tech innovation

IBM's Iwata: "Watson is an IBMer"

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 10, 2014 10:21 AM

IBM moved Watson into swanky new digs in Manhattan this week, just as IBM was named the world's fourth most valuable brand on Interbrand's new Best Global Brands report. Don't miss the Q&A with Jon Iwata, SVP of Marketing and Communications, explaining what the world's first cognitive computing system means to the IBM brand—and much more.

bc q&a

Brand Hailo: 5 Questions with Hailo CMO Gary Bramall

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 26, 2014 03:42 PM

In an industry already disrupted by smart tech and mobile-first customers, the latest disruptor is Hailo. Calling itself “the world's favorite e-hail app” and a “constructive disruptor,” Hailo competes with Uber, Lyft and GetTaxi apps but with the distinction of letting customers flag and pay for regular taxi rides by using the Hailo app.

Using Apple’s iBeacon technology, the Hailo app recognizes when passengers in Hailo-driven vehicles and invites them to connect and pay for their ride via a simple one-click confirmation. (Out of iBeacon reach, passengers can select a driver from a list and connect and pay that way.) The company also just released a public API, enabling third-party developers access to Hailo’s network of drivers.

Founded by three London taxi drivers and three internet entrepreneurs, Hailo has $29 million in its coffers from a recent funding round and has raised about $100 million to date from investors including Union Square Ventures, Accel Partners, Wellington Partners, Atomico Ventures and Sir Richard Branson.

Since launching in the UK in November 2011, it's now available in more than 20 cities, including London, New York, TChicago, Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Montreal, Toronto, Madrid, Barcelona and Osaka.

As it expands in North America, Hailo recently halved its prices in Washington and launched a guerilla marketing campaign to thank customers in New York, Chicago and Toronto called Hailo High-Five, in which street teams were dispatched to high-five hailers and hand out phones preloaded with a month's worth of free all-you-can-Hailo.

brandchannel chatted with Hailo's new global chief marketing officer Gary Bramall, who previously worked as senior global brand experience director for Microsoft, about the challenges and opportunities facing the brand. Continue reading...

bc q&a

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

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...

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