in the spotlight

McDonald's, Automakers Read Tea-Leaves on Consumer Confidence

Posted by Dale Buss on June 4, 2012 04:13 PM

It's the third year in a row that brand executives have worried about the "c" word — as in "confidence." Consumer confidence, to be exact.

In the wake of last week's tough U.S. jobs numbers for May, there's more discussion among brands whether the economy this year will follow the pattern of the last couple of years: a first-quarter strengthening followed by relative anemia in the following months.

Only this year, while the American economic recovery has at least seemed on track, brands are more worried about negative influences from abroad.

"The headwinds we face on both the top and bottom lines, such as austerity measures in Europe, higher commodity costs in the U.S., and slowing growth in Asia, do remain," Don Thompson, new CEO of McDonald's, told securities analysts last week, according to Nation's Restaurant News. "I'm confident in our ability to navigate these near-term headwinds, because we've faced these situations before."

Thompson told the analysts that McDonald's long-running Plan to Win best practices platform, established by his predecessor as CEO, Jim Skinner, will be up to the challenge of any softening in consumer confidence, using local innovations scaled across the company's entire global system, for instance.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

NYSE Euronext Looks Ahead with New Logo and Color Palette

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 14, 2012 02:54 PM

NYSE Euronext today unveiled a new logo, an abstract vision of the globe that “visualizes the concept of unlocking the potential of our worldwide community," according to Euronext’s global head of marketing, Marisa Ricciardi, in a blog post.

"Our company has transformed dramatically over the course of the last five years, so we’re rolling out a new brand identity that better represents both our position today, and our direction for the future," she adds.

The vibrant blue and green colors represent “growth and optimism,” Ricciardi notes. The lighter hues, meanwhile, “convey our commitment to transparency, and the bolder colors recall our storied historical role in developing the world economy."Continue reading...

in the spotlight

With Genome and Exec Move, Yahoo Reassures Madison Avenue and Wall Street

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 14, 2012 12:14 PM

As Internet Week kicked off in New York today, Yahoo execs were busy pitching its new advertising platform, Genome, while downplaying the weekend's executive shuffle that saw the ouster of resume-fudging CEO Scott Thompson, the appointment of Fred Amoroso as chairman, and the elevation of Ross Levinsohn, EVP of the Americas and the brand's head of global media, to interim CEO — not to mention three new board members.

"It's very damaging, and speaks so negatively to the (vetting process)," commented "ambi-practioner" Adam Hanft to USA Today. "(Thompson) was hired for strategy, branding and marketing — not computer science."

It was a short run for Thompson, former president of eBay's PayPal unit. Yahoo only named him CEO, its fourth in less than five years, on January 4th. Levinsohn, meanwhile, is stepping up while trying to reassure advertisers — as he did at the brand's recent digital upfront for advertisers with Katie Couric — to put their faith and budgets in Yahoo's original web programming and vision.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

London 2012 Watch: Sponsor Visa Opens Digital Wallet

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 8, 2012 05:06 PM

Visa is launching a beta test of its digital wallet, branded as, with online retailer The PayPal-esque payments system is supported by the credit card brand's new Visa Developer Center that aims to help developers in various fields from gaming, financial, e-commerce and mobile integrate into their products for in-app purchases, currency or direct links to e-commerce check-out pages. is offering convenience and "next generation commerce" to’s 18 million customers who enter their credit card information once, where it’s stored with Visa, and then create an account with Visa, American Express, MasterCard or Discover. Users will receive alerts and near-real-time transaction notification of transactions on their Visa accounts and personalized offers will be coming soon.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

Skittles Becomes a Symbol of Trayvon Martin Shooting Protests

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 21, 2012 02:16 PM

As the tragic story of Trayvon Martin picks up steam, Skittles has (unintentionally) taken on the role of brand representative for a movement.

Taste the rainbow… of social justice.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

London 2012 Watch: British PM Backs Dow as Mega-McDonald's Defended

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 12, 2012 02:31 PM

Dow Chemical isn’t backing out as a sponsor of the Olympics this summer in London and its name will be plastered (after all) over the stadium that will host the Opening Ceremonies. This, of course, has not been sitting right with folks in India, where the disastrous gas leak of 1984 by Union Carbide, which has since become a subsidiary of Dow, killed more than 20,000 people, according to the Indian government.

The Indian Olympic Association has hinted that it may pull out of London 2012 because of Dow’s involvement, even though Dow continues to point out that it did not own Union Carbide at the time of the disaster.

Protests notwithstanding, British Prime Minister David Cameron told CNN-IBN on Sunday that "it would be a very sad day" if India decided to boycott the Games.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

150 Days to Go, London Hoists the Olympic Rings

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 29, 2012 09:59 AM

With London getting ready for the Summer Olympic Games, the Mayor's office this week released a time lapse video showing how the huge Olympic Games rings were built ahead of their journey on the Thames.

There are less than 150 days left before the London 2012 Olympics kick off. So what better way to commemorate the event than to have Mayor Boris Johnson on hand to watch 33-foot-high Olympic rings get tugged down the Thames while kids wave flags and a band makes music? 

Get a look now, Londoners. The rings are going back into storage till the actual Games, according to reading...

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...

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