Best Global Green Brands 2014

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Heroes Among Us: Amid Superhero Frenzy, Brands Elevate the Ordinary

Posted by Jennifer Vasilache on August 20, 2014 06:47 PM

Superheroes are among us, and it's never been more apparent than it is now, with what seems like a new superhero film in theaters every six months. Why this resurgence? As varied as they are, it’s a fact that their main superpower is to instantaneously convey the absolute morality, justice, enhanced physical abilities, as well as a very distinctive sense of fashion that we all crave. 

Over the past decade, the film industry has borrowed heavily from Marvel and DC Comics' catalogues to produce dozens upon dozens of superhero flicks, from the blockbuster Iron Man franchise to the return of Ninja Turtles. But traditional clean-cut superheroes with slicked-back hair like Superman, Captain America or Spiderman need to make room for a new type of character who challenges the conventions of the genre: they are imperfect, struggling with anxiety and violent instincts, without superpowers, and sometimes hardly likeable.

After all, associating superheroes with perfection is outdated. Having once ruled the rarefied reaches of the star-studded sky, their fall to earth means being more human, more like us. Or is it the other way around?Continue reading...

chew on this

McDonald's Searches for a New Positive with More Menu Options

Posted by Dale Buss on August 20, 2014 04:41 PM

Everything seems to be sticking to McDonald's these days. There was the food-safety scandal in China last month, and now the chain's very ubiquity has hurt it as the local, franchisee-owned McDonald's at the epicenter of the racial strife in Ferguson, Mo., has become unwitting headquarters for much of the back-and-forth in the building drama there.

Maybe that particular problem for McDonald's will pass quickly, but the beleaguered chain is continuing to battle its long-term challenges, ranging from the junk-food image of its menus to flagging sales growth to still-growing competition.

At least McDonald's is trying some new tactics as CEO Don Thompson tries to pull the world's iconic fast-food chain out of its deepening slump, with moves involving digital leadership, new forms of influencing thought leaders, new menu items and new attempts to leverage the strengths that it does have.Continue reading...

future of advertising

Never Mind Millennials—Gen Z May Be the Hardest Marketing Nut to Crack

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 20, 2014 03:13 PM

Step aside, Millennials, because Generation Z is here to steal the spotlight in social, marketing and advertising from their elders.

Born after 1995, Gen Z accounts for 25.9 percent of the US population and contributes $44 billion to the US economy. The group of aspiring entrepreneurs are no strangers to using social media for research, including collaborating with classmates online. According to research from Marketo, more than 50 percent use YouTube for research projects, and 72 percent of current high-schoolers say they want to own their own businesses while 76 percent aspire to turn hobbies into jobs. 

But with an ever-decreasing attention span (which, for the moment, is about eight seconds), Gen Z may be a bigger obstacle for marketers than Millennials, but that's not stopping brands from trying.Continue reading...

product placement

Sir MYX a Lot: Nicki Minaj Just Changed Music Video Product Placement

Posted by Abe Sauer on August 20, 2014 12:33 PM

Nicki Minaj just took product placement to a very obvious, yet artistic level.  

The artist's new music video for "Anaconda" drops the beat and an impossible-to-miss product placement for fruit-infused single serve Moscato brand MYX Fusions. Sure, the video—already crossing the 2 million-views threshold after just 24 hours—does the typical shot of the bottle thing. But, like the rest of the video itself, it then goes over the top.

It's no surprise, considering Minaj is part owner of MYX and just the latest musician to shoehorn a signature beverage into a song and video.Continue reading...

sip on this

Starbucks Goes Four-Wheeling to Bring Brew to College Campuses

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on August 20, 2014 11:54 AM

Some college students heading back to campus in the coming weeks will be greeted by a new classmate—Starbucks. 

The cult coffee purveyor is rolling out three brew-serving food trucks at James Madison University in Virgina, Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina, and Arizona State University, which previously partnered with the brand on its education efforts. The trucks will be operated by Aramark, whose recent survey of college students showed Starbucks to be the No. 1 preferred brand for coffee, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

While the three selected campuses already have permanent Starbucks locations, the trucks, which will offer up a similar menu of food and beverages, are meant to move to various locations on campus as the day goes on and in some cases may be open later than a campus dining hall.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Can Facial-Mapping Take the Beauty Industry to a New Level?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 20, 2014 10:40 AM

The days of excruciating hours spent in a makeup chair to transform into a character like Mrs. Doubtfire or the Joker are waning, thanks to Nobumichi Asai’s Omote.

A mash-up of real-time facetracking and projection mapping, artists can layer malleable makeup on subjects that are moving. Asai has previously used projection mapping to apply CGI to cars and to buildings before taking on the human face.

Asai's iteration still has some kinks to work out, but the face-mapping technology behind the project is actually at work in several other branded products in the beauty industry that are currently on the market.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: McDonald's, Uber, Walgreen and more

Posted by Dale Buss on August 20, 2014 09:31 AM

TOP STORIES

McDonald's in Ferguson, Mo., becomes headquarters of protest coverage as brand names first US VP of digital, rolls out bagged McCafe coffee with Kraft across US, and sets to offer mandarin oranges.

Uber hires former Obama campaign chief as lobbyist and tests delivery service in D.C.

Staples accelerates turnaround actions as sales continue to fall.

Walgreen shakes up executive ranks after projection was off by $1 billion.

Petsmart explores possible sale.

MORE BRAND NEWS

AirAsia takes advantage while Malaysia Airlines wallows in tragedies.

Apple soars to stock record amid optimism about upcoming products.

Audi airs Emmys promo that's heavy on celebrity cameos (at top).

Boeing may boost production of its bestselling 737.

Brita recalls thousands of child water bottles.Continue reading...

tech innovation

General Electric’s #NextList Takes on Technology in 2064

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 19, 2014 06:09 PM

In 1964, famed scientist and author Isaac Asimov wrote an article for the New York Times predicting what technology would look like in 2014 following a visit to General Electric’s pavilion at the World’s Fair. And now, GE is celebrating Asimov's predictions like 3-D printing, connected cars and cordless electronics that have since come to fruition in a new digital campaign, #NextList

"The Next List represents the company’s major research and development focus areas across healthcare, energy, software and manufacturing and the breakthroughs coming out of our global research centers around the world," said Sydney Lestrud, GE’s manager of global digital marketing.Continue reading...

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