Best Global Green Brands 2014

brand ambassadors

Campaign Watch: Toyota Releases Hugh Jackman Ads in China and Japan

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 31, 2014 02:16 PM

David Duchovny isn't the Hollywood star who's moonlighting as a pitchman overseas—though Hugh Jackman's foreign-language star turn is likely to be less controversial.

Between stints as Wolverine, Jackman has become the new face of Toyota in Japan and China. In a new spot, below, Jackman stars as "Levin" in a short film that also stars Taiwanese actress Shu Qi as "Cynthia" and just debuted at a special event in China.

The Aussie actor joins other Hollywood leading men taking a spin in China for auto brands including Nicolas Cage in the Senova brand "Town of Car Legends" for BAIC (Beijing Auto) and George Clooney, who whisked away Bonnie Chen for Mercedes-Benz.

Watch Jackman's new Toyota China spot along with another spot in which he (literally) sings the praises of Toyota in Japan:Continue reading...

games people play

Nintendo Outlook Worsens as it Falls Behind in Evolving Gaming Market

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 31, 2014 01:37 PM

Nintendo could use a video-game superhero to come to life and help save its fortunes. The company is still struggling despite Wii U sales tripling in the last quarter.  

510,000 Wii U consoles were sold in the quarter while Nintendo’s 3DS sales fell 41 percent over the previous year, dropping to below a million, according to TechCrunch.

Part of the issue is that Nintendo won’t allow its games to be played on mobile devices, holding on tight to its 3DS handheld gaming platform. "The handheld device market is pretty much shrinking because smartphones have the same screen size and you cannot use the device for anything else other than gaming," Eva Hunyadi, research analyst at Juniper Research, told CNBC. "Handheld games are shrinking and probably going to get close to exiting the market by 2019."Continue reading...

e-commerce

PayPal Wants to Take Your Money—and Lend It to You, Too

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 31, 2014 11:18 AM

eBay, the parent company of PayPal, is rebranding the online transaction service's Bill Me Later function to PayPal Credit, bringing consumer lending to the central part of the brand as it blows out the service globally. 

It’s part of the company’s evolution to become a more integral part of commerce. The changes signal a strategic shift to “bring credit more to the center of PayPal,” said PayPal’s VP of Credit, Steve Allocca, according to TechCrunch. “[Credit is] especially important to us as we look to expand into the offline world and omni-channel. It’s going to be all the more important for us to have more levers to proactively manage and control our transaction expense.” 

Allocca said customer spend rises by 30 percent after adoption of a PayPal credit vehicle and the recent changes support future goals of the brand to compete in retail POS as well as on mobile. Bill Me Later will cycle payments monthly through PayPal Wallet instead of the current website, minimizing steps between PayPal and Bill Me Later.

Meanwhile, PayPal is also expanding its small business lending program, PayPal Working Capital, which is still in invite-only beta. Since September of last year, the program has loaned more than 20,000 businesses upwards of $150 million from PayPal and lending partner, WebBank.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Coca-Cola, Target, Whole Foods and more

Posted by Dale Buss on July 31, 2014 09:43 AM

TOP STORIES

Bloomberg Businessweek's new cover story hits Coca-Cola in the stomach over obesity.

Target hires PepsiCo veteran Brian Cornell as new CEO.

Apple reportedly plans to cut 200 jobs at Beats as $3B acquisition gets EU approval.

Budweiser features Jay Z and Rihanna in new campaign as MTV lands Beyonce solo for VMAs.

Whole Foods Markets lowers sales forecast and plans major marketing push to reverse "negative narrative."

MORE BRAND NEWS

AMC, the Mad Men/Breaking Bad network, reportedly eyes stake in BBC America.

American Express pursues “first-ever” experiences for customers.

BlackBerry's new COO discusses his goals with WSJ.

BMW kicks the tires on Medium as its first advertiser.

Bud and Miller struggle to take on craft beer.

Chevrolet increases focus on China.Continue reading...

retail watch

RadioShack Hopes Silicon Valley Can Help Boost Its Brand

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 30, 2014 05:37 PM

RadioShack, still hemorrhaging cash and in danger of running out altogether before a turn-around, is rolling out 21 remodeled stores in the San Francisco Bay area in a eleventh hour attempt to counteract its steep stock decline.

"As a technology mecca, San Francisco has long been an important market for the RadioShack brand, so it makes sense to open a significant number of our interactive remodeled stores for customers in the Bay Area," said Mike DeFazio, RadioShack SVP store operations, according to the Dallas Business Journal. "These stores are built on customer feedback from more than 40 concept stores we have opened in the past year.”

The remodeled stores showcase the brand’s new Fix It Here! service for repairing mobile devices as well as products from startups and inventors like mobile-controlled robot ball Sphero. An interactive speaker wall lets customers compare and purchase speakers from in-store tablets while a headphone demo station offers up brands like Beats By Dre, Skullcandy and more.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Nike Says Goodbye to ManU, Hello to Moscow with New Kits

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 30, 2014 03:14 PM

Nike has one last go-around with the soccer world’s best-known brand, Manchester United, before it exits the stadium to make room for adidas after the sporting brand failed to renew its contract with the team after negotiations reached over $100 million per year. 

For the price of about $40 million annually, Nike has been outfitting ManU in Nike-branded uniforms for the last 12 seasons and has just unveiled its final kit which will be worn this coming season. The kit, which is the club's third uniform for the season, was unveiled during a preseason match as part of the club's US tour.Continue reading...

brand challenges

NLRB Decision Boosts QSR Workers, but Could Tear Down US Franchising System

Posted by Dale Buss on July 30, 2014 02:02 PM

McDonald’s was the immediate target of the stunning pro-labor ruling by a federal agency on Tuesday. But in allowing McDonald’s to be treated as a joint employer with its franchisees for liability purposes, the National Labor Relations Board may be overturning one of the pillars of the powerful and lucrative American franchise model.

The decision allows McDonald’s central, corporate operations and brand to be lumped in with its thousands of independently owned franchisees when it comes to dealing with disputes that have arisen over franchisees’ treatment of workers for participating in protests calling for higher wages. It’s a major victory for a union movement that has been battered lately but which has found a stalwart ally in the Obama administration.

The implications could be profound not only for McDonald’s but also for the thousands of other brands that operate under the franchisee model, including competing fast-food restaurants, as well as retailers in dozens of verticals, ranging from kiosk operators at the local mall to car dealerships.Continue reading...

retail watch

It Gets Better: Zappos Tops Itself with #AskZappos Personal Shopping Assistant

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 30, 2014 11:33 AM

Zappos is once again testing the outer limits of customer service by introducing AskZappos, a digital assistant that will locate any item—even if the company doesn’t sell it. 

In beta since June, the service is now being promoted on the brand's mobile homepage. It's the latest from Zappos Labs, so much a part of the company’s ethos that every employee trains for one month at the Las Vegas call center to ensure they understand the entire e-commerce process. To use AskZappos, consumers can text, email or tag a photo with #AskZappos on Instagram to activate the personal shopping assistant. 

"It's really easy to create those amazing experiences on the phone, but that's really hard to do online," said Zappos Labs Director Will Young, referring to the brand's all-star customer service reputation for its website. But with hopes of engaging customers in new ways, Zappos is looking to capture increasing desktop e-commerce traffic so consumers can shop and have questions answered without ever picking up the phone.Continue reading...

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