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Storyteller-in-Chief: A Conversation With Levi's Global CMO Jennifer Sey

Posted by Shirley Brady on August 13, 2014 07:26 PM

On the Fourth of July in 2009, Levi's launched "Go Forth," a new voice and campaign for the Levi’s brand and Levi’s 501 jeans. The "striking" call to arms featured the words of Walt Whitman and summoned America's pioneering zeal. After taking the "Go Forth" platform global two years later, Levi's quietly phased out the tagline in 2012, and it has been without a global brand campaign—until now.

Levi's is in the midst of rolling out the "Live in Levi's Project," a multifaceted global campaign and digital platform (in partnership with AKQA) that features dynamic content to engage fans worldwide in the Levi's brand experience. Blending storytelling with social media, targeted content and e-commerce worldwide is no mean feat, which is why Levi's global chief marketing officer Jennifer Sey conducted extensive research before venturing into the world of shoppable videos, Weibo and WeChat, iBeacon and user-generated content and curation.

Sey, a 15-year veteran with Levi's who was promoted to global CMO a year ago, spoke with brandchannel Editor-in-Chief Shirley Brady about the vision and tactics informing the Live in Levi's platform and the challenge of channeling and elevating passion in such an iconic brand. As Sey commented, "If Levi’s isn’t an icon, I’m not sure what is!"Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Woes Aside, Target Seeks to Remind Consumers That It's a Good Citizen

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 22, 2014 10:43 AM

Following a bleak earnings report and some serious shuffling of leadership, Target is hoping a new corporate citizenship campaign can buff out some of the blemishes on the once shining brand. 

A quartet of stylish spots, running on US cable and network TV through June, showcase Target’s impact on the communities it serves in hopes of connecting more with customers and particularly service-minded Millennials. The effort to regain trust in the brand follows a massive security breach in December, as well as a loss in shopper loyalty as the brand continues to be challenged both in-store and online by Walmart, Amazon and fast-fashion brands like H&M and Uniqlo.

As transparency-seeking Target CMO Jeff Jones comments on the retailer's A Bullseye View blog, the ad campaign isn't trying to sell anything beyond the message that Target cares, noting that "We have a strong legacy of giving, but our guests don’t know the full story."

Watch the four spots, which were created by Deutsch LA, below:Continue reading...

brand strategy

No IPO Rush for Airbnb as Lodging Marketplace Capitalizes on Interest

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 8, 2014 02:22 PM

Airbnb, the online accomodations marketplace that has been shaking up the hotel industry, is headed for an IPO, but not before the San Francisco-based company snagged former Coca-Cola executive Jonathan Mildenhall to be its new CMO.

Life at Airbnb will likely be a bit of culture shock for Mildenhall, as Ad Age notes that the company spent only $300,000 on measured media in 2013, according to Kantar Media reports. That's pocket change for Coke, which plans to boost its media spend up to $1 billion by 2016. However, Mildenhall may have made a smart move since Coca-Cola is going through a shakeup of its own. An internal Coca-Cola memo obtained by Ad Age has it that the changes "will accelerate the profitable growth of Coca-Cola through world class marketing—both in North America and markets around the world." 

Meanwhile, Airbnb pulled in $450 million in funding last month in its latest round of financing, increasing its lifetime investment to $776.4 million and its valuation to $10 billion. But all that new cash doesn't have Airbnb rushing its IPO. 

"Going public is a means, not an end goal," CTO and co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk told Yahoo! Finance. "It's a way of raising capital, and our company is currently very well capitalized, so there's no need to think about an IPO right now."Continue reading...

campaign tactics

Nissan USA CMO Interview on Snapchat, Hispanic Outreach for Altima

Posted by Dale Buss on May 7, 2014 12:11 PM

Nissan is trying to add to its US marketplace momentum with a new campaign that uses a subterfuge technique with a long and successful history in commercials to underscore the performance chops of its Altima. "Ride of Your Life" demonstrates that Altima has convincing "vroom" under the hood even though it's the brand's flagship four-door, family sedan.

Also intended to generate excitement for the brand's year-end closeout sale and generate traffic to dealerships, the "Ride of Your Life" campaign hinges on a TV spot that launched on U.S. cable networks on Monday, driving traffic to ChooseNissan.com.

The spot depicts real consumers reacting with surprise and delight after riding in an Altima around a real racetrack. The catch: the stock car had been dressed to look like a racing version of Altima—and the delight came afterward, from consumers realizing that this was a version of Altima they could actually own.

"Performance is still very relevant to the American consumer," Nissan USA CMO Jon Brancheau told brandchannel about the concept and inspiration for the campaign. "In this case we're illustrating that in an exciting fashion with consumers who are genuinely surprised."Continue reading...

campaign tactics

Taco Bell CMO's Goal: To Boldly Disrupt (and Egg On Rivals)

Posted by Dale Buss on May 2, 2014 01:01 PM

Taco Bell wasn't done trying to shake things up in the fast-food business with its launch of those cheeky breakfast ads starring real-life citizens named Ronald McDonald.

Now the Yum!-owned brand is redoubling efforts behind its new breakfast menu, planning another Doritos Locos Tacos rollout—and even testing a fast-casual concept meant at unsettlling Chipotle.

After an initial push that finally gave real-life Ronalds a comeback to years of bad jokes—while underscoring Taco Bell's seriousness about taking on the McDonald's breakfast juggernaut—the brand is back with new ads that tweak the Golden Arches in a different way.Continue reading...

auto motive

Can a Plug-In Hybrid Hold the Future for Cadillac? Its New CMO Thinks So

Posted by Dale Buss on November 8, 2013 11:33 AM

Cadillac has "a relevance issue," its new CMO told brandchannel—and Uwe Ellinghaus means to fix it in a way that may surprise: Highlight the new Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid that isn't due out until next year.

The brand's CTS mid-size sedan was just named Motor Trend Car of the Year for 2013. Its ATS compact sedan is bringing younger luxury buyers into the fold who wouldn't have considered Cadillac before, and Caddy is due to introduce not only coupe and performance versions of the ATS next year but also a long-awaited new iteration of its flagship, the hulking Escalade SUV.

But Ellinghaus—who joins Cadillac following a 14-year stint at BMW that included serving as head of brand strategy from 2010 to 2012, followed by a non-automotive detour to luxury pen brand Montblanc—believes the key to elevating Cadillac in the accelerating premium-car wars in the US and worldwide is the Tesla-fighter known as ELR.Continue reading...

executive decision

Starbucks Turns to Sephora Marketer in Return to Centralized Global CMO Role

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 19, 2013 04:19 PM

Coffee and makeup don't generally mix, but when it comes to selling either globally, similar skills are apparently needed. Coffee giant Starbucks has plucked its new Global CMO from Sephora in Sharon Rothstein, who was SVP of marketing for the  will join the company in mid-April and won’t just be overseeing the marketing efforts of Starbucks, but also the company’s other brands, such as Seattle's Best Coffee, Evolution Fresh, La Boulange, Tazo and Teavana, Motley Fool reports.

Rothstein, who will be replaced at Sephora by former report Julie Bornstein (promoted from SVP of digital to chief marketing and digital officer), has worked with a plethora of big brands including Godiva, Starwood Hotels and Resorts and P&G, so she knows a thing or two about customer experience and brings those Sephora-honed digital chops.

“I have been a loyal Starbucks customer and fan for most of my adult life and I am humbled to become a partner (employee) at one of the few companies in the world that embraces the value and responsibility of balancing business performance and social impact,” she said in a press release. Rothstein will also oversee the company's Seattle's Best Coffee, Evolution Fresh, La Boulange, Tazo and Teavana brands.

The social conscience side of Starbucks also gets a boost from another big announcement this week: that it's buying its first coffee farm, a 600-acre spread in Costa Rica that will serve as the company's first global agronomy center and the center of its $70 million ethical sourcing program.Continue reading...

executive decision

PepsiCo CMO Salman Amin Leaves for S.C. Johnson

Posted by Dale Buss on March 8, 2013 05:43 PM

PepsiCo's CMO, Salman Amin, is leaving the company for S.C. Johnson on a high note, having helped CEO Indra Nooyi deliver over the last year on a number of crucial, marketing-based promises, including something of a turnaround for the company's flagship Pepsi brand, which is still duking it out with Coca-Cola and other beverage giants.

The departure of the company's Global Chief Marketing Officer from PepsiCo's Purchase, NY, HQ to Racine, Wis.-based S.C. Johnson—maker of Pledge, Glade and other household products—was disclosed in an internal memo at PepsiCo, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

Amin's exit opens up a top marketing job at PepsiCo just as the company has been reporting gains in sales and market share for Pepsi, having doubled down on marketing following the company's market share slip in recent years in U.S. sales even behind Diet Coke.

A PepsiCo veteran of more than two decades, Amin became PepsiCo CMO only last May. He was able to leverage a $600 million increase in Pepsi's annual marketing budget and a refocusing of spending on top brands including Pepsi and Gatorade into significant gains. "Salman has made contributions that have touched nearly every market in which we do business," said Zein Abdalla, president of PepsiCo, in the memo, according to Ad Age.

Amin also launched the first-ever global marketing campaign ("Live for Now") for Pepsi and inked pop star Beyonce to a $50 million partnership that included the halftime performance during last month's Super Bowl telecast.Continue reading...

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