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bc q&a

History in the Making: 5 Questions with A+E's Dan Suratt on HISTORY's Planet H

Posted by Shirley Brady on August 19, 2014 01:33 PM

A+E Networks' HISTORY channel has launched a unique brand extension that taps today's technology to engage kids with the past. Planet H launched  earlier this month with two mobile games that will encourage learning through play.

The games, priced at $2.99 each and available on iOS, Android and Amazon's Kindle Fire platform, are the cable brand's first major attempt to fill a gaping hole in kid-sized historical content. Developed in partnership with RED Games, which has developed apps for other A+E Networks brands, the games allow young users to explore past empires and the American frontier on their mobile device of choice. 

"The idea to bring a younger audience to the HISTORY brand has been kicking around for years, but up until recently there's been nowhere for it to live," Dan Suratt, A+E’s EVP of digital media and brand and content licensing, told Ad Age. "Now we have all of these other platforms and devices that appeal to younger demos like tablets and smartphones that make it easy to reach these demos without making huge financial commitment."

brandchannel Editor-in-Chief Shirley Brady chatted with Suratt to talk Planet H, mobile-first branding and future brand extensions and experiences.Continue reading...

campaigns

Goodbye, Kitty: Japan Sends Hello Kitty into Orbit to Boost Space Program

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 14, 2014 01:42 PM

NASA isn't the only space program in jeopardy. Japan, for one, is also trying to re-engage young minds with the fascinations of space using a tried and true method: Hello Kitty.

The iconic figure, which is celebrating its 40th birthday, has created billions of dollars in revenue for its owner, Sanrio, and Japan hopes that its internationally-recognized animated toy will drive the same kind of cultural interest for its space program. 

To get more private companies interested in using satellites, the government has invested $40 million toward the project, Reuters reports. The satellite carrying the 1.6-inch Hello Kitty figurine was fine-tuned over a couple of months of experimentation and is about the size of a garbage can.Continue reading...

campaigns

Gap Goes Cute and Dell Goes Cool for Back to School Season Campaigns

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 13, 2014 11:12 AM

With kids across the US trickling back to school over the next few weeks ahead of Labor Day, Gap is kicking its back-to-school campaign into high gear coming off a 2 percent sales boost in July. This year, the company is pulling out a major social effort tied to the brand's newest social presence, @GapKids

The launch of @GapKids includes a new contest, GapKids Class of 2014, that invites “parents to submit photos of their kids for the chance to be featured in a 2015 GapKids marketing campaign,” according to a company press release. All that enter will receive “a socially sharable moving image video of their child that encapsulates the GapKids aesthetic.” Gap has had a similar program, Casting Call, for the last six years, but this year's marks a much bigger investment in social media marketing.

The hope is that parents, who the National Retail Federation says will spend nearly $75 billion on back-to-school spending, will head to the @GapKids Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest channels to share and comment on parenting-related stories.Continue reading...

retail watch

Aeropostale Crops Its Brand to Reveal Younger, Fresher AERO

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 4, 2014 01:46 PM

Aeropostale is just the latest former cool kids brand to give itself a facelift in light of increasing competition from fast fashion brands including Forever 21, H&M and Uniqlo. 

The clothing retailer has launched Aero Now with a campaign that shows off the brand's new visual and verbal identity in stores, with AERO now its name on its stores, on its website (even if the URL aero.com is already claimed) and across mobile and social media (as Mobile Commerce Daily noted) that's timed to this week's back-to-school push across North American retail.

Its new positioning is summarized in the tagline, "You've changed, so we've changed" — which hints at the major restructuring underway at the brand.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Yes to Giving: Target Aims to Donate $25 Million to School Kids in Need

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 9, 2014 02:02 PM

According to a 2013 study, US public school teachers spent about $3.2 billion on classroom supplies in the 2012-2013 school year, an estimated $1.6 billion from their own pockets, or about $500 a year per teacher. And that's not including what families provide to teachers so their kids are equipped to learn.

That's why Target is upping its corporate citizenship commitment with a variation on TOMS one-for-one model by partnering with Yoobi, a Target-exclusive brand of colorful school supplies and a tag line that promotes the partnership, “One for you, one for me.” Today, Target announced it's aiming to donate up to $25 millon in supplies this upcoming back-to-school as part of this education commitment.

Yoobi, a clever twist on "You Be," launched at Target.com and in-store on June 1 as part of its Made to Matter collection of pro-social brands. For any purchase from the colorful collection of folders, notebooks, pens, crayons, glue sticks and rulers, Target will contribute to classroom packs that contain 900 items, about enough for one K-3 class of 30 students per year. Continue reading...

brand extensions

Common Score: Angry Birds Targets Education and Common Core Debate

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 8, 2014 10:55 AM

Finland's Rovio, creator of the Angry Birds juggernaut, this week announced a surprising brand extension: education. The game-maker is now marketing early childhood curriculum worldwide based on the popular app which has seen billions of downloads worldwide.

Angry Birds Playground is based on the Finnish national curriculum for Kindergarten (ages 3 to 6). According to the Washington Post, it's a mash-up of free play, physical exercise and tech tools, “a reconfigured learning environment, as well as some of the popular Angry Birds characters, to maximize learning through engagement.”

Finland wants to corner the global market on fun learning. Decidedly different from Japan or South Korea (where students routinely get top-scores on international tests), compulsory education in Finland begins at seven, the school day is shorter than in most other countries and there are no nationalized tests.

"It's not just games we're talking about here: it's a full 360-degree approach to learning, where games are just one part of it. It's not learning by sitting down and playing with a digital device," Rovio VP of learning and book publishing Sanna Lukander commented to the Guardian. "There's a real substance to it, and a healthy balance between rest, play and work.”

"We have to think about the children," Angry Birds co-founder, "Mighty Eagle" and CMO Peter Vesterbacka commented on Twitter. "Let kids be kids longer. Learn through play #funlearning."Continue reading...

Sports Illustrated Throws Caution to the Wind for 50th Anniversary Barbie Issue

Posted by Dale Buss on February 12, 2014 04:04 PM

In a brand collaboration that could be described as the "Anti-Dove" campaign, Barbie and Sports Illustrated are getting together to celebrate the 50th anniversary edition of the magazine's swimsuit issue. And not surprisingly, social media has been atwitter over the implications.

The half-century edition of Sports Illlustrated's biggest issue of each year will hit newsstands and the internet next week, and it presents Barbie as a doll-size version of some of the magazine's supermodels, clad in a new version of the black-and-white swimsuit the Mattel doll wore when she was introduced in 1959.

It's a surprising partnership, to be sure, starting with the the fact that Barbie is aimed (mostly) at girls and Sports Illustrated is aimed (mostly) at men, which raises uncomfortable questions about why they're getting together. (Yes, Barbie is for adult collectors, too—that's why there will be a limited edition Sports Illustrated Barbie at Target).

The co-branded special issue is launching with a campaign called "Unapologetic", as both brands' owners clearly anticipated the hullaballoo that would ensue when two icons of hyperphotogenic femininity got together to get even more in the faces of their long-time foes.Continue reading...

digital moves

DreamWorks Teams Up with Fuhu for Kid-Friendly Tablet Debut at CES

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 3, 2014 06:51 PM

What do you get when you pair Fuhu’s Nabi with DreamWorks? DreamTab, a tablet for kids for under $300, available this spring chock-full of original content. The new tablet, which will feature animated characters from studio hits including Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon and Kung-fu Panda, will debut at next week's CES 2014 conference in Las Vegas.

Thanks to programming and content from DreamWorks, the 8-inch by 12-inch device will allow kids to stream movies, TV shows and play games with various innovative parental controls and educational tools, according to Fuhu's press release.

The Google Android-powered tablet computer (using the new 4.4 Kit Kat Android based operating system) will be programmed like a cable channel. “We could push out a new character moment every day of the year,” Jim Mainard, the studio's head of digital strategy and new business development, told the New York Times.

“The moments will include stuff like drawing lessons from DreamWorks animators and more, SlashGear notes. “The tablet is also tipped to get tech allowing it to work with DreamWorks toys... and will also have the ability to send instant messages and email.”Continue reading...

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