disabled multiple vendor accounts, reduced privileges for certain accounts, and developing additional training related to password rotation.

Target has also deployed a new initiative as part of its accelerated transition to chip-and-PIN-enabled REDcards. Beginning in early 2015, the entire REDcard portfolio, including all Target-branded credit and debit cards, will be enabled with MasterCard’s chip-and-PIN solution. Existing co-branded cards will be reissued as MasterCard co-branded chip-and-PIN cards. Ultimately, through this initiative, all of Target’s REDcard products will be chip-and-PIN secured.

Earlier this year, Target announced an accelerated $100 million plan to move its REDcard portfolio to chip-and-PIN-enabled technology and to install supporting software and next-generation payment devices in stores. The new payment terminals will be in all 1,797 U.S. stores by this September, six months ahead of schedule. In addition, by early next year, Target will enable all REDcards with chip-and-PIN technology and begin accepting payments from all chip-enabled cards in its stores.

“Target has long been an advocate for the widespread adoption of chip-and-PIN card technology,” said John Mulligan, EVP and CFO for Target. “As we aggressively move forward to bring enhanced technology to Target, we believe it is critical that we provide our REDcard guests with the most secure payment product available. This new initiative satisfies that goal.”

 

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Nielsen: Millennials mean business

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Looking to “break the myths” about millennials, and help marketers and brands effectively engage with them, Nielsen has released a new report, dubbed “Millennials: Breaking the Myths of this No Strings Attached Generation.”

Millennials are big business. Defined by Nielsen as those between 18 years and 36 years of age, millennials are 77 million strong in the United States — on par with baby boomers — and account for 24% of the country’s population. Their incomes may still be on the rise, but this group’s size and age range equate to impressive purchasing power in the long term.

“According to Forbes, millennials spend up to $200 billion annually. All told, millennials are shaping the present and owning the future with more purchasing power and decision-making ability than ever,” said Beth Brady, president of Nielsen segmentation and local market solutions. “So, in order to make the most of this $200 billion opportunity, we would suggest the following four-step process: Identify your best consumers within millennials, develop products and content to meet their needs, engage them through effective and efficient marketing, and activate your plan through superior sales execution.”

Millennials still are climbing the income ladder ($25,000 median income for younger millennials and $48,000 median income for older millennials), so while they may want the latest and greatest products, they need to be savvy and thrifty. In light of this, their spending often exceeds baby boomers in drug stores, warehouse clubs, supercenters and mass merchandisers.

“When it comes to spending money, millennials are more likely to live paycheck to paycheck, but still want the latest and great products. So, they tend to make impulse purchases. They make fewer shopping trips than their older counterparts, but they spend more per trip — $54 versus $46 per trip for baby boomers. Millennials are strong mobile and online shoppers, but e-commerce still makes up only 6% of overall retail sales in 2013,” Brady said. “As for their deal-seeking behavior, while millennials may not be clipping coupons the way baby boomers do, they are still focused in on shopping deals. Deals account for 31% of their shopping dollars, and the top 20 apps are either retail or discount focused, with Amazon Mobile and Groupon topping the charts.”

Nielsen also noted that millennials are likely to spend more on a product from a company that has programs that give back. When they buy, they care about a brand’s social impact, making them receptive to cause marketing.

When developing products for millennials, Nielsen stressed that they desire authenticity, niche, personalization and customization.

“If they like your product, they will share their opinion, and their vast social network is likely to take notice. However, beware of crossing them because that same vast social network can turn on a dime, and recovering from bad press is expensive and difficult,” Brady said.

But how do you reach them? According to Nielsen, millennials spend less of their time watching TV. In fact, millennials make up 50% of no-TV households, relying instead on their smartphones and laptops to watch content on YouTube, Hulu and Netflix.

And when they do watch TV — likely event-related programming like Sunday Night Football or Comedy Central — they also are engaged with social media, commenting on what they like and dislike.

Additional highlights from the report include:

  • Diverse, expressive and optimistic: Millennials are characterized by more than just their age. As a group, they’re more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation. They value self-expression and artistic pursuits. They’ve been hit hard by the recent turbulence in the economy, but their high education levels and optimism foreshadow their potential for future success.
  • Driving a social movement back to the cities: If they’re not still living with mom and dad, millennials are fueling an urban revolution looking for the vibrant, creative energy cities offering a mix of housing, shopping and offices right outside their doorstep. They’re walkers, and they are less interested in the car culture that defined baby boomers.
  • Struggling, but they have an entrepreneurial spirit: The Great Recession has hit them particularly hard. They’re dealing with high unemployment, low income and high student loans as they try to establish themselves. However, some millennials have hit it big by investing in startups and following their own entrepreneurial pursuits.
  • Connected and want the personal touch: Technology defines millennials. They sleep with their mobile phones and post status updates from the bathroom. When interacting with companies via social media, they value authenticity. They want to feel like they have a personal, direct interaction with the brand, and in return, they’ll advocate and endorse that brand.

 For the full report, including charts, click here.

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