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branding together

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

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 18, 2014 03:24 PM

After exclusively launching U2’s new Songs of Innocence album to 500 million iTunes accounts this past week, Apple is delivering something else in response to customer demand. And true to Apple form, it’s an intuitive, easy-to-use and simple piece of technology—a delete button

A case study in how not to show customer appreciation, the unwanted gift of U2 music to all iTunes customers, whether they were fans of the Irish rockers or not, was hyped as the largest album release ever, and a "shrewd" marketing partnership (to the reported tune of $100 million) to celebrate the roots of the brand's longstanding tie-in with the band.

It turns out that the U2 album giveaway was a teaser for a bigger gift to come—and not only to music lovers but to musicians and the music industry as a whole. As TIME reveals in an exclusive cover story today, Apple is working with U2 on a bigger "secret project": a new digital music format designed to delight and excite customers to buy not only individual tracks but whole albums-as-experiences, and in so doing, "save the music industry."Continue reading...

brands with a cause

Pro Bono: How the Advertising Community Can Help Nonprofits like (RED)

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 24, 2014 02:49 PM

Celebrity musician and activist extraordinaire Bono took home the inaugural Cannes LionHeart award for his humanitarian work, but not before he called the entire advertising community to action to get behind his nonprofit (RED) organization, which helps fight AIDS. 

Calling the marketing industry the "creative engine of capitalism" and "the world’s thermostat" to tackle problems like AIDS, Bono noted that the majority of the foundation's funding comes from government organizations despite a growing number of consumer product partnerships and events.  

Founded in 2006, Apple was one of (RED)’s earliest supporters, even though many wouldn't know it. Bono joked with Apple's Jony Ive, who presented the award, calling Apple "annoyingly quiet" about its participation in (RED) thanks to Steve Jobs' aversion to including the brand's iconic parentheses on any Apple products or in any Apple stores. Apple has, however, raised $75 million for the cause.Continue reading...

cause marketing

US Budget Crisis Pressures Bono's ONE and (RED) World AIDS Day Push

Posted by Barry Silverstein on November 28, 2012 01:09 PM

There's good news and bad news when it comes to AIDS, and ONE wants to make sure the world's population is aware of both this December 1, the 24th annual World AIDS Day.

The ONE Campaign, the global advocacy organization co-founded by U2's Bono, just released a new report on the global fight against HIV/AIDS. The good news: Scientists now have the tools to "turn the tide" on AIDS, and the world should be heartened that the UN set targets for the "beginning of the end of AIDS" to be met in 2015. The bad news: Unless "sufficient funding, coordination and political will" are brought to bear in the fight against AIDS, it will be 2022 before the "beginning of the end of AIDS" can be reached.

With America mired in a heated national debate over how to fix the debt and the looming fiscal cliff, Bono has been personally lobbying U.S. lawmakers to urge them not to cut U.S. foreign assistance and aid funding. ONE is stoking up the urgency through a variety of actions in conjunction with World AIDS Day 2012.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Why Corporate Citizenship is No Longer an Option for Brands

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 12, 2012 01:02 PM

After Sandy, even Apple is giving to the Big Apple. The Cupertino, CA-based tech giant is giving generously to New York City and Northeast residents who were hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, as reported by 9to5Mac: “We just got the above email via an Apple employee from CEO Tim Cook showing the Cupertino company is looking after those on the other coast of the U.S. Apple will donate $2.5 million to the Red Cross to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims.”

The donation comes on top of an iTunes page for the Red Cross, where 100% of value is passed on to relief efforts. Apple’s recent link on their homepage that directs traffic to the Red Cross iTunes page is a major move as their site garners close to 35 million unique visitors monthly, placing it #23 in Compete’s popularity rank of websites. “It’s a prime bit of real-estate and it’s nice to see one of the five major links on the page go to relief in the wake of Sandy’s devastation of the eastern seaboard,” notes TheNextWeb.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is being praised for boosting Apple’s charitable giving, ad being seen as “determined to change the company’s stingy reputation — as one of the few major American corporations that before had barely donated to charity,” reports the New York Post. “Tech titan Apple at last donated something to charity worth talking about: $100 million… [which] still leaves Apple in an unusual spot — far behind its peers.”Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Simply Red: Taylor Swift Partners With Keds, Papa John's to Promote New Album

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 12, 2012 02:39 PM

Taylor Swift may only be 22 years old, but she knows a thing or two about self-promotion. Her fourth album, Red, is coming out on Oct. 22, but it's already making waves (the title track zoomed to #1 on iTunes). Now she's finding plenty of quirky ways to get the word out and drive album sales.

One is to sign a three-year deal with shoemaker Keds that includes the production of limited-edition red sneakers that hit stores on the same day as the record. And it's not just because the brand rhymes with her new album title. “I think they add something casual and cool to your look, and the new colors and patterns are so eclectic,” Swift told Women’s Wear Daily.  

While cross-promoting with (RED) might be a tad too obvious, there's also a cross-marketing tie-in with Papa John’s for a Taylor Swift Pizza Party. Hungry fans (who call themselves Swifties, by the way) can purchase a Red combo: CD and a large pizza combo with one topping for $22. The album will also be sold at U.S. Papa John's stores.Continue reading...

doing good

(RED) Rush to Zero: Ten Days, Ten Ways to Fight AIDS

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 4, 2012 10:01 AM

(RED) has announced (RED)Music, a place to buy exclusive tickets and packages from top artists and a centerpiece of the organization's inaugural (RED) Rush to Zero campaign, running June 1-10 to raise funding and awareness to deliver an AIDS Free Generation by 2015.

“The virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV is part of the eight Millennium Development Goals, which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS by the target date of 2015,” said the press release.Continue reading...

media meltdown

From MTV to ONE to Vice, Why Social Innovation Drives Tom Freston

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 3, 2012 02:39 PM

Forbes' piece on Vice breaking the billion-dollar valuation for its mix of original video programming — including Vice's VBS.tv partnership with MTV, YouTube's original-channel push this year and content for MTV and CNN) and branded entertainment partnerships such as the Creators Project with Intel — is as interesting for its insights into Vice as it is for surfacing Tom Freston's role as an advisor to the rising media brand.

The former chairman and CEO of MTV Networks has been keeping a relatively low profile since being chucked out of Viacom in 2006 after disagreeing with Sumner Redstone. Now an entertainment and media investor via his Firefly3 LLC and the chairman of the ONE Campaign, Freston is more committed than ever to social innovation, cause marketing and corporate citizenship, as he outlines in an interview with Kinsey last month.

sip on this

Bad News, Bears: Coke Pulls Back on White Cans in Holiday Campaign to Save Polar Bear [Updated]

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 1, 2011 01:34 PM

Even the big guys occasionally get it wrong. Coca-Cola is pulling back on its limited-edition white cans designed for the holidays, reverting back to its traditional red background can amidst consumer confusion and criticism.

As announced on Oct. 25, 1.4 billion white cans and caps on bottles of Coke (the first time the brand ever changed from red) were planned to blanket the U.S. and Canadian markets through March, featuring the iconic Coke polar bear in a holiday promo with an environmentally-friendly related cause dubbed Arctic Home.

In addition to boosting holiday sales, the white can heralded Coca-Cola’s partnership with the World Wildlife Fund with white bottle caps, on these and other Coca-Cola brands, including a special code for texting $1 donations to the WWF in their campaign to protect the polar bear's Arctic home. Coke committed up to $1 million to match consumer donations. 

"It's the most important holiday program we've ever launched," stated Katie Bayne, president of sparkling beverages at Coca-Cola North America, about the campaign whose messaging included "We're turning our cans white because turning our backs wasn't an option."

The cans hit store shelves Nov. 1 and were supposed to remain on shelves through February. "We were very careful to make sure people know it's the same Coke they've always loved," Bayne added. Now, Coca-Cola is pulling back on the limited-edition white cans due to customer confusion and complaints, with the first batch now in stores the only batch (good news for collectors, at least).

"We are not pulling our white cans from store shelves or replacing them with the red can," Coca-Cola spokesman Ben Sheidler tells brandchannel. "The limited-edition white 'Arctic Home' cans will remain on store shelves until supplies last and then we will switch out to a red Arctic Home holiday can" with the same polar bear motif.

Good intentions, a smart tie-in with Coca-Cola's brand mascot (the polar bear) and the best laid plans for a polar-white cause this Christmas were all foiled by social media, it seems. It was through the social web that Coke heard growing rumblings that all was not well.Continue reading...

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