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 news

In the News: NFL, McDonald's, Sears and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 16, 2014 09:07 AM

TOP STORIES

AB InBev explores financing to buy SABMiller.

Apple sets sights on TV as regulators set sights on Apple Pay and fans spot the iPhone 6's hidden bulge—while U2 iTunes freebie is defended despite backlash.

McDonald's gives away coffee for the next two weeks and brings McCafe to Canadian grocers as it considers expanding its build-your-own-burger test.

NFL faces crisis as domestic violence issue ambushes Cover Girl campaign and Radisson Hotels pulls Vikings sponsorship after Adrian Peterson allegations, but teams keep fans.

Sears secures $400-million lifeline via CEO Lampert's hedge fund.

MORE BRAND NEWS

Alibaba ups IPO share price to $66-to-$68 range.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos partners with Boeing and Lockheed on rocket engine.

America Movil said to seek AT&T bid for $17.5 billion of assets in Mexico.

AstraZeneca finds partner in Eli Lilly for experimental Alzheimer's drug.

Burger King notches North American same-store sales increase.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Apple, Watch Your Back: Is Google Going More Boldly Into the Future?

Posted by Ilan Beesen on September 15, 2014 03:14 PM

After months of anticipation, and a few days of perspective, the big Apple keynote last week proved less thrill, and more drill. Not to sound like an ingrate—I’m a longtime Apple admirer and loyal customer—but as far as surprises go, Apple is about as full of them, lately, as a bale of hay.

For its latest worldwide product reveal, Apple’s "one more thing" was the highly anticipated, and long overdue, Apple Watch. The sales pitch by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake was unexpected, although U2's appearance wasn't. And the missing 'i' in Apple’s Pay and Watch caught everyone off guard, but that’s about it. While stirring interest by Apple fans, iPhone devotees (who snapped up the pre-order phones) and the global tech press, the big event by Tim Cook & Co. was a feature-rich, impeccably-designed bale of hay.

Compared to its history full of silicon-fueled subversion, today’s Apple plays it conservative. While typically the winner at whatever it does, Apple is not even close to being first out to the field with wearable tech, for example. It’s the obsessive batter who takes 10,000 practice swings before stepping to the plate and hitting a homerun. Impressive, but where’s the eccentricity, the wonder, the audacity? Whatever happened to going toe to toe with spectacular failure? Expected awesomeness is still expected.

In the euphoric afterglow of Apple’s keynote, it’s sobering to compare Apple's just-announced innovations with some of the recent work of another tech titan.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Time's Up: Apple Unveils Larger iPhones, Wows with Apple Watch and Payments

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 9, 2014 05:15 PM

Today, at what seemed like its largest press event ever, Apple unveiled the future of communication—and it's beautiful. 

CEO Tim Cook took the stage after countless brand fans and media kept their eye on a countdown clock on Apple's website, effortlessly building anticipation for a product launch that many have been counting on for the last year. And in true Apple fashion—minimalist introductory video and slideshow presentations, live demos and a parade of Apple executives not to mention U2—the brand introduced what everyone had been waiting for: two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus; a new payment platform, Apple Pay; and the highly-anticipated Apple Watch

After years—decades, really, in tech time—of shunning the "bigger is better" trend in mobile, Apple unveiled not one, but two new iPhones, both of which offer a larger screen experience. But the two new phones turned out to be perhaps the least ground-breaking announcement of the day.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Apple, Home Depot, Jimmy Choo and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 9, 2014 09:09 AM

TOP STORIES

Apple launch today of new iPhone (starring U2) is biggest test yet for CEO Tim Cook.

General Mills buys Annie's organic foods brand.

Home Depot confirms major data breach that could rival Target's breach.

Jimmy Choo plans $1 billion IPO.

McDonald's August sales slump as US decline reaches fourth month.

MORE BRAND NEWS

AbbVie and other drug makers are sued by FTC for delaying generic competition of testosterone-replacement drugs.

Amazon slashes price of Fire smartphone.

Baltimore Ravens fires player Ray Rice after domestic-violence video surfaces, and NFL suspends him indefinitely.

Coach names new president and COO.

Dave & Buster's Entertainment files for second IPO attempt in three years.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...

brand news

Brand News: Apple/Beats, Pepsi Max, Samsung Wearables and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 29, 2014 08:29 AM

TOP 5 STORIES

Apple execs explain Beats acquisition as HP remains a Beats partner through end of the year.

Samsung announces prototype Simband personal health tech monitor with open cloud service.

BMW sees China as biggest electric car market, as Mercedes-Benz gives Chinese officials unprecedented access.

Pepsi Max unveils Idris Elba-directed short film (above) as part of #FutbolNow campaign.

Fender names U2's Bono and the Edge to its board.

MORE BRAND STORIES

Amazon tells customers to shop elsewhere in Hachette spat.

AriZona iced tea brand founders fight over brand value in court.

BlackBerry CEO defends strategy.

Bridgestone set to become Olympics sponsor.

Cadbury grapples with brand jihad in wake of pork discovery.Continue reading...

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