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brand extensions

Happy Birthday, Potter: 17 Years Later, Harry Potter is Bigger than Ever Before

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 31, 2014 05:43 PM

Born July 31, 1980 (and brought to life in 1997 when "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was published), no one likely could have predicted the mind-boggling success that would become Harry Potter. 

And while the character in the books spent his childhood birthdays with the abhorrent Dursleys, here in the Muggle world, the date (which also happens to be author J.K. Rowling's birthday) symbolizes a celebration for the millions of Potterheads and numerous marketers that have helped fuel the Potter machine with fanatical loyalty. That loyalty to the books, films and countless other branded products have helped make Harry Potter one of the top 10 best-selling products in the world. 

While the series has seemingly wrapped up, there is no end in sight for Harry Potter, the brand.Continue reading...

branded entertainment

American Express Invests in the Unbanked in New Branded Documentary

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 4, 2014 12:03 PM

“Our financial system is leaving nearly 70 million Americans behind. It’s time for a change.” 

That's the opening statement in the latest branded content series from American Express, Spent: Looking For Change, which targets the millions of consumers who eschew traditional banking. 

The nearly 40-minute documentary—a first in terms of length and subject for the brand—profiles families and individuals that are "under-banked" or "unbanked" and who may turn to costly services like check-cashing, payday loans, and pawn shops to meet their basic financial needs.

The alarming trend, dubbed "financial exclusion" in the financial services industry, is a hot topic internally that the brand feels "pretty passionately" about, Daniel H. Schulman, group president for enterprise growth at American Express, told the New York Times—hence the decision to run with it as an external topic for a showpiece branded content platform.Continue reading...

license to thrill

Disney's Maleficent Scares Up Some High-End Brand Extensions

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 22, 2014 01:56 PM

$75: That's how much you'll be set back after springing for the "Max t-shirt" from Stella McCartney's Maleficent collection. The shirt, mind you, is the least expensive item in the exclusive line. 

But $185 "Linda Glitter Sandals" are just the tip of the Disney castle turret when it comes to the tie-ins aiming to capitalize on the upcoming film. The House of Mouse is planning for Maleficent—the gritty retelling of Disney's saccharine tale of Sleeping Beauty—to be a huge summer hit. Starring Angelina Jolie (as an approximation of how a lot of people think about her), the film is projected to pull in hundreds of millions at the box office.

While it's no surprise to see Disney's merchandising machine fire on all the usual cylinders (the Disney Store is already well stocked), Maleficent does boast some unusual—and upscale—marketing partners.Continue reading...

get creative

Oreo Feeds the Beat During Day One of SXSW 2014

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 7, 2014 06:49 PM

SXSW 2014 kicked off today in Austin, Texas, with the festival's film portion expected to attract 30,000 people alone. 

The interactive festival, better known as the launching pad for Twitter and Foursquare, has become "a living, breathing manifestation of the Internet where you can get all kinds of different inputs and all kinds of different ways of information and put them all together and somehow come out slightly better at the end of the whole experience," Hugh Forrest, the festival's interactive director, told NPR. 

This year's festival is a cultural mélange with a line-up that includes Edward Snowden, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Julian Assange and feline Internet sensation Grumpy Cat, as well as musical acts including Lady Gaga. Speakers include Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and SVP Sundar Pichai, as well as Dell CEO Michael Dell.Continue reading...

viral buzz

Watch the Hollywood Ad That May Result in $2 Million Fines for US Broadcasters

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 7, 2014 11:23 AM

Everyone knows the shrill shriek of the US' emergency broadcasting system. And while it may be a drill, it's no joke. The FCC is looking to hit Viacom, ESPN, and NBCUniversal with fines for running ads last year for the film Olympus Has Fallen because the ad featured the emergency alert system tones.Continue reading...

car talk

New Ford Mustang Demonstrates "Need for Speed"—Even with the Top Down

Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2014 06:38 PM

Ford keeps finding new ways to prime the pump for the widely awaited arrival of the new, 50th anniversary 2015 Ford Mustang this summer.

Two of the latest twists: The brand has developed a commercial promoting both the car and the upcoming film, Need for Speed, and it is taking extra steps to make sure the roof on its convertible version will be competitive—in roof kinds of metrics—with convertibles sold in Europe by the best German brands.

The original muscle car, Mustang, of course, long has been a favorite of movie directors, going back to Steve McQueen and Bullitt. So it's not much of a stretch to find Ford working with Scott Waugh, director of Need for Speed, on a commercial featuring Mustang that will debut on TV and in theaters this weekend.Continue reading...

brandcameo

The Envelope, Please: The 2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 27, 2014 02:04 PM

Welcome to brandchannel's annual Brandcameo Product Placement Awards.

For more than a decade, Brandcameo has tracked product placement and brand appearances in every No. 1 film in Hollywood. Since 2004, the Brandcameo Awards have been honoring the good, the bad, and the ugly (and the most) product placement in tandem with the annual Oscars buzz.

If one thing is evident in the product placement industry, it's that brand cameos in films are on a steady decline. 2013's average of 9.1 product placements per No. 1 film is the lowest since 2001, when we first started tracking this space. With directors looking to de-clutter their work, producers looking to wrangle more marketing tie-ins off-screen and new film technology proving challenging for brand placements, the big screen is becoming less and less of a billboard for brands. 

This year, Brandcameo hands out awards for the best and worst product placement, the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Forrest Gump Award for Achievement in Reverse Product Placement, as well as awards in 14 other categories.

But there's no spoilers here. Check out the big winners (and losers) of the 2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards, covering films released in 2013, after the jump.Continue reading...

Hollywood Gears Up for Slew of Religious Releases, But for What Audience?

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 20, 2014 04:49 PM

"Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time."
— Genesis 5:32-10:1; New International Version

The amounting drama around the modern story of Noah, a $130 million retelling of the Old Testament's builder of the ark from Paramount Pictures, goes back to Nov. 2013. Then, test audiences leaked descriptions of the film that worried Christian leaders due to its interpretative retelling of Noah's story, including themes of environmentalism.

And the cheers and jeers are only about to get louder as the US is about to see a flood of faith-themed films that is going to severely test some long-held beliefs about Hollywood, Godliness and who has the power to motivate, lucrative Christian audiences.

Jump ahead about 140 days and nights and a new survey of Christian consumers about Noah, due out March 28, produced troubling results for the film's success. The Faith Driven Consumer survey found that "98 percent of its supporters were not 'satisfied' with Hollywood’s take on religious stories such as Noah." The survey's exact question: “As a Faith Driven Consumer, are you satisfied with a biblically themed movie—designed to appeal to you—which replaces the Bible’s core message with one created by Hollywood?”

Paramount Pictures immediately hit back against the survey. The studio said its internal research countered the Faith Driven Consumer results.Continue reading...

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