branding together

Apple Squashes Rumor Mill Over Beats Music Plans

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 23, 2014 11:08 AM

"Apple Plans To Shut Down Beats Music." "Apple denies it is shutting down Beats Music."

Those headlines, from TechCrunch and USA Today respectively, came with hours of one another, proving that even if Apple is not "shutting down" Beats Music, it's sensitive about its role as proud new papa.

It also signals that Apple watchers and Beats fans alike are jumpy, maybe even distrustful, about what the big Apple might have in store for the popular music brand started by Pepsi-endorsed game-changer Dr Dre, whose headphones to streaming music brand arguably has more street cred and cool than Apple's white earbuds and iTunes combined.

Oddly, Dre (the richest hip-hop artist ever thanks to the Apple deal, Forbes announced today) and the Beats brand were mostly MIA during Apple's big iPhone/Apple Watch product reveal earlier this month. And given the subsequent news that Apple is developing a new music format with U2 (linked to Apple by Beats' Jimmy Iovine and a long relationship with Steve Jobs), it could appear that the honeymoon following the $3.2 billion Apple-Beats marriage is over.Continue reading...

branding together

U2unes Download: Apple and U2 Announce Next Big Gift to Music

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 18, 2014 03:24 PM

After exclusively launching U2’s new Songs of Innocence album to 500 million iTunes accounts this past week, Apple is delivering something else in response to customer demand. And true to Apple form, it’s an intuitive, easy-to-use and simple piece of technology—a delete button

A case study in how not to show customer appreciation, the unwanted gift of U2 music to all iTunes customers, whether they were fans of the Irish rockers or not, was hyped as the largest album release ever, and a "shrewd" marketing partnership (to the reported tune of $100 million) to celebrate the roots of the brand's longstanding tie-in with the band.

It turns out that the U2 album giveaway was a teaser for a bigger gift to come—and not only to music lovers but to musicians and the music industry as a whole. As TIME reveals in an exclusive cover story today, Apple is working with U2 on a bigger "secret project": a new digital music format designed to delight and excite customers to buy not only individual tracks but whole albums-as-experiences, and in so doing, "save the music industry."Continue reading...

brand faces

Staying Truett: Chick-fil-A’s Path Forward in the Wake of its Legendary Founder

Posted by Darcy Newell on September 10, 2014 06:34 PM

Monday was a sad day for fans of chicken sandwiches and the Chick-fil-A brand—the company’s founder and chairman emeritus, S. Truett Cathy, died at age 93 in his home. 

For many, Cathy was the embodiment of the Chick-Fil-A brand. Having grown the company from a small Atlanta diner in 1964 to one of the largest (1,800 locations in 40 states) and most beloved chicken restaurants in the United States, Cathy exemplified the American Dream. And despite strong business acuity, he was known for not choosing profitability over piety. From the company’s founding, restaurants have always closed on Sundays for a day of rest—missing out on opportunities for substantial revenue gains.

Of course, this religious focus has not always bided well for the man or the brand. Recent lawsuits claim the company’ discriminated against non-Christians, the LGBT community and others, and sparked debate on the role of religion—and religious commentary—in business today. Despite this, Cathy remained revered by the brand's intensely loyal fans for the experiences (and delightfully simple sandwiches) he created.Continue reading...

branding together

Apple, IBM Give Each Other a Hand in Meeting of the Enterprise Minds

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 16, 2014 02:07 PM

Apple and IBM's landmark partnership that's set to "redefine the way work will get done" is sending ripples through the industry, as the product/services duo are bound to disrupt the business plans of competitors like Microsoft and BlackBerry. 

Combining IBM’s big data and analytics expertise with Apple's user experience “could transform Apple, which ordinarily focuses squarely on consumers, into a true business powerhouse," The Verge notes. “It could also touch off a new battle with Microsoft, which now more than ever is focused on the enterprise and cloud services.”

Burying the hatchet of a longtime rivalry, the new partnership will “create simple-to-use business apps and sell iPhones and iPads to Big Blue’s corporate customers.” 

Aside from the projected product output, which includes 100 iPhone and iPad apps and on-site support to IBM’s business customers using Apple products, the deal signals “that under Tim Cook, Apple is trying to squeeze as much profit as it can out of the products that Apple created under Steve Jobs.," Forbes notes. "The question for investors is whether the deal with IBM is a signal that Tim Cook has no Jobs-like product innovation up Apple’s sleeve.”Continue reading...

brand trainwrecks

With New Support, Charney May Live to Die Another Day at American Apparel

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 10, 2014 12:44 PM

What does a brand do with a problem like Dov Charney? 

Not even a month after the American Apparel board canned its CEO and founder over supposed misconduct, eagle-eyed shoppers (via Buzzfeed) posted pictures of Charney shopping (or something) inside downtown Manhattan American Apparel retail locations, actions that appear to be in clear violation of the board's termination letter which stated he must get “advance written permission” to visit any American Apparel facility.

But maybe not. According to new SEC filings, American Apparel is getting a $25 million bailout from New York City hedge fund Standard General. It's a bailout that seemingly could keep Charney as a key figure in American Apparel's future.

Dov's weeks-long struggle to raise money to up his share of the company from 27 percent to 43 percent is chronicled in detail in a new Bloomberg Businessweek cover story on the drama. Granular to the extreme—Charney wore "white American Apparel socks" and used Uber during his travels from Los Angeles to NYC—the piece breaks down a decade-long soap opera that appears far from over. Indeed, Charney is still salaried and considered a "consultant."Continue reading...

diversity watch

Brand Pride: Apple's Tim Cook Stands Side by Side With LGBT Employees

Posted by Shirley Brady on July 8, 2014 04:43 PM

As noted here, TD Bank was a proud sponsor of the first WorldPride event held in North America. Also showing its colors in Toronto late last month: the smart auto brand, which sponsored the event's opening ceremonies in Toronto. And south of the border, on June 29, thousands of Apple employees and their families marched in the San Francisco Pride Parade, where employees were welcome by Apple CEO Tim Cook, who was lauded in today's Wall Street Journal as a "more collaborative" and compassionate leader than Steve Jobs. Check out both brands' 2014 Pride videos below.Continue reading...

brands with a cause

Pro Bono: How the Advertising Community Can Help Nonprofits like (RED)

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 24, 2014 02:49 PM

Celebrity musician and activist extraordinaire Bono took home the inaugural Cannes LionHeart award for his humanitarian work, but not before he called the entire advertising community to action to get behind his nonprofit (RED) organization, which helps fight AIDS. 

Calling the marketing industry the "creative engine of capitalism" and "the world’s thermostat" to tackle problems like AIDS, Bono noted that the majority of the foundation's funding comes from government organizations despite a growing number of consumer product partnerships and events.  

Founded in 2006, Apple was one of (RED)’s earliest supporters, even though many wouldn't know it. Bono joked with Apple's Jony Ive, who presented the award, calling Apple "annoyingly quiet" about its participation in (RED) thanks to Steve Jobs' aversion to including the brand's iconic parentheses on any Apple products or in any Apple stores. Apple has, however, raised $75 million for the cause.Continue reading...

branding together

Apple and Beats: A Match Made in Product Placement Heaven

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 28, 2014 06:03 PM

After a few weeks worth of speculation and one very viral video, Apple officially announced today that it is acquiring Beats Electronics and its streaming music service, Beats Music, for $3 billion—its largest acquisition to date—and is bringing co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine on board at Apple.

“Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a press release. “That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world.”

Indeed, Apple altered the world of music with its iPod MP3 players and iTunes service—one of the only online music marketplaces widely supported by the music industry. But what many may not know is that Beats co-founder and record label executive Iovine has long played a significant role in the adoption and growth of Apple's music products, including securing product placement deals for Steve Jobs and using his leverage in the entertainment industry to help promote the iPod, as Apple Insider notes.Continue reading...

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