brand challenges

Sony, Brand Perception Sinking, Will Reschedule 'The Interview' [Update]

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 22, 2014 12:09 PM

Sony The Interview Movie Poster

Update: The Sony attack was denounced at the UN today, where U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power called the situation "absurd," while PEN urges Sony to release The Interview... Sony is threatening to sue Twitter unless it shuts down a user who's sharing leaked emails via his account... North Korea was hit by an Internet outage (going "suspiciously haywire") which the U.S. has denied while a South Korea nuclear plant operator has been hacked, according to the Wall Street Journal. Earlier:

As a Saturday Night Live skit that saw Mike Myers reprise Dr. Evil only rubs in, Sony had been feeling heat from cyberhackers claiming connections to North Korea over Seth Rogen's The Interview movie, wreaking havoc that even the hackers likely didn't see coming.

In the wake of the massive cyber hack, countless embarrassing details about Sony's businesses and employees are now open to the public. President Obama criticized the company for "setting a bad precedent" by deciding to not release the film in theaters on Christmas Day, while the White House weighs how to respond on a national level.

And in its latest blow, consumer perception of the brand has fallen to its lowest level in six years, according to a new report from YouGov BrandIndex.Continue reading...

brand targets

Sony Can't Exit "The Interview" Woes as Movie Release Cancelled [Update]

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 17, 2014 11:47 AM

The Interview poster Seth Rogen James Franco

Sony has gotten itself into a bit of a fine mess by producing a film that was supposed to make people laugh while bringing in a few bucks. 

The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, is a comedy about a TV crew sent to North Korea to assassinate the country’s leader. North Korea, not known for its sense of humor, was not a fan of the film’s concept and sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling the film an “undisguised sponsoring of terrorism, as well as an act of war.”

While diplomacy with North Korea was not the goal of the film (otherwise Dennis Rodman would have been cast), its producers surely didn’t predict that the film would end up causing the mighty Sony’s knees to quake. Last month, a hacker group busted into Sony’s global IT network and now the same crew is threatening violence against movie theaters that show the film.

Update: Sony isn’t officially pulling has officially pulled the film, with no plans to release it in theaters, on DVD, on VOD or streaming, while U.S. intelligence officials now believe North Korea was behind the cyberattack.Continue reading...

media meltdown

Sony Hack: Executives Battle to Salvage Movies, PlayStation—and Reputation

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 10, 2014 01:33 PM

Sony The Interview capitalist pigs movie poster Seth Rogen James Franco

(The following story has been updated with comment from Amazon.)

"They did it again," said Brian Strange, attorney with Strange & Carpenter, referring to the massive security breach Japanese electronics conglomerate Sony suffered on Nov. 24th—the second major security violation the company has faced in the past three years. Strange was one of the attorneys on the class action lawsuit that was filed against Sony in 2012 after 77 million members of its PlayStation Network had their personal information stolen by hackers.

Sony settled that suit in July, agreeing to give away $15 million of games and services to those affected. Now, less than six months later, a second class action suit is in the cards from employees of Sony Pictures Entertainment, with current and former employees seeing reams of personal information—including social security numbers, health insurance reimbursements and performance evaluations with salaries—exposed to the world. The data leak affected 47,000 people, including actors and contractors—not to mention Sony's reputation.Continue reading...

that's entertainment

BitTorrent Vies for Credibility with Thom Yorke Experiment

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 3, 2014 02:32 PM

Brit alternative rocker Thom Yorke has never been afraid to experiment when it comes to getting music into fans’ hands. The lead singer of Radiohead pioneered a new distribution model with In Rainbows, the band’s first album after its record contract with EMI ended, which was released online with a pay-what-you-wish model. It ended up being a huge critical and financial success.

Yorke took his chances again last week when he released his sophomore solo collection, the eight-song Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, via BitTorrent. Costing only $6 via PayPal or credit card, the album (or "Bundle," in BitTorrent-speak, including an extra track plus video) was downloaded more than a million times in the first six days, according to Consequence of Sound. After the digital release, Yorke also put the album out on vinyl as well.

Once again, Yorke has succeeded in his original goal to find “an effective way of handing some control of Internet commerce back to the people who are creating the work.” As Mashable reports, BitTorrent is only taking 10% of the sales with Yorke getting the rest, which is a better deal than artists have when they sign on with a traditional music label.Continue reading...

web watch

Brands Do Double-Time to Repair Cyber Attack Damage

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 20, 2013 05:53 PM

More than 40 companies including Apple, Facebook and Twitter have been targeted in malware attacks linked to an Eastern European gang of hackers using an iPhone-developer website, iPhoneDevSDK. 

The hackers are mining for proprietary research and intellectual property they can re-sell underground, with their assault being called a “sophisticated attack” by Facebook and “extremely sophisticated” by Twitter.

RSA Security Inc. has called their tactics a “waterhole” attack, as victims are attracted to the source of the infection. This technique attacks a centralized website with many visitors and secretly infects vulnerable machines using an un-patched exploit. It differs from a targeted attack like emailing a malware-laden attachment to a specific user.

Apple said Tuesday in a statement, "We identified a small number of systems within Apple that were infected and isolated them from our network. There is no evidence that any data left Apple." Apple countered with release of a Java patch for OS X users and a tool that will sweep Mac computers for any Java malware and remove the offending software, which millions of Mac users must now install.Continue reading...


Watch Out, Bargain Hunters: One in Five Duped Into Buying Fake Goods Online

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 21, 2012 05:02 PM

"Buyer beware" applies now, more than ever, as holiday shoppers take to the web and mobile to snap up bargains. According to the latest MarkMonitor Shopping Report, one in five bargain hunters in the U.S. and Europe mistakenly shopped on e-commerce sites selling counterfeit goods while searching for deals online.

“Consumers are being waylaid by rogue e-commerce sites, causing brands to lose business. The findings from our Shopping Report underscore the importance of developing proactive brand protection strategies in the digital age,” said Fredrick Felman, chief marketing officer of MarkMonitor, Thomson Reuters' enterprise brand protection business.

Working with Nielsen “to analyze anonymized data from Nielsen’s permissioned online panelists in six countries over a nine-month period, nearly five million shopping sessions were surveyed…focusing on the search terms the shoppers employed, such as 'fake,’ 'replica,’ 'cheap' or ‘discount,’ to determine their motivation.”

The MarkMonitor Shopping Report examined multiple demographics including age, income, education levels, and household size, and found that there are only minimal differences between online consumers seeking counterfeit goods and bargain hunters looking for a good deal on legitimate goods.

“These findings really challenge the common assumption that consumers who purchase counterfeit goods are distinctly different than those consumers buying genuine goods,” said Eric Solomon, SVP, global digital audience measurement, Nielsen.

“Deal seekers outnumbered consumers seeking fakes at the rate of 20 to 1,” notes the release from MarkMonitor, but deceptive pricing on counterfeit goods, often priced comparably to legitimate goods on sale, discounted at 25–50% off list prices, suggest ‘blowout’ or year-ender sales and lure unsuspecting shoppers.Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

UGG Keeps on Chugging with New Tom Brady Campaign

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 19, 2012 11:18 AM

A few years ago, UGG was stomping all over its competitors, but these days, the Australian company is just dancing as fast it can to keep consumers buying.

Yes, there are still queues at the UGG store in New York's Soho district, but that's mostly among tourists, which is why the brand is opening in the trendier Meatpacking district, joining Patagonia and Lululemon in cozying up to crowds at the Standard Hotel and upmarket retailers such as Jeffrey in a bid to woo higher-end shoppers.

The brand sparked a sheepskin boot craze more than a decade ago, and while it's trying to shore up its US business with a new commercial featuring brand ambassador Tom Brady ("Pink Slip," above) and a new store aimed at men, its popularity persists in markets such as the UK, where this month, the company is opening its seventh concept store and working hard to woo kids of all ages.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Batter Up, Batten Down: World Series Brings Out Counterfeiters

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 24, 2012 02:14 PM

Members of the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers are spending today readying themselves for the World Series that kicks off tomorrow in California. Players are studying their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. Coaches are figuring their strategies. Umpires are readying themselves for extra loads of bile and hatred to be thrown their way. Mayors of the two cities will surely make some kind of jovial bet.

But another team that is also prepping for the big event is Major League Baseball Properties’ licensing group. Yep, the gang that sticks MLB team logos on everything from a “temperature gnome” for your garden and a steering wheel cover to carpet tiles and desk lamps is ready to take the streets and make sure their much-beloved brands aren’t being misused.

Before the first pitch is thrown, the team will be in the streets of San Francisco trying to find counterfeit items on sale to the large number of brand new fans of the team who tend to snap up gear at World Series time in order to prove they’ve loved the team all along.Continue reading...

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