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Nestlé Coffee-Mate introduces limited-edition Girl Scout cookie flavor creamers

BY Jason Owen

GLENDALE, Calif. — Nestlé Coffee-Mate announced today a licensing agreement with Girl Scouts of the USA to bring two popular Girl Scout cookie flavors to its line of coffee creamers.

The new Coffee-Mate Thin Mints and Caramel & Coconut flavors can be found in the dairy aisle of grocer stores nationwide and are only available for a limited time. The new Coffee-Mate creamers have a suggested retail price of $2.69 per 16-oz. bottle.

To celebrate the launch, Nestlé is holding a casting call seeking an authentic Girl Scout to star in the company’s television commercial on Tuesday, July 30, in New York and Los Angeles. In New York, applicants should go to Ripley-Grier, located at 520 8th Ave., 16th Floor, New York, NY 10001. In Los Angeles, applicants should go to 310 Casting Studios, which is located at 2329 Purdue Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90064. Auditions will be held from 10am to 4pm local time. Girl Scouts audition videos can also be submitted online at GirlScouts.Coffee-mate.com. Currently registered Girl Scouts who have been registered on or after October 1, 2012 are eligible.

"We are thrilled to introduce two of the most unique and inspiring flavors to date into the Coffee-Mate portfolio," said Gabe Chua, marketing manager for the Coffee-Mate brand. "For us, this was a natural relationship, as millions of consumers have come to know and love these flavors through the sale of the famous Girl Scout cookies. The search to find a real Girl Scout to star in our commercial is the perfect way to celebrate this relationship and our new products."

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Clinics gaining the attention of parents as the convenient care industry continues to grow

BY Antoinette Alexander

Research published last week in JAMA Pediatrics found that many parents are turning to retail-based health clinics when their children suffer from minor ailments, largely because the clinics are convenient.

Parents are turning to clinics for their children’s minor ailments not because they lack an established relationship with a pediatrician but because of convenience. In fact, most of the parents surveyed (74%) first considered going to the pediatrician but opted for a retail-based health clinic because the clinic had more convenient hours or because their doctor didn’t have an appointment available.

Clearly, retail-based health clinics are meeting a need and filling a healthcare gap among not only adults, but also among children suffering from acute ailments.

After all, where is a parent to turn if their child suffers from a minor ailment like a cold, sore throat or an ear infection and they can’t get in to see their pediatrician — the overcrowded ER?

Judging by the research, parents are seeing clinics as a viable option, and they are recognizing the important role that clinics play — a point that is likely to become increasingly pronounced as millions of Americans join the insurance fold come 2014 due to healthcare reform and the shortage of physicians continues.

Expect to see more of this. It is likely that parents will increasingly turn to clinics when their children suffer from minor ailments as the healthcare system continues to feel pressure and the number of U.S. retail health clinics continues to rise.

The number of clinics is projected to double in the next three years, according to a report released in June by Accenture ACN at the annual America’s Health Insurance Plans Institute 2013 in Las Vegas. The number of retail clinics is expected to increase 20% to 25% per year between now and 2015 and double from 1,418 to 2,868 clinics in that time period.

Meanwhile, it is interesting to note that Walgreens has rebranded its Take Care Clinics. Going forward, the clinics will now be known as the Healthcare Clinic as the company works to further align its healthcare assets and affiliations.

All signs within the convenient care clinic industry continue to point to growth.

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As shopping goes mobile, consumers want it when they want it

BY Alaric DeArment

Walgreens and Duane Reade are testing a new mobile shopping system at stores in New York that helps shoppers make choices by providing relevant product information from a network of friends and experts and then sending them "perks" they can redeem at checkout. The system combines the respective mobile platforms of Pretty in my Pocket and Sparkfly, and L’Oréal Paris has signed on as the first brand partner.

As retail industry futurist Doug Stephens recently told Drug Store News, younger consumers are "conditioned to understand that they can have whatever they want, whenever they want it, wherever they happen to be."

The job of retailers, then, is to ensure they can fulfill that demand. And that’s what omnichannel retailing is all about. To a large extent, retailers are already rising to the challenge.

Last week, Kmart announced the launch of "Pay In Store," for members of the Shop Your Way loyalty program. The initiative, part of the retailer’s efforts to develop what it calls "integrated retailing," allows customers on Kmart’s website to select "Pay In Store" as a payment option and then pick it up at the store. The idea, the company said, is to create a seamless and integrated shopping experience for members.

This kind of integration between brick-and-mortar and digital retail will increasingly be not just an ancillary service, but also a necessary component of any retailer’s business, as more consumers become accustomed not to just browsing the aisles, but finding an item, looking up information about it online and — most importantly — seeing what the best deals are. Programs like the one Walgreens and Duane Reade are testing also help to bridge the "bricks-and-clicks" divide.

eBay also has been testing online and mobile shopping initiatives. Some of its programs include installing giant touch screens to allow people to use empty storefronts for online shopping, and eBay Now, which allows customers to order products through mobile and have them delivered anywhere, whether it’s a physical address or a park bench.

In the late 1970s, a punk rock band had a song with this lyric: "If I can’t get what I want, I don’t want anything." But what was then a statement of youth angst is now a part of the reality of retailing as customers have become used to getting what they want on their computers and mobile devices, and getting it when they want it. And if they can’t get what they want, when they want it, they won’t want anything.

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