Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 27, 2014 03:55 PM
LeBron James has returned to his home state of Ohio for the coming basketball season, and appears to be planning to stay there until he retires. This fact has been driven home so many times that even folks who don’t follow the NBA one iota are likely to know it.
But Sprite has decided to once again share the story of how the 29-year-old—whose jerseys were burned on the streets of Cleveland only a few short years ago because of his decision to “abandon” the Buckeye State in order to move to Miami and win a few championship rings—is coming home to try and bring the city its first championship in any sport in half a century.
While Sprite (and Beats by Dre before it) don't mention the burnt jerseys, their ads and mini-docs are all about how, in the end, home is where LeBron's heart is—and the fans are—as King James returns to his hometown.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 21, 2014 03:24 PM
For a short period back in 2012, the world could not escape Jeremy Lin. His brand equity, near the bottom of the heap when the year started, shot up within a few short games as one of the New York Knicks to be equal with Kobe Bryant’s. His mere existence (and the public’s insistence on seeing him) was enough to help settle a massive contract dispute between Time Warner Cable and MSG Network, and there was only one word to describe what has happening: Linsanity.
But that kind of nuttiness couldn’t be maintained. The Harvard grad knew that even then. Now the 26-year-old California native is on the same squad with Bryant and aiming to help the Los Angeles Lakers rise to power again by bringing a steady, workmanlike presence to the team.
That attitude spills over into his new ad for adidas China, “Employee of the Year,” in which he plays a modest, unassuming store employee. Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 20, 2014 01:27 PM
Basketball fans in Cleveland were so irate four years ago when LeBron James decided to leave the Cavaliers and join the Miami Heat that some took to the streets and burnt his jersey. But now, after winning two NBA titles, he’s back and they are ready to give him anything he may need.
No matter how great James was in his first run with the Cavs, he had a hard time attracting quality players to join a team that had a long history of losing. Now the Cavs are the city’s best hope to break a 50-year title drought. The NFL’s Browns took the top spot in the NFL in ’64.
But LeBron is back, baby, and one brand that is jumping onboard is Beats by Dre. In a new video campaign from the Apple-owned brand, James goes back to his hometown of Akron, Ohio, where he sees plenty of “Welcome Back” signs. Fans, meanwhile, get to see the shirtless James working out, sweating hard, and listening to tunes on his Beats. "Don't ever forget where you came from," James says.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 17, 2014 02:25 PM
As brand ambassadors go, supermodel Elle Macpherson has been identified with lingerie for years—25, in fact, working with New Zealand manufacturer Bendon to develop an eponymous line that has been available worldwide in a reported $150 million deal.
Now the 50-year-old and Bendon are parting ways, with another blonde model taking over as the face of its lingerie line: Heidi Klum, who has helped keep herself in the spotlight by hosting Project Runway since its debut in 2004.
As a result, Elle Macpherson Intimates will become Heidi Klum Intimates in January, but Macpherson will keep the naming rights to her three underwear labels, while Bendon keeps the rights to all of the designs.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 15, 2014 04:54 PM
Taylor Swift and Diet Coke lately have been going in opposite directions—the country-pop songstress ever-rising, of course, and Diet Coke struggling with a mature market and consumer concerns about artificial sweeteners.
But in the next phase of Swift's new partnership to try to help Diet Coke make an upward turn along with her, she is seen in a new TV spot called "Kittens." It adds an irresistible tiny-animal presence to Swift's continuing, magnetic star appeal—and stars her real Scottish Fold pets, recently insulted by British comedian John Cleese.
In the spot, Swift is sitting on a couch and joyfully imbibing Diet Coke, when she notices a kitten on the coffee table. Another sip, she closes her eyes—and presto! Another kitten. Next sip; well, you get the idea. And by the end of the spot, Swift's living room is something that would merit a neighbor's call to the animal-control authorities.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 25, 2014 03:03 PM
Yao Ming is already a one-man brand, having proven himself against the likes of Shaquille O’Neal as a 22-year-old NBA rookie. Now, more than ten years later, the former Houston Rockets star is a one-man band with a mission: to wean China off its love of ivory and save Africa’s endangered elephant population.
In just the past three years, 100,000 elephants have been poached for their tusks in mass-slaughters as the appetite for ivory grows in Ming’s home country. The death toll rises annually with 25,000 African elephants murdered last year and 4.5 million killed in the last 60 years.
Nicknamed the “Great Wall of China,” the 7’6” Yao, now 33, told the Washington Post he connects with Africa as “many animals there are bigger than me.”
So he launched a campaign in partnership with WildAid, Save the Elephants, the African Wildlife Foundation and the Yao Ming Foundation to defend the largest, gentlest creatures on the planet from man. Joining the cause, Discovery's Animal Planet network will debut a feature documentary, Saving Africa's Giants with Yao Ming, on Nov. 18.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on September 4, 2014 12:04 PM
Two giants of Chinese celebrity stand to be big losers if a new product endorsement law in China is enforced. (It won't be, but humor us.)
First, there is Jackie Chan, the acrobatic movie star who never uses a stunt double or met a product he wouldn't pitch.
The other is recently minted mega-star Fan Bingbing, who seems just as happy as the face of Louis Vuitton, L'Oreal, Cartier and Moet and Chandon as the face of a local laundry detergent and Lu Shou ("Thin Green") weight loss pills (below). Fan is also a fervent video gamer, apparently.
And then there are the foreigners.Continue reading...
Posted by Rami Levi on September 2, 2014 03:03 PM
Call it a modern day miracle, but a candy brand has firmly associated itself with athleticism. The beautiful branded partnership between Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch and the Mars-owned Skittles continued today with the release of a hilariously branded “training video.”
The video features the Seahawks star pushing through a rigorous training session with the help of his sugary friends. In light of the astronomical bidding war between Nike and Under Armour over the coveted feet of Kevin Durant, the video demonstrates the power a partnership born organically from genuine mutual interest between endorser and brand.
The love affair between Skittles and Lynch, aka Beast Mode, has been well-documented. After a few seasons of free publicity—TV broadcasts often catch Lynch snacking on Skittles during games—Skittles signed Lynch to a deal just before Super Bowl 48. Immediately following the signing, Skittles implemented a fairly standard sponsorship strategy with the launch of a limited edition Seattle Mix and donating to Lynch’s foundation during the Super Bowl.
But Skittles, known for its eccentric mastery of social media content, is just beginning to explore the creative possibilities of a “beast mode brand.”Continue reading...