brand inspiration

TD and Absolut Show Why Art and Brands Go Hand in Hand

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 2, 2014 02:12 PM

Companies are not only active as arts patrons, they're innovating in ways that speak to their brands' DNA. New campaigns by TD Bank and Absolut show how brands from diverse sectors are using art in a fresh way to engage and inspire consumers, especially those who value culture and corporate citizenship.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Heineken Frontier Accelerator Woos Tech Startups in Drive for Innovation

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 2, 2014 12:18 PM

Back in 2010, Heineken set an ambitious target to reach an innovation rate of 6% by 2020. As part of that effort, almost two years ago the brewer issued a global innovation challenge to creatives under the auspices of its Innovators Brewhouse platform.

Now the Dutch beer giant is back with another global challenge, this time reaching out to tech, mobile and digital disruptors for innovative ideas to help "create an ecosystem of services and digital tools" by launching Frontier, an accelerator to foster innovation around the brand's product and customer experience.Continue reading...

bc q&a

Turnaround Engineer: 5 Questions with Prius US Brand Manager Erica Gartsbeyn

Posted by Dale Buss on October 2, 2014 10:48 AM

Toyota has begun executing one of the most significant turnarounds ever attempted for its iconic Prius brand, and Erica Gartsbeyn is in charge of making the new positioning work in a market that has seen interest wane in the vehicle and category.

In the next year or two, Toyota plans to unveil a significantly improved Prius family, with overhauled exterior design and improved electric- gas powertrain. But in the meantime it'll be up to Gartsbeyn, who is vehicle marketing and communications manager for Prius, and her colleagues to attempt to reverse the brand's 11-percent year-to-date sales decline in the United States.

Toyota also is more willing than before to make deals in the showroom for its Prius family: the regular model, the larger v, the smaller c and the plug-in.

The brand's current campaign, "Let's Lead the Way," underscores what Prius has accomplished in establishing the US market for hybrids as well as highlights aspects of the car and the brand family that are underappreciated by those who don't share the high "green" motivations of the main Prius customer base.

In one of its TV ads, "Family Portrait," a character discusses the hybrid's durability, with a voiceover intoning, "Sometimes the most daring ideas are the ones you can count on the most." A real Prius owner featured in one of a trio of onliine-only ads says she is "pleasantly surprised at the power Prius had." In another testimonial, a firefighter whose family owns two Prius models says, "I honestly feel very safe in this car."

Gartsbeyn shared the brand's US turnaround strategy with brandchannel.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Pepsi True, Netflix, Tesla and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 2, 2014 07:14 AM


PepsiCo launches Pepsi True "mid-cal" as new salvo in cola wars, exclusively at first on Amazon.

Netflix books Adam Sandler for four movies while France's Orange plans to market the service in November.

Ford partners with culture brands and publishers to create "road trips" for new Mustang.

Volkswagen, Porsche and Lamborghini roll out plug-in hybrids in Paris.

Tesla hints at timing for unveiling Model "D."Continue reading...

auto motive

Ready to Get Tough, Barra Presents Her Way Forward for GM

Posted by Dale Buss on October 1, 2014 06:07 PM

There are reasons that General Motors CEO Mary Barra just appeared on the cover of Time magazine as "The Mechanic" and told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that she needs to be "tougher." She's ready to lead the company into the future and change the conversation from one about safety recalls to one about her exciting new strategic plan.

At a meeting of investors and financial analysts today at GM's HQ in Detroit, Barra and her executive leadership team outlined the automaker's new corporate strategy—a way forward that counts on a steady stream of new cutting-edge, technology-packed models to drive sales growth and profitability in the United States and China over the next four years in an effort to become the world's "most valued" automaker by early in the next decade.

"Our strategic plan is a pathway to earn customers for life and create significant shareholder value in the process," Barra stated. "Every chance to connect with the customer is an opportunity to build a stronger relationship."

Key to those plans, she said, was to invest in the Cadillac brand, which plans to introduce four new models in North America in 2015 and nine new models over the next five years in China—a crucial market for the company.Continue reading...

auto motive

Cars Will Glitter In City of Lights, But Paris Show Finds Automakers Gloomy

Posted by Dale Buss on October 1, 2014 05:33 PM

A year ago, global auto executives all knew they'd be in Paris for the auto show this week. But they didn't think they'd be feeling so gloomy in the City of Lights.

A once-nascent European auto sales recovery has sputtered, casting a pall over the Paris Motor Show, where brands nevertheless plan to dazzle one another, automotive journalists, enthusiasts and rank-and-file Parisians with glittering new models and confident projections of new technologies, new designs, new colors and other features of coming and prospective new models.

After sales contracted for six straight years to a two-decade low in 2013, European carmakers believed earlier this year that a true recovery was taking hold. But sales in the market grew by only 1.8 percent in August over the year earlier, the smallest monthly increaese this year, and fourth-quarter deliveries are expected to decline by 0.3 percent.

"The outlook for Europe on the whole is darkening," Stefan Bratzel, an automotive expert at tyhe Center of Automotive Management in Germany, told Bloomberg. Dimmer prospects "make me wonder if European car demand will manage to be positive for the year as a whole."Continue reading...


Clorox Brings Twitter-Powered Safe Water to Peru via SXSW Eco

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 1, 2014 05:22 PM

Now in its fourth year, SXSW Eco is about to kick-off with some social-savvy brand participants.

Clorox is testing a Twitter-powered water dispenser to raise awareness and funds for its Safe Water Project.

The two-year-old initiative helps deliver 400,000 liters of safe drinking water daily through public bleach dispensers to more than 25,000 people in rural Peru, where one in seven people don't have access to safe water. 

For each tweet with the hashtag #safewaterproject, Clorox will donate $1—enough to provide safe water to a Peruvian for four months. It hopes to raise $2,000 at the environmentally-focused conference and $20,000 through the end of the year.Continue reading...

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