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Chick-fil-A Enhances Brand Story with Rollout of Thrive Farmer-Direct Coffee

Posted by Dale Buss on September 5, 2014 10:47 AM

Chick-fil-A's new THRIVE Farmers Coffee menu is what the chain calls "coffee with a story." But the new line of Central American coffees that are supplied directly by farmers actually embodies four stories.

It's a story of the fast-food brand shoring up a glaring weakness in its menu; it's the story of Chick-fil-A making a bold move in the fast-food sustainability derby; and it's the story of a brand taking advantage of the opportunity to divert attention to a kind of sublime value and away from its controversial recent history of taking a hard line on socio-political issues like gay marriage.

And, of course, its fourth story is the one that Chick-fil-A is concentrating on as it rolls out THRIVE coffees to its 1,800 US restaurants, sharing how the partnership is helping actual Central American farmers boost their incomes and their families' wellbeing compared with traditional distribution models for coffee.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Apple, Starbucks, Voya and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 5, 2014 09:36 AM

TOP STORIES

Apple beefs up security (as BlackBerry touts its own) after celebrity hacking, amid plans for new smartwatch and larger iPhones and appeal in hiring ruling.

Starbucks plans smaller, express-style stores.

US Postal Service cuts e-commerce delivery rates in pre-holiday move and delivers Amazon groceries in test.

Visa teams with NFL to push new online-payments service.

Voya completes metamorphosis from ING US.

MORE BRAND NEWS

Barclays tests finger vein scanners.

Boeing closes in on $10 billion Ryanair order.

BP is exposed to civil liabilities following $50 billion fine in Gulf Oil disaster.

Burberry leverages social media for new fragrance.Continue reading...

brand revival

After Nike's Exit, LIVESTRONG Lands New Eco-Friendly Apparel Partner

Posted by Dale Buss on September 4, 2014 05:16 PM

It may be fitting that the new apparel vehicle for LIVESTRONG is made from the valuable inner pith of the bamboo tree, because the LIVESTRONG foundation has been relying on its inner value as a brand and philanthropy vehicle helping cancer patients ever since its founder, mentor and original inspiration, Lance Armstrong, was totally discredited as an athlete and pitchman.

LIVESTRONG indeed has launched a new apparel partnership with tasc, which produces "all-natural" sports clothing by processing bamboo. tasc uses its "bamboo technology" to produce an entire range of men's and women's athletic wear ranging from tops to yoga pants.

Notably, tasc has come in to replace Nike, which originally dropped its sponsorship of the disgraced cyclist in late 2012 and then, after initially sticking with LIVESTRONG, last year announced that it would end its clothing-supplier relationship with the LIVESTRONG Foundation as well.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Chanel vs. Chanel: Coco's Brand Steps Off the Runway and Into the Courtroom

Posted by Courtney Cantor on September 4, 2014 04:04 PM

Chanel is ubiquitous—on the runway each fashion week, in its boutiques lining Fifth Avenue and Rodeo Drive, and now in the courtroom as it seeks to uphold its trademark rights against a little-known salon and spa in Indiana. Merrillville, Indiana, to be precise.

According to papers filed in the US District Court in Hammond, Indiana, Chanel Inc. has filed a trademark infringement action against Chanel’s Salon, arguing that the salon is benefiting from an association with the chi-chi brand’s reputation. The brand also claims it has sent cease and desist letters that have been ignored.

The fame of the Chanel trademark is hardly disputable, a factor weighing in the luxury brand’s favor. When the average consumer thinks of Chanel, images of that expensive interlocking C logo are likely to come to mind. The strength of the Chanel trademark is only one factor, however, that the court would consider in deciding whether the salon’s use is confusing to the public and therefore infringing on the brand’s rights.Continue reading...

media brands

Is Vice Media the Next Bloomberg?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 4, 2014 02:51 PM

While some media companies have had difficulty finding subscribers or an audience, let alone investors or buyers (Time Inc., anyone?), Vice Media, the fearless Canadian crew that convinced basketball legend Dennis Rodman to to hang out with North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, is growing—in both revenue and popularity—in epic proportions.

The company is now valued at more than $2.5 billion after it landed back-to-back investments, worth $250 million, from Silicon Valley firm Technology Crossover Ventures and A+E Networks. This comes on the heels of news last week that Time Warner had been trying to invest in Vice but couldn’t work out a deal.

For comparison's sake, the New York Times points out that BuzzFeed was valued well below Vice at $850 million when a recent $50 million investment came its way.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Ahead of Apple Event, Samsung Unpacks Phablets, VR Headset and Smartwatch

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 4, 2014 01:39 PM

The fight for mobile dominance will reignite next week when Apple launches the next generation of its iPhone. Samsung, of course, isn't waiting until the launch to try and get ahead of its biggest competitor. 

Yesterday, the global smartphone leader introduced two new Note phones, a VR headset as well as an expansion of its music-streaming service, Milk Music. The timing couldn't be better, as Android has gained ground on Apple's iOS while both face steep competition from manufacturers out of China. 

The new Samsung products were introduced at simultaneous "Unpacked" events in New York City, Berlin and Tokyo where it debuted two new iterations of its Note phablets, including the Galaxy Note 4 and the futuristic Galaxy Note Edge, which has a curved display that stretches over the edges of the smartphone. The content on the edge of the phone is customizable; users can choose from a current weather report, stopwatch,  a bedside clock, or a list of trending topics. The edge can also serve as a ruler, whether the consumer needs it to be centimeters or inches. Samsung will release an API for the Edge so that outside developers can create apps for it as well.Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Jackie Ban: China's Preposterous Celebrity Product Placement Proposal

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...

sustainability

Nestlé Ups Its Sustainability Commitment One Coffee Capsule at a Time

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 4, 2014 10:49 AM

Nestlé has announced plans to spend $550 million by 2020 to improve the environmental and social impact of Europe’s biggest single-serve coffee brand, Nespresso.

The investment “includes securing access to the one to two percent of coffee produce in the world that meets our strict quality and taste standards,” CEO Jean-Marc Duvoisin told Bloomberg. “This approach also allows us to innovate thanks to the direct relationships we build with farmers.”

The "Positive Cup" will see that the brand sources 100 percent of its Nespresso Grand Cru coffees sustainably and includes 15 million francs to assist farmers in Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan, as well as an increase in recycling of Nespresso capsules and reduction of the company’s carbon footprint by 10 percent en route to becoming carbon-neutral by planting trees to compensate.

The plan builds on the brand's AAA Program that it launched in 2003 with the Rainforest Alliance “to protect the future of the highest quality coffees and secure the livelihoods of the farmers that grow them.” Continue reading...

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