Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 10, 2014 06:42 PM
As more information and new reports of data hacks continue to pour in, striking major retailers like Target, Neiman Marcus and others, the US is becoming increasingly aware of the many dangers associated with using debit and credit cards
MasterCard and Visa, whose businesses are eroded every time a consumer’s information is stolen, have decided to take action and are leading an effort to form a “cross-industry group to improve security for card transactions and press US retailers and banks to meet a 2015 deadline to adopt technology that would make it safer to pay with plastic,” Reuters reports.
Other members of the group include credit unions, banks, retailers, and industry trade associations, which are initially pushing for the implementation of technology already used in Europe and Asia—EMV cards—which “store information on computer chips rather than on traditional magnetic strips, making them harder to counterfeit,” according to the wire service.Continue reading...
social media watch
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 10, 2014 05:37 PM
Ads on Instagram are about to get much more invovled thanks to a reported $40 million deal inked between Instagram and ad agency Omnicom (brandchannel's parent company) whose clients include Nissan, AT&T, Pepsi, Bud Light and more.
The agreement, which is essentially a "volume inventory buy that will include Instagram's current static promos as well as other emerging products," throws open the door for Omnicom brands to show promotional videos and pictures to Instagram users, part of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s push to garner increased revenue from its mobile users who now comprise more than half of the social network’s ad revenue, according to Adweek.
Omnicom, which is awaiting regulatory approval for its merger with Publicis Groupe, forming the largest agency in the world, is set to fully exploit the mobile-social platform's growing ad business, which it introduced late last year with brands including Michael Kors, Ben & Jerry's and General Electric.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 10, 2014 04:43 PM
Comcast has set the TV world aflame in the last few years with its purchase of NBCUniversal and its yet-to-be-finalized deal to acquire Time Warner Cable. But there’s another industry that Comcast is looking to be a serious player in as well: theme parks.
Comcast, which already had $2.2 billion in revenue last year from its theme parks and resorts unit, isn’t shying away from horning in on the territory long dominated by Disney, either. The company's Universal Studios is “investing hundreds of millions of dollars into theme parks in California and Florida.” While it is investing in new attractions for its Universal Orlando Resorts, it also building “the largest hotel construction project in North America: [an] 1,800-room, 1960s-themed Cabana Bay Beach Resort,” of which Comcast is sharing the bill with Loews Corp., the Philadephia Inquirer reports.
Six hundred of the rooms will open this month, with the rest scheduled to open by year's end. With that, Universal will have 4,200 rooms, a 75 percent increase from the 2,400 it previously boasted, but NBCUniversal chief Steve Burke says the complex could have between 10,000 and 15,000 hotel rooms in time.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 10, 2014 03:54 PM
Having succeeded at making Android the most common platform for tablets and mobile devices versus cult favorite iOS, Google is now looking towards the next mobile tech frontier—wearables—for expansion of its platform.
Sundar Pichai, Google’s SVP Android, Chrome and Apps, took center-stage at SXSW to compare the evolution of smartphones to that of wearable devices, indicating that Google would release a software development kit in the next two weeks for developers to integrate Android into apps for wearables.
"We'll lay out a vision for developers as to how we'll see this market working," Pichai said, according to The Verge. "We want to develop a set of common protocols by which they can work together, they need a mesh layer and they need a data layer by which they can all come together."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 10, 2014 02:16 PM
Chipotle has heavy footsteps. They've been haunting McDonald's and other fast-food outlets. Now it's Chili's that is heeding the effect of the fast-growing "other" Mexican-food brand.
Chili's now is trying to outflank competition from fast-casual chains such as Chipotle and Panera, Guy Constant, CFO of parent Brinker International, indicated to an industry conference this week—and it has been launching five major initiatives to do so.
First, the chain is refreshing its look with a system-wide rebranding of company-owned US locations, to be completed in fiscal 2015, according to Food Business News. Second, Chili's is increasing media spend where the brand had lost its share of voice, particularly national TV.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 10, 2014 01:12 PM
Beauty retailer Sephora epitomizes a customer-centric brand by combining smart tech and digital savvy to create one of the best customer experiences in today's marketplace. So it's no surprise that the LVMH Moet Hennessy-owned brand is further challenging itself (and competitors) by launching its own social media site, Beauty Board.
Blending concepts seen on Pinterest and Tumblr—both of which Sephora has mastered—Beauty Board will enable e-commerce purchases from Sephora's website through tagged product photos.
"The concept is that pictures are everywhere, and we know that beauty lovers love to see ideas for looks and products to buy," commented Julie Bornstein, CMO and chief digital officer of Sephora Americas. "Beauty Board is taking a lot of what consumers at large are doing and making it more practical—a place for consumers to browse for inspiration and discover products to buy at sephora.com."Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on March 10, 2014 11:52 AM
"Réinventait avec humour l’environnement de la grande distribution en garnissant ses rayons de produits rebaptisés et habillés pour l’occasion."
That description from Chanel's official press release certainly sounds a lot sexier than "set in a supermarket." But that's exactly where Chanel's Paris Fashion Week show was, building on a a new "normcore" trend adopted by fellow fashion brands including Anya and Moschino (and UK supermarket retailer Asda, which staged its own knock-off of the show featuring its own fast-fashion private label, George).
Inside a staged supermarket, models strutted down the catwalk (aisles?) with shopping carts and baskets as Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld looked on. Adding to the downmarket vibe of the show was the tattered and oversized clothes and sneaker-wearing models. Chanel's supermarket may not have planned to compliment Anya Hindmarch's earlier February show, but it certainly did. The Anya runway show featured models strutting with handbags that featured everyday home brands like Frosted Flakes' Tony the Tiger and the Corn Flakes' rooster to Ariel detergent.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 10, 2014 10:57 AM
The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America seem like they would be the perfect all-American brands, but the children's service organizatons have had their fair share of controversy.
In a continuation of the gay rights saga surrounding the Boy Scouts, Walt Disney recently announced that it would cut funding to the organization due to its policies surrounding openly-gay Scout leaders. While the company doesn't donate funds directly to the organization, the company said it would "stop allowing employees to do volunteer work through Disney’s VoluntEARS program in exchange for cash donations to the Boy Scouts of America," according to Time.
The national organization voted last year to allow openly gay youths but decided to keep its ban on openly gay leaders intact. Other major brand sponsors, including Lockheed Martin, Chipotle, Merck and UPS have stopped funding the organization as a result.
The Girl Scouts, on the other hand, are also having a bit of an image issue as the organization looks to put its brand in front of more children. The group struck a deal last year with Mattel for a Girl Scouts-themed Barbie doll, including a related patch, booklet and website.Continue reading...