Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 11, 2013 03:17 PM
Microsoft announced Thursday a company-wide reorganization—its latest effort to revitalize the struggling brand. In an email to all employees, CEO Steve Ballmer said:
“Today, we are announcing a far-reaching realignment of the company that will enable us to innovate with greater speed, efficiency and capability in a fast changing world. Today’s announcement will enable us to execute even better on our strategy to deliver a family of devices and services that best empower people for the activities they value most and the enterprise extensions and services that are most valuable to business.”
While the realignment involves no major departures or promotions for current executives, it does dissolve the company's current business units and reorganizes them into four divisions: Operating Systems, Applications and Services, Cloud and Enterprise, and Devices and Studios. The move places the company's three operating systems into one division, and stretches marketing and business strategy into a unified, cross-company group.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on July 3, 2013 12:56 PM
The next step in the remarkable evolution of the Apple brand may be just around the corner. In a move that "caught the fashion industry by surprise," Apple has announced it is adding Paul Deneve, CEO of fashion giant Yves St Laurent (YSL), as a vice president of "special projects," reporting to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
While heads are still spinning in the fashion sector, it isn't as strange as it sounds. Deneve, after all, was with Apple's European operation on the marketing side from 1990 to 1997, so he is hardly an unknown. Not to mention that YSL's revenues just about doubled under his leadership.
While some see this move as directly related to Apple's anticipated launch of an iWatch, others believe it has broader implications. "More likely it is to explore the extension of the Apple brand, or its platform technology into clothing and fashion," notes Forbes. "Digital technology is in fact extending its reach to every aspect of life, including clothing and other wearables like glasses." After all, the computer wearables market "is perfect for Apple to mainstream. It advances contextual computing. And it has the added virtue of being a bigger potential market than smartphones..."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 25, 2013 06:33 PM
The year-old split between Kraft Foods and Mondelez International is working out about as financial and marketing engineers had promised, with the latter attacking emerging global snack markets with zest and Kraft trying to squeeze everything it can out of more mature North American markets.
The latest evidence that the split strategy is taking hold as planned: Kraft Foods is boosting US marketing spending significantly and has retained traction as one of the biggest advertisers in the American market, while Mondelez's spending on US advertising has dwindled—even though Mondelez retains domestic control of iconic brands such as Oreo.
Kraft Foods plans to pump more than $100 million into brand-building in the second half of this year as it aims to differentiate its classic brands in commodity categories such as cheese from private-label players, while also launching new US products such as Fresh Take, a meal kit that combines fresh cheeses, spices and breadcrumbs, according to Advertising Age.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 18, 2013 06:10 PM
Amazon pounced on the opportunity to add Viacom programming to its Prime streaming lineup last month after the broadcast giant couldn’t work out an extension deal with Netflix. That loss is likely costing Netflix big-time as it saw the exit of popular kids shows like Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants and Blue's Clues, the very type of content that parents desire when they need to use the electronic babysitter.
However, Netflix battled back this week by signing a deal with DreamWorks Animation, in turn setting itself up to stream a whole host of new kid-friendly content based off of the studio's popular big-screen hits. In another move that seems orchestrated to remind folks, particularly parents, that Netflix still has scads of family programming, it has launched a new site, Netflix Families, that highlights “information on the best ways to stream and videos on how families use Netflix,” as well as feeds of curated content perfect for kids, the company said in a new release.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 13, 2013 06:33 PM
Disney’s ESPN launched a 3D channel three years ago that let viewers witness golf balls arcing toward them at The Masters and college football players practically bursting through the screen. Unfortunately for ESPN, there just haven’t been enough viewers who wanted to feel like they were right in the action and the channel will be shuttered by year’s end, according to Reuters.
USA Today's ForTheWin.com calls ESPN 3D “one of the biggest busts in recent sports television,” along with Fox’s NHL glow puck, Dennis Miller and Tony Kornheiser providing commentary on Monday Night Football (another Disney product), and virtual ads, among others, since not one of the sports junkies employed at the site (nor anyone they knew) had ever actually watched anything on the channel.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 11, 2013 02:42 PM
Vonage is counting on a wild-haired man in its new ad campaign to get across a key message as the online-phone brand keeps evolving with the industry.
Vonage is the generous phone company—or "Crazy Generous," as is the theme of the first TV-advertising effort by Vonage's new agency, JWT. In the initial spot, the new Vonage mascot, its "Chief Generosity Officer"—who, the thought occurs, could be a distant cousin to GEICO's Cave Man—calls for a different kind of phone company that "connects us with generosity."
Which raises the question: generous in what way? "It's really about value and what you can get with a company that's committed to ongoing innovation," Barbara Goodstein, Vonage's CMO, told brandchannel. "We've had a lot of innovations in just the last few years, and we think this campaign provides an umbrella for all our different products to fit under that makes sense—low costs, flexibility, simplicity and quality."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 5, 2013 02:21 PM
The opening of the first Whole Foods Market in Detroit today may be great for the city. But will it end up diluting the hard-won Whole Foods brand, especially considering the chain's planned emphasis on making the Motown store budget-friendly?
Those are among the issues attending the ceremonial opening of the Whole Foods in Detroit's Midtown district, which featured Mayor Dave Bing and even US Sen. Debbie Stabenow as well as Whole Foods executives. It's viewed as an important step forward for the retail market in a city that has become a poster child for "produce deserts" and "food insecurity" as well as all sorts of other maladies.
It "is a game-changer for our city," Bing said in a statement. "Not only does it offer central-city residents more choices and more convenience for grocery shopping, it also proves that Detroit is an attractive destination for national retailers."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 5, 2013 01:18 PM
Plenty of airline passengers that flew United last summer don’t have kind things to say. When United combined its passenger reservation system with Continental after the merger, things went totally awry and employees of the airline apparently didn’t always handle the whole thing so well.
But this year? This year is going to be different. That’s the promise from Jeff Smisek, the chairman, president and CEO of United’s parent company, United Continental Holdings, Inc. He spoke to about 1,000 people who were attending the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s annual membership meeting, the Chicago Tribune reports.
"We’re a service business. We need to get you where you want to go, on time, with your underwear,” he said, the Tribune reports. He noted that United’s on-time performance was the best it has been in a decade in the first quarter and customer-satisfaction scores "have gone up by a factor of five from where they were a year ago."Continue reading...