Posted by Abe Sauer on July 25, 2014 07:43 PM
Disruption, Beer Edition: Saturday Night Live alum Fred Armisen is no stranger to working with advertisers. His cult hit IFC network show Portlandia has a partnership with Subaru. But now Armisen has partnered with Heineken in a campaign called "Routine Interruption" which sees the comedian cold call unsuspecting people on a pay phone. It's a quirky idea, but will it help sell beer?Continue reading...
week in review
Posted by brandchannel on July 25, 2014 06:10 PM
Our most-read blog posts of the week:
#1 China's Latest Meat Scandal Could Deal a Death Blow to Brands Like KFC
#2 IKEA: A Brand That Knows How to Connect with Content
#3 Paying for Premium: Do Name Brands Survive on Consumer Ignorance?
#4 Sparkling Ice Breaker: 5 Questions with Talking Rain CEO Kevin Klock
#5 Oakley Takes Its Disruptive Design to Retail
#6 Protecting the Sport of Fitness: In and Out of the Box, CrossFit Defends Its Brand
#7 Target Snaps Up Mobile Shopping Innovation with Image Recognition App
#8 Of Mazda, Music and Miata: 5 Questions with Russell Wager
#9 Sharknado 2 Unleashes a Storm of Licensed Merchandise
#10 Walk a Mile in GE's Shoes—On the Moon
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 25, 2014 05:33 PM
As consumer demand for greater transparency by brands increases, companies are stepping up their commitment to sustainability.
Procter & Gamble is partnering with the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation to help small farmers improve their palm oil and palm kernel oil production as part of its zero deforestation goals set in April after the consumer packaged-goods company was targeted by Greenpeace.
“We already work with larger suppliers to trace the origin of our supply chain, but small farmers—in places like Malaysia and Indonesia—account for 35 to 45 percent of palm oil production,” said Len Sauers, VP P&G Sustainability.
But brands aren't the only ones having to make decisions with sustainability in mind. New tools and online tracking technologies aim to help better understand consumer behavior with respect to sustainability such as supercookies, browser fingerprinting, location-based identifiers and behavioral tracking.Continue reading...
Posted by Brittany Messenger on July 25, 2014 05:05 PM
As if there were any doubt, the Wearable Tech Expo this week in New York made one thing is certain: the branded wearable space is ready for take-off—but not before sorting out a few potential hurdles.
In her keynote address at the conference, Myriam Joire, Pebble’s Chief Evangelist, identified battery life technology and usability challenges as two key issues the industry needs to solve.
"If you want to go beyond us, the early adopters, the tech savvy users, you have to solve usability challenges," Joire commented. "The people who buy a smartwatch at Target don't want to do anything complicated. They want it to add value to their lives. Notifications alone have value right now. A busy mom carrying groceries who gets a notification that she has a text message and doesn't have to pull her phone out—that's gold."
But is product innovation enough to grow the industry? While improvements to battery life and usability will allow wearables to serve their users better and longer, how will they get consumers to even give them a shot?Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 25, 2014 03:42 PM
The food at McDonald’s is pretty straightforward, and so is the situation: The brand is in its biggest trouble in years, and CEO Don Thompson doesn’t like what he’s seeing on his plate.
The company has gotten caught in the scandal surrounding the sale of expired meat in China by one of its long-time suppliers in the region and has just stopped selling chicken McNuggets in Hong Kong because of it. It's problems extend beyond China, though, as the chain has come under fire in Russia by a consumer watchdog for sanitary and dietary reasons.
Back in the United States, just two years into his tenure Thompson is having to concede that the brand is lost. Assailed by problems ranging from a tepid American restaurant consumer to McDonald’s own shortfalls in new products, criticism over its low wages and even bad service, the company has launched a brand reboot that is supposed to take up to 18 months.
The goal is to become a “more trusted and respected brand,” Thompson told investors this week, and to create a dining experience “customers will feel good about.”Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 25, 2014 02:01 PM
While QSR brands across the board are wallowing in slow sales, Starbucks' third-quarter earnings tell a different story: the cafe reported $4.15 billion in revenue—an 11 percent increase from the same period last year.
Crushing impending competition from Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's, Starbucks only foresees further sales growth as it plans to raise prices on some of its drinks and packaged coffee in the US, CNBC notes. According to Time, “over the past five years, Starbucks’ same-store sales … accelerated and far outpaced those of Dunkin’ Brands, parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts.” In fact, Dunkin' and McDonald's may be doing more damage to each other than Starbucks.
But don't think that Starbucks has been taking the offensive lying down. The brand has been bolstering its food offerings thanks to its purchase of La Boulange bakery in 2012. That bakery’s products are currently in more than 1,000 Starbucks but are planned to be in 2,500 by summer’s end.Continue reading...
Posted by Darcy Newell on July 25, 2014 11:14 AM
You know about Siri and Google Now, and you may have heard about Microsoft’s recent beta launch of the Cortana intelligent personal assistant with Windows Phone 8.1.
But there’s an even newer, natural language UI-powered, virtual assistant on the scene, ready to respond to users' voice commands for everything from reminders to directions to texting. BlackBerry has announced its plan to launch its own assistant feature this fall, available on the upcoming BlackBerry 10.3 operating system and the much-anticipated smart phone release, the BlackBerry Passport.
According to a post on the Inside BlackBerry blog, this new virtual assistant feature will boast capabilities currently unavailable in the market today, such as reading email messages and marking them unread, or turning on the flashlight function.
We’ll have to wait a few months to determine whether BlackBerry’s assistant offering will truly “walk the talk” next to its peers. But in the meantime, it's interesting to consider BlackBerry’s naming approach.Continue reading...
Posted by Katie Conneally on July 25, 2014 10:40 AM
When Foursquare decided to split itself in two in an attempt to attract new customers who may be turned off by its emphasis on location-based check-ins, results were mixed. About a month ago, the company launched Swarm, the check in spin-off app that was strikingly different from the Foursqaure loyal users had known and loved.
This week, it released the first images of what the new Foursquare app—now focused on exploration and recommendations—will look like when it launches in a few weeks.
"The check-in story has dominated the brand and user experience. We’d hear people say ‘I had no idea I could use this app to search for places’," Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley told The Verge. Now that’s not an issue, as the new Foursquare, redesigned with a pink and white “F” logo, aims to provide personalized recommendations tailored to each individual user. Like fish tacos or fried chicken? The new Foursquare knows, and will point you in the right direction.Continue reading...