Best Global Green Brands 2014

what girls want

Barbie Settles Into the Corner Office (and LinkedIn) with Help from Female Entrepreneurs

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 1, 2014 02:22 PM

With already more than 150 careers under her tiny belt, Barbie, the iconic—and sometimes controversial—doll from Mattel, has officially become an entrepreneur as the doll's 2014 career of the year. The launch puts her in the company of a growing tide of female leaders, including the one-in-five that are leading startups. 

Like any smart entrepreneur, Barbie is already hard at work building her network on LinkedIn, where she's pitching her new business, "Dream Incubator," in which she acts "as a consultant, helping girls around the world play out their imagination, try on different careers, and explore the world around them."  

Her page features a lengthy resume, because after all, "when anything is possible, a girl is tempted to try everything she can," and includes insights from a group of female entrepreneurs, inlcuding the founders of One Kings Lane, Plum Alley, Girls Who Code and more, “who all have inspiring stories for girls today and are truly #unapologetic about living their dream.”Continue reading...

what girls want

Toy Brands Work with UK Politicians to Dispel Gender Bias

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 30, 2014 02:56 PM

For years, toy manufacturers have been padding their bottom lines with gender-specific play things, from action figures and race cars to princess gowns and kitchen sets. But now, UK politicians and activists hope to put an end to the pink-and-blue divide. 

Toy manufacturers and toy shops have met with the UK's women's minister Jenny Willott who encouraged the brands and shops to sell more toys to girls that don't rely on pink and princesses, and instead focus on branding chemistry and building sets for girls.  

The push by Willott is in reaction to less girls showing interest in STEM topics and related careers like engineering and science, which have long been dominated by males.

“Today was an important first step in looking at how well-made, well-marketed toys can encourage girls to take an interest in science and engineering— traditionally male-dominated territory,” said Willott, according to the Daily Mail. “Today we agreed to work together to look at customers' attitudes to toys and the choices they make in buying them.”Continue reading...

Sports Illustrated Throws Caution to the Wind for 50th Anniversary Barbie Issue

Posted by Dale Buss on February 12, 2014 04:04 PM

In a brand collaboration that could be described as the "Anti-Dove" campaign, Barbie and Sports Illustrated are getting together to celebrate the 50th anniversary edition of the magazine's swimsuit issue. And not surprisingly, social media has been atwitter over the implications.

The half-century edition of Sports Illlustrated's biggest issue of each year will hit newsstands and the internet next week, and it presents Barbie as a doll-size version of some of the magazine's supermodels, clad in a new version of the black-and-white swimsuit the Mattel doll wore when she was introduced in 1959.

It's a surprising partnership, to be sure, starting with the the fact that Barbie is aimed (mostly) at girls and Sports Illustrated is aimed (mostly) at men, which raises uncomfortable questions about why they're getting together. (Yes, Barbie is for adult collectors, too—that's why there will be a limited edition Sports Illustrated Barbie at Target).

The co-branded special issue is launching with a campaign called "Unapologetic", as both brands' owners clearly anticipated the hullaballoo that would ensue when two icons of hyperphotogenic femininity got together to get even more in the faces of their long-time foes.Continue reading...

brand extensions

Lego Movie Is a Success Before Film Even Hits Theaters, But Is There a TM Issue?

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 6, 2014 02:54 PM

"The first step to recover from your brickdiction is to admit you are powerless over bricks." That's the opening sentence from the book Brickdiction: A Seven Step Recovery Guide for People Addicted to LEGO®

Of course the irony about the book Brickdiction is that it's just a gag gift for that Lego lover you know, another brick in the expanding Legonomy that is about to go to a brand new level with Friday's release of The Lego Movie. With a staggering 98 percent "fresh" rating so far on film rating site Rotten Tomatoes, The Lego Movie is winning praise from critics across the board. (The one stick-in-the-mud is the NY Post.) The movie is so successful, in fact, that a sequel is already being built before the film's official release date.

With brands falling over each other to get a piece of the Legonomy, the question is not if The Lego Movie will be a success for the Lego franchise but how much of a success.Continue reading...

kiddie brands

Transformers Toys Go Back to Their Roots Ahead of Fourth Film

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 22, 2014 08:14 PM

In the three decades that Transformer toys have been on the market, they've inspired three big-budget Hollywood blockbusters and inspired hundreds of merchandising endeavors.

But the toys as they were orginally imagined—the ones that actually transformed from a vehicle to a robot with a few simple moves—aren’t around anymore. The transformation process, it seems, is now extremely complicated. Some may disagree, but the instruction booklets for today’s Transformers are much more involved than when it was first released. 

So Hasbro CEO Brian D. Goldner has decided to restore the toy back to its simpler days in honor of its 30th anniversary.Continue reading...

campaigns

Dumb Ways to Die Goes Plush for Public Safety Campaign Extension

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 21, 2014 03:46 PM

Last year, the marketing and advertising industry went nutty over Metro Trains Melbourne's "Dumb Ways to Die" cross-platform campaign by McCann Australia. The public safety campaign, which went viral thanks to a catchy song for its PSA ads, online game and addictive mobile app, took home top honors at Cannes Lions and continue to collect accolades, have now inspired a curious new line of products.  

Melbourne Metro has announced it's keeping the love going with a line of plush merchandise that is based on the characters in the campaign, and will be sure to appeal to kids of all ages in the same way that Uglydolls became a staple of dormitory rooms worldwide.

"We never set out for this to be a goal and it certainly didn't factor into anything around determining the creative," Metro General Manager-Corporate Relations Leah Waymark told Ad Age. "But countless people asked, 'Where can I get the t-shirt?' We had a lot of people who produce items approach us, from t-shirt makers to toy makers, to people who wanted to produce TV shows. But we narrowed it to what we thought would be most important, and that's the brand integrity."Continue reading...

brand aspiration

Goldie Blox Builds Dream Scenario with Viral Video, Shot At Super Bowl

Posted by Dale Buss on November 22, 2013 06:12 PM

The founder of Goldie Blox may be writing a dream script for a startup, one that already includes an idea with traction, a madly viral video, and high-profile nod in the New York Times—and an effort that could very well culminate in a Super Bowl commercial on February 2.

One of the videos that Goldie Blox has posted on its YouTube channel since its inception two years ago has gotten skyrocketing views, over 7 million so far, according to MarketingDaily.com. It shows young girls in stereotypical pink princess outfits suddenly breaking out of character to grab a tool kit, goggles and hard hats, constructing things with Goldie Blox building-block toys.

"Girls to build the spaceship / Girls to code the new app / Girls to grow up knowing / They can engineer that," the video hums, adapting an old Beastie Boys song. "It's OK to be a princess," Goldie Blox Founder and CEO Debbie Sterling, a Stanford University mechanical-engineering graduate, told the New York Times. "We just think girls can build their own castles too."Continue reading...

local branding

Mattel Localizes Barbie for Education-Focused China Market

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 8, 2013 06:38 PM

Barbie apparently wasn't much of a success in China when the famous doll's focus was all manicures, makeup and party dresses. The company's six-story store in Shanghai closed its doors in 2011, and since, Mattel has been hard at work creating a Barbie more suitable for the Asian culture—one focused instead on education. 

"Joy and learning are like oil and water in China," said Peter Broegger, Mattel's Asia Pacific senior vice president, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. So Mattel is trying to emphasize the learning part of Barbie’s life, releasing such dolls as Violin Barbie, while simultaneously trying to get the government to encourage more play from the children of its nation. "If they allow for more play, half of our marketing is done," Broegger told the Journal. Violin Barbie may be completely disproportionate in her body but she apparently can play a mean Tchaikovsky.Continue reading...

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