follow the money

Bitcoin Watch: NYC <3 BTC?

Posted by James Mueller on February 17, 2015 05:05 PM

New York State is already poised to be the first state to establish Bitcoin-specific financial regulations, but will its largest city further legitimize the controversial cryptocurrency by joining the ranks of those that accept it as payment? New York City councilman Mark Levine is proposing just that, citing as motivators the potential savings on credit card fees, and the hope of attracting tech talent.

New York is not alone in its curiosity. Many companies have experimented with Bitcoin in the last year, including Microsoft, Dell, and Newegg. Almost all of these, however, don't ever touch Bitcoin directly, instead using a payment processor, Bitpay or Coinbase, to immediately transform a customer's Bitcoin payment into dollars. Overstock.com, meanwile, not only accepts BTC in partnership with Coinbase, but also allows its employees to be paid in it.

Many skeptics are wary of Bitcoin, however, and not without reason: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lists hacker vulnerability, lack of protections, high cost, and fraud risk as dangers to be aware of.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Apple Ticks Toward Smart Watch Launch; Car Makers Worry They're Next

Posted by Dale Buss on February 17, 2015 04:15 PM

Apple Watch silver wearable tech

At least Rolex and Citizen don't have to worry about Apple taking over their essential business: providing portable devices that mainly tell time. Apple's looming smart watch debut is more of a wrist-borne PDA.

But can carmakers assure themselves of the same sort of thing? The recent disclosure that Apple is sniffing around auto manufacturing (codename: Project Titan) as a diversification ploy is leaving the car industry pretty unsettled at the prospect that Apple is training its brand, its growing cadre of car experts (including some from Tesla)—and a chunk of its $178 billion in cash—on taking a chunk out of their hides.

It's not that Apple shoots aces on everything. Even as it's gearing up for an initial manufacturing run of five million units of the Apple Watch, its biggest major new product since the iPad in 2010, the company has backed away from its initial ambition to make the device largely a health-monitoring implement, the Wall Street Journal reportedContinue reading...

health matters

Philip Morris Isn't Laughing at John Oliver’s Takedown of Big Tobacco

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 17, 2015 02:14 PM

John Oliver Jeff lung tobacco

John Oliver, the bespectacled British comedian and host of HBO’s "Last Week Tonight,” spent a good part of his show on Sunday showcasing to what ends Big Tobacco will go to keep its profits up despite continued data on the health risks involved with smoking.

Oliver highlighted lawsuits filed by Philip Morris International, the world's biggest tobacco manufacturer and parent company to brands inlcuding Marlboro, in a bid to stop plain packaging, including threatening to file against bigger countries such as Australia and smaller nations including Paraguay and Togo to keep those countries from creating any kinds of barriers from residents of the world seeing its packaging, logos, and marketing materials.

The show also introduced the character of Jeff, a diseased lung in a cowboy hat that recalled the Marlboro Man, to “help” the countries and Big Tobacco come to a compromise. As part of a mock public health campaign, the show's producers bought bus-stop ads in Togo with Jeff and also sent a load of T-shirts for distribution in the country.

In addition, Oliver encouraged viewers to use the hashtag #JeffWeCan, which has been burning up Twitter and Facebook.Continue reading...

automotive

Bark to Action: Buick Goes to the Dogs—Your Dogs—With Customized Spots

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 17, 2015 01:05 PM

This year's Super Bowl confirmed how much the public loves dogs in advertising.

Now Buick is following up on its "Woof" commercial (watch below) that ran during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show telecast on USA Network Monday night for the all-new Enclave by inviting regular dogs to participate.

As you can watch below, the brand's new social campaign customizes the spot with user-submitted dog names and video clips. Continue reading...

sporting brands

Step Aside, Toe Shoes: Hoka One One is Running Past You, With Sole

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 17, 2015 12:06 PM

Hoka One One running shoe

The running world has embraced barefoot running since 2009’s “Born to Run” showed the world that doing such a thing wasn’t just for the complete oddballs and might be medically sound.

Now, though, some runners seem to be going in the other direction. Instead of taking their shoes off or strapping on some minimalist footwear, some are putting on “maximalist” shoes, ones that have a whole lot of extra cushioning.

According to the New York Times, the Hoka One One brand is leading the way in this new movement, signing up brand ambassadors and pulling in $48 million in sales last year, a 350 percent increase from 2013.Continue reading...

license to thrill

Classic Toy Brands Look to the Future at the 2015 New York Toy Fair

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 17, 2015 11:01 AM

Hello Barbie ToyTalk talking doll

The 112th annual North American Toy Fair is on in New York, with licensing partnerships bringing together brands that tap into the toy industry's top trends of 2015, from the maker movement to tech innovation and beyond.

Case in point: Mattel is partnering with Google to reinvent the View-Master from its 1939 roots as a proto-3D virtual reality device, relying on cardboard disks with stereoscopic images inserted in a plastic device and observed through a viewfinder.

Now View-Master is using a different kind of cardboard: Google Cardboard, which uses an Android smartphone app to deliver a 360-degree animated environment.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Wearable Tech: Sony Readies SmartEyeglass Google Glass Competitor

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 17, 2015 10:01 AM

Google Glass is exiting the consumer market, opening the door to Sony to launch a pair of smart glasses all its own.

The Japanese firm announced today that a developer edition of its SmartEyeglass wearable tech will go on sale next month.

The pricetag: $840, which is cheaper than the $1,500 Google was charging for a beta version of Glass.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Nissan, Lance Armstrong, New York Fashion Week & More

Posted by Dale Buss on February 17, 2015 09:15 AM

TOP STORIES

Nissan "With Dad" commercial wins YouTube Super Bowl Ad Blitz (more in our Q&A with SVP Fred Diaz).

Lance Armstrong is ordered to pay $10 million to promoter who helped expose his doping fraud.

New York Fashion Week sees social marketing go mainstream as Tommy Hilfiger shows NFL fever on brand's 30th anniversary.

JetBlue's new CEO struggles to appease Wall Street and passengers while Starwood Hotels CEO resigns in "mutual" agreement.

Apple creates auto industry nightmare with EV plan as Apple Watch not seen as ready for full health tracking, despite ordering more than 5 million watches for initial run.Continue reading...

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