retail watch

Toys"R"Us Backs Down on Breaking Bad Toy Line [Updated]

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 21, 2014 09:31 AM

Toys"R"Us is under fire for stocking a line of action figures based on the Emmy Award-winning TV series, Breaking Bad.

“After all, nothing quite says holiday shopping like a bendable, fully costumed figurine of Walter White—the murderous chemistry teacher turned crystal meth manufacturer—and Jesse Pinkman, his former student and current bag man,” TIME quipped.

“And you want accessories? We’ve got accessories—including a duffle bag stuffed with imaginary cash and a plastic bag of, yes, faux crystal meth for White.”

It all started with a Florida mom's Change.org petition, which gathered thousands of signatures.Continue reading...

sip on this

Pabst Looks to Reassure Hipsters With Indie Music Festival

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 25, 2014 06:31 PM

Pabst Blue Ribbon, the unofficial beer of hipsters across America, is throwing a party in hipster heaven: Portland, Oregon. As in the Portland that begat the hipsterrific TV show, Portlandia.

This weekend, PBR's marketing team is throwing its first-ever music festival, joining the parade of brands that have also fallen in love with the music festival circuit.

Project Pabst, as the three-day festival is called, couldn't be more ironic. It feature such acts as the British duo behind 80's phenom Tears for Fears, the reunited Constantines, Modest Mouse, Built to Spill and other acts that will cost a mere $35 for a one-day pass and $60 for two.

The whole event is a thank you to the Milwaukee-based brand’s top market. "We were trying to think of something we could do for Portland," Matt Slessler, Pabst's Pacific field marketing manager, told the Oregonian. "We refer to it as our love letter to Portland. That's really what it is, the city has just been so good to us."Continue reading...

the revolution will be televised

Change Channel: Networks Hope Brand Refreshes Will Bring Back Viewers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 16, 2014 06:52 PM

Screen time may be growing thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices, but TV brands are feeling the pressure from video and on-demand services that are snapping up subscribers with original content. As a result, US cable networks big and small have been on a rebranding spree, hoping to recapture viewers' attention with new identities and a fresh aproach to content. 

MoffettNathanson principal analyst Michael Nathanson says that pure-play cable network operators such as AMC, Discovery Network and Scripps Networks will have the most difficulty in this new marketplace, FierceCable.com reports. "This has and will continue to impact margins going forward," Nathanson said, according to the FierceCable

Earlier this week, Oxygen flipped the switch over to a new feel with its redesigned logo and the addition of “very real” as a tagline. “The new Oxygen will feature authentic, proudly imperfect and diverse characters with stories that are culturally relevant for young, modern women,” the NBCU-owned women's network said in a press release for the TV Critics Association press tour that also announced two new shows and other three projects in development.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: #BRA v #GER World Cup-apalooza Edition

Posted by Shirley Brady on July 9, 2014 08:01 AM

Brazil's "nightmare" of a World Cup loss to Germany sets Twitter record as most-tweeted sporting event ever (inspiring endless memes and Mick Jagger-blamefest) as Nike claims ambush marketing victory over official FIFA sponsor Adidas.

Adidas, meanwhile, is wooing Manchester United with US$100 million deal after Nike ends 13-year sponsorship, while GM-owned Europe-exiting team sponsor Chevrolet releases ManU limited edition vehicles for India and auctions off ticket packages.

Apple loses voice recognition patent lawsuit in China, launches "secret" eBay store.

Ellen DeGeneres signs five-year NYC lease as base to launch upcoming E.D. lifestyle brand with Christopher Burch.

Duke University sued by John Wayne's family in bourbon trademark battle.

More brand headlines by sector:Continue reading...

branding together

Brand Bites: Watch IFC's Portlandia Skewer Anti-Corporate Art

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 3, 2014 03:39 PM

"Since the 50s, one common target about making a statement has been McDonald's. Ronald McDonald plus something violent and crazy like money equals… shock."

So begins the excellent takedown of anti-corporate art from IFC TV series Portlandia. It's just the latest brand integration from the product placement-friendly satire series. In fact, the show has re-teamed with Geico on its latest storyline that kicked off the first episode of the show's fourth season last week.Continue reading...

car talk

Volkswagen Fills US Launch Void with Talk of New Products and Quirky Tie-Ins

Posted by Dale Buss on July 17, 2013 12:24 PM

With a lull in new-product launches in the US after three years of torrid sales increases based largely on new vehicles, Volkswagen is having to dig a bit deeper to create interest among American consumers and dealerships. One strategy would be talking up future new products, and another is finding new ways to wring mileage out of its great campaign around the Beetle Convertible.

Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn just told Bloomberg that the brand may bring its uber-luxury sedan, the Phaeton, back to the US market after a brief appearance several years ago. Back then, the notion of a $70,000 near-Audi at the top of Volkswagen's threadbare US-product lineup was too much for American premium consumers to swallow, so VW pulled Phaeton back to Europe and some other markets.

But now, with VW enjoying a much more significant presence and fuller vehicle lineup in the critical US market, Winterkorn said, it's Phaeton time again. "A brand as large as Volkswagen needs a halo [car] in the upscale segment," he told the news service. "We've seen what happens to brands that don't have that kind of" vehicle. He apparently didn't elaborate on how Phaeton would become more appealing to American consumers now or how its presence in the US might affect the tremendous recent accomplishments of the sibling Audi luxury brand in America.Continue reading...

product placement

ABC, NBC and IFC Push Boundaries of In-Show Brand Integration

Posted by Dale Buss on February 8, 2013 05:33 PM

A Ford ad ties into the NBC series The Smash. So far, the show has brought lackluster ratings.

The Middle, Smash and Portlandia offer three examples of the growing seamlessness between product/brand placement and the creative content of TV series.

On ABC's The Middle this week, the episode was practically an ode to two brands: iPad and Red Lobster. The youngest child in the Heck family, Brick, pines and pesters for an iPad until his parents, Frankie (played by Patricia Heaton) and Mike, finally relent and buy him a restored model on eBay. Until they do, a huge chunk of the script is devoted to Brick's description of the wonders of the iPad.

Much of the rest of the story depicts the family at a Red Lobster, naming the restaurant repeatedly and including a shot of a juicy lobster. (A Red Lobster ad also aired during the episode — though there was no commercial for iPad.)Continue reading...

media brands

VH1 Gets #Plussed With New On-Air Look and Logo

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 8, 2013 05:42 PM

When VH1 got started way back in 1985, the cable TV network followed right in the footsteps of its sibling MTV, although focused its efforts at an older demo. While MTV (short for Music Television) scored big with tunes for adolescents and young adults (Men at Work, anyone?), VH1 (an acronym for Video Hits One) was going for the slightly older crowd, playing music videos featuring the likes of Elton John, Donna Summer, and Rod Stewart.

The thirst for an endless stream of music videos on both Viacom-owned channels came to a halt only a few years into their collective existence and shows with varying levels of quality were cranked out. VH1 scored hits with the annotated Pop-Up Video series, the gossipy tell-all bio series Behind the Music, and the artist-centric VH1 Storytellers. The music in both brands has consistently been drowned out since then with a slew of other programming, inspiring the perennial plea by boomers to bring back the music to MTV and VH1 (season three of IFC's Portlandia kicked off with a plotline to take back MTV from tween with its original VJs and news anchor, Kurt Loder.)

VH1, for one, has decided to indicate that shift with a change in its logo (or as the company likes to call it, "tagmark"). 

As announced at the TCA TV Critics Association press tour, VH1 is kicking off the new year by adding a plus sign to the end of its logo, to reflect the changes in the digital world — meshing together the network’s music, pop culture and nostalgia content together — in tandem with adopting a black-and-white look and feel to its visual identity and on-air promos. It's promoting the new look with, naturally, a #plussed hashtag on Twitter.Continue reading...

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