brand news

Brand News: Apple, Nike, Bumble Bee and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 19, 2014 09:09 AM

TOP STORIES

Apple under fire again following BBC investigation into conditions at Chinese factories.

Nike's latest quarterly report shows revenues up (and luxury path) as shares drop on soft orders and designers lawsuit revealed.

Bumble Bee tuna brand sold to Thai Union Frozen (TUF) Products for $1.5 billion.

Unilever withdraws Just Mayo lawsuit as Hampton Creek agrees to relabel products.

Sony seen as likely to eventually release The Interview as George Clooney emerges as Sony defender.Continue reading...

automotive

CES 2015: BMW Demos Sensor-Filled i3 That Self-Parks Via Smartwatch

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 18, 2014 05:44 PM

BMW parking assistant watch

Trouble parking? BMW can help with that. The brand plans to display its sensor-filled BMW i3 at CES 2015 this January, and will demo the model's driverless parking system that's operated by a smartwatch known as the Remote Valet Parking Assistant. 

The BMW i3 can navigate multi-level parking garages as it “combines information from the laser scanners with the digital site plan of a building," according to the automaker's description. “The system will steer the vehicle independently through the levels, while the driver has already got out of the car. Once the BMW i3 has arrived at the parking space, the vehicle locks itself."

Once the driver is ready to leave, they can call up the car through voice command, at which point the app "calculates the exact time until the driver arrives at the car park and starts up the BMW i3 so that it arrives at the car park exit at exactly the right time.”

Also to be demoed at CES: BMW’s new 360-degree collision avoidance platform. “If the vehicle approaches a wall or a column too quickly, the system brakes automatically to prevent the threat of collision,” the company said in a press release.Continue reading...

media brands

As Serial Podcast Wraps, Marketers Rediscover Sound of Engagement

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 18, 2014 04:04 PM

Serial podcast logo

Americans once gathered around their radios each evening to hear weekly installments of crime dramas, soap operas and other shows, but it's been decades since a program has captivated audiences in the same way. Enter "Serial," a podcast put together by the producers of American public radio's award-winning "This American Life" series hosted by Ira Glass.

Already renewed for season two, the groundbreaking podcast, which chronicled journalist Sarah Koenig's reopening of a closed 1999 murder case in real time, finished its first season today. Over the course of the past 13 weeks, it renewed interest in the format among listeners and marketers, breaking records for podcast downloads and generating interest from intrigued brand marketers along the way.Continue reading...

tech innovation

CES 2015: Hospitality Brands Take Guests on Personalized Tech Journey

Posted by Corey Lewis on December 18, 2014 03:03 PM

The macro-shift toward the consumer is nothing new for the hospitality industry. Trained to anticipate guests' every needs with the reply-and-philosophy of "at your service,” they’ve been perfecting the art of customer-centricity for years. Arguably, they may have even invented it. But, unlike the upstarts and the startups with their nimble teams and their native know-how, some hospitality companies have stumbled to adopt the service mantra for the modern age. 

But not all. In fact, the broader trends that are taking hold of the industry indicate that hospitality brands are still at the forefront, innovating and improving in the built-in consumer focus labs that are their rooms, restaurants, and service spaces. There’s plenty to learn from these leaders, truths that have been R&Ded and are ripe to apply and reinterpret outside the category. 

Let’s take a look at five top trends for today and 2015, the impact of technology—and who’s doing it right:Continue reading...

brand roadmaps

Pressed for Growth, Campbell Wants to Be 'More Than Just Soup'

Posted by Dale Buss on December 18, 2014 02:05 PM

Campbell's Soup Mmm Mmm Good hashtag

Campbell's Soup has come a long way from the simple days when its iconic slogan "M'm M'm Good!" meant that sales were as healthy as a steaming bowl of tomato soup. Today's internal catchphrase for the company is "Real Food That Matters for Life's Moments." And therein lies a new tale.

Under CEO Denise Morrison, who is now entering her fourth year, Campbell has tried mightily to resurrect sales of its staple product: Mainstream soups. The company has tried taking salt out and then putting it back in. It has tried riotous new flavors and uncommon packaging to attract millennials who haven't grown up on soup. It has called the stuff "Go Soup!" and come up with recipe apps for soup. Campbell also has tried various pricing and other promotional gambits.

But even the occasional wins in the soup category have turned out to be chimeras. For example, for the quarter that ended Nov. 2, Campbell's U.S. soup sales were up by 6 percent—just the second time that has happened in 15 months. But the gain was a false one, BuzzFeed reported, in that it occurred mainly because big retailers including Walmart made holiday orders earlier than usual.Continue reading...

branded entertainment

Kotex Stakes Out 'Generation Know' With Vampire Web Series

Posted by Abe Sauer on December 18, 2014 01:01 PM

Vampires and menstruation have a long history in pop culture. The original Dracula tale has been interpreted as a commentary on female menstruation and some historians have put the two together going all the way back to ancient Greece. More recently, despite its G-rated version of vampirism, the Twilight saga has raised questions about Bella's periods and even inspired fan fiction on the topic.

But while the subject piques the interest of a curious fanbase, it might seems like dangerous ground for commercial interests. Not so, says one feminine products brand that has been so successful in hitching itself to vampires that it's doubling down on the genre.

The brand is Kimberly-Clark's U by Kotex and the vampires in question are found in the Canadian web series Carmilla, which it sponsors—and just renewed—on the VervegirlTV YouTube channel. Continue reading...

follow the money

Bitcoin Gets More Respect From Major Brands

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 18, 2014 12:02 PM

Bitcoin currency gold coins

Bitcoin has survived skepticism, economic volatility and outright hostility from entrenched financial institutions since it was created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. But now, it's starting to seep into the global economy as more big brands are stepping out in support of the digital currency.

Time Inc. is the latest company to announce it’s accepting the virtual currency for subscriptions to many of its magazines, including Fortune, Health, This Old House and Travel and Leisure.

“For a major publisher like Time Inc. to embrace Bitcoin sends an important message to both its readers and to the broader media community,” said Brian Armstrong, CEO and co-founder of Coinbase (Time Inc.'s Bitcoin processor), according to the New York Times.Continue reading...

content strategy

GE Partners With Nas to Release First Documentary for Connected TVs

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 18, 2014 10:44 AM

GE is flexing its content muscles in a new direction, by releasing a documentary and video package aimed at youths, hip hop fans and science buffs.

The company is releasing its first feature film—a breakdancing documentary—for streaming platforms, connected TVs and mobile devices.

Shake the Dust, a documentary executive-produced by rapper Nasir "Nas" Jones, will debut on Christmas Eve in a partnership between GE and music video platform Vevo.Continue reading...

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