Posted by Dale Buss on February 28, 2014 09:37 AM
Chipotle rolls out tofu-based Sofritas nationwide.
Abercrombie & Fitch cuts prices and looks to expand outlets.
Quiznos plans to file for bankruptcy.
American Airlines ends bereavement fares.
Caterpillar loses big locomotive job.
Costa Rica launches new branding campaign.
Gap tops upbeat forecasts.
Hilton considers selling Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
Michael Jordan tops list of highest-paid retired athletes.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 27, 2014 07:12 PM
European smokers that were looking to take advantage of e-cigarettes were just dealt a blow. The European Parliament on Wednesday approved the ban of e-cigarette advertising, as well as the sale of packs of 10 or more cigarettes from store shelves by 2016. Final approval on the new regulations is expected to be passed down by April.
The EU is further penalizing Big Tobacco by applying the same graphic warning label guidelines to e-cigs, telling manufacturers that the packages must be childproof as well. New nicotine levels were also set that put e-cigarettes on par with regular cigarettes.
The stringent regulations are setting a standard for other countries like the US, which has yet to make any rulings on how controversial e-cigarettes will be treated in the marketplace.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2014 06:38 PM
Ford keeps finding new ways to prime the pump for the widely awaited arrival of the new, 50th anniversary 2015 Ford Mustang this summer.
Two of the latest twists: The brand has developed a commercial promoting both the car and the upcoming film, Need for Speed, and it is taking extra steps to make sure the roof on its convertible version will be competitive—in roof kinds of metrics—with convertibles sold in Europe by the best German brands.
The original muscle car, Mustang, of course, long has been a favorite of movie directors, going back to Steve McQueen and Bullitt. So it's not much of a stretch to find Ford working with Scott Waugh, director of Need for Speed, on a commercial featuring Mustang that will debut on TV and in theaters this weekend.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 27, 2014 05:44 PM
In what is surely a nod to the old adage that "bigger is better," a blockbuster deal in the UK may be in the works. Carphone Warehouse, the largest mobile phone retailer in Europe, and the now defunct Dixons, the second largest electronics retailer, confirmed they are in "preliminary discussions regarding a possible merger." If the merger happens, it will create a dominant retail giant with a potential footprint of some 3,000 stores_more than 1,200 in Britain alone—and as much as 12 billion pounds in annual sales.
While the deal is generally considered a merger of equals, Carphone Warehouse currently has more than twice the number of stores as Dixons, but Dixons sales are more than double that of Carphone Warehouse. It is likely that the new consolidated company would be rebranded. "Carphone Warehouse's name has long been anachronistic because it doesn't sell carphones and it doesn't operate warehouses," Nick Bubb, a retail analyst, told The Guardian. "In the same way, it is increasingly odd that Dixons mainly trades as Currys and PC World."Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 27, 2014 04:19 PM
Amid the flurry of product announcements (even by left-for-dead BlackBerry) and buzz over wearables at this week's Mobile World Congress, there was a keynote speech by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty that may have long-term implications for the mobile application world.
During her presentation, Rometty announced the "IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge," a first of its kind global competition to encourage mobile developers to create mobile consumer and business apps powered by Watson, the company's super-computer of Jeopardy! fame. The competition comes on the heels of IBM's launching of the IBM Watson Group, which it unveiled at CES 2014 in January.
While Watson made news by beating human contestants on the popular Jeopardy! television show more than two years ago, the commercial viability of the super-computer, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, has only recently gained traction. In November 2013, for example, Fluid, a digital shopping company, introduced its "Expert Personal Shopper" application, which incorporates consumer information to become smarter with each interaction and operates as a knowledgeable sales associate in the palm of a shopper's hand.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2014 03:37 PM
Get ready for the mother of all site-location battles as four Southwestern states attempt to lure the highly anticipated, multibillion-dollar new "gigafactory" that is supposed to be churning out state-of-the-art batteries for Tesla cars and other purposes within three years.
The competition and attention likely will rival that garnered by General Motors' Saturn project in the Eighties. After an unprecedented bidding and lobbying war by states across the country, Saturn landed in Tennessee and did a good bit to change GM and the auto industry before the company knocked the brand out of its orbit five years ago as part of the federal bailout.
Tesla already said it had narrowed its choice to Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas for a plant that would cover 10 million square-feet and employ 6,500 people. But considering that the plant is one of the biggest economic-development prizes in recent American history, the hoopla will be endless.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on February 27, 2014 02:04 PM
Welcome to brandchannel's annual Brandcameo Product Placement Awards.
For more than a decade, Brandcameo has tracked product placement and brand appearances in every No. 1 film in Hollywood. Since 2004, the Brandcameo Awards have been honoring the good, the bad, and the ugly (and the most) product placement in tandem with the annual Oscars buzz.
If one thing is evident in the product placement industry, it's that brand cameos in films are on a steady decline. 2013's average of 9.1 product placements per No. 1 film is the lowest since 2001, when we first started tracking this space. With directors looking to de-clutter their work, producers looking to wrangle more marketing tie-ins off-screen and new film technology proving challenging for brand placements, the big screen is becoming less and less of a billboard for brands.
This year, Brandcameo hands out awards for the best and worst product placement, the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Forrest Gump Award for Achievement in Reverse Product Placement, as well as awards in 14 other categories.
But there's no spoilers here. Check out the big winners (and losers) of the 2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards, covering films released in 2013, after the jump.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2014 12:56 PM
The controversy over its big recall of old cars is not good for "The New" General Motors.
On the heels of the launch of a new advertising campaign for its biggest brand, Chevrolet, that touts its vehicles as vanguards of "The New" in several ways, the largest US-based automaker unfortunately is suffering from a huge dose of "The Old" GM.
Not only has it recalled more than 1.6 million vehicles from mid-last decade to fix the cars' ignition switches, but accidents stemming from the defect have led to at least 13 front-seat fatalities in the United States—by the automaker's admission. Now the company is being investigated by the US traffic safety agency and may be subject to a record fine by the federal government of up to $35 million under new rules that allow bigger assessments against safety-recall offenders.
But here's the part with the worst implications for GM and the new image that it has been fashioning in the wake of the federal bailout in 2009 and its successful efforts to re-establish its product and brand: GM dragged its feet in informing regulators and dealing with the consequences of this significant safety problem.Continue reading...