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Auto Motivator: 5 Questions with Chrysler Group CMO Olivier François

Posted by Dale Buss on September 22, 2014 05:32 PM

Since Fiat Chrysler outlined its ambitious growth plans for most of its brands at a meeting in May with investors and journalists, and of course even before that, Chrysler Group CMO Olivier François has been strategizing about the implications for marketing of Fiat, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram in the United States and abroad.

Among the tall orders he faces are CEO Sergio Marchionne's stretch goal of more than doubling sales of the Chrysler brand by 2018, compared with its 350,000 sales a year ago. More easily achievable goals might be success for the ongoing conversion of Jeep into a global brand; ensuring the continued rise of Ram, which was cleaved from Dodge a few years ago; and sharpening Dodge as a performance brand, rolling it back from its broader positioning of yore.

More challenging could be making Fiat a truly household name in North America. And then there's the automaker's goal to make a triumphant return for Alfa Romeo in US marketplace as a highly regarded luxury-performance brand, decades after it exited quietly.

For François, the overall objective is to help pivot from a marketing-led company, which Chrysler was as it recovered from the 2009 bailout by Fiat and the US government, to a product-led company on the strength of a vibrant string of launches of overhauled and new vehicles which the company is rolling out now.

It's the difference between featuring Eminem in a Super Bowl commercial three years ago to help revive the Chrysler brand with only a warmed-over 200 model to show off, and today, when Chrysler has an all-new, extremely worthy 200 mid-sized sedan to brag about, so it can tailor its messaging around the technology, styling, performance and comfort bona fides of the car and how well it is built.Continue reading...


TVGN Cuts Ties with Muddled TV Guide Past with Rebrand to Pop

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 22, 2014 03:01 PM

US cable TV networks love to rebrand, in the ever-elusive chase for younger eyeballs or different demographics, or to reflect a new programming mix, positioning and ad sales focus. So don't get too attached to TVGN, because the channel formerly known as TV Guide Network in the US is rebranding as Pop in the new year.

Owned and operated by CBS and Lionsgate, TVGN is a separate entity from TVGuide.com and TV Guide Magazine, and its latest identity is as a destination for hard-core pop culture consumers, the inspiration for the three-letter moniker. Or as Brad Schwartz, POP’s president of entertainment and media, told TV Week, “When something stands out from the rest, it pops.”

“It’s what everyone is talking about," he added. "When something is so good that it earns a culture of fandom, that’s pop—and that’s what we want our channel to symbolize, a fresh new media personality that puts us firmly alongside the audience.”

As Broadcasting & Cable points out, TVGN's reach of 80 million homes makes it (potentially) an important business for CBS and Lionsgate.

“Pop is an exciting new chapter for a cable network that has made great progress and generated significant ratings momentum over the past year,” said CBS CEO Les Moonves and Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer in a press release. “Our new brand not only positions the channel for continued growth but reflects its identity, focus and fan base.”Continue reading...


Brands Unite Around Climate Change Ahead of UN Summit

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 22, 2014 02:01 PM

A tipping point has been reached vis-à-vis climate change. Sunday's People’s Climate March (supported by Ben & Jerry's and a host of organizations) drew an estimated 400,000 people in New York alone, making it the largest climate march in history. And it's not just private citizens, but corporate citizens that are taking a stand in response to customer demands ahead of Tuesday’s opening of the UN Climate Summit in New York.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has identified the issue as a top priority and is using NYC's Climate Week to set the stage for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change taking place in Paris in December 2015.

On the eve of this week's Climate Summit, companies are speaking out and aligning their brands with popular sentiment by making pledges to help fight global warming, with the Climate Group announcing commitments by "100 of the world's largest companies" to adopt renewable power by 2020.

Case in point: Apple CEO Tim Cook, barely catching his breath from a record opening weekend for iPhone 6 sales, flew from California to attend a Climate Week kick-off event in New York, where he commented that "Apple has a very core value of leaving the world better than we found it."

In addition to calling Apple's new HQ the "greenest building on the planet," Cook announced that the company's 2013 goal to get its data centers fully powered by renewable energy sources is six percent shy of that goal.Continue reading...

sip on this

Strange Brew: Starbucks Tests Beer-Flavored Latte That Tastes Like Guinness

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 22, 2014 01:14 PM

Starbucks locations across America have been filing for liquor licenses in the hopes of expanding their business hours and profits. While some have succeeded in getting licenses, others—such as one in hipster heaven Williamsburg, Brooklyn—have not. Soon, consumers there may have have another way to quench their craving for a beer-like beverage.

In its never-ending quest for innovative menu items, the global coffee purveyor is testing a dark-beer-inspired coffee drink called Dark Barrel Latte in a handful of locations across the US. And while customer reviews are mixed, if Starbucks works out the flavor kinks it may one day join (if not rival) the Pumpkin Spiced Latte as an annual autumnal limited-time menu item.Continue reading...

retail watch

The Fault in Our Books: Tesco Suspends Execs Amid Accounting Probe

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 22, 2014 11:02 AM

Somebody in the Tesco accounting offices has been optimistic—overly optimistic, as it turns out, resulting in an accounting error that has cost the company a whole lot of cash and trust—two things the world’s third-largest retailer can’t afford to lose these days.

After admitting that its first-half 2014 profit statement was overstated by about 250 million pounds, Tesco today announced it has launched an investigation into its accounting practices and suspended its UK managing director and three other associates while it retains Deloitte to go over its books.

For the third time in two months, Tesco has cut its profit forecast after the “major fault in its accounts” was found. Its first-half 2014 outlook of 1.1 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) a month ago has has now dropped to 850 million pounds ($1.38 billion).Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Apple, Alibaba, Climate Change and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 22, 2014 09:14 AM


Apple sets new record with 10 million iPhone 6 sales its first weekend, dispatching Tim Cook to Palo Alto and Angela Ahrendts to Sydney to meet fans, while pre-scheduled Joan Rivers endorsement backfires on social media.

Alibaba's next step, following world's largest IPO: helping US small businesses.

Jaguar taps Stella McCartney for XE launch at Paris auto show, where MINI will show new five-door hatchback among other auto brand reveals.

Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Nestle, PepsiCo and other food and CGP giants sign landmark agreement on children's marketing rules.

NFL changes player-conduct policy as P&G cancels breast-cancer awareness tie-in with league and '47 brand stands by league.


Air France pilots vote to extend strike.

Applebee's sees social lift from "food porn."

AT&T and other brand publishers find their relationship with Facebook "complicated."

BlackBerry makeover starts to take shape and show results.

Chipotle's "brilliant" hiring process featured on LinkedIn.

Citi sees New York audit of troubled Citi Bike program.Continue reading...

branded content

Branded Content Watch: Origins On the Road, Miranda July Tells a Tale and more

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 19, 2014 06:52 PM

This week in branded content, Funny or Die continues to flex its content muscles as Moroccanoil hopes to inspire everyday consumers with super-duper supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Check out the latest branded entertainment and brand videos from Volkswagen, Origins, Canon and more after the jump.

The Project: The Way Too Helpful Neighbor (Volkswagen)

The Pitch: What happens when you drive the all-new Volkswagen Golf through a Target store?

The Verdict: There's a branded content arms race going on between Funny or Die and Vice, and as this VW video proves, Funny or Die owns the humor category. Also: nice cameo, Target!Continue reading...

week in review

Top 10 Stories of the Week: Scottish Brands Vote No, Coke Surge and more

Posted by brandchannel staff on September 19, 2014 06:45 PM

Our most-read blog posts of the week:

#1 Yes or No, Scotland's Vote for Independence Will Affect Brands

#2 Long Live the '90s: Coke Brings Back Surge in Amazon E-Commerce Tie-In

#3 U2unes Download: Apple and U2 Announce Next Big Gift to Music

#4 Alibaba IP-OMG: Putting the Potentially Biggest IPO Ever in Global Perspective

#5 Apple, Watch Your Back: Is Google Going More Boldly Into the Future?

#6 Nestle Scorched for Tapping California Water, but It Won't Be the Last Brand

#7 Bud Light's Whatever is a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Brand Campaign

#8 AB InBev May Gulp Down SABMiller as Heineken Holds On to Independence

#9 Urban Outfitters Ignites Social Rage (Again) with Blood-Stained Sweatshirt

#10 Omnichannel Glam: Q&A with Rent the Runway Co-Founder Jenny Fleiss

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