Around the world

Published: February 6, 2018 2:02:11 AM

According to media reports, about 365 million kg of Nutella is consumed every year in 160 countries around the world, while France remains the second largest global consumer of Nutella.

McDonald’s has been focussing on hiring its senior management from outside the company. Chris Kempczinski joined in 2015 from Kraft Heinz as McDonald’s US president in 2017.

Going nuts for Nutella

The French and their love for Nutella may be legendary, but nothing beats going berserk for a discounted jar of chocolate and hazelnut spread. When the retail chain Intermarché began a promotion for the 950-gram Nutella pots, police force was required to contain the crowd. The price for about a million jars was slashed by 70% — from $5.85 to $1.75 — with a warning that the offer was valid only for four days and that the stock was limited. The video depicting the rush for the spread was posted on Twitter by @kennylebon that said, “Seriously? All this for Nutella?” Ferrero, the Italy-based maker of Nutella, issued a statement on Twitter, which said, “We wish to specify that this promotion was decided unilaterally by Intermarché. We deplore the consequences of this operation that creates confusion and disappointment in the minds of consumers,” thus, trying to distance itself from the Black Friday-like situation. Viral videos show the chaos inside stores as shoppers grab, push and scream to buy as many jars of Nutella as possible. Given the adversity of the situation, stores were forced to cap the number of jars people could buy at three or less. Other shops or supermarkets let the hysteria play out.

According to media reports, about 365 million kg of Nutella is consumed every year in 160 countries around the world, while France remains the second largest global consumer of Nutella. Meanwhile, France’s finance ministry is investigating whether the promotion that led to violent scenes in supermarkets broke trading laws. France’s consumer protection and anti-fraud agency said that its investigation would judge whether the promotion is to be legally counted as a sale or whether it was an instance of product dumping.

Obituary: Ingvar Kamprad, founder, IKEA

Swedish entrepreneur Ingvar Kamprad who founded IKEA, passed away at his home in Sweden on January 27, following a short illness. He was 91. Born in 1926 in Småland in southern Sweden, he founded IKEA when he was only 17 (1943). “We are deeply saddened by Kamprad’s passing. We will remember his dedication and commitment to always side with the many people. To never give up, always try to become better and lead by example,” said Torbjörn Lööf, CEO and president, Inter IKEA Group.

Since 1988, Kamprad did not have an operational role within IKEA but continued to contribute to the business in the role of senior advisor, sharing his knowledge and energy with the IKEA co-workers. Jesper Brodin, CEO and president of IKEA Group said that the group was mourning the loss of the founder and dear friend. He further added that his legacy would be admired for many years to come and that his vision — to create a better everyday life for the many people — would continue to guide and inspire the IKEA family.

With 389 stores worldwide, the company’s retail sales totalled 36.4 billion euros ($43bn, £30bn) in 2016. The name IKEA was formed from Kamprad’s initials and the first letters of Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd — the farm and the parish where he grew up and that was the home for the business for the first 10 years.

IKEA’s flat-pack furniture became iconic not only for its affordability but also for it DIY instructions. In 1982, Kamprad decided to donate the IKEA furniture operations, the IKEA Group, to a Dutch charitable foundation as part of creating an ownership structure that secured independence and long-term thinking. And as IKEA expanded into new markets, Ingvar concluded that a franchise system would offer the best growth strategy — to keep a grip on the IKEA concept and at the same time encourage a strong entrepreneurial spirit. InterIKEA Systems Holding BV, ultimately owned by a foundation in Lichtenstein, was established in the 1980s as the franchisor to safeguard and develop the IKEA Concept.

McDonald’s banks on outsiders to capture multi-cultural US market

Winds of change are blowing at McDonald’s US, which is increasingly hiring outsiders for key roles at the company. Kenny Mitchell, who was head of consumer engagement at Gatorade, has joined as vice president of brand content. Kimberly-Clark’s Lizette Williams has joined the company as head of cultural engagement. This is a newly created role at the fast food conglomerate’s US office. Both of them will report to Morgan Flatley, who had joined as US chief marketing officer from PepsiCo last year. In his new role, Mitchell will oversee cross-functional teams and agency partners ‘to deliver world-class innovative storytelling’ and ‘drive brand love’. Meanwhile, Williams will be developing McDonald’s’ total market approach to building brand devotion across multi-cultural consumer bases, according to the company. Williams said, “I look forward to drive continued growth as we work to transform marketing in a multi-cultural America.”

Mitchell, who fills the post left vacant after Joel Yashinsky left McDonald’s in 2017, said, “McDonald’s is one of the most iconic brands and I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the talented McDonald’s team, helping to shape the future of the brand in the US.” Flatley said in a statement, “They are both highly-respected, talented leaders, and with their respective teams, will play a critical role in bringing our marketing strategy to life as we continue to raise the bar for our customer.”

McDonald’s has been focussing on hiring its senior management from outside the company. Chris Kempczinski joined in 2015 from Kraft Heinz as McDonald’s US president in 2017. Bob Rupczynski was given the newly created role of global VP of media and customer relationship management last year, having worked at Mondelez International and Kraft. Starbucks VP Linda VanGosen joined the company as head of US menu.

McDonald’s’ dedicated creative agency We Are Unlimited, a part of DDB Worldwide North America, has also been looking out for fresh hires. It hired ICrossing’s Mark Mulhern as the agency’s CEO last month.

Amazon’s Chinese fancy dress goes awry

As the world gets more internet savvy, online portals have to stay more cautious of what they are putting on their website. Amazon’s UK website recently drew criticism for using photographs of children posing with ‘slant-eyed’ gestures for its Chinese fancy dress costumes. The online retailer received a severe backlash over the images used by third-party sellers on its site. The costumes, described as ‘Chinese boy fancy dress costume’, were priced between £21.86 and £22.02. The web page has since then been suspended. Many online users spotted the photographs and posted screengrabs to Amazon’s Facebook page and on Twitter, complaining about its racist stance. The website was also criticised for not checking what was being posted by third-party sellers on Amazon UK.

The controversy comes to light after after H&M sparked a racism row too by showing a black child in a top emblazoned with the words ‘Coolest monkey in the jungle’. H&M had said it was ‘deeply sorry’ that the picture was taken, while adding that its ‘routines have not been followed properly’ and the company would ‘thoroughly investigate’ the cause of this to prevent similar mistakes from occurring in future. It also removed the image from its channels and the green hoodie from its global product offering. But the product will still be available on the UK site, it said.

While Amazon refused to issue a public statement, it has clarified that the product is no longer up for sale. Last year, Dove had come under fire on social media for a racist body wash ad, which has since been removed. The ad featured a black woman removing her shirt to become a white woman, who then removes her shirt and turns into an Asian woman. The company had also apologised on Facebook and Twitter, and added that it is devoted to representing the ‘beauty of diversity’.

— Compiled by Ananya Saha

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