celebrity brandmatch

Yao Ming, Goodwill Ambassador for the Elephant

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 25, 2014 03:03 PM

Yao Ming is already a one-man brand, having proven himself against the likes of Shaquille O’Neal as a 22-year-old NBA rookie. Now, more than ten years later, the former Houston Rockets star is a one-man band with a mission: to wean China off its love of ivory and save Africa’s endangered elephant population. 

In just the past three years, 100,000 elephants have been poached for their tusks in mass-slaughters as the appetite for ivory grows in Ming’s home country. The death toll rises annually with 25,000 African elephants murdered last year and 4.5 million killed in the last 60 years. 

Nicknamed the “Great Wall of China,” the 7’6” Yao, now 33, told the Washington Post he connects with Africa as “many animals there are bigger than me.”

So he launched a campaign in partnership with WildAid, Save the Elephants, the African Wildlife Foundation and the Yao Ming Foundation to defend the largest, gentlest creatures on the planet from man. Joining the cause, Discovery's Animal Planet network will debut a feature documentary, Saving Africa's Giants with Yao Ming, on Nov. 18.Continue reading...

retail watch

Downward Dude: Lululemon is Opening a Men’s Store in New York

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 25, 2014 01:15 PM

Women are still the dominant buyers of yogawear manufacturer Lululemon’s gear, but men are coming on so strong that the company is opening its first men’s-only store in an area that seems to be a hotspot for brands these days: New York's Soho district.

In its most recent quarterly report, the sale of men’s apparel at its stores rose 5 percent from the same period last year, Fortune reports. That comes on the heels of a 9 percent increase in the first quarter. Meanwhile, same-store sales dipped slightly in the first half of the year compared with the first half of 2013, while overall, the second quarter was better than expected.  

As Fortune points out, Americans doing yoga has gone up from 15.8 million in 2008 to 20.4 million in 2012, but only 18% of these yoga mat warriors are male. Of course, those who purchase Lululemon apparel aren’t required by law to do yoga in them so perhaps males have been attracted to the company for other reasons. Or perhaps it is simply Lulu’s female shoppers picking up a few things for their husbands and boyfriends.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Amazon's Not-So-Secret R&D Lab Gets a Boost from Bezos

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 25, 2014 12:02 PM

Amazon's Silicon Valley research and development arm has been called "secretive" by Reuters and Bloomberg Businessweek. Others have called it "hush-hush" and "mysterious."

While it may keep its projects close to the vest, as any corporate R&D unit worth its salt is entitled to, Lab126 is by no means secret. After all, it's on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and has its own website.

In addition to developing the Amazon Fire phone and a host of other products, from the Kindle family of products to Amazon Fire TV to the Dash at-home ordering scanner, it's reportedly eyeing wearable devices and products for the connected home.

It's also, as Reuters reports, on a hiring spree to staff up its high-tech skunkworks by at least 27 percent over the next five years, in a drive by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to create Internet-of-things inspired home gadgets with a one-button device to order supplies.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Bendgate, GM, Uber and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 25, 2014 09:12 AM

TOP STORIES

Apple pulls update to iOS 8 software as "bendgate" iPhone 6 complaints cause more headaches (and a Kit-Kat kwip) for Tim Cook.

GM CEO Mary Barry makes the cover of TIME as automaker appoints first cybersecurity czar and dispels MyLink claim.

Mondelez elevates Dana Anderson to CMO.

Twitter launches targeted ads for movies.

Uber opens debate with European regulators over ride-sharing rules.

MORE BRAND NEWS

Amazon loses streaming entertainment head.

Audi, Chevrolet and Lincoln plan to boost ad spending in 2015.

Best Buy taps designers for exclusive accessories.Continue reading...

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