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Study shows brand loyalty dwindles as economy tumbles

BY Anna Mcgrath

NEW YORK Consumers tend to be more fickle than devoted in a failing economy, according to a new study.

In conjunction with the CMO Council, Catalina Marketing analyzed the household consumer shopping behavior of 32 million consumers across 685 leading consumer packaged goods brands and found that only 4-out-of-10 brands retained 50% or more of their highly loyal customers. Less than half of loyal consumers (48%) showed brand loyalty from 2007 to 2008.

“The common belief is that loyalty stays high in an economic downturn. The fact is that loyalty is fleeting and it’s up for grabs,” said Todd Morris, SVP at Catalina Marketing.

For brands, the cost of dwindling loyalty can be high. Tide’s loyal shoppers spent 6% less on the brand, costing Tide 5% of its revenue. If anything, the Catalina study may serve as a wake-up call to marketers to think beyond the quick sale. 

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Butterfinger ends its intern search

BY Allison Cerra

GLENDALE, Calif. “Fun” appears to be the key buzzword for hungry summer job seekers. Butterfinger announced that its nationwide search for four FUNterns – digital dudes and/or divas who want to get paid to tweet, text, post, blog, blip, flickr, digg and more – has officially closed more than three weeks early due to an unprecedented response.

“Over the last four days, Butterfinger has received five times the number of applications typically seen for internship positions,” said FUNternship recruiter Tricia Bowles, spokeswoman for Nestle Confections & Snacks. “The overwhelming interest in this one-of-a-kind summer job is proof that Butterfinger has its ‘finger’ on the pulse of what excites Web 3.0 job seekers in today’s virtual workplace.”

The Butterfinger Marketing Team will now review the hundreds of applicants’ resumes, cover letters, social media prowess and technical skills to find FUNterns in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and New York. The final four will be announced on July 6th at www.facebook.com/butterfinger.

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Coca-Cola launches new ad for campaign

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA Coca-Cola will be launching a new television ad for its current Coca-Cola Open Happiness campaign.

The 30-second animated spot titled “Do You Speak Coke?” is designed to bring to life the message that Coke not only refreshes, but helps African American teens find the commonalities in each other. In the spot, music is the premise for communicating uniqueness and expressiveness by the two characters representing different walks of life. But in the end, it is the shared enjoyment of Coca-Cola that serves as the great connector, bringing together these two very distinct personalities, who ultimately understand, appreciate and even find joy in their differences.

To further connect multicultural teens with the spot, Coca-Cola enlisted Grammy-winning, multi-platinum selling producer and songwriter DJ Toomp to create authentic music for the ad’s soundtrack.

“Coca-Cola is a universal language, connecting and refreshing people around the globe who have different interests and backgrounds,” said Katie Bayne, chief marketing officer Coca-Cola North America. “Our new spot demonstrates this by showing how a simple pleasure, such as enjoying a Coca-Cola together, can help people look beyond what’s on the outside and celebrate what makes them unique.”

The commercial, debuting during the BET Awards ’09 on Sunday, June 28 (the special premieres LIVE at 8:00 p.m. ET), also will run on BET, ABC Family, Adult Swim, Comedy Central, E!, Fuse, FX, G4, MTV2, the N, Nick at Nite, Spike, TBS, VH1 and in movie theaters in the United States from September through November.

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