bc q&a

MasterCard’s Priceless Surprises Celebrates Its Own First Birthday

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 12, 2015 02:08 PM

After one full year, Priceless Surprises from MasterCard continues to spread joy and delight to unsuspecting cardholders in 25 countries.

By simply using their MasterCard, cardholders are eligible for digital song downloads, instant seat upgrades at events, and meetings with world-class entertainers and athletes. Priceless Surprises is also integrated with MasterCard’s sponsorships of The GRAMMYs, The BRIT Awards, UEFA Champions League, Major League Baseball, PGA TOUR and Rugby World Cup.

brandchannel spoke with MasterCard CMO Raja Rajamannar about the campaign and its success in creating a marketing initiative that makes delightful experiences a year-long value-add for the brand.Continue reading...

cola wars

Coca-Cola Adopts One-Brand Strategy in Europe and the US to Clear Up Confusion

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 5, 2015 01:15 PM

The Coca-Cola Company spends a lot of time, energy and money marketing its many different brands.

The company, however, is taking a different tack in the UK and put all of its Coca-Cola products—Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coke Life—into a unified brand architecture to clean up any confusion in the marketplace—especially around its beverage brands with reduced sugar and calories. (Update: The universal branding also launched today in Spain and is coming to 11 other countries including the US, as noted below.)

The rationale: Commissioned research showed that UK consumers do not fully understand the difference between the four brands, with five percent having no idea that Coca-Cola has no sugar or calories, for example.

Now, by putting them all under the Coca-Cola name, the global beverage giant hopes to differentiate them on the actual packaging.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Spider-Man, AMC, JetBlue and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 10, 2015 08:25 AM


AMC’s Better Call Saul (Cinnabon-featuring) premiere on Sunday was the biggest series premiere in the history of US cable TV.

Sony and Disney's Marvel team up on next Spider-Man movie.

JetBlue becomes first airline to accept in-flight mobile payments using Apple Pay.

Apple sets record by closing with $700 billion valuation, announces $850 million investment in solar energy.

IBM and SoftBank partner to bring Watson to Japan.Continue reading...

sip on this

The Cup Song Ends: Coca-Cola Calls Off 13-Year 'American Idol' Tie-In

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 17, 2014 02:07 PM

Coca-Cola’s branding has been all over Fox’s American Idol for 13 seasons, from the massive cups visible on the judges’ table to the dizzying background videos when host Ryan Seacrest sits down to have a tête-à-tête with contestants. 

But Coke has finally decided to disengage from the once all-powerful FOX TV show, Variety reports. The show has been losing ratings in recent years and announced this week that the results segments would be completely eliminated; performances and results will now all be in one episode, AmericanIdolnet.com reports.

Apparently, the audition portions are popular enough for the network to keep them around for two nights a week, so the next season will start off with two audition episodes followed by once-weekly showings after that.

All of it will now be without Coke, though the question remains how producers will handle the Coke-emblazoned cups that may have been in front of the judges last summer when they taped the auditions. (Digital product placement insertion, perhaps?)Continue reading...

and now, a word from our sponsor

USOC Warns Congress of Ambush Marketing’s Evils

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 8, 2011 12:07 PM

In the months leading up to this fall’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, there was much ado about the unauthorized piggyback practice of ambush marketing by non-sponsors.

New regulations and practices were put in place to be sure that any brand that hadn’t paid a massive chunk to sponsor the matches found even the teensiest way to affiliate itself with the event. The preparation for such a possible catastrophe seemed to put ambush marketing on par with terrorism.

Other than a bunch of scantily clad gals in stilettos handing out flyers for a strip club after one particular match, the RWC went ambush-free.

Now a much bigger event is coming, next year’s Summer Olympics in London (which organizers refuse to identify with its XXX Roman numerals, for some reason), and nobody wants any big-spending sponsors to be outdone by some fancy bit of ambush marketing.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

Heineken Extends Rugby World Cup Sponsorship

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 31, 2011 06:01 PM

In the months leading up to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand that kicked off on Sept. 9 and finishes up this Sunday with a final match between the host country and France, the organizers did everything imaginable to be extra doubly sure that there wouldn’t be one itty bitty ounce of ambush marketing that took place at the festivities. Event organizers went so far to protect sponsors of the event, it felt like other types of security might be falling by the wayside.

Other than a few brochures handed out in the “clean zone” around one arena by scantily clad gals from a strip bar in Wellington, so far, so good. No crazy ambushes like the 36 orange-clad women one Dutch brewery sent to a World Cup game in South Africa to get the brand’s name into the minds of millions without spending the millions that Budweiser did to sponsor the event. Or even peaceful ones like the free hot-chocolate truck at the Vancouver Winter Olympics run by a rival credit-card company to event sponsor Visa. 

At least Rugby World Cup sponsor Heineken must be happy because it just announced that it was going to throw more cash in and extend its sponsorship to the 2015 RWC in England.Continue reading...

Rugby World Cup Goes After Strip Bar for Ambush Marketing

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 5, 2011 01:29 PM

Brands including Microsoft, Land Rover, BlackBerry, and Toshiba have paid big bucks to be the sponsors of the Rugby World Cup, which is currently underway in New Zealand. The country and organization made a very big deal this summer about how they are going to do everything possible to curtail any little inkling of ambush marketing in order to protect the corporations that were shelling out to be officially part of the fun.

Now the RWC is getting its first test and it’s not from any corporate giant that has creatively found a way to sneak its logo into RWC matches. It’s from a strip bar.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that one such establishment in Wellington, NZ, sent out “scantily clad women in stilettos and ‘All Blacks’ uniforms emblazoned with silver ferns” to hand out two-for-one flyers to match attendees in the wake of the first match the town hosted during the event: South Africa v. Wales on Sept. 11.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

London 2012 Olympics Gets Tough on Ambush Marketing

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 30, 2011 10:01 AM

The Rugby World Cup that is currently underway in New Zealand has set new precedents in its attempts to scare off and stop ambush marketing of any sort. 

The next big event to step up and try to show how it’s going to crush ambush marketers of all stripes will be the 2012 London Olympics (the unfortunately numbered XXX games, though you understandably won’t find that anywhere on London’s Olympic website). 

“A proposed amendment to the Olympics Act 2006, due to come before Parliament by the end of this year, will reverse the customary burden of proof in criminal cases,” Marketing Magazine reports. “Senior marketers could therefore be found guilty of an offence unless they can prove that ambush activity for their brand took place without their knowledge, or that they took reasonable steps to prevent it.”

After all, in such a financially strapped world, big events such as these are attempting to protect the investment of the corporations that actually shell out the big bucks to be corporate sponsors rather than the creative, lower-cost marketers who are trying to sneak in publicity, whether it’s through skywriting, streakers, or women in matching orange outfits.

“The extraordinary derogation from the normal position could also catch out directors of official sponsors whose staff or agencies overstep the strict letter of their sponsor rights,” said Nick Johnson, partner at law firm Osborne Clarke, Marketing Magazine reports.

Let’s hope the law is as tough on actual ambushers as it is on sneaky advertisers.

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