license to thrill

Classic Toy Brands Look to the Future at the 2015 New York Toy Fair

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 17, 2015 11:01 AM

Hello Barbie ToyTalk talking doll

The 112th annual North American Toy Fair is on in New York, with licensing partnerships bringing together brands that tap into the toy industry's top trends of 2015, from the maker movement to tech innovation and beyond.

Case in point: Mattel is partnering with Google to reinvent the View-Master from its 1939 roots as a proto-3D virtual reality device, relying on cardboard disks with stereoscopic images inserted in a plastic device and observed through a viewfinder.

Now View-Master is using a different kind of cardboard: Google Cardboard, which uses an Android smartphone app to deliver a 360-degree animated environment.Continue reading...


007 Branding: Jaguar Land Rover Joins SPECTRE Product Placement Roster

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 10, 2015 11:08 AM

James Bond has come a long way since the gray 1933 Bentley convertible he drove in Ian Fleming’s first novel about the superspy, moving through several fleets of luxury cars since then, each with a special trick or two, from flipping license plate and missiles to turning into a plane.

Fleming was only alive to see the first two Bond films hit the theaters. While those certainly did well, he could have no idea what kind of cultural icon (and massive moneymaker) he left behind. That money keeps pouring in, including product placements for brands including Red Stripe and Heineken.  

One of the most coveted placements for any Bond film is in the automotive category, as Jaguar Land Rover can attest, having just announced three of its vehicles that will appear in this November’s "SPECTRE," the 24th Bond film that is now in production in England with Daniel Craig back as Bond and Sam Mendes directing.Continue reading...

that's entertainment

The HoloGrammy Goes To... Dead Musicians Hit the Comeback Trail

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 6, 2015 01:11 PM

Michael Jackson hologram Billboard Music Awards

Musicians of all stripes will be taking the stage this Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to perform and pick up their Grammy awards. It remains to be seen, however, if any of the performances will actually be by dead musicians.

Hologram performances are a big trend (as if living musicians don’t already find it tough enough to break into the business) with dead performers making a virtual comeback thanks to to licensing deals and digital technology. Bringing back artists with huge fan bases also gooses sales in the troubled music industry, of course.

Tupac Shakur’s hologram “performed” at the 2012 Coachella, though Public Enemy frontman Chuck D isn’t sure the singer would have approved. "I don't know if Pac would have been all right with that," he said at a panel at the new Grammy museum, Billboard reports. "Would he have been smiling or swinging with a stick?"

Last year, Michael Jackson made a virtual reappearance at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards. Fan reaction to his moonwalking performance ranged from "epic" to "creepy," and caused some legal headaches for HologramUSA, the company behind the spooky spectacle. Now HologramUSA, which also enabled Tupac's Coachella gig, is back with another back-from-the-dead musical tour.Continue reading...

CES Watch

The Comeback Brand: 5 Questions With Kodak CMO Steven Overman

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 9, 2015 04:04 PM

Kodak technology innovation graphic

The Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas saw the return and reinvention of a well-loved brand across a new array of consumer products.

Returning to the show for the first time in three years, and just a year after emerging from bankruptcy, Kodak came to CES 2015 with a roster of licensing partners who are bringing its iconic logo to some unexpected places, from a baby monitor (a CES Innovation Awards honoree) to the brand's first smartphone.

brandchannel caught up with Steven Overman, Kodak's Global Chief Marketing Officer (since Oct. 1st) and President of its Consumer and Film Division, during the CES fray to find out more about the comeback strategy—and also some insights into his new book, The Conscience Economy, about why and how brands must embrace corporate citizenship.Continue reading...

CES Watch

CES 2015: Kodak, Post-Bankruptcy, Returns to CES With Products and Partners

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 22, 2014 04:04 PM

Kodak Seedonk baby monitor

Just over a year after emerging from bankruptcy with a focus on selling patents and licensing its brand, Kodak is returning to the Consumer Electronics Show for the first time in three years.

CES 2015, which kicks off in two week in Las Vegas, will honor Kodak's new co-branded line of baby monitors with Seedonk with a product innovation prize at the show.

Among other licensed products debuting at the show, Kodak announced that it will debut a line of Android-powered mobile devices in partnership with the UK's Bullitt Group. CES attendees can check out the Kodak-branded mobile devices in Las Vegas, including a 4G smartphone, a tablet and a connected camera to follow next year.

“Kodak has one of the world’s most powerful brands and we intend to renew it and apply to it to expand our consumer business and grow the company,” said Steven Overman, Kodak's UK-based President, Consumer & Film Division, and Chief Marketing Officer, in a press release announcing its CES return. Continue reading...


Brand Speak: Remembering Nelson Mandela, Twelve Months On

Posted by Jeremy Sampson on December 5, 2014 01:01 PM

The following is a guest column by Jeremy Sampson, who launched Interbrand in Africa, on today's anniversary of Nelson Mandela's passing:

The death of Nelson Mandela at the grand age of 95 a year ago today was a day to celebrate and a day to mourn. The man had been through so much in his lifetime, spending over 26 years as a prisoner, yet had emerged as an iconic global giant full of humility, pragmatism and charisma.

The local and international media had for months been camping outside his door, first at his hospital in Pretoria and then at his house in Johannesburg. There had been premature reports of his death, false alarms that had sent the media into repeated frenzies, as global media personalities flew in and out of the country jostling to be on hand with breaking news.

For some months it had been apparent that the great man was ready to take his leave, but it appeared some would not let go.Continue reading...

celebrity brandcasting

KISS the Brand: Rockers Make Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Debut

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 27, 2014 09:57 AM

KISS frontman Gene Simmons has never exactly shied away from self-promotion. The band has been around for 40 years, and Simmons is still stomping around and spreading his gospel as far and wide as he can.

This year, that reach has finally extended to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, marking the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers’ first appearance in the annual celebration.

The band, which has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, is making its parade debut with 600 cheerleaders from across America who will perform a KISS medley (no doubt to glares from fellow parade newbie, GoldieBlox). 

The performance is just one aspect of the band’s year-long 40th anniversary celebration that's taken a multi-platform approach.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Nokia Seeks Brand Comeback With N1 Tablet

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 18, 2014 01:31 PM

Now that Microsoft has removed the Nokia brand name from Lumia phones, the non-mobile portion of Finland's Nokia that isn't owned by Microsoft is trying to find other ways to get its name out there. It's off to a strong start with Tuesday's launch of a new Android tablet N1 and corresponding Z Launcher software.

While Nokia has the 98th most valuable brand name in the world (worth about $3.2 billion) according to Interbrand's latest Best Global Brands ranking, it still desperately needs a comeback to combat its aging image amongst consumers in the wake of being phased out by Microsoft.

Beyond its own products, Nokia is looking to license its brand name to third-party manufacturers, reports. “We have a very valuable brand," said Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia technologies. "Yes it is diminishing in value, and that’s why it is important that we reverse that trend very quickly, imminently."Continue reading...

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