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trademark wars

Trademark Watch: Nike, Qualcomm, Washington Redskins and More

Posted by Nicole Briggs on March 20, 2015 03:03 PM

Jacobus Rentmeester photo Nike Jumpman Jordan Brand logo

On June 1st, ICANN will release .porn and .sucks. In good efforts to protect their brand many have swooped in to buy .porn and .sucks before web haters and trolls got to them. Microsoft has already registered Office.adult and Office.porn.

Steve Miholovich, SVP of marketing at Safenames, a domain registrar and advisory firm for websites, commented to CNN, "At the end of the day, a TLD is really a brand." We can’t see anything positive coming from those TLD; brands may want to consider following Microsoft's lead. 

At the other end of the spectrum, meanwhile, charities and not-for-profit organizations are now free to move on from the .org domain and apply for .ngo and .ong TLDs.

Qualcomm is off to court to protect its Chinese name, Gao Tong. Bloomberg reports the company has enlisted a big ally in that quest: Hejun Vanguard Group, the firm that helped make Apple pay $60 million in 2012 to use the iPad moniker in China. Qualcomm, however, only wants a slice ($16 million) of that in damages.Continue reading...

health matters

International Health Organizations at Odds Over E-Cigarette Risks

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 27, 2014 11:32 AM

Just as Big Tobacco has rolled out new e-cigarette products across the US, the World Health Organization has expressed “grave concern” over the industry's escalating involvement in the e-cigarette market in a recent report, “warning that the financially powerful companies could...use the current tolerance of the new products as a gateway to ensnaring a new generation of smokers at a time when the public health authorities seem to be winning the battle against tobacco.” 

A slew of major tobacco companies have been launching e-cig brands including Imperial Tobacco, Altria Group, British American Tobacco, China Tobacco, Indian Tobacco Company and Phillip Morris International, which recently acquired one of Britain’s biggest e-cigarette makers, Nicocigs. Altria and Reynolds have made much headway, dominating about 25 percent of e-cig sales in the US market with their MarkTen and Vuse products. However, Lorillard still dominates with its Blu brand.

While the jury is largely still out on whether e-cigarettes pose a health risk like traditional cigarettes, the WHO claims that the new nicotine-laced devices do indeed pose a health risk to the public.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: McDonald's, Amazon, Apple and more

Posted by Dale Buss on July 30, 2014 09:22 AM


McDonald's told that it must address workers' complaints regarding protest discipline in ruling considered major victory for fast food workers.

Amazon plans to invest $2 billion in India as it calls for Hachette to lower e-book prices in their dispute.

Burger King follows Yum! Brands in cutting ties with China meat supplier.

Johnson & Johnson turns to social media to lure Millennial moms to baby products after cutting out controversial ingredients. 

Apple's iWatch patent approved, but launch may be pushed back


Best Buy CEO sees tablet sales "crashing."

Boys & Girls Clubs turns to fear in new campaign.

C-SPAN is headed behind the cable TV paywall

Chrysler is sued over Jeep ignition-switch failures.

Dunkin' Donuts partners with Discovery for Shark Week promo.Continue reading...

branding together

Big Tobacco Grows as Reynolds, Lorillard Merger Seeks New Industry Opportunities

Posted by Dale Buss on July 15, 2014 04:46 PM

Reynolds American and Lorillard are combining to make for a tougher competitior in a declining industry. But will the combination of the two tobacco giants be able to do more than that?

After a year of talks, Reynolds agreed to buy its smaller rival, Lorillard, for $27.4 billion, creating a company whose tobacco brands include classics such as Camel and Pall Mall as well as Natural American Spirit and Grizzly smokeless tobacco. Reynolds also has launched the Vuse e-cigarette.

But even in a business as crippled as selling cigarettes, the combining parties had to make some antitrust concessions. They sold a group of brands—including Cool, Salem and Winston cigarettes and Blu e-cigarettes—to another player, Imperial Tobacco, for $7 billion.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Big Tobacco Gets Bigger, Alibaba Gets Mad Men and more

Posted by Dale Buss on July 15, 2014 09:24 AM


Reynolds American buys rival Lorillard to create new tobacco giant in $25 billion deal.

Crumbs Bake Shop files for bankruptcy as investor group makes plans.

PepsiCo brands take spotlight at Tuesday's All-Star Game, as Nike's Jordan Brand spot honors Derek Jeter.

Alibaba, pre-IPO valued at $130 billion, makes entertainment push with Lions Gate streaming TV deal bringing Mad Men to China.

Metallica stars in ESPN's latest SportsCenter ad.


ANA takes aim at bot fraud with help from advertisers.

Apple denied Touch ID trademark by USPTO.

BMW shares battery technology with rivals.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Amazon, Infiniti, Applebee's and more

Posted by Dale Buss on July 11, 2014 09:41 AM


Amazon is sued by FTC over in-app purchases by children and seeks federal approval for testing of 50-mph drones.

Reynolds American is in merger talks with Lorillard to create No. 2 tobacco company.

Johan de Nysschen leaves Infiniti; could Cadillac be his next stop?

Applebee's files trademark for "No Tech Tuesday" as it rolls out tabletop tablets nationwide. 

Volkswagen halts sales of new Golf and GTI to check safety defect.


Airbus promises 14 percent fuel-efficiency boost in new wide-body jet.

Alibaba starts to move down path toward IPO.

Crumbs Bake Shop may get financial rescue lifeline.

Dum Dums creates drumming app.

Exxon spars with state of Pennsylvania over fracking.

Fiat re-ups partnership with “Funny Or Die.”Continue reading...

health fallout

US Order Could See Big Tobacco Apologizing for Years of Deceit on Tobacco Health

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 13, 2014 06:44 PM

Big Tobacco is finally seeing the error of its way—not by its own volition, of course. The US Justice Department has worked out an agreement with America’s tobacco companies to offer up apologies for all the lies they have fed the public over the years about cigarette smoking. According to the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing, the statements will “say the companies ‘deliberately deceived the American public.’” An average of 1,200 people die daily because of smoking, the Washington Post reports.

It has been 50 years since US Surgeon General Luther Terry told tobacco companies to put warning labels on cigarette packaging and 18 years since Dr. Jeffrey Wigand told 60 Minutes how his employer, tobacco giant Brown & Williamson, knowingly added carcinogenic and addictive additives to its cigarettes. Wigand’s tale became the hit film, The Insider, but it didn’t stop the Big Tobacco train from still rolling through its path.

The forthcoming “apology” comes after years of legal wrangling. The original order came in 2006 as the result of a case that had originally been filed in 1999. Judge Gladys Kessler found then that the companies were guilty of civil racketeering and lying to the public, USA Today notes.Continue reading...

uphill battles

Big Tobacco Nets Huge E-Cig Sales as FDA Contemplates Regulations

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 24, 2013 05:40 PM

So much for the imminent end of Big Tobacco. E-cigarettes, which create a smokeless vapor by heating a liquid containing nicotine, have apparently given the industry quite a boost just as the anti-smoking movement was making note of several victories. 

Lorillard pulled in $63 million in sales from its Blu e-cigarettes in its most recent quarter, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. That helped Lorillard claim $1.8 billion in sales overall, 10 percent more than the year before. Almost 4 percent of the tobacco giant’s revenue is now coming from e-cigarettes, as the company estimates that it now owns half of the e-cig market in the US.

Lorillard is reaping the benefits of an ad campaign that it ran in the last year featuring Jenny McCarthy and is getting “strong repeat purchases.” As it is now, Businessweek reports, the global marketplace for e-cigs is $2 billion, but that is expected to grow to $10 billion by 2017. In fact, e-cigs will outsell traditional cigarettes before the century is half over. Put that in your e-pipe and smoke it.Continue reading...

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