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Heinz plans to send earthquake relief monies to China

BY Jenna Duncan

PITTSBURGH The H. J. Heinz Co. today said that it is donating $350,000 to relief efforts for victims of Monday’s earthquake in the Sichuan Province in China.

A Heinz factory that produces frozen appetizers, desserts and dim sum—under the Long Fong brand name—is located in the Sichuan Province’s capital, Chengdu.

“While we are thankful that none of our employees or their family members were injured during the earthquake, our hearts go out to the thousands of victims of this tragic event,” Heinz chairman, president and chief executive, William Johnson, said. “We feel it is our moral obligation as a corporate citizen in Sichuan to do whatever we can to help bring comfort and relief to those who have been impacted by this catastrophe.”

The company has committed to donating $350,000, $100,000 of which will come from its foundation. The additional $250,000 will come from Heinz UFE. The chairman of Long Fong, Hector Yeh, has also pledged a large personal donation and has worked to secure donations of money and food from partners.

There has been no damage to the Heinz/Long Fong factory or warehouse facilities, Yeh said. However, production will be halted until potential dangers from aftershocks have ceded and the plant is cleared for safety. Meanwhile, employees will receive their regular pay, Yeh said.

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Pepsi revamps Web site, boosts digital media presence

BY Jenna Duncan

PURCHASE, N.Y. Pepsi-Cola North America has given its Web site, pepsi.com, a total makeover.

The purpose of the Pepsi site re-launch was to simplify the visitor experience, the company said. Pages were designed so users can easily select links to four main features, including: the Design Our Pepsi Can promotion contest, Diet Pepsi Max information pages, the Pepsi Racing page featuring NASCAR tie-ins and Pepsi Stuff, the site’s merchandise page.

“Lots of assets live on our pages,” John Vail, director of interactive marketing group for Pepsi-Cola North America said. “We wanted to make an easy way to find so consumers don’t have to hunt and peck.”

Pepsi.com was launched in 1996 and gets a facelift about every two years. The company said that the site receives about a million unique hits per month.

Each year, Pepsi North America seems to move even more of its marketing efforts to digital media. In 2007, the company spent about $17.5 million on digital media for its beverage brands, nearly doubling the amount spent in 2006 ($9.4 million), according to reports.

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Del Monte names Pearce its first CMO

BY Jenna Duncan

NEW YORK Del Monte Foods today announced that William Pearce will chair the newly created positions of company chief marketing officer and senior vice president.

“We’ve created the position of [chief marketing officer] to further elevate our focus on marketing strategy, innovation, and execution across our portfolio,” Del Monte chairman and chief executive officer, Rick Wolford, said in a news release. “This centralized organizational structure located in San Francisco will continue to build on our marketing success, enhancing marketing’s role in lead our future strategy.”

Wolford added that he “looks forward to leveraging [Pearce’s] proven track record of attracting top talent.”

Pearce joins Del Monte after serving as chief marketing officer at Taco Bell. Del Monte is currently working towards centralized marketing operations at the San Francisco headquarters, and also integrating pet and consumer marketing teams.

In addition to heading marketing operations, Pearce will also be responsible for covering pet and consumer campaigns, and package design and promotions.

Del Monte has not said whether it will up its marketing spending this year or not. But, in 2007, Del Monte’s advertising budget was around $18 million.

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