ho-ho-holidays

Happy Holidays and Warm Wishes from brandchannel, too

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 24, 2014 04:04 PM

We're signing off for the holiday with a well-spun tale from a beloved brand (Tim Hortons) in your humble editor's home country (Canada).

Enjoy some time off with you and yours, and see you back here on January 2nd (though you may catch us on Facebook or Twitter before then).

Here's to a happy and healthy new year!

—Shirley Brady and the staff of brandchannel Continue reading...

bc q&a

The Auto Connector: 5 Questions with Ford's Michael Thomas

Posted by Dale Buss on December 24, 2014 12:01 PM

Ford Sync 3 CES 2015

Ford will be all over the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas—the world's biggest showcase of cutting-edge technology. The F-150 truck is the official vehicle of CES 2015, while Ford Motor Co. president and CEO Mark Fields is making a keynote address on Jan. 6 about "what’s next for Ford and the company’s commitment to innovation in all parts of its business."

Ford will debut Sync 3 at CES, its newly overhauled infotainment system, which is meant to make Ford and Lincoln customers forget about the user-unfriendliness of the previous systems, MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch. In an auto market where connectivity developments are among the most important new features of practically every vehicle, including the coming generation of driverless cars, this is a race in which Ford—once comfortably in the lead—can't afford to fall behind.

Auto design has always been about the harmony between humans and machines, and even more so today, where connected cars are a must for consumers. That's where Michael Thomas comes in. As a human-machine interface researcher at Ford, he analyzes the implications of this key relationship for infotainment systems and the entire automotive experience. brandchannel spoke to Thomas in the lead-up to CES about how in-car connectivity is evolving in the U.S. and beyond.Continue reading...

automotive

Chevrolet Joins Auto Brands Testing Virtual Reality

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 24, 2014 10:31 AM

Chevrolet Powerwall Virtual Reality

Making prototypes can cost a company a few pennies, particularly if it immediately finds that the new whizbang idea that looked so great on paper isn’t going to quite make it on the road.

Chevrolet has found a way to help it be efficient and spur the creative design process with virtual reality—a technology that Volvo has been using to help it sell cars online. Chevy's massive, 24-foot "PowerWall" screen has "more pixels than an IMAX theater" and "ultra-fine resolution," according to a press release.

"That’s the beauty of this kind of high definition. Using the math data, we can render the vehicle as the customer will see it in the ‘as manufactured state,'" stated Joe Guzman, engineering group manager for Global Virtual Design Process & Operations. "Designers and engineers can then scrutinize every detail to make sure they are spot-on." Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Sony, Coca-Cola, Uber and more [Updated]

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 24, 2014 09:14 AM

The Interview Sony Christmas release

TOP STORIES

Sony presses ahead with Christmas Day theatrical release of The Interview, as Apple reportedly refused to release it on iTunes—and as leaked emails reveal Sony Music publishing unit may be on the block.

Update: Sony has been in talks about online video distribution, and made The Interview available today on YouTube, Google Play and its own Crackle service.

Coca-Cola plans to axe up to 2,000 jobs in the coming weeks in company-wide austerity move.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

Sony Confirms 'The Interview' Release; Still Playing It Safe?

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 23, 2014 07:05 PM

Sony The Interview movie still Seth Rogen James Franco

In the latest chapter in the Sony cyberhack saga, the studio has (as promised) announced that it will release The Interview theatrically on Christmas Day—initially in 200 theaters and now in more than 300 U.S. theaters.

The film had been scheduled to open in 3,000 theaters on Dec. 25, until hacktivists threatened violence against theater owners screening the film. Now those theaters, mostly art house and independent cinemas, can expect sold-out shows, begging the question: is Sony still being overly cautious in the face of cybervandalism?Continue reading...

CES Watch

CES 2015: LG Goes Line-Dancing With Text-Based Streaming Music Service

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 23, 2014 04:04 PM

Though CES 2015 won't be kicking off until the new year, some brands are already teasing the new products they'll be showcasing at the world's biggest consumer electronics show.

LG Electronics, for one, is bringing its vision of the future, one that personalizes the entertainment experience in a Her-like way. In addition to its (expected) smart TV suite, one life hack that LG plans to highlight is LG HomeChat capability, which enables consumers to communicate with their devices in new ways.

Users can text its 2015 Music Flow Wi-Fi Series audio system to turn on certain types of songs, or to shut off after a certain amount of time by simply sending the system a command (and indication of mood, such as "I am sad") via LG’s partnership with the Line messaging app.Continue reading...

automotive

Volvo Sells Out XC90 Online, Aided by Google Cardboard Virtual Reality App

Posted by Dale Buss on December 23, 2014 03:02 PM

Volvo Reality Google Cardboard virtual reality VR

With its announcement of a "brand new global marketing strategy" last week, Volvo laid the foundation for a new approach that will highlight digital advertising and even online sales of its vehicles at the expense of traditional channels such as TV advertising and auto shows.

But something more immediately exciting for the Swedish brand (now owned by Zhejiang Geely) might be afoot: Strong reception for the launch of the new Volvo XC90 crossover.

A Volvo executive told brandchannel that "there are good early signs" for the car: the first 1,927 Limited Edition versions of the model were only available for sale online, and they sold out in just 47 hours.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Cuba Opening, Rum Brands and Fans Look Forward to Havana Good Time

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 23, 2014 02:16 PM

Havana Club rum Cuba Facebook statement

Among other benefits, some in the branding world are hopeful that the opening of talks by the White House aimed at "normalizing" U.S.-Cuban relations may mean that Americans will soon be able to swim in a river of Cuban-made rum—although they can keep their swimsuits packed away while the legal issues are worked out.

As it now stands, American citizens cleared to visit Cuba may bring back $400 worth of goods. However, only $100 of that can be alcohol and tobacco. It remains unclear when or how that will change. But what is certainly bound to change soon is the number of visitors from the States making their way to Cuba.

Since 2011, Americans have only been allowed to visit the country on educational trips. But the Associated Press reports that those stringent rules will be loosened thanks to the White House's opening of relations, which could mean a big boost to the tourism industry in Cuba, not to mention the rum makers.Continue reading...

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