For Chinese New Year 2015, Brands Are Getting Their Ram/Sheep/Goat On

Posted by Abe Sauer on January 26, 2015 12:44 PM

Starbucks Chinese New Year of the Sheep 2015 card

February 19 will bring a new Lunar New Year, more colloquially know as "Chinese New Year." It will also bring the next animal in the traditional lunar year 12-animal zodiac cycle. In the recent past brands have fallen over themselves to offer themed products to capitalize on the exploding Chinese consumer market.

Recent years have brought branded goodies celebrating the Year of the Dragon, the Year of the Snake and, last year, the Year of the Horse. Now get ready for the Year of the Sheep. Or the Goat. Or the Ram.Continue reading...

chew on this

Choc Block: US Chocolate Lovers Protest as Hershey Bars Cadbury UK Brands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 26, 2015 11:19 AM

Neil Gaiman Cadbury chocolate US

Cadbury has already alarmed chocolate fans with fears that changes to its iconic, Easter-ready Crème Eggs would trickle overseas. While Cadbury is calming those fears at home, including releasing a new commercial promoting the creamy egg concoction in the UK, America's Hershey chocolate conglomerate "won kudos for not changing Cadbury's Crème Egg recipe after the UK's decades-old version was tinkered with," as Fox News puts it.

It turns out that overseas chocolate lovers, at least in the US, have cause to worry after all, because Hershey is no longer willing to share shelf space in America with British chocolates that have any resemblance to its products whatsoever.

An agreement with importer Let’s Buy British Imports (L.B.B.) leaves US connoisseurs of Brit chocolates made by Cadbury’s, among others, with no way to get the good stuff without hopping on a plane and heading back across the pond—a move that has outraged expats including British author Neil Gaiman, who called the news "a dark, dark day" in a message to his Facebook fans on Sunday evening.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Apple, Malaysia Airlines, Porsche and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 26, 2015 08:01 AM

McDonald's Super Bowl 2015 Sneak Peek


Apple SVP (and former Burberry CEO) Angela Ahrendts outearned Tim Cook last year as brand opens latest China store in Alibaba's hometown (and reportedly agrees to Chinese government security checks) and chases Samsung in Korea, while "simple, secure" Apple Pay propels mobile wallet payments.

Malaysia Airlines site hacked by group claiming Islamic affiliation.

Porsche reportedly plans EV rival to Tesla.

Gap Inc. is dropping its Piperlime brand.

Super Bowl pre-Game ad reveals debated as McDonald's releases its sneak peek along with BMW (below), Budweiser aims to recapture puppy buzz, Domino's brings pizza tracker to Samsung smart TV sets for Game Day, Toyota features Paralympics champ Amy Purdy and the NFL strikes deal with Google to bring in-game clips to YouTube.Continue reading...

super bowl

Super Bowl 2015: 5 Questions with Nissan SVP Fred Diaz About #WithDad

Posted by Dale Buss on January 23, 2015 03:01 PM

Super Bowl Nissan 2015

Nissan has been away from Super Bowl advertising for 18 years —long before the Nissan Leaf all-electric vehicle; about when the home state of its US operation, Tennessee, got the Titans NFL team from Houston; and almost before the internet.

But that absence will be broken on February 1 when Nissan returns to the big game during the telecast of Super Bowl XLIX on NBC. Ahead of its return, Nissan has unleashed a YouTube campaign and the hashtag #withdad for a series of videos created by popular YouTube video creators who have come up with their unique takes on "the journey that not only dads—but also moms and children—face in trying to make family a priority while striving to balance work," as Nissan puts it.

The videos include the story of how prankster Roman Atwood turned his house into a giant plastic-ball pit, for example, a Nissan-sponsored stunt that has passed 16 million views in five days. "It's amazing to think that YouTube didn't exist the last time Nissan ran a Super Bowl ad," Jim Casali, head of auto-industry business for Google, said in a press release.

brandchannel caught up with Fred Diaz, senior vice president of sales, marketing and US operations for Nissan North America, about the brand's Super Bowl return and aspirations.Continue reading...

brand r.i.p.

RIP SkyMall, Home to Bigfoot Garden Yeti and BuzzFeed Pageviews

Posted by Abe Sauer on January 23, 2015 01:37 PM

SkyMall garden yeti

Dead at 25. SkyMall gave the world a quarter century of, in its own words, "cool stuff."

The in-flight catalog everyone knew by name but nobody bought anything from has filed for bankruptcy protection. The company has laid off 47 employees and put out feelers for a buyer.

The SkyMall bankruptcy is bad for SkyMall, and that one uncle of yours, but it's also going to exact an economic hit from the cottage industry that's been built up around making fun of SkyMall. Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Matt Damon, Water.org and Stella Artois Raise a Glass (and Hope) to Women

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 23, 2015 12:34 PM

Stella Artois Water.org

Water.org, the nonprofit cofounded by Matt Damon to help bring clean drinking water to developing nations across the globe, has made a very powerful partner: Anheuser Busch InBev. 

One of the world’s largest brewer's brands, Stella Artois, has just launched its first global social action campaign, announcing it at the Sundance Film festival in partnership with Water.org.

Called Buy a Lady a Drink, the campaign asks consumers to purchase a $12 chalice with Stella’s name on it. There are 20,000 limited-edition chalices being sold through Amazon.com. More than just a stylish branded memento, however, the money can provide clean water to a family for five years, as Water.org notes in a press release. Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Uniqlo, Nike Targeted by Activists Over Factory Conditions

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 23, 2015 11:01 AM

Almost two years after the Rana Plaza garment factory disaster in Bangladesh, brands are still being pressured to monitor conditions in their factories and to live up to their mission statements. 

Fast Retailing, parent of Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo, known for its fast-fashion ethos, is being challenged by Hong Kong-based Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) for “harsh and dangerous” working conditions at two Chinese factories that produce apparel for the company.

SACOM's latest report found underpaid Chinese garment workers slaving for long hours, facing fines and punishments—not to mention sewage-covered factory floors, electrical safety issues, poor ventilation and temperatures of more than 100 degrees.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Super Bowl Buzz, Old Spice Brings Back Terry Crews & more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 23, 2015 09:18 AM


Super Bowl advertising buildup continues, as BuzzFeed makes local Super Bowl buy for new ad, Carl's Jr. aims for raciest Super Bowl spot ever (above), Mtn Dew plans to offer pregame Snapchat storyNissan plays to fatherhood theme, Skittles releases its second teaserVictoria's Secret floods social media with teasers for Super Bowl ad. (Click here for the latest ads and sneak peeks.)

adidas sells Rockport shoe brand to new company that includes competitor New Balance and has high hopes for new Ultra Boost shoe.

Starbucks names a techie COO and reports earnings as brand expands mobile ordering in US.

McDonald's reports disappointing financial results as chain also faces controversy over responsibility for alleged discriminatory franchisee actions.

Old Spice re-teams with Terry Crews:Continue reading...

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