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Advertising Age reports that “PepsiCo is calling 2012 a ‘transition year,’ as it adds hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising spend, trims its agency partners, lays off thousands of employees and positions itself for growth.”

The goal, after a six month strategic review,is to generate more sales, most with a focus on a dozen core brands - Pepsi, Gatorade, Tropicana, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, Lipton, Mirinda, Lay's, Sun Chips, Cheetos, Doritos and Quaker.

Bloomberg has an interesting story about what for Starbucks has been the road less traveled ... while the company has expanded into a number of global markets, it has not attempted to open stores in Italy, the very country that inspired CEO Howard Schultz back in 1983 to turn drinking coffee into an experience.

“ There’s no Starbucks in the Piazza del Duomo, the site of Schultz’s epiphany,” Bloomberg writes. “Nor is there an outlet anywhere else in Milan, or in all of Italy. At a time when Starbucks views global expansion as the key to future growth -- and when it is virtually impossible to walk through a major European city without stumbling onto a Starbucks -- the company has no presence whatsoever in the country that inspired its founding.” This despite the fact that Schultz has said many times that he’d eventually like to open stores there.

Why? According to the story, there are two likely reasons. One, “while Italians love their coffee, the market for it is famously crowded and fragmented.” But it also represents “the height of coffee culture, the gold standard against which all others are measured,” and Starbucks may simply not be ready to face that particular challenge.

• The stores of Save Mart Supermarkets- Lucky, Save Mart, and S-Mart Foods, have introduced a new shelf tag program to assist customers in making better informed purchases. The shelf tags from Vestcom feature an easier to read updated design, allowing customers to easily shop and compare. Included in the new tag program, Save Mart has launched the Nutrition ID program. Shelf tags now identify if a product is organic, gluten free, a good source of calcium or vitamins C and A, and/or wholegrain, plus many more nutritional attributes. The retailer says that this program leverages Vestcom’s in-store nutrition marketing program developed in accordance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) guidelines.
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