brand q&a

Activia's New Challenge: 5 Questions with US Brand Chief Jeffrey Rothman

Posted by Dale Buss on October 9, 2014 11:35 AM

Activia introduced the term "probiotics"—referring to the beneficial bacteria in the human gut—to mainstream America when Dannon brought the concept from Europe nearly a decade ago, and the brand quickly succeeded in capturing a big share of the US yogurt market as well as the imagination of popular culture with spoofs of its Jamie Lee Curtis ads on Saturday Night Live.

The boom in Greek yogurt sales slowed the momentum of Activia and every other variety of yogurt over the last few years. Dannon responded with measures such as introducing Greek varieties of Activia as well as replacing Curtis with new spokespeople such as Shakira and Laila Ali.

Now Dannon is trying to re-focus attention on the brand with a revival of the Activia Challenge, in which consumers are promised that Activia will help their minor digestive issues with in two weeks of regular consumption, or they get a refund.

Activia last tried the Activia Challenge in 2010, the year that the brand settled with the US Federal Trade Commission over charges that it didn't have sufficient medical evidence to claim Activia had long-lasting effects.

brandchannel spoke with Jeffrey Rothman, VP of US marketing for Activia, for details.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Apple Tops Interbrand's Best Global Brands and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 9, 2014 07:58 AM

TOP STORIES

Apple CEO receives open letter from Carl Icahn as brand remains #1 on Interbrand's Best Global Brands report as Huawei debuts on ranking (more from CEO Jez Frampton, above).

Audi slips behind Mercedes-Benz in global sales battle as it seeks $2.5 billion in annual cost cuts. 

iHeartRadio makes first foray into smartwatches.

IKEA enters insurance business.

HTC expands into personal cameras with quirky RE "selfie smartphone."Continue reading...

retail watch

Gap Inc. CEO Glenn Murphy to Hand Reins to Global Head of Digital

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 8, 2014 09:36 PM

In a surprise announcement, Gap Inc. revealed that its CEO, Canadian Glenn Murphy, would be stepping down on Feb. 1 following a seven-year run at the top.

His replacement? Art Peck, the company's global head of growth, innovation and digital since 2012, who joined the company seven years earlier from Boston Consulting Group.

The news came as Gap Inc. reported flat sales for September: Gap Global -3%; Banana Republic Global +2%; Old Navy Global +1%. The company's stock fell 8.1% in after-hours trading on the news.

As the Wall Street Journal noted, Murphy had "reversed a long-running sales slump but more recently has struggled to reinvigorate the company’s namesake brand." He joined Gap Inc. in 2007 from Canadian pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart, where he was CEO.Continue reading...

branding together

UPS Touts Importance of NCAA Final Four Role in New Video Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on October 8, 2014 06:02 PM

In advance of the start of college-basketball season, UPS—the NCAA’s official logistics and shipping partner—has fielded a new slate of YouTube videos that underscore the important relationship between the logistics company and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The videos (watch below) focus on how UPS helps college basketball and its many suppliers, including small businesses, prepare for the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four each spring, which requires a massive display of logistics expertise and firepower to get the playing venue ready, establish pop-up outlets to sell licensed merchandise, and other tasks.Continue reading...

retail watch

Will Santa or the Grinch Reign this Holiday Season? Forecasts Disagree

Posted by Dale Buss on October 8, 2014 04:50 PM

Will American consumers deliver a spicy trove of holiday cheer in the stocking of retailers this upcoming Christmas season—or a lump of coal?

Two widely-watched prognosticators have come up with radically different forecasts as shoppers spread out to stores and hit their favorite e-commerce sites to buy their gifts, as omnichannel shopping increasinbly becomes the norm.

The National Retail Federation forecasts a 4.1 percent increase in holiday spending, about one-third better than the 3.1 percent increase in 2013 over the prior year, and a far sight better than the 2.9 percent average annual increase over the previous decade. This optimism is ratified by a prediction by Deloitte that foresees a gain of 4 to 4.5 percent.

But another consultancy, PwC, just came out with a more pessimistic outlook, which predicts an "average household spend" in the US of $684 this holiday season, down by more than 7 percent from the actual spend of $735 last year.Continue reading...

tech innovation

IBM Opens Global New York HQ to Expand Watson's Business Partners

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 8, 2014 03:10 PM

Ever since Watson beat human champions in Jeopardy! in 2011, IBM has placed a big bet on its supercomputer, establishing a separate business unit, pledging $1 billion in investment and assembling a workforce of 2,000.

Since then, Watson has been venturing beyond IBM to work with other businesses and become a brand in his its own right.

After opening Watson’s computing capabilities to researchers in August, IBM today officially opened its global headquarters with 600 IBMers at 51 Astor Place in New York's Silicon Alley to serve local startups, in addition to opening wth five “Watson Client Experience Centers” around the world.Continue reading...

digital marketing

Lufthansa Heightens Brand Experience with New Augmented Reality App

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 8, 2014 12:04 PM

While some brands are testing virtual reality to heighten the brand experience, Lufthansa is claiming a world-first by launching a new augmented reality app that lets customers explore Premium Economy seats and the joys of getting 50% extra legroom.

iPhone and iPad users (iOS 7 or later) are prompted to grab a pen and paper to “draw something that flies,” then scan the drawing to see a Premium Economy seat pop on their screen.

Lufthansa’s new AR app differs from most, like Blippar, which only work when a specific brand logo or image is activated.Continue reading...

brands under fire

NFL Meets on Domestic Violence as Sponsors Watch on the Sidelines [Updated]

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 8, 2014 11:02 AM

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with team owners on Wednesday to discuss (among other agenda items) how to repair the damage to the league's brand including possible changes to the personal-conduct policy for players. As a lead up, owners were schooled on domestic violence by a 40-minute presentation the league has put together to show all of its employees, the AP reports.

That presentation included a powerful video presentation by former player Joe Ehrmann, a defensive tackle for 10 pro seasons back in the ’70s and early ’80s and (as the head of the Coach For America Foundation) a persuasive speaker. "Men play a critical role in reducing domestic violence by being active in interventions," Deana Garner, the league's director of player engagement and education, said, according to the AP. "Step in. Speak out. Have thoughtful conversations." 

Under intense scrutiny by the public and sponsors alike, Goodell and the owners went into today's meeting knowing they're also under intense scrutiny by not only fans and the public court of opinion, but also sponsors.Continue reading...

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