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Nike for Tiger Woods Victory Lap: If Nike Says Everything's OK, Is It?

Posted by Reneé Alexander on March 28, 2013 12:02 PM

Winning takes care of everything. Or so says Nike. 

The sporting goods giant posted a quickly contentious image on its Nike Golf Facebook and Twitter accounts this week in the wake of Tiger Woods’ record-tying eighth victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational showing the newly-(re)crowned world No. 1-ranked golfer sizing up a putt. The slogan, “Winning takes care of everything,” a favorite saying of Woods since 2009, is front and center. At the bottom, of course, is Nike’s famous swoosh—alongside the word, “Victory.”

Nike says the statement references Woods’ perseverance to return to the top of his sport and is a salute to his athletic performance. But everything? Please. Sports fans weren’t the only ones who devoured every titillating detail of Woods’ personal life when it was exposed following his late 2009 admission of multiple extra-marital affairs.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Target Jumps on Mobile Incubator Trend with Launch of Retail Accelerator

Posted by Reneé Alexander on March 26, 2013 05:26 PM

This is not your grandfather’s retail environment.

In fact, with Target joining the likes of Nike, BMW and Mondelez in launching a mobile incubator/accelerator and funding developers to come up with apps that will take shopping into the future, it might seem more like your grandkids’. Target announced a contest earlier this month called “Co. Labs & Target Retail Accelerator,” that dangles a $75,000 prize to whoever develops the best new mobile experience for the company.

Target is looking for “transformative, technology-driven” ideas that should incorporate at least one of the company’s four priorities:Continue reading...

brand battle

Tiffany vs. Costco: Wholesaler Claims Jewelry Brand Name is a Generic Term

Posted by Reneé Alexander on March 21, 2013 08:12 PM

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but is a diamond ring ever just a diamond ring?

Not if you’re Tiffany & Co. 

The New York-based luxury jeweler has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Costco Wholesale Corp. in the hopes of preventing the sullying—and cheapening—of its cherished brand. But the counterclaims of the wholesaling giant could see the term “tiffany” defined as a generic diamond setting.

When you’re a giant in the high-end jewelry business, you don’t want to be within a country mile of anything remotely generic or wholesale or you can kiss your margins, reputation and quite possibly your brand value goodbye. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that Tiffany has had to tango with brands that claimed to sell "Tiffany" goods.

In December, Tiffany (the company, not the singer) sent a cease-and-desist letter to Costco after one of the jeweler’s customers alerted it that the wholesaler had signs in its Huntington Beach, CA, store promoting “Tiffany setting” rings. In a complaint filed in federal court last month, Tiffany claimed Costco “had apparently been selling different styles of rings for many years that it has falsely identified on in-store signage as ‘Tiffany.’” Not only are the rings not Tiffany, the jeweler says, but they are not manufactured by, approved by, licensed by or in any way associated with Tiffany.Continue reading...

brand launch

Target Canada's Grand Opening Disappoints Loyal Border Shoppers

Posted by Reneé Alexander on March 21, 2013 01:46 PM

Target’s first foray into Canada, with 21 more store openings just announced, is striking some eager shoppers as off the mark.

The Minneapolis-based retailing giant surprised southern Ontario consumers a couple of weeks ago opening its first three stores north of the border earlier than expected. People lined up in anticipation of the highest-profile retail arrival since Walmart entered the market nearly 20 years ago, but once they got inside, many were disappointed.

Despite Target's efforts to embrace Canadian culture, including a design partnership with Canadiana chic brand Roots as well as an entertainment partnership with Vancouver-born crooner Michael Buble, there were a number of product shortages. This would be excusable in a newly-minted store that’s getting the kinks out—but perhaps most importantly, the low prices on which Target had built its reputation and brand weren’t there, or at least not to the extent that cross-border and online Canadian shoppers expected.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Lays Canada Borrows Flavor Contest from U.S., but Adds Lucrative Twist

Posted by Reneé Alexander on March 19, 2013 05:38 PM

If you’ve always thought your taste buds were ahead of the curve, Lay’s Canada has the contest for you.

The potato chip giant's "Do Us a Flavour" campaign is asking its customers to send in their own flavor ideas and dangling a rarely-seen carrot—profit sharing—to the winner. The top four flavor ideas will roll off the production line and on to store shelves this summer with the most popular one—as determined by voting on Facebook, of course—added permanently to the Lay’s line-up. The creators of the final four are guaranteed to receive $5,000 but the big winner will get a $50,000 check plus receive 1 percent of their flavor’s sales for as long as it remains sufficiently popular to cut the muster.

Hey, how about mustard chips?Continue reading...

brand makeovers

Canada's The Bay Rebrands in Light of Target Launch

Posted by Reneé Alexander on March 11, 2013 02:07 PM

Canada’s oldest retailer launched a major rebranding effort the same week that Target christened its first stores north of the 49th parallel. Coincidence? Maybe, but probably not.

The Bay, which has its roots in Canada’s fur trade, will now be known as Hudson’s Bay. It won’t be that much of a stretch for consumers, considering the new name is a nod to its parent company, Hudson’s Bay Co., but it will mean its unique stylized-ribbon “B” in The Bay will be retired.

A return to the iconic retailer’s classic full name with a word mark—which will be used on all marketing and media materials, as well as online and on in-store displays—is its first major logo rebrand since 1965.Continue reading...


Target Prepares for Canadian Launch This Week

Posted by Reneé Alexander on March 4, 2013 04:21 PM

After playing coy about its exact launch dates in Canada, Target has confirmed it's opening the first of its Canadian stores this week. Residents in three communities (Guelph, Fergus and Milton) west of Toronto will be able to check out the launch trio of Target Canada "pilot stores" that will open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, part of the first wave of 24 stores soft opening this month in Ontario. As Target's press release puts it,

Like the majority of Target locations opening in Canada, the pilot stores feature a licensed Starbucks, as well as an in-store pharmacy designed to provide guests with superior patient-centered healthcare. “The Target team is excited to open these test locations as we put the finishing touches on our stores, assortments and inventory,” said Tony Fisher, president, Target Canada. “We look forward to delivering on our Expect More. Pay Less. brand promise and providing an outstanding shopping experience as we approach our grand opening in early April.”

The move kicks off the Minneapolis-based retailer's opening of up to 135 locations in former Zellers locations across Canada, 124 of those locations opening their doors this year. Target had said publicly it will start having soft store openings in March but it hadn't given exact dates or specific locations. In advance of this week's opening drive, the brand is practically building snowmen (see a recent Facebook cover image, above), drinking maple syrup straight from the bottle and painting its face at hockey games.

The retailing giant has been on an awareness-building campaign for its highly-anticipated arrival since late last year, one that is expected to ignite an all-out battle for consumers not seen since Walmart stormed the 49th parallel in 1994 with the acquisition of 122 Woolco stores.Continue reading...

sporting brands

So Sioux Me: UND Fighting Sioux Live to Fight Another Day

Posted by Reneé Alexander on February 28, 2012 05:49 PM

The University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux are back! For now, anyway — although UND was just snubbed over the name, so watch this space.

The Grand Forks-based school has been embroiled for decades in a tug of war over its moniker and logo, which features a Native American warrior wearing a feather headdress.

Traditionalists have fought to keep it while those who believe it is offensive to Native Americans have long argued it needs to be retired in favor of something more politically correct.

UND officially dropped the divisive nickname in late 2011 but it was resurrected this month after local residents collected 17,000 signatures seeking to put the issue to a state-wide vote. As part of the process, a law requiring the school to reinstate the nickname went back into effect. Continue reading...

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