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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...

bc q&a

It's Game Time: 5 Questions with Sally Smith, CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings

Posted by Dale Buss on September 18, 2014 12:37 PM

If it's fall, it must be Buffalo Wild Wings time. The restaurant chain is a signature location for football-watching and other socializing that picks up seasonally, and the 1,030 locations make the most of their cherished place in the national traditions around sports.

Of course, the current controversy over the NFL's domestic-violence policy has cast a pall, to some extent, over all brands that are associated with football, while Buffalo Wild Wings remains an advertiser on game telecasts.

But the Minneapolis-based operator also is hedging its bets on the "B-Dubs" formula with investments in a couple of other concepts, one a "street taco" brand named Rusty Taco and a made-to-order pizza spot a la Chipotle's customization approach, called PizzaRev.

brandchannel chatted with Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith about the brand's plans for differentiation.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Mets Deny Official Logo Change After Fans Find Citi Swap in Skyline

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 18, 2014 10:52 AM

The Mets have found a new way to lose; lose elements of the team's logo, that is.

Eagle-eyed fans noticed that the baseball team's iconic Manhattan skyline logo has dropped the United Nations headquarters building and replaced it with the Citigroup Center. Is it a hack? Or is it a sneaky branding move by Citigroup, which shells out $20 million a year for naming rights to the Mets' home field?

The blog Uni Watch—The Obsessive Study of Athletics Aesthetics—first noted the swap, calling it "disgusting" and "pathetically predictable." The changed logo only appeared on the Mets' Facebook and Twitter pages and was quickly switched back when the team was contacted for comment, in which the team said no changes have been made or plan to be made to the team's primary logo. 

Citibank announced a deal with the Mets in 2006 for naming rights to the team's new stadium that opened in 2009. At the time, dropping the famous "Shea" was not popular with fans. In this case, the Mets, and Citigroup, may have overstepped.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: PepsiCo, Yelp, Target and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 18, 2014 09:32 AM

TOP STORIES

As another NFL player is suspended following domestic violence arrest, Nike and the Minnesota Vikings reverse course and suspend Adrian Peterson. Other sponsors monitor the situation as PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi signals her support for embattled NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, while Radisson's move to drop Vikings sponsorship turned out to be a smart move. Meanwhile, female fans grow wary of league and CBS CEO Moonves hails football on TV.

Toshiba cuts 900 jobs in PC restructuring while Warner Bros. is expected to cut up to 1,000 jobs.

Target selects brand partners for "made to matter" sustainable push with Walmart.

Yelp and TinyCo settle FTC lawsuit for improperly collecting data on kids.

Scotland goes to the polls in historic vote on independence while Scotch whisky-makers fret, among other nervous industries.

MORE BRAND NEWS

Alibaba sets to price shares amid investor frenzy over looming IPO.

Amazon expands Kindle lineup and boosts price of basic e-reader.

Apple reportedly plans to reveal two new iPads (despite i-fatigue) and new Mac OS, amidst increasing focus on security.

Audi claims first California self-driving permit.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Space Inc.: The Great Beyond is Now Ripe for Brand Commercialization

Posted by Dale Buss on September 17, 2014 06:41 PM

What is it about space that entrepreneurs want to keep going up there—or at least starting companies that go up there? Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos is the latest king of business buildling who's now gotten a foothold in the great beyond, joining Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson and SpaceX's Elon Musk.

Bezos founded and funded a space startup called Blue Origin that had been a relatively low-profile venture until it turned up as a partner to Boeing for the "space taxi" program for NASA of which Boeing won the biggest share this week, while SpaceX also got a contract. Blue Origin had been focused on developing spacecraft with a vertical takeoff-vertical landing first stage, simlar to technology that SpaceX has been working on with its Grasshopper and Falcon 9 launchers.

Musk, also founder of Tesla, has been involved via SpaceX in a high-profile race with Branson's Virgin Galactic to be the first to take rank-and-file global citizens into space on their separate aircraft, a competition which is supposed to take civilians into space as early as next year.Continue reading...

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