brand accolades

KFC Turns 50 in the UK with Edible Cup and Some Sweet, Sweet Treats

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 26, 2015 02:42 PM

In February 1965, American planes were dropping bombs on North Vietnam, Malcolm X was murdered, Queen Elizabeth II visited Africa and the Beatles recorded “Ticket to Ride.”

Colonel Harlan Sanders was still sporting a goatee, while the execs at what was then called Kentucky Fried Chicken set their sights on conquering a whole new market: the UK.

Now, 50 years after its first UK restaurant opened, KFC is celebrating with a product many hope will come to the US: an edible coffee cup made of a biscuit wrapped in white chocolate.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Google Taps Telco-Backed Softcard to Goose Google Wallet, Fight Apple Pay

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 24, 2015 12:23 PM

Apple recently entered the mobile payment market with Apple Pay—baked right into its iPhone 6 devices—and made big news when JetBlue began to accept Apple Pay for in-flight transactions, among its hundreds of other partners.

Google, which has been in the electronic payment business for some time with Google Wallet, isn’t waiting around to see what Apple does next.

This week, the search behemoth announced it's partnering with three US mobile carriers—AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon—to pre-install the Google Wallet app in Android devices this year, and will integrate the three carriers' mobile payments joint venture, Softcard, as part of the deal. Continue reading...

ready for takeoff

JetBlue Onboards Apple Pay in Airline Industry First

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 10, 2015 02:09 PM

Mobile payments are certainly taking off. Starting next week, JetBlue passengers on select flights will be able to purchase food, drinks and other amenities (if not SkyMall purchases) using Apple Pay on an iPhone 6 or iPhone6 Plus. This marks the first mobile payment system to be used on an airline, but it certainly won’t be the last.

JetBlue’s flight attendants will carry around specially equipped iPad Minis that can accept both the six-month-old Apply Pay as well as credit cards. "The iPad Minis will also give flight attendants info on which passengers are frequent fliers and who is having a birthday," according to JetBlue's press release.

In addition, the airline is hoping to move its bulky flight-attendant manuals over to the iPad Mini as well.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Apple is Reportedly Folding Beats Music Into iTunes

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 5, 2015 01:34 PM

Apple spent $3 billion to acquire Beats Music just six months ago and now the word on the street is that the ultra-cool Beats technology is being folded into Apple’s iTunes. According to, Apple is “actively working to launch a completely new paid streaming music service that will compete with Spotify and Rdio” and “leverages Beats’ technologies and music content.”

The service still doesn’t have a name but will “deeply integrate” Beats into Apple TV, iTunes, and iOS, the site notes. It will also lose the signature Beats black-and-red design for the more traditional gray iTunes, a move that could irk a few of the Beats fans that have been now forced to become Apple people. One plus is that the pricing is currently under discussion is rumored to be $7.99 a month rather than the more standard $9.99 a month.Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

adidas is Bringing Kanye West to NY Fashion Week, App in Hand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 4, 2015 11:45 AM

Buying upscale sneakers can be a bit of an event—especially when it involves a paparazzi-ready name such as Kanye West. That's why adidas, which has a new deal with the entrepreneur following his previous collaboration with Nike, is changing the way the business works.

A new app, adidas Confirmed, allows consumers to reserve their sneakers before they hit stores. This way, consumers can know that a pair of sneaks will be waiting for them and long lines can be eliminated. Think of it as the mobile equivalent to Staples' Easy button—a Yeezy button, if you will.

"We are addressing a real market need," said Simon Atkins, adidas VP of Brand Activation, in a press release. "The adidas Confirmed mobile app is our way of improving the customer experience and reaching kids in an environment where they spend most of their time." Continue reading...

brand innovation

Breakthrough Branding: Theranos, with Walgreens, Revolutionizes Healthcare

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 3, 2015 12:08 PM

Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford University at 19 with a big, disruptive idea.

She founded Theranos in 2003 with the goal of streamlining and standardizing blood tests via a handheld device. At the time, she was a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering at Stanford University, but she left academia to start her company with a bridge loan from a venture capitalist.

Now 30 and America’s youngest female billionaire, Holmes is the CEO of Theranos, and her company is disrupting the very profitable business of blood testing and analysis.

Its simple value proposition hinges around blood tests and early detection that can help detect dozens of medical conditions based on one or two drops of blood drawn with a finger pinprick. From that nanotainer of blood, Theranos can run more than 70 tests for anything from blood sugar abnormalities to sexually transmitted infections—and at a cost of 50 to 90 percent less than Medicare reimbursement rates.

Walgreens is a believer, both as an investor and retail partner.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Matt Damon, and Stella Artois Raise a Glass (and Hope) to Women

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 23, 2015 12:34 PM

Stella Artois, the nonprofit cofounded by Matt Damon to help bring clean drinking water to developing nations across the globe, has made a very powerful partner: Anheuser Busch InBev. 

One of the world’s largest brewer's brands, Stella Artois, has just launched its first global social action campaign, announcing it at the Sundance Film festival in partnership with

Called Buy a Lady a Drink, the campaign asks consumers to purchase a $12 chalice with Stella’s name on it. There are 20,000 limited-edition chalices being sold through More than just a stylish branded memento, however, the money can provide clean water to a family for five years, as notes in a press release. Continue reading...

brand strategy

Chobani Hopes to Squeeze More From Sundance Film Fest Than Super Bowl

Posted by Dale Buss on January 21, 2015 05:25 PM

Chobani new products January 2015

Fighting through a plateauing of its growth as rival brands chip away at its pioneering position in Greek-style yogurt, Chobani keeps attempting to innovate through the slump with new products aimed at new day parts, and new marketing—now including a sprinkling of pixie dust.

The New York-based originator of the Greek-yogurt phenomenon has announced what it calls "a major portfolio expansion" with new products including Kids and Tots yogurt pouches, and a line of oatmeals and yogurt blending ancient grains.

The children's products feature Disney and Marvel characters ranging from Winnie the Pooh to Spider-Man on packaging.Continue reading...

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