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Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: PepsiCo offers up to $5 million for amateur Super Bowl ads

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Check out how you can earn $1 million by wearing an electric dog collar.

Okay, not exactly. That was the punch line of a successful amateur ad this year created for PepsiCo’s Super Bowl commercial contest, which the food and beverage company is running again for the 2011 Super Bowl with a prize pool of up to $5 million.

Makers of the best ads for zero-calorie Pepsi Max soda and Doritos chips can win $1 million for an ad that scores No. 1 on a USA Today ad poll, $600,000 for No. 2 and $400,000 for the third spot. A sweep of all three spots earns a $1 million bonus for each winner.

Pepsi ran four ads during the 2010 Super Bowl. A 30-second spot during the National Football League championship game tends to run about $3 million. That electric-collar ad — in which a man winds up with the collar around his neck while the dog makes off with his bag of Doritos — was ranked one of the best of the Super Bowl in many post-game surveys.

You could put up with getting shocked a few times for that, right?

Also in the basket:

Kraft sees $1 billion in additional revenue from Cadbury

Consumers are nearing the holiday shopping season with unusually cautious spending expectations – survey

Check Out Line: Coke’s secret lab looking for newest drinks

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cokeCheck out Coke’s scientists concocting the beverage maker’s next blockbuster.

With carbonated drinks sales fizzling, companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have for years been exerting great efforts to find the next home run drink.  Bottled waters, energy drinks and sports drinks are now commonplace, with new variations popping up that claim to boost relaxation, health, beauty, anti-aging, muscle repair, mood and immunity.

Check Out Line: Earnings to quench investors’ thirst

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pepsi1Check out the latest quarterly earnings for signs of a recovery.

Whirlpool and PepsiCo both reported better-than-expected quarterly profits and pointed to improving trends, lending hope to optimists that the economy is slowly improving.

While citing continuing macroeconomic challenges, PepsiCo, which makes Tropicana juice, Frito-Lay snacks and Quaker Oats in addition to its namesake cola,  posted stronger-than-expected results and affirmed its earnings per share growth target for the fiscal year.

Olive Garden owner goes Green

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olivegardenDarden Restaurants, owner of restaurant brands like the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse, has joined the Sustainability Consortium — a group of scientists, academics and industry leaders working to “green” consumer products. 

Darden, an 1,800-unit restaurant chain considered one of the industry’s best performers, has set a per-restaurant goal of reducing energy and water use by 15 percent by the year 2015. Long term, it aims to send zero waste to landfills.

Check Out Line: More quarterly earnings to parse

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williams1Check out the latest quarterly earnings to size up.

Williams-Sonoma reported a better-than-expected profit on lower costs and strong holiday sales, and the home goods chain said it sees sales and earnings rising for the year.

The operator of the Pottery Barn, West Elm and Williams-Sonoma chains, which won many shoppers in the  holiday season by offering more lower-priced home decor items, also boosted its quarterly dividend by 8.3 percent.

Check Out Line: Coke’s actions speak louder than its words

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coke1Check out Coke’s about face on its relationships with one of its bottlers.

Coke plans to buy the North American operations of its largest bottler, Coca Cola Enterprises, in a substantially cashless deal that would let it cut costs and be more flexible in its distribution.

The announcement of the deal comes just as Coke rival PepsiCo is about to close its own $7.8 billion purchase of its largest bottlers, Pepsi Bottling Group and PepsiAmericas. It also reverses Coke’s previous stance, spelled out in repeated comments over the past several months, that its current relationship with its bottlers was just fine and it didn’t need to copy Pepsi.

Check Out Line: Refreshing quarterly earnings

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pepsi1Check out the strong earnings results from several companies in the consumer sector.

PepsiCo reported a rise in fourth-quarter earnings in line with expectations, stronger-than-expected sales and maintained its full-year outlook. The maker of Pepsi drinks and Frito-Lay snacks said the volume of snacks sold rose 1 percent, while beverage volume fell by the same amount.

Gatorade demand dented by U.S. housing slump

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builders11The U.S. housing slump’s impact is well chronicled, but PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said it also has hurt sales of the company’s Gatorade sports drink.

Nooyi — on a conference call with analysts after the maker of Pepsi-Cola and other sodas and Tropicana juices reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit – said she has met with convenience store CEOs who told her the weak U.S. housing market has resulted in fewer construction workers stopping by for sports drinks and other snacks on their way to the job.

from DealZone:

PepsiCo’s offers drag on and on

PepsiCo Inc's offers to buy its two bottling affiliates has dragged on and on and could be a distraction for the companies as they begin planning for 2010.
    
Bill Pecoriello, CEO of ConsumerEdge Research, said he believes PepsiCo would only be willing to raise its offer 10 percent and that would be insufficient to entice Pepsi Bottling Group to the negotiating table.
    
Pecoriello said the soda saga has dragged on longer than he expected and there's no catalyst in sight to trigger talks. 
    
"The biggest worry is that it becomes a distraction. You get to the point when you have to start planning for 2010 and everyone is in limbo," Pecoriello said.
    
PepsiCo's strategy could be to let time pass and hope PepsiBottling's shares drift lower -- making the $29.50 per share offer look more enticing. Still, PepsiCo has room to raise its offer and it would be attractive for the soda giant even if it paid in the upper $30-per-share range, Pecoriello said. PepsiCo could afford to pay in the high $20-per-share range for PepsiAmericas.
    
If PepsiCo walked away from the deal, it would have to invest $400 million to improve the performance of its North American beverage business, he said. Rival Coca-Cola is gaining momentum and could pressure PepsiCo.
    
PepsiCo has said its offers were "full and fair."

Cola truce? Coke and Pepsi trade niceties on Twitter

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Cola rivals Coke and Pepsi gave their long-standing feud a rest last week after a user-provoked experiment on Twitter prompted the two pop makers to trade friendly greetings on the popular social networking service.

Coca-Cola responded first to a clever user’s message suggesting that the two make nice on Twitter, offering “A gracious (yet competitive) hello” to Pepsi. In return, Pepsi extended a Twitter-style olive branch of sorts to its competitor: “Can rivals and tweeps coexist? We’re willing to find out. :) Tweeps, for those unversed in the lingo, is a cutesy term for Twitter users.

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