tech in the spotlight

Samsung Gears Up for Holidays with VR, Pop-Up Stores and Kristen and Dax

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 26, 2014 04:38 PM

Samsung is anticipating a successful holiday season, thanks to buzzed-about new virtual reality products, a pop-up store push, a humorous new campaign starring Kristen Bell and husband Dax Shepard—and a critical show of confidence from management.

The consumer electronics giant started the week off strong by announcing that it's focusing its portfolio, Bloomberg reports, as excitement continues to grow amongst U.S. (and other) consumers who eagerly await the release of Samsung's Gear VR Innovator.

According to CNET, the Innovator brings together Oculus Rift virtual reality technology with the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 4 to create "a fully immersive virtual reality experience."

Set to hit stores in December, the gadget will run $199, or be bundled with a Bluetooth controller for $249. CNET notes that this won’t be quite the same experience as the Oculus Rift or Sony’s Project Morpheus—because those have their own screens—but is definitely a step forward for mobile VR.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Unilever Extends Project Sunlight to Combat Childhood Hunger This Holiday

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 26, 2014 03:14 PM

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Unilever’s Project Sunlight has partnered with SheKnows Media and digital literacy platform Hatch to launch a campaign that aims to increase awareness of the child hunger plight in America, which affects more than 16 million kids.

Project Sunlight launched about this time last year, making a commitment to sustainable living so that today's adults have something to hand down to their children.

“There is no doubt that our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is ambitious,” Marc Mathieu, SVP Marketing, Unilever told brandchannel.Continue reading...

campaigns

Weight Watchers President: 'Hard Part' Campaign 'is Going to Set Us Apart'

Posted by Dale Buss on November 26, 2014 01:31 PM

Weight Watchers has been struggling with the business just as many dieters struggle with their weight. But just in time for the holidays, the iconic weight-loss brand is placing a big new bet on doing something different in the category with a big new advertising campaign.

With TV ads and other advertising breaking this week under the theme "Help with the Hard Part," Weight Watchers is doing two things that seem unprecedented in the industry: Talking honestly about the guilt and shame that often are associated not only with diets but with eating in general these days.

It's highlighting this idea and its brand just in time for what many people regard as the most joyous eating season of the year instead of waiting, as is traditional in the industry, to break a new campaign in January.

"It's going to set us apart," Lesya Lysyj, president of Weight Watchers North America, told brandchannel. "There has been a category norm, and no one has broken it until now."Continue reading...

branded entertainment

Branded Entertainment Watch: Lady Gaga & Tony for H&M, Red Bull and more

Posted by Abe Sauer on November 26, 2014 12:09 PM

The Project: "Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett - H&M Magical Holidays"

The Plot: The May-December songbirds perform “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” from their #1 album, Cheek To Cheek.

The Verdict: Swingin' and festive, chic to chic. Watch below, with more of the latest in branded entertainment this week:Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

Sony Reportedly Joins Emirates in Ending FIFA World Cup Sponsorship

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 26, 2014 10:28 AM

Sony may be tired of taking a pricey punt on the troubled World Cup soccer tournament when it has its own troubles to take care of.

The embattled Japanese consumer electronics giant has paid a reported $280 million to be one of the official sponsors of the FIFA World Cup for the last eight years, but it apparently doesn’t feel like spending that kind of money again.

After all, at this past summer’s Cup in Brazil, the brand made headlines because it wouldn’t allow players to wear Beats by Dre headphones to and from games and practices. After all that expenditure, Sony was left looking like the bad guy.

Now Reuters reports that Sony won't renew its contract with FIFA when it's up at year’s end. The company lost $1.5 billion last quarter, the Christian Science Monitor notes, and can surely find a better way to spend its money.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Target, Discover, Land Rover and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 26, 2014 09:12 AM

TOP STORIES

On eve of Black Friday data breach anniversary, Target CMO Jeff Jones gives CNN Money a sneak peek at retailer's holiday command center.

Discover sues Visa in U.S. over anti-competitive practices.

Land Rover blasts Evoque look-alike in China.

Walmart loses U.S. merchandising chief while retailer dismisses 30 China executives.

Tumblr passes Instagram as fastest-growing social platform while Snapchat is fastest-growing app.Continue reading...

sip on this

Coca-Cola Celebrates Santa Claus (and Milk, of Course) This Holiday Season

Posted by Dale Buss on November 25, 2014 05:05 PM

In addition to bringing back its beloved holiday icon, Santa Claus, this holiday season, Coca-Cola is trying to "open happiness" with an entirely new kind of beverage: designer milk to go with those cookies for Saint Nick.

Based on the selling points behind the startup brand Core Power that Coke has been distributing for a while, Fairlife milk has 60 percent more protein and 50 percent less sugar than regular milk as well as 30 percent more calcium, Business Insider reports.

In that regard, Fairlife seems like a perfect bit of diversification for the beverage giant, whose sales of regular and even Diet Coke have been sliding for years under greater health scrutiny by consumers and vilification as a major contributor to the world's problem with obesity.

"It's basically the premiumization of milk," Sandy Douglas, a senior vice president at Coca-Cola's North American operation, said last week at an investor conference, according to CBS News.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Even Amy Poehler Can't Save Old Navy From Thanksgiving Day Flap

Posted by Catherine Straut on November 25, 2014 04:27 PM

Old Navy is making a major push this holiday, including launching a new multichannel holiday ad campaign intended to drive customers to its stores on Black Friday—and lining up at its stores on Thanksgiving.

The mid-market apparel retailer is bucking the protests over businesses opening on Thanksgiving Day by opening its doors at 4 p.m. local time, which it's promoting with the return of its Overnight Millionaire sweepstakes.

To enter, shoppers must be one of the first 100 people in line at a store on Thanksgiving, which the Gap Inc.-owned brand is promoting with its departing brand ambassador, Amy Poehler.Continue reading...

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