2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

corporate responsibility

Brazil's Endangered Armadillo Will Get Boost from World Cup Supporters

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 12, 2014 06:02 PM

World Cup mascots aren't generally cause for outrage, unless you're one of the many football fans that believe there's no place in the game for oversized, anthropomorphic animals. But since 1966, when England introduced Willie the lion, the friendly figures have been a part of the games

When Brazil introduced Fuleco, the three-banded armadillo, as the mascot for this summer’s big event, there was more motivation behind the decision than just adding a friendly face to the month-long tournament. The armadillo was chosen after the Caatinga Association environmental group and the US-based Nature Conservancy campaigned for it to be the mascot in hopes that it would draw attention and dollars to the endangered species.

"One of the key objectives is to use the event as a platform to communicate the importance of the environment and ecology,” said FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke upon the introduction of Fuleco, a combo of the Portuguese words for football and ecology, according to the BBC. “We are glad to be able to do so with the help of a mascot.”Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

Mizzou's Michael Sam Breaks Down Barriers as First Openly Gay NFL Hopeful

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 10, 2014 05:50 PM

As Winter Olympics host Russia continues to get plenty of grief for its anti-gay laws, the US took another step in its gay-rights acceptance evolution Sunday when college football star Michael Sam publically announced that he's gay.

The Missouri graduate, who reached All-American status and was the SEC's Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 is slated to be picked perhaps as high as the third round in the upcoming NFL draft—and according to reactions, Sam's new status won't have much affect on his potential pro-football career. 

Unless Sam's decision to speak out spurs a chain reaction, Sam will likely take the field in August for his new team as the first openly gay player in the NFL. His decision to hopefully enter the NFL "out" will be a first for the sports league, as it has only had a handful of players in the past who have come out after retiring from the game. After the end of this past season, the NBA saw its first player announce that he was gay, but Jason Collins has yet to sign with a new team this year. Major League Soccer also saw its first openly gay active player emerge last May. 

Pegged as one of the toughest and "manliest" sports out there, Sam knows that his decision is significant in a football industry that thrives on testosterone and masculinity. "I am an openly, proud gay man," Sam told ESPN. "I understand how big this is. It's a big deal. No one has done this before. And it's kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be ... I want to be a football player in the NFL."Continue reading...

The Big Game

Super Bowl Ads See Celebs, Car Brands Take Center Stage

Posted by Dale Buss on January 28, 2014 05:43 PM

No industry has come to define Super Bowl advertising quite like the car business. Automakers, after all, are among the biggest US advertisers and marketers by dollar volume. According to Kantar Media, the auto sector will be the biggest advertiser at the Super Bowl for the third straight year.

“It’s the right place,” Jon Swallen, Kantar Media’s research chief, told Bloomberg. “The Super Bowl attracts a broader audience than core sports fans who are male, skews higher income and is a perfect audience for auto brands.”

While some automakers such as BMW are saving their marketing dollars for the Sochi Olympics and other platforms, at least eight auto brands are planning to use Super Bowl commercials this Sunday as a platform to help achieve their greater goals for 2014—and beyond.

Hyundai and Chrysler, according to Kantar research cited by USA Today, made the top five biggest spenders in the past five Super Bowls, along with Bud Lite and Budweiser parent Anheuser Busch InBev, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.

This year, 30-second Big Game spot on NBC costs $4 million, according to Adweek, while it has become standard practice to run pre-Game teasers (trailers, in a sense, of the Game Day spot), and viral videos promoted across YouTube, Twitter and Facebook with hashtags. One question is how much the pre-Game sneak peeks and reveals steals the thunder and surprise from in-game ads. A bigger question, for marketers' bosses, is whether watercooler buzz leads to sales.

Here's a snapshot of what auto brands are planning for Super Bowl XLVII, much of which has been revealed already by teasers and even full commercials and related cross-platform, digital and social campaigns. Watch below, and let us know your favorite so far in the comments below.Continue reading...

trademark wars

University of Texas Goes On the Offensive to Protect 'Strong' Brand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 17, 2014 11:39 AM

When a high-power, renowned NCAA Division I football program hires a new coach, it's a pretty big deal. But the University of Texas probably didn't foresee the legal troubles it has run into since it hired new head coach Charlie Strong on Jan. 5. 

Since then, the Longhorns' legal department has been putting a lot of effort into going after manufacturers of clothing and gear that have already started to use Strong’s name on Texas promotional gear, the Associated Press reports.

The university has already put a stop to the sale of unsanctioned products with the words  “Stronghorns,” “Texas Strong,” and “UT Strong” on them. And while manufacturers may have been quick to jump on the 'Strong' bandwagon, the school wasn't too far behind: two days after it signed Strong to the coaching job, UT submitted an trademark application for "Stronghorns." After all, Strong signed a five-season contract for $25 million. According to the Austin Business Journal, six other applications for "Stronghorns" have been created as well.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Notre Dame Reportedly Will Cut Ties with Adidas for Player-Favored Under Armour

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 10, 2014 03:57 PM

Get ready to re-outfit your leprechaun. According to a report from ESPN, Notre Dame, one of the most iconic brands in college athletics, is preparing to end its apparel contract with Adidas at the end of the school year and sign-on with Under Armour. 

Sources told reporter Darren Rovell that Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank himself went out to Notre Dame Thursday to discuss the deal with school heads. And why not? College athletics present a huge branding—and financial—opportunity for Nike, Adidas and the like, and Under Armour has been growing its brand exponentially, even getting under the skin of the NFL for infiltrating its strict uniform policies. 

"We have been very happy with adidas," ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick told ESPN.com last month while noting that all the big brands were under consideration, including Nike. “It is just good business to use the expiration of a contract to review all options."Continue reading...

brand partners

FSU Basks in National Championship Glory with Coke

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 9, 2014 10:45 AM

Florida State fans have been celebrating since the university’s football team secured the national championship on Monday and found a thrilling way to cap off an undefeated season, coming from behind to finish off the Auburn Tigers 34-31 with a two-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds to go.

Not to lose celebratory steam, Coca-Cola has unveiled its limited-edition Coke and Coke Zero 12 oz. cans that feature FSU’s logo and acknowledgement that the team is tops in the nation. There aren’t too many of these cans headed to Alabama, surely.Continue reading...

ad watch

Nissan Apologizes After TV Ad Broadcast Goes Rogue

Posted by Abe Sauer on January 6, 2014 11:12 AM

If you watched football this weekend, you'll never forget it. No, not the miracle comeback of the Indianapolis Colts nor the implosion of Alabama. We're talking about the Nissan Rogue ad—you know which one. The one where the Nissan drives on the train. Yes, that one. And if you saw it—and you know you did—social media evidence suggests you came to despise it with a depth generally reserved for the Roll Tide-War Eagle rivalry. In fact, things got so bad that Nissan was forced to apologize.

Continue reading...

social media

FC Barcelona Claims Social Sporting Crown

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 3, 2014 02:47 PM

Spanish football titan FC Barcelona’s motto is "Més que un club" (More than a club), and it has certainly lived up to it. The soccer franchise is a business and marketing dynamo, and recently claimed another title: social media superstar. 

The team that has won the Spanish La Liga title four times in the last five years and the Champions League title three times since 2006, but it has acheived a global victory as the first sports franchise to have 50 million fans on Facebook, Forbes reports. It has reached the mark faster than its archrival, Real Madrid, which has around 47 million Facebook fans, while American sports teams don’t even come close. As the Motley Fool notes, the NBA’s L.A. Lakers are the most popular US sports team on Facebook with a mere 17 million Facebook fans. According to Forbes, the NFL’s top 30 teams combined have only 60 million Facebook and Twitter followers.

That’s a victory that isn’t just good for the team but also good for its sponsors, such as Intel, which just made an innovative deal with the squad to put the Intel logo on the inside of the team’s jerseys so it will be seen when Messi, Neymar, Xavi, or any of the other star footballers lift their shirts up after scoring goals.Continue reading...

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