in the spotlight

In China, Apple Goes Out of the Wok, Into the Fire

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 20, 2012 07:02 PM

On Friday, Apple's week of bad news from China got the proverbial icing on the cake in the form of an initial report from The Fair Labor Association about Apple's manufacturing partners. The report had a number of points but the single bite the media latched on to was "tons of issues."

From its lost iPad trademark to working conditions to a smoldering conspiracy theory about the brand punishing The New York Times, Apple stands on the verge of flipping from the brand we love and hold up as an example to emulate, to the brand we love… begrudgingly.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

Super Bowl 46: Will East Coast Showdown Impact Viewership?

Posted by Dale Buss on January 23, 2012 12:50 PM

The Super Bowl is not only a national but an international spectacle, and Super Bowl XLVI will draw just as much interest from viewers in Florida or Wyoming as in the host city of Indianpolis, and really intense interest from hundreds of people even in, say, Dubai. But that doesn't mean geography is completely irrelevant to the Big Game, to who watches it — and to how brand executives treat it.

One huge matter of the map already has been resolved for the game on February 5: There will be no flyover-state participants. While last year's game featured two heartland-based combatants in the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers, the two teams squaring off in this year's Big Game — the New York Giants and the New England Patriots — are from the coasts; the east coast, specifically. And for brand marketers, many insist, that's all for the better, because New York and Boston are key DMAs for advertisers.

At least one important advertiser, presenting sponsor Chevrolet, doesn't feel the geography of the Super Bowl teams matters all that much. "Last year was Green Bay versus Pittsburgh and it was the most-watched Super Bowl of all time," Chris Perry,CMO of Chevrolet parent GM, told brandchannel. "So while [the geographic argument] makes sense, I think the Super Bowl is the Super Bowl. A lot of people will be watching regardless."Continue reading...

in the spotlight

iBooks 2, iTunes U: Apple for the Teacher - and the Student

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 19, 2012 05:11 PM

When invitations to Apple’s education press conference in New York went out last week, rumors spread quickly of a "Garageband for e-books," something Steve Jobs was reportedly working on before his death last October.

No more note-passing in class, kids, as Apple today announced its digital education platform. Specifically, it's launching iBooks 2 for iPad ($15 textbooks for the iPad), an expanded iTunes U app for K-12 schools, and a custom e-book authoring platform called iBooks Author.

"Education is deep in Apple's DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet. With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, including over 1,000 one-to-one deployments, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the US and around the world," said Philip Schiller, Apple's SVP Worldwide Marketing. "Now with iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn, using the device they already love."Continue reading...

in the spotlight

Dow Defends, McDonald's Extends Olympic Sponsorship

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 13, 2012 09:58 AM

As many as 25,000 people died in India back in 1984 due to the Union Carbide gas leak in Bhopal, and residents are still understandably upset about the experience that left many without family members, spouses, or friends.

In 1999, Carbide was bought by Dow Chemical, a purchase that Dow execs are likely muttering about to one another these days. The lasting unhappiness with Union is now being manifested in what seems to be a growing protest against Dow having anything to do with this summer’s Olympic Games in London.

Dow has forked over big bucks to be a top-tier IOC sponsor and was all set to “wrap” the main London 2012 Olympic stadium in a massive banner as part of its deal. However, the company responded to activists last month by scrapping to scraps its plans for the stadium wrap. That, apparently, has not been enough.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

RIP Smokin' Joe: The Singin' Spokesroles of Joe Frazier

Posted by Abe Sauer on November 8, 2011 10:45 AM

On the 40th anniversary of his historic Madison Square Garden bout with Muhammad Ali, boxing legend Joe Frazier passed away last night at the age of 67 following the biggest fight of his life — with liver cancer.

Smokin' Joe was not the commercial juggernaut that fellow former boxing champ George Foreman became, but Frazier appeared in his share of ads. Incidentally, he was often singing in those ads.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

ASICS Cheers on New York City Marathon with Transit Experience

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 3, 2011 10:01 AM

There are 45,000 dreamers who will hit the New York City streets on Sunday morning, determined to cross the finish line of a 26.2 mile jog through the five boroughs on one of the city’s most celebratory days: The ING New York City Marathon day.

While you know where you’ll find all of them on Sunday, it is also likely that you’ll find most of them in the Columbus Circle subway stop at some point this week. It's the closest MTA stop to where runners need to pick up their numbers and free T-shirts and it’s not that far from where the race finishes up in Central Park as well. In 2008, the stop had 20 million people pass through it, according to Second Avenue Sagas.

Sensing an opportunity, sneaker manufacturer ASICS has taken over the subway stop this week, giving both runners and casual observers plenty to look at.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

PETA: The Non-Stop Activism Machine

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 28, 2011 10:10 AM

Long before Occupy Wall Street took over the press (and hundreds of cities), PETA was showing the young 'uns how it's done. Constantly grabbing the headlines with in-your-face advertising and local stunts, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals organization was building its brand of provocative branding.

They're still at it, of course. Just this week, PETA sued SeaWorld in Orlando for "enslaving" Orca whales; called for a ban on private ownership of exotic animals in the wake of the Zanesville tragedy; asked director Cameron Crowe to tame the marketing for his upcoming movie, We Bought a Zoo; offered a $5,000 reward to document animal abuses at a Toledo circus and $1,000 for information in a puppy mutilation case; and dispatched zombies to protest a steakhouse in Cincinnati and promote veganism.

They've also been lobbying NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg to address the situation of carriage horses dropping dead in the streets, a black eye for Big Apple tourism that PETA asked Glee star Lea Michele to address in a PSA earlier this year. And of course, there's its long-running cheeky series of stripping celebs protesting fur.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

Steve Jobs: A Tribute to a World Changing Brand Visionary

Posted by Michael Waltzer on October 24, 2011 06:36 PM

"Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." This quote from Apple's Think Different commercial filled all of the ears of Apple employees as Tim Cook, Apple's new CEO, played the commercial's audio at Steve Jobs' company memorial on October 19th.

Apple last week closed its stores so employees worldwide could tune into a company-wide tribute to Jobs at Apple HQ in Cupertino, CA, which was recorded and is now posted on Apple's website.

The tribute began with Cook introducing Steve Jobs' wife, Laurene Powell Jobs. He went on to describe the many achievements of Jobs, including the Mac, the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, and PIXAR. Cook was constantly reminding the audience on how Jobs wanted to company to do "what was right," and not "what Steve Jobs would have wanted."Continue reading...

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