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Ron Burgundy Is Absolutely Everywhere As "Anchorman 2" Debut Nears

Posted by Dale Buss on December 9, 2013 12:04 PM

By now, it really doesn't matter if Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is any good or not, or even if it appeals only to true Will Ferrell aficionados. Several days ahead of its release, the movie already could qualify for its own new category in any Hollywood awards show: Most Outrageously Successful Advance Promotion for a Film.

Ferrell, in his signature Anchorman burgundy--and Burgundy--garb has been everywhere promotionally, sometimes with fellow cast members including Steve Carrell, in one of the most overwhelmingly memorable integrated-marketing pre-launch campaigns in movie history. Or certainly Ron Burgundy might put it that way.

All the stuff with the Dodge Durango and horses and dancers turned out to be only a tease. Since that campaign began a few weeks ago, Burgundy also has been seen shilling for everything from Riviera Imports' "Great Odin's Raven Special Reserve" to Ben & Jerry's very real new flavor, "Scotchy Scotch Scotch" (which, surely to his dismay, contains no real alcohol). Continue reading...

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The Hills Are Alive with Anxiety as 'Sound of Music' Fronts New NBC Strategy

Posted by Dale Buss on December 3, 2013 11:17 AM

Will Carrie Underwood be able to hit the high notes like Julie Andrews? Will she botch a line? Will one of the Von Trapp children forget what follows "do"? And how in the heck can you simulate the Austrian Alps in a live production?

NBC is hoping that viewers by the millions will tune in on Thursday for the answers to those questions and more as the network stages one of the most interesting—and gutsiest—holiday TV specials in some time: a live new interpretation of The Sound of Music starring the Nashville songbird who first won fame on American Idol.

Underwood has done a bit of acting and has live-hosted the Country Music Association awards show with Brad Paisley for a few years—and she's sure done a lot of singing. But NBC is making a huge bet on Underwood's ability to stretch herself professionally in a completely new way. Already there are haters nixing her for even daring to reprise Andrews' role in the movie version of the Broadway musical, but Underwood also has defenders including other cast members.Continue reading...

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Potterheads Set to Get Another Fix with New Textbook-Themed Film Series

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 12, 2013 01:44 PM

Executives at Warner Bros. can’t get enough of Harry Potter. After all, the eight Potter films that were released between 2001 and 2011 brought in over $7 billion worldwide—enough to beat out such film franchises as James Bond, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings to be the most lucrative of all time.

But why stop there? While the Potter series has been officially played out, the iconic books open a world of possibilities for other story lines, and apparently Potter author J.K. Rowling agrees. So the pair have reunited over an agreement for Rowling to turn the fictional “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” textbook from Hogwarts into a series of films, Variety reports

The fictional text was published along with “Quidditch Through the Ages” after the Potter series concluded in 2012. More than 80 percent of the cover price of the books went to a charity to help poverty-stricken kids.Continue reading...

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NBCU Makes Bold Move, Bumping Style Network for Newcomer Esquire

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 10, 2013 07:22 PM

The long-awaited Esquire-branded cable channel made a jump Monday even before its content hit the airwaves. NBCU announced that the Esquire Network will replace the female-geared Style Network instead of the young-male focused G4. 

“Just because something is working today doesn’t mean it will work forever. The biggest challenge to thriving in the marketplace is identifying the strategic moves that will keep us ahead of the competition,” Bonnie Hammer, the head of NBCU’s cable-programming operations, wrote in an internal email, according to Variety. After all, NBCU already has such female-targeted brands as E!, Oxygen, and Bravo in its portfolio.Continue reading...

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AMC Licenses 'Walking Dead' Content for Online College Course

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 4, 2013 11:58 AM

In a move that surely has early educators 'turning in their graves,' AMC’s hit show The Walking Dead is being used as the “primary text” for an eight-week online course from UC Irvine. The MOOC (massive open online course) is titled, “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead.’” 

The collaboration is facilitated by Instructure, a MOOC platform that AMC has licensed rights to for content, access to cast members for interviews and advice on weekly themes for the upcoming season.

Four UC Irvine professors will teach the course, which will cover topics including population dynamics, the spread of disease, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and post-apocalyptic nutrition. The course begins Oct. 14, the day after the show's season four premier. 

“I’ve never taught a class on math related to zombies before, but this is the same mathematical content I’d teach to undergraduates at UCI, and a way to reach new students,” UC Irvine mathematics lecturer Sarah Eichhorn told AllThingsD.Continue reading...

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Warner Bros. Prepares Laundry List of Licensees for 'Wizard of Oz' Anniversary

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 30, 2013 10:47 AM

Warner Bros. is following the yellow brick road right through the golden arches in a deal with McDonald’s and 80 other licensees commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz

The $25 million initiative includes a theatrical 3D re-release of the film in 300 IMAX theaters across the US in September and a limited edition five-disc Blu-ray set to be released in October. 

“Warner Home Video distributes over 6,800 theatrical titles, but only a select few have anywhere near the same broad appeal, proven sales success, and legendary status of The Wizard of Oz,” said Thomas Lucas, VP marketing, theatrical catalog, MediaPost reports. “Without oversimplifying the challenge, the truth is we had more requests from brands wanting to tie-in with The Wizard of Oz than we could accommodate. Our mandate was to select the best brands from each category, and offer the right fit for all partners.”Continue reading...

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If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em: Ticketmaster Takes Bite Out of Scalpers with Resale Service

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 12, 2013 01:43 PM

For years, Live Nation Entertainment's Ticketmaster has been doing everything it can to stave off ticket scalpers and resellers, keeping its premium ticket marketplace top-of-mind for eager event goers. However, despite its best efforts, scalpers still remain, and ticket resellers, like eBay's StubHub, are thriving. 

Tired of pushing against the $4 billion resale industry, Ticketmaster has decided to join the ranks instead, debuting its TM+ service for a handful of test events, according to the Wall Street Journal

The service, which is being tested on a Black Sabbath concert outside Chicago this month, gives ticket seekers two options: seating charts feature prices for unsold tickets, as well as prices for those that consumers are trying to resell.Continue reading...

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Theme Parks Leverage Low, High-Tech to Entertain the Idle

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 9, 2013 02:16 PM

Lowly economy or not, millions of tourists still flock to amusement parks every year, with attendance at North American's top 20 parks up 7 percent from 2007 through 2012. While we can't resist the appeal of rides, cotton candy and fresh lemonade either, all visitors could agree that waiting in winding lines to get on an attraction gets very old, very fast.

But times have changed. At Walt Disney World, instead of waiting in line for the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride, “riders are now ushered into an air-conditioned tent, where kids can play on slides, a climbing tower and a toy fire engine while parents wait for the buzz of a pager telling them it's time to ride the attraction,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

"If you reduce the wait, whether real or perceived, it is critical," Jim MacPhee, senior vice president at Walt Disney World Parks, told the Tribune.Continue reading...

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