2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

brands under fire

BP Gets Burned in Ongoing Deepwater Horizon Litigation

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 4, 2014 04:56 PM

It's been four years, but BP's best efforts to put the Deepwater Horizon spill behind it have faltered. 

The British company suffered another blow this week when a US Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a Dec. 2013 ruling that rejected BP's bid to block businesses from recovering money from the spill, even if they cannot trace their economic losses to the disaster. 

The incident, which killed 11 people and set off the largest US offshore oil spill to date, could cost BP over $17 billion in penalties—and that's just from its civial trial in the US. That doesn't include the millions of dollars that BP is paying out to the hundreds of businesses in the gulf region that were gravely affected by the spill. BP's appeal claimed that New Orleans District Judge Carl Barbier and appointed settlement administrator Patrick Juneau have been "has been paying out hundreds of millions of dollars in unsubstantiated claims to small business owners in the gulf region," according to Bloomberg Businessweek.Continue reading...

car talk

Maserati Gets a Global Boost from Heidi Klum, New Alfieri Coupe

Posted by Dale Buss on March 4, 2014 03:47 PM

Maserati made a bang with its surprise ad during the Super Bowl, and now the Fiat-owned superluxury brand is following up with a couple of splashes.

The brand, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, introduced a coupe concept at the Geneva International Motor Show this week that could be added to its sparse but oh-so-desirable product lineup. Named Alfieri, the first name of Maserati's founder, it is a homage to the brand's racing heritage, Harald Wester, the brand's head, said as he presented the two-door coupe at the show.

Reporting strong sales of its recently updated Quattroporte sedan and smaller Ghibli, Maserati is on the rise. Overall sales increased by 148 percent last year, to 15,400 vehicles; an SUV is on the way next year; and the brand's goal is to reach 50,000 sales in 2015.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Microsoft's Nadella Gets Down to Business with Marketing Shake-Up

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 4, 2014 02:07 PM

Satya Nadella has been the CEO of Microsoft for exactly one month and he's already shaking up the ranks at the venerable tech brand. 

The company announced Monday that executive Tony Bates, who had been passed over for the CEO role, and Tami Reller, Microsoft's chief marketing officer, would be leaving the company. While Reller's departure means the loss of one of Microsoft's top female executives, it signals a change in the company's marketing and brand strategy.

That new outlook will be ushered in by Chris Capossela, an executive on the company's marketing team who Nadella has promoted to EVP and CMO to oversee all marketing, and Mark Penn, the creator of Microsoft's "Honestly" campaign (including the Google-tweaking "Scroogled" campaign), who was named Chief Strategy Officer. 

“He’s aggressive,” Mark Moerdler, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., said of Penn, according to Bloomberg. “Maybe this will add a little testosterone to the organization to counter the fact that Satya is more of a deep thinker.”Continue reading...

retail watch

New Image Fails to Boost Floundering RadioShack

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 4, 2014 12:52 PM

RadioShack Joe Magnacca has pulled every rabbit out of the retailer's tattered hat. The embattled electronics brand has shuffled executives, changed its logo, redesigned its stores, and even had one of the most popular Super Bowl commercials. 

But to no avail. RadioShack has continued its downward spiral and has announced with its fourth quarter earnings that it will close 1,100 of its retail locations after reporting dismal fourth-quarter numbers. 

Sales during the prime holiday-season were $935.4 million, down from the $1.17 billion made in the same quarter a year earlier and significantly lower than the $1.12 billion analysts, on average, were looking for, Reuters reports.

Stores that had been open for at least a year saw sales fall 19 percent. In 2012’s fourth quarter, the company’s net loss had been $63.3 million. This time, it was $191.4 million. The news inspired the company’s stock to drop almost 24 percent.Continue reading...

china

Old Navy Debuts in China with Very American Outlook

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 4, 2014 11:53 AM

It may be prominently billing itself as "from San Francisco," but it was Los Angeles' USC Trojan marching band that performed at the March 1 opening of China's first Old Navy store.

The rainy Shanghai opening featured other bits of Americana like cheerleaders, the stars and stripes, a giant gum ball machine, Caucasian bellhops in tails, and vintage cigarette girls. A man dressed as a giant camera snapped photos of visitors under a giant scoreboard—Old Navy vs. Guest—that lit up the floor. Others handed out hundreds of shiny blue and white balloons. A fire engine red, double decker tourist bus emblazoned with the Old Navy logo sat outside the store.

Localization may be all the rage for businesses in China, but there was nothing about the Old Navy opening that was Chinese. The store's signs are all in English. In fact, Old Navy doesn't even have a Chinese name. That appears to be the brand's strategy for China, though it is likely a doomed one.Continue reading...

retail watch

Could Drexler and Yanai Make J.Crew the Middle Man in Fast Retailing's Empire?

Posted by Dale Buss on March 4, 2014 10:42 AM

Hoping to capitalize on the chain's success even as competing retailers falter, Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing is reportedly in talks to buy preppy clothier J.Crew. Could J.Crew become the missing jewel in Fast Retailing's bid to become the globe's biggest retailer?

Just last week there were rumors that J.Crew was planning its second IPO as a way to gain access to funds for expansion. CEO Mickey Drexler and creative head Jenna Lyons have turned the brand around over the last decade, making the mid-priced brand extremely attractive to Fast Retailing, which hopes to take advantage of J.Crew's accomplishments and build on them even as some iconic competitors, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, struggle with the finicky retailing scene.

But just because the retailer has managed some success doesn't mean it came easy. The inveterate micro-manager has admitted that J.Crew recently has "strayed too far" from the brand's core styling motif and that the company's recent opening in the UK was "tricky."Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Perdue, RadioShack, Microsoft and more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 4, 2014 09:14 AM

In the News

Perdue launches first campaign for antibiotic-free products.

RadioShack closes 20 percent of stores.

Microsoft reboots its marketing brain trust as new CEO Nadella shakes up ranks.

Apple goes on hiring binge in Asia to speed product releases and leaves Pandora out of CarPlay.

BMW plans to hit sales target early.

BP suffers major blow over Gulf spill claims.

Boeing could face problems over Ukraine tensions as auto brands also face concerns.

Burger King adds Satisfries to kids' meals.

Chipotle cooks up program with Major League Soccer.Continue reading...

place branding

Cape Town's New Visual Identity Draws Ire from Government Penny-Pinchers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 3, 2014 08:03 PM

Cape Town, South Africa has unveiled a new logo, and with it came a whole lot of acrimony. 

The African National Congress is calling the new design, which cost R313,000, a waste of money, and one that didn't get the appropriate approvals from government representatives. It’s rather impressive that it received approval in the City Council considering the same meeting had to be stopped numerous times so order could be restored as multiple members were throwing their agendas onto the floor to protest another issue, the Independent Post reports

“The City of Cape Town had changed their strategy, and they required assistance in building a new brand centered on the idea of collaboration and shared responsibility,” David Blyth, group managing director of Yellowwood, the firm behind the new logo, told IOL.com. “For that reason, the primary objective of the design was to help the city build a reputation for the following things: 'opportunity, progress, shared responsibility, and inclusivity.'"Continue reading...

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