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sustainability

Microbeads Burst Brand Bubbles as Concern Grows Over Environmental Impact

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 19, 2014 04:04 PM

Microbeads are part of many American's morning hygiene rituals, but what consumers may not know is that those very beads are, made of polypropylene or polyethylene, widely used in plastic shopping bags, are harming wildlife and are polluting food systems and waterways. 

Washed down bathroom drains, the beads, which don't dissolve, evade treatment plant filters and absorb toxins from pollutants like pesticides, oil and flame-retardants causing toxic run-off into large bodies of water like the Great Lakes, which contain 20 percent of the world's surface fresh water.

L’Oreal and Procter & Gamble both market products with microbeads and two Colgate brands, Max Clean and Max Clean Smart Foam, also contain them. Now, Procter & Gamble, maker of Crest, has pledged to eliminate microbeads from its toothpastes Pro Health and 3D White lines by March 2016.

"While the ingredient in question is completely safe, approved for use in foods by the FDA, and part of an enjoyable brushing experience for millions of consumers with no issues, we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove this ingredient. So we will," the company said in a statement.Continue reading...

car talk

Google, Auto Brands Clash Over Visions for Self-Driving Cars

Posted by Dale Buss on September 19, 2014 02:10 PM

Google and automakers are pursuing somewhat different visions of what "self-driving cars" mean, but each side is going all-out to execute their strategy, and the end result is likely to be mostly autonomous vehicles within several years.

Each week brings new developments that seem to bring this new horizon forward but at the same time sharpen the distinctions between how the tech giant is approaching this vast new arena of commercial possibility and how the auto industry's traditional players are.

This week, for example, Audi and Mercedes-Benz as well as Google received the first permits issued by the state of California for testing of self-driving cars on all of the Golden State's roadways. The permits are designed to help keep California the inarguable bellwether of new automotive technology as it has been for decades in prompting improvements in fuel economy and emissions controls.Continue reading...

retail watch

American Express Shares Brands' Clicks to Bricks Stories with Online's Day Off

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 19, 2014 11:23 AM

E-commerce is arguably one of the best things to happen to the retail world, but more brands than ever are trying to master an omnichannel approach that blends online and offline into the ideal customer experience. Now, American Express is stepping in to promote "Online's Day Off" on Saturday, September 20, to highlight the unique brick-and-mortar experiences of some of the hottest online brands.

American Express has partnered with Birchbox, Bonobos and Rent the Runway for the one-day shopping event that was previewd earlier this week with a panel of thought-leaders including Katia Beauchamp, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Birchbox, Jennifer Fleiss, Co-Founder and Head of Business Development of Rent the Runway, Steve Chien, EVP and GM of Shutl North America, and Andy Dunn, who spoke to trends of inter-connectedness in fashion, retail and e-commerce.

“Online’s Day Off, like many of the other small merchant-focused initiatives supported by American Express, was created to connect our small merchant partners to seasoned entrepreneurs and industry experts who can help them successfully navigate a changing business environment,” said Ed Jay, EVP, Merchant Services, Americas, American Express, in a press release. “Most importantly, we want to help small merchants and what better way to do that than to provide resources that enable them to grow their business.”Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: iPhone 6, Alibaba, Oracle and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 19, 2014 09:44 AM

TOP STORIES

Alibaba goes public in record-breaking IPO at $92.70/share, overtaking Amazon as most valued online retailer as Yahoo sees a windfall.

Apple’s bigger iPhone 6 series attracts worldwide long lines (and McDonald's) and black market sales in China as iOS 8 update frustrates users and Apple TV updates UI. A Reuters/Ipsos poll, meanwhile, finds that Android edges out Apple for "cool" factr.

Home Depot says data breach outstrips Target's after it received security warnings for months.

Oracle see Larry Ellison move from CEO to chairman and CTO as JetBlue and Clorox also confirm CEO exits.

UK government and businesses rejoice as Scotland votes to stay in the UK.

MORE BRAND NEWS

Bill Blass brand prepares for a comeback under new leadership.

BlackBerry reveals $2,127 Porsche-designed smartphone.

Cadillac plans to build unnamed "top end" car at Detroit plant.

Coca-Cola Life London pop-up opens with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

Cracker Barrel cooks up growth.

Crumbs Bake Shop pushes ahead with relaunch.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Pressure Builds on NFL, Goodell, Brands as Player Misconduct Crisis Plays Out

Posted by Dale Buss on September 18, 2014 06:22 PM

As Bloomberg Businessweek put it in a headline this week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is "at the 50-50 yard line." In other words, the crisis over domestic violence and other misconduct by professional football players, how he is handling it—and, also importantly, how NFL sponsors are handling it—still could break either way.

The pressure on Goodell and the team owners who employ him is ratcheting up every day as the saga takes one more unwelcome turn after another. No sooner had the Minnesota Vikings reversed course yesterday and suspended Adrian Peterson just after welcoming him back into the fold, another ugly instance involving an NFL player surfaced. Arizona Cardinals running back John Dwyer now faces domestic-violence allegations, bringing the list of players facing assualt accusations to six. 

Meanwhile, major NFL marketing and TV-advertising sponsors shifted rather uneasily in their seats. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi spoke out in support of Goodell and his efforts, for instance, even though she said she's "deeply disturbed" by some player behavior, and the league's mishandling of the case is "casting a cloud" over the NFL's integrity, the Wall Street Journal reported.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Target, Walmart Get Behind Natural Brands in Major CSR Push

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 18, 2014 03:57 PM

Steadfast retailing rivals Target and Walmart came together earlier this month under one uniting topic: sustainability. The pair co-hosted the Beauty and Personal Care Products Sustainability Summit in Chicago alongside Forum for the Future to help "improve sustainability performance in the personal care and beauty industry."

"We think it's the right time to have a discussion" and come to a collaborative point of view, said Christina Hennington, Target's SVP of health and beauty, the Chicago Tribune reported, adding the demand for such products over the last five years "has been staggering," but, "it's a complicated value chain."

Target has seen a 20-percent growth in natural and organic products, which 97 percent of its shoppers purchase in some form or another. Walmart, meanwhile, created a sustainability index for hundreds of product categories and has pushed its suppliers to eliminate or reduce 10 toxic chemicals from beauty products, household cleaners and cosmetics. Similar commitments have been made by Avon and Procter & Gamble.

“We need to move faster toward that goal because the expectations are changing,” said Rob Kaplan, Walmart’s director of product sustainability. “We’re looking for our suppliers to demonstrate voluntary leadership and to make commitments and to move from a conversation to action.”Continue reading...

branding together

U2unes Download: Apple and U2 Announce Next Big Gift to Music

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 18, 2014 03:24 PM

After exclusively launching U2’s new Songs of Innocence album to 500 million iTunes accounts this past week, Apple is delivering something else in response to customer demand. And true to Apple form, it’s an intuitive, easy-to-use and simple piece of technology—a delete button

A case study in how not to show customer appreciation, the unwanted gift of U2 music to all iTunes customers, whether they were fans of the Irish rockers or not, was hyped as the largest album release ever, and a "shrewd" marketing partnership (to the reported tune of $100 million) to celebrate the roots of the brand's longstanding tie-in with the band.

It turns out that the U2 album giveaway was a teaser for a bigger gift to come—and not only to music lovers but to musicians and the music industry as a whole. As TIME reveals in an exclusive cover story today, Apple is working with U2 on a bigger "secret project": a new digital music format designed to delight and excite customers to buy not only individual tracks but whole albums-as-experiences, and in so doing, "save the music industry."Continue reading...

logo-a-gogo

MLS Kicks Off New Logo to Represent the Future of Soccer in America

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 18, 2014 02:08 PM

Major League Soccer made its debut in 1994 after the US caught football fever after hosting the World Cup. While soccer is still fighting an uphill battle to mass adoption and fandom in the States, MLS hopes to help it along with a brand overhaul.  

As part of its #MLSNext campaign, the League has debuted a new logo today that is meant to capture what the sport means in America. No more is the predictable cleat and ball design; the new MLS logo actually doesn't make a direct visual connection to the sport at all, featuring a crest with three stars, representing community, club and country, and a strikethrough line that stands for the sport's fast speed and abundant energy. 

"As we sit here today, we know that the [old logo] is actually kind of dated," Howard Handler, MLS's chief marketing officer, told Sports Illustrated. "The more modern brands of the world don't need to telegraph a specific category or line of business they're in," referencing the non-sector specific logos of Apple, Nike and AT&T. Indeed, the new MLS logo will be a flexible one, ripe for color change, animation and other formatting to customize the look.Continue reading...

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