Best Global Green Brands 2014

brand ambassadors

Inspiration Behind Aunt Jemima Brand at the Heart of $2 Billion Lawsuit

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 11, 2014 06:37 PM

Aunt Jemima stares down from grocery-store shelves with a beatific smile, but the woman who is supposedly the inspiration behind the brand has at least one great grandchild who isn’t too happy.

Last year, the progeny of Anna Short Harrington, whose descendants argue that she was the inspiration behind the Aunt Jemima brand and recipe and whose likeness served as the model for the brand, which was bought by Quaker Oats in 1935, discovered that the company “had trademarked Harrington's likeness and picture in 1937" and "determined that they were owed royalties,” Reuters reports.

Harrington's great-grandson, D.W. Hunter, filed a $2 billion lawsuit on August 5 against Quaker Oats Co., PepsiCo, which owns Quaker Oats, Pinnacle Foods and Hillshire Brands Co., for exploiting Harrington's image and recipe for years without paying an "equitable fair share of royalties" to her family.Continue reading...

auto motive

Acura, Honda Look to End of Summer Campaigns to End Sales Slump

Posted by Dale Buss on August 11, 2014 04:29 PM

Acura sedan sales have been lagging and the launch of its new one, TLX, was delayed from spring to this month. So brand executives are counting on Acura's biggest-ever launch marketing campaign and its huge digital elements, beginning next week, to reverse the slide, accelerate Acura sales to a gain for the year, and re-establish bona fides in the luxury-sedan market in the US.

Meanwhile, brand sibling Honda has been spending the end of summer attempting to squeeze every possible sale out of seasonal-clearance mode with its clever short-term "Cheerance" marketing campaign and an aggressive effort to prod its dealers.

Mike Accavitti, senior vice president and general manager of an Acura division that has been newly separated from Honda marketing, told reporters that the aim of introducing the all-new TLX mid-sized sedan is nothing less than restoring Acura's once-respectable place in the sedan segment as it replaces current slow-selling TL and TSX models and joins the flagship new RLX sedan that was introduced last year.

And he's pulling out all the stops, including a relationship with Ludacris, to do it.Continue reading...

celebrity brandcasting

will.i.am Designs for Lexus as Celebrity Creative Director Trend Rolls On

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 1, 2014 06:20 PM

will.i.am is not afraid to share his creative vision with any brand willing to pay to hear his thoughts. The artist formerly known as Michael Adams has previously helped Intel and Coca-Cola shape their creative vision and new products and is now lending himself to Lexus Europe.

Lexus Europe is launching a new Lexus NX model and will.i.am will design his own limited-edition “sharply styled, premium, mid-size SUV” as part of it, according to Marketing Magazine. He’ll also star in the brand's Striking Angles campaign. 

"We’re really excited to be working with will.i.am,” said Alain Uyttenhoven, head of Lexus Europe, Marketing Magazine reports. “His unrivalled passion for design and innovation, coupled with his incredible creativity, makes him the perfect partner for our Lexus NX 'Striking Angles' campaign."

But this isn't the artist's first rodeo with Lexus. Only a month ago, Lexus sponsored Pyramidi, “the debut gallery artwork by will.i.am,” according to The Auto Channel. The artwork was displayed at a gallery in London and “explores the interface between analogue and digital music in a live gallery experience featuring project-mapped visuals accompanied by a new song composed by will.i.am.”Continue reading...

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...

campaigns

Newcastle Brown Ale Touts July 3rd Holiday That Might Have Been

Posted by Shirley Brady on July 4, 2014 03:13 PM

The campaign: In a similar vein to Newcastle Brown Ale's tongue-in-cheek Super Bowl Mega Huge Football campaign with actress Anna Kendrick and former NFL player Keyshawn Johnson, this Fourth of July effort aims for the funnybone with two British celebrities—comedian Stephen Merchant and actress Elizabeth Hurley—and American actor Zachary Quinto of Star Trek fame. Web extras look at other ways (names, Mount Rushmore, English muffins, cabs) life might have been different.

The pitch: Newcastle makes the case that America would be better off if it had never split from Mother England in a continuation of last year's Independence Eve campaign: "Imagine how great it could have been. And imagine how much beer we could have sold. IfWeWon.com." Diluting the impact of the social marketing, there are two hashtags: #IfWeWon and #IndependenceEve. A Twitter typo in the latter likely didn't help.

The response: As with any celebrity-based effort, the brand hoped to target fans. Yet the celeb with the biggest social following didn't have the biggest pull.Continue reading...

celebrity brandcasting

Want More Mariah and Jay Z? Just Sip and Scan

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 24, 2014 07:20 PM

The world of celebrity-endorsed products knows no bounds. That's why Mariah Carey and Jay Z have teamed up with former Def Jam CEO Kevin Liles on two new, interactive beverages: Butterfly and 40/40. 

The beverage bottles deliver exclusive content to super-fans via the Go N'Syde app. “With Go N’Syde, an artist like Mariah can program this every day. She could say, ‘Hey I just got out of the studio, why don’t you go inside Butterfly with me right now?’ And then you’ll see her studio,” said Liles, now chief creative officer and exclusive Curator of Content for Go N’Syde.

Simply hold a smartphone up to a Go N’Syde bottle and an interactive menu appears, sans bar code or QR code, offering photos, videos, sweepstakes offers and more to fans, much like Lady Gaga tried to do with her community for her "Little Monsters." 

“We’re really creating it so that you get a real Mariah Carey life experience, by scanning the bottle and going inside,” he added. “So when you purchase a bottle you have an antenna into Jay Z or Mariah’s network, and that’s what’s so exciting about it.”Continue reading...

branding trends

Even Kanye Knows That the Key to Brand Advertising Success is Content

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 17, 2014 07:22 PM

The old Cannes is still on display; but while greying stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford were riding a tank into Cannes to promote the third installment of their blow-it-up series The Expendables, the young bucks were talking about branded content.

Most outspoken about the future of brands and messaging was—surprise, surprise—Kanye West.

In addition to offering to remake Instagram, West called out Samsung and BlackBerry for naming Alicia Keys "creative director." He also talked up Beats and praised Apple for its acquisition. But while West may have been most blunt, his message was in line with the rest of the Cannes community: the world needs more (and better) branded content.Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Dead Celebrities are Big Business—But Should They Be?

Posted by Jacob Huval on June 3, 2014 11:02 AM

As with the reactions to Tupac Shakur’s 2012 appearance at Coachella, reactions to Michael Jackson’s recent holographic appearance at the Billboard Music Awards varied were a mixed bag, with some calling it more hollowgraphic than holographic and a “hollow tribute” at best. Whether you find it moving or morbid (and we'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below), there's no question that it's big business. Jackson is the reigning top-earning late celebrity according to Forbes, which estimates his estate's earnings from June 2012 to June 2013 at $130 million.

There have been other such cases of digitally bringing celebrities back to life, of course: consider Audrey Hepburn in a Galaxy/Dove chocolate campaign, John Wayne in a Coors Light campaign, and Gene Kelly singing in the rain for Volkswagen. The controversy that such post-mortem celebrity-driven campaigns generate isn’t surprising—and may actually be part of the point since controversy generates more conversation about the ad and the brand that presented it.Continue reading...

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