what's in a name

iWatch What Happens: Swatch Defends Trademark Against Apple

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 5, 2014 02:21 PM

As brands embrace wearable tech and personal computing starts moving to the wrist (or other body parts), Apple fans and foes are on the lookout for its much-anticipated “iWatch,” a piece of wearable tech (that may not even be a watch) that has been elevated to such high status that George Jetson would covet it and a veteran luxury marketer—former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts—will help sell it.

It remains to be seen what Apple will eventually turn out, but one thing is now clear: Swatch, the world’s largest watchmaker, is ready to protect its ground. Having kept its lawyers busy chasing Target and Tiffany, the Swiss firm recently filed complaints against Apple’s application for the iWatch trademark, which is now starting to pop up, because it is too similar to its trademarked iSwatch product, according to media outlets including Bloomberg and the London Telegraph

The iWatch trademark was registered by Apple last year in Japan, Mexico, and Turkey. There has been no move to take Apple to court, but Swatch would certainly prefer that Apple not use iWatch for the consumer-facing product when it launches. “We assess the likelihood of confusion as [high], given the marks are confusingly similar. In all countries where the mark is registered” Swatch intends to stop Apple from using the name, a Swatch rep told the Telegraph.Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News You Can Use: AstraZeneca, Coca-Cola, News Corp. and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 2, 2014 09:14 AM

TOP STORIES

Brands to Watch

Apple, Facebook lead Big Tech brands fighting data requests as White House panel calls for big data reforms to protect privacy.

AstraZeneca rejects raised bid by Pfizer as "inadequate."

Avon reaches settlement of bribery probe.

Bayer eyes Merck’s OTC consumer business.

Burberry officially has a new CEO in Christopher Bailey as Angela Ahrendts takes retail reins at Apple.

Coca-Cola pressured by Warren Buffett on executive pay.

Exxon sticks with Russia drilling despite geopolitical tensions.

Fiat faces tough turnaround in Europe.

GM recalls 50,000 Cadillac SUVs, returns to bankruptcy court to fend off suits.

News Corp. acquires Harlequin Books for HarperCollins.

Below, news on brand innovation, culture, and more:Continue reading...

china

The Week in China: 3.15 Brand Targets, South Korean TV Boon, Real Estate Woes and more

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 7, 2014 01:56 PM

China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.

This week: the marketing power of Korean TV shows in China… is stinky Mercedes the new 3.15 target... trouble in real estate… BMW… Princess Cruises woos Chinese travelers… why Shanghai doesn't bother Lamborghini… the EV war… Walmart and Bossini woes… Women's Day prep… Adidas, Nike and Under Armour… Huawei has a watch, too… KFC hit on milk… and more.Continue reading...

logo-a-gogo

Reebok Realigns Visual Identity to Reflect Fitness Focus

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 3, 2014 01:54 PM

After 121 years in business, Reebok has only changed its logo three times. But the third alteration to the brand's visual identity is one that signifies a bigger shift in its strategy to attract new customers. 

"For 30 years we've been successfully making products for elite athletes in every imaginable sport, but what we haven't been able to do is inspire enough people to move," said Matt O'Toole, Reebok's Chief Marketing Officer, in a video posted on YouTube. "It's an invitation for all of of us to take part and fight against complacency for everyday people, not just super stars and elite athletes."

That's the motivation behind the brand's adoption of a new delta symbol that looks to capitalize on the "sport of fitness" trend powered by Reebok's strong affiliation with CrossFit. "The Reebok Delta has three distinct parts each representing the changes—physical, mental and social—that occur when people push themselves beyond their perceived limits and embrace an active and challenging life," the company said in a press release. 

The new logo has already been worked into the brand's CrossFit gear and will proliferate over other footwear and apparel lines throughout this month. The brand's Reebok Classics line will retain the older logo.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

adidas Pulls Back World Cup T-Shirts as Brazil Tries to Curb Sex Tourism

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 28, 2014 08:14 PM

Could there be such a thing as "too hot" for Brazil? 

If you're adidas, apparently so. As the South American country finalizes preparations for this summer's World Cup, local government is trying to curb any sex exploitation that is likely to come with such a big sporting event that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists. Most recently, Super Bowl organizers launched a large campaign to prevent sexual tourism and its byproduct, sex trafficking, in the New York metro area during the event.  

adidas, a major sponsor of the World Cup, apparently took Brazil's sexualized reputation a little too literally with some of its World Cup-branded apparel. The company sold T-shirts that featured a bikini-clad woman on the beach with the words "Looking to Score," and one that read "I ♥ Brazil," but the heart looks, according to Reuters, like “the upside down rear of a woman wearing a thong bikini.” 

Brazilians were not amused.Continue reading...

china

China's Li-Ning Sticks to its Roots to Build Consumer Clout Over Nike, Adidas

Posted by Kristen Van Nest on February 28, 2014 11:12 AM

In China, the sporting apparel market is a bit of an anomaly. For one thing, fitness and physical activity in China is a lot less common than in other global markets like the US, Europe and South America. And when Chinese consumers do hit the gym or track, it's usually in their street clothes. 

That presents a unique challenge for both foreign and domestic brands like China's Li-Ning, the oldest and second-largest Chinese sporting goods brand. Facing the relentless competition of Nike, adidas and Under Armour on both its home turf and abroad, Li-Ning has had to adjust its product and growth strategies to focus less on hard-core athletic gear as a free-expression trend continues to grow among China's fashion-savvy youth.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Boeing, Volkswagen, Adidas and more

Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2014 09:28 AM

In the News

Boeing designs self-destructing "Mission Impossible" smartphone.

Volkswagen cuts European worker bonuses on slump in demand and recalls almost 600,000 vans. 

Adidas to stop selling sexually-suggestive World Cup T-shirts after outcry. 

Barnes & Noble swings to profit on cost-cutting. 

Best Buy posts sales decline but returns to profit with cost cuts. 

Bitcoin falls in crosshairs of nations' regulators. 

eBay leads $133.7 million investment in Indian shopping site Snapdeal. 

European Union bans e-cigarette ads. 

Ford gets Mustang tie-up to Need for Speed and improves convertible top to take on German rivals. 

GM now faces federal investigation of its handling of recall.Continue reading...

retail watch

adidas Goes High Concept in China to Get an Edge On Nike's Trashy Strategy

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 26, 2014 12:49 PM

As competition in the sports apparel space heats up, adidas is revamping its retail strategy so that it's in a better position to sell products directly to consumers. The brand is doing so by introducing an innovative retail concept, HomeCourt, that debuted Monday at the brand's location in Beijing. 

The store, which is the brand's largest, will be a model for 24 other locations that will open around the world, especially in "emerging markets like Russia and the Middle East where there are few existing chains selling sporting goods unlike developed economies," Reuters reports.

"Our new retail concept, HomeCourt, offers a consumer experience unlike any that Adidas fans have enjoyed before," said Michael Stanier, chief sales officer for the company's Consumer Direct division, according to Portland Business Journal. "We look forward to bringing this concept to adidas fans throughout the world this year."Continue reading...

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