2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

red carpet

Coke Steals Pepsi's Thunder at Oscars Turned Ambush Marketing Awards

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 3, 2014 12:39 PM

Leonardo DiCaprio. Martin Scorsese. Meryl Streep. Julia Roberts. Oscar night 2014 was full of disappointment. But the biggest disappointment may have happened off-stage and off-camera, at the corporate headquarters of Pepsi and Samsung.

While both of the brands shelled out piles of money to be the official category advertisers for the Disney-owned ABC network telecast of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' annual ado—as the Oscars generate nearly $90 million in ad revenue—both also watched as their biggest rivals swooped in to ambush market their way into the spotlight.

When host Ellen DeGeneres ordered a few pies from local Los Angeles pizzeria Big Mama's & Papa's—whom she has previously ordered from on her own talk show—she likely had no idea she was about to insult the broadcast's official soda beverage sponsor, Pepsi. But when the pizzas showed up to feed the first few rows of celebs, so did a big Coca-Cola logo on the side of the pizza boxes.Continue reading...

olympic effort

Small Brands Make Big Impact at Sochi on the Backs of the Right Athletes

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 24, 2014 07:42 PM

With the Sochi Winter Olympics over, many brands are wiping sweat from their brow, just glad to have made it through the controversial games unscathed by the growing human rights protest around Russia's anti-gay laws. 

But while Chobani may have gotten the most bang for its Team USA sponsorship buck, other brands that spent millions on official Olympic sponsorships weren't necessarily the ones that ended up on the medal stand when it comes to leaving a lasting impression on the minds—and wallets—of consumers. 

For one, P&G saw the repeated success of its "Thank You" campaign, whose viral "Thank You Mom" TV ads and intimate videos won over consumers with heartfelt messages of support and triumph. With over 18.5 million views on YouTube, P&G plans to carry its momentum into its accompanying sponsorship of the Paralympics with its new spot—the first made specifically for the Paralympic Games—"Tough Love," which has already garned over 2 million views. 

Despite not shelling out any official sponsor fees, Nike saw a good amount of spotlight in Sochi thanks to its brand being on the back of many competing athletes and its hard-fought ambush marketing skills.Continue reading...

olympic effort

Snowboard Brands Get Big Exposure at Sochi, But Are They Breaking the Rules?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 14, 2014 02:02 PM

While Olympic brand police have been busy taping over rogue laptop logos in their pursuit to hold up the Games' controversial Rule 40, it seems the IOC has let another important branding rule slip. 

While reports claiming that Samsung, an official sponsor of the Games, asked athletes to cover up their Apple logos on their phones, and sightings of IOC staffers roaming around with duct tape have dominated the social web lately, sporting apparel and equipment brands have been able to nab some serious air time on the backs and boards of Olympic snowboarders. 

Snowboard manufacturers Burton, GNU, Salomon and StepChild have seen their names plastered on nearly every high-flying snowboard at this year's game, despite Rule 50, which says that gear brands can be represented, but only by a 10 percent surface presence on gear or apparel. But watch any of the popular snowboarding events, and you'll see that the 10 percent rule has gone out the window. Instead, brand names are slapped across the bottom of boards in bright, bold colors, screaming for attention.Continue reading...

olympic effort

Armed with Duct Tape, the Olympic Brand Police Are Back to Protect Sponsors in Sochi

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 11, 2014 06:43 PM

While Sochi's infrastructure didn't seem quite ready when the Olympics came to town last week, one department was ready to hit the ground running: the brand police. 

In the continuing discussion around the Olympics' Rule 40, which prevents non-official Olympic sponsors from advertising or marketing their products or services before and during the Olympics, Associated Press staffer Mark Davies tweeted an image of a journalist having his computer logo taped over by an Olympics staffer. The laptop clearly wasn't of the Samsung brand, which is an official sponsor of the Olympics. 

“Olympic workers are swooping on reporters sitting in competition venues with Apple laptops, and hastily taping over the iconic logo with duct tape,” he wrote. “In fact, any laptop that isn’t made by official sponsor Samsung is likely to face an Olympic cover-up.” Davies also witnessed a Mercedes with its logo covered up since the official automotive sponsor of the games is Volkswagen.Continue reading...

olympic effort

Sochi Olympics Brands: Tonga's First Luger Powered by Underwear and More

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 10, 2014 12:32 PM

Bruno Banani may be a no-name in America, but he’s a hero in the tiny island nation of Tonga and his name is well-known across Europe.

In Tonga, Banani is the nation’s first Winter Olympian, a luger who isn’t expected to bring home gold but is still celebrated by Tongans for breaking the Winter Games-barrier for the warm-weather country. In Europe, Banani is famed for another reason. It’s the name of an underwear manufacturer that is known for its wacky marketing campaigns, such as having Russian astronauts wear the underwear aboard a space station.

The Tongan with the same name is no coincidence. The nation’s royal family was keen on finding an athlete to send to the Winter Olympics, but not without some financial support. So international marketing company Makai hooked them up with Bruno Banani. The country and the company teamed up to find a Tongan who would fit the bill and auditioned 20 or so men, all of whom were told that they’d need to change their name if they were selected. The eventual winner was Fuahea Semi—or Bruno Banani.

“Look, this was quite a risky plan,” said Mathias Ihle, the head of Makai’s European division, according to the New York Times. “We were a very young agency. We had just started. We wanted to prove that we were creative. So in order to promote him, we came up with the idea of changing his name.”Continue reading...

logo no-no

Samsung Tells Athletes to Cover Up Competitors' Logos as Brands Balk at Rule 40

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 6, 2014 05:44 PM

Samsung has no doubt shelled out some serious cash to be an official Olympic sponsor in Sochi, and now it's exercising some of that weight it paid for.

As part of their Olympic goodie bags, athletes will be receiving Samsung Galaxy Note 3 smartphones. That's a pretty nice gesture from Samsung, but it is asking (demanding?) something in return. If athletes are using anything other than a Samsung device during the games, they must cover up the logo. So athletes are expected to put a piece of tape or other kind of cover over the Apple logos on their iPhones, among other brands. 

According to CultofMac, Samsung made the same request at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, though it remains unclear what happens to those who don't bother covering up their competitors' logo.Continue reading...

The Big Game

SodaStream's Super Bowl Rejection Strategy Gets Old Despite Smooth Moves from Johansson

Posted by Dale Buss on January 30, 2014 03:43 PM

SodaStream is adding to its iconoclastic reputation in the run-up to its second consecutive Super Bowl ad on Sunday. Did it produce its "uncensored" online ad starring newly-minted brand ambassador Scarlett Johansson in good faith, or did the Israel-based brand understand all along that the YouTube version would never make it onto Fox during the Big Game?

The answer is pretty obvious, because shaking up the traditional soft-drink business and being the David to the industry's Goliaths is exactly what SodaStream has been trying to do with its patented dispensers that add carbonation and flavor to water.

At the end of Johansson's turn in SodaStream's uncensored Super Bowl spot, she says, "Sorry, Coke and Pepsi." That tweak of the global beverage giants was enough to prompt Fox to reject the ad and ask SodaStream to drop the offending line. Pepsi is the game's halftime sponsor again this year, and Coca-Cola has been a long-time huge Super Bowl advertiser.Continue reading...

mobile marketing

HTC Launches Aggressive Brand Refresh to Take On Samsung, Apple

Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 8, 2013 01:53 PM

HTC One, a.k.a. the Facebook Home phone that's coming to AT&T and other carriers, is just one focus of the company’s impending brand refresh and aggressive marketing campaign to get better market placement against competitors like Samsung. 

HTC has been known for good hardware and not-so-good promotion, but squaring off against marketing-savvy Samsung requires the former to up its game. "It's one thing to make a great device—HTC has done that before," Mike Woodward, president of HTC America told the LA Times. "What is a little different this time is the way that we're going to market. We want to really get that down to the streets and get that down to consumers." 

HTC had been using “quietly brilliant” as its slogan, but the brand is looking to step out of its shell with a new marketing message that has “bold,” “authentic” and “playful” themes. The new tagline, "Everything Your Phone Isn't," is courting "Generation Feed" (what HTC calls tech-savvy, early-adopters). "Tech millennials are hard to connect with," Erin McGee, HTC North America VP Marketing told Ad Age. "We wanted to create a closer connection by targeting passion points."Continue reading...

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