brand roadmaps

Pressed for Growth, Campbell Wants to Be 'More Than Just Soup'

Posted by Dale Buss on December 18, 2014 02:05 PM

Campbell's Soup Mmm Mmm Good hashtag

Campbell's Soup has come a long way from the simple days when its iconic slogan "M'm M'm Good!" meant that sales were as healthy as a steaming bowl of tomato soup. Today's new tagline for the soup brand is "Real Food That Matters for Life's Moments." And therein lies a new tale.

Under CEO Denise Morrison, who is now entering her fourth year, Campbell has tried mightily to resurrect sales of its staple product: Mainstream soups. The company has tried taking salt out and then putting it back in. It has tried riotous new flavors and uncommon packaging to attract millennials who haven't grown up on soup. It has called the stuff "Go Soup!" and come up with recipe apps for soup. Campbell also has tried various pricing and other promotional gambits.

But even the occasional wins in the soup category have turned out to be chimeras. For example, for the quarter that ended Nov. 2, Campbell's U.S. soup sales were up by 6 percent—just the second time that has happened in 15 months. But the gain was a false one, BuzzFeed reported, in that it occurred mainly because big retailers including Walmart made holiday orders earlier than usual.Continue reading...

branded entertainment

Kotex Stakes Out 'Generation Know' With Vampire Web Series

Posted by Abe Sauer on December 18, 2014 01:01 PM

Vampires and menstruation have a long history in pop culture. The original Dracula tale has been interpreted as a commentary on female menstruation and some historians have put the two together going all the way back to ancient Greece. More recently, despite its G-rated version of vampirism, the Twilight saga has raised questions about Bella's periods and even inspired fan fiction on the topic.

But while the subject piques the interest of a curious fanbase, it might seems like dangerous ground for commercial interests. Not so, says one feminine products brand that has been so successful in hitching itself to vampires that it's doubling down on the genre.

The brand is Kimberly-Clark's U by Kotex and the vampires in question are found in the Canadian web series Carmilla, which it sponsors—and just renewed—on the VervegirlTV YouTube channel. Continue reading...

follow the money

Bitcoin Gets More Respect From Major Brands

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 18, 2014 12:02 PM

Bitcoin currency gold coins

Bitcoin has survived skepticism, economic volatility and outright hostility from entrenched financial institutions since it was created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. But now, it's starting to seep into the global economy as more big brands are stepping out in support of the digital currency.

Time Inc. is the latest company to announce it’s accepting the virtual currency for subscriptions to many of its magazines, including Fortune, Health, This Old House and Travel and Leisure.

“For a major publisher like Time Inc. to embrace Bitcoin sends an important message to both its readers and to the broader media community,” said Brian Armstrong, CEO and co-founder of Coinbase (Time Inc.'s Bitcoin processor), according to the New York Times.Continue reading...

content strategy

GE Partners With Nas to Release First Documentary for Connected TVs

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 18, 2014 10:44 AM

GE is flexing its content muscles in a new direction, by releasing a documentary and video package aimed at youths, hip hop fans and science buffs.

The company is releasing its first feature film—a breakdancing documentary—for streaming platforms, connected TVs and mobile devices.

Shake the Dust, a documentary executive-produced by rapper Nasir "Nas" Jones, will debut on Christmas Eve in a partnership between GE and music video platform Vevo.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Sony Exits 'The Interview,' Carnival Crowdsources Super Bowl Ad

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 18, 2014 08:15 AM

TOP STORIES

Sony cancels The Interview movie release as U.S. officials now believe (others disagree) that North Korea was behind company's cyberhack (and 90 percent of companies vulnerable), while Snapchat CEO reportedly "devastated" by latest email leak.

Carnival signs on for Super Bowl ad, letting the public choose one of four options.

Gap Inc. expands China distribution in deal with Alibaba rival JD.com.

U.S. restores relations with Cuba in boon for travel industry as Russia economic meltdown creates jitters.

Burberry launches last-minute personalized gift service via Twitter.Continue reading...

mobile brands

BlackBerry Classic: Will Going Back to Basics—and QWERTY—Boost Brand?

Posted by Catherine Straut on December 17, 2014 05:02 PM

BlackBerry Classic 2014 reveal

Today, BlackBerry officially unveiled the new BlackBerry Classic at a press event in New York.

The release isn't intended to be a nostalgic pitch for the brand's early adopters, or just "a QWERTY throwback." Canada's once-leading mobile brand is seeking another hit by refreshing the phone that launched its brand worldwide.

According to the brand's official blog, the device responds to current customers' demand for a “familiar design” that merges the “security and speed” of the BlackBerry10 platform, which launched in early 2013.

"The conversation about BlackBerry has changed in the last year," CEO John Chen said as he launched the Classic at Manhattan's Cipriani restaurant. "We are here to stay, there is no question about that. Now we have to engineer our growth."Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Google Promotes Open Standards to Advance Internet of Things

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 17, 2014 04:04 PM

Google is reaching out to the academic community to submit proposals for an Internet of Things (IoT) open standards program to be called the 'Open Web of Things.'

The initiative’s goals are to further the development of open standards, facilitate ease of use and ensure that privacy and security are fundamental values in the evolution of the IoT.

"Imagine a world in which access to networked technology defies the constraints of desktops, laptops or smartphones," blogged Vint Cerf, Google's Chief Internet Evangelist, along with Roy Want and Max Senges of Google Research.

"A future where we work seamlessly with connected systems, services, devices and 'things' to support work practices, education, and daily interactions."Continue reading...

sip on this

The Cup Song Ends: Coca-Cola Calls Off 13-Year 'American Idol' Tie-In

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 17, 2014 02:07 PM

Coca-Cola’s branding has been all over Fox’s American Idol for 13 seasons, from the massive cups visible on the judges’ table to the dizzying background videos when host Ryan Seacrest sits down to have a tête-à-tête with contestants. 

But Coke has finally decided to disengage from the once all-powerful FOX TV show, Variety reports. The show has been losing ratings in recent years and announced this week that the results segments would be completely eliminated; performances and results will now all be in one episode, AmericanIdolnet.com reports.

Apparently, the audition portions are popular enough for the network to keep them around for two nights a week, so the next season will start off with two audition episodes followed by once-weekly showings after that.

All of it will now be without Coke, though the question remains how producers will handle the Coke-emblazoned cups that may have been in front of the judges last summer when they taped the auditions. (Digital product placement insertion, perhaps?)Continue reading...

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