see you in court

Chuck Amok: Nike’s Converse Sues Big Brands Over All Star Knock-Offs

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 15, 2014 12:56 PM

More than a billion pairs (give or take) of Converse Chuck Taylors have been worn on basketball courts around the globe, but now the 97-year-old brand is hoping it can pull out a few wins in a totally different court: the court of law.

Nike’s Converse has filed suit against 31 companies, including such big names as Walmart, Kmart, Ed Hardy, Skechers and Ralph Lauren, claiming that its All Star trademark has been infringed upon and that imitations of its iconic athletic shoe must stop being sold, the BBC reports.

The legal action covers a lot of geographic ground since some of the companies are based in Australia, Italy, Japan, and China. In addition to the suits, Converse has also asked the International Trade Commission to ban imports and sales of the imitation shoes.Continue reading...

logo-a-gogo

K-Swiss Takes Its Change of Direction Literally

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 9, 2014 01:02 PM

Tennis shoe manufacturer K-Swiss has been hitting America’s courts since 1966, and the execs behind the brand are apparently feeling like it needed a bit of a fresh look because K-Swiss suddenly has a new logo that marks a shift for the company.

In its previous logo, a red, white, and blue shield with the word K-Swiss at the top had five diagonal stripes running down from the left to the right. Now the name of the company has been moved out of the shelf altogether and the stripes are running more optimistically up from left to right. According to Business Insider, K-Swiss says the move shows “the brand’s momentum towards the future.”

If that weren’t enough, the brand also now its own blue, Brunner Blue, named for co-founders Art and Ernie Brunner. The word is that the blue matches “the shade of blue found on America’s most famous tennis courts,” Business Insider notes.Continue reading...

retail

Gap Inc. CEO Glenn Murphy to Hand Reins to Global Head of Digital

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 8, 2014 09:36 PM

In a surprise announcement, Gap Inc. revealed that its CEO, Canadian Glenn Murphy, would be stepping down on Feb. 1 following a seven-year run at the top.

His replacement? Art Peck, the company's global head of growth, innovation and digital since 2012, who joined the company seven years earlier from Boston Consulting Group.

The news came as Gap Inc. reported flat sales for September: Gap Global -3%; Banana Republic Global +2%; Old Navy Global +1%. The company's stock fell 8.1% in after-hours trading on the news.

As the Wall Street Journal noted, Murphy had "reversed a long-running sales slump but more recently has struggled to reinvigorate the company’s namesake brand." He joined Gap Inc. in 2007 from Canadian pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart, where he was CEO.Continue reading...

retail

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...

brand revival

After Nike's Exit, LIVESTRONG Lands New Eco-Friendly Apparel Partner

Posted by Dale Buss on September 4, 2014 05:16 PM

It may be fitting that the new apparel vehicle for LIVESTRONG is made from the valuable inner pith of the bamboo tree, because the LIVESTRONG foundation has been relying on its inner value as a brand and philanthropy vehicle helping cancer patients ever since its founder, mentor and original inspiration, Lance Armstrong, was totally discredited as an athlete and pitchman.

LIVESTRONG indeed has launched a new apparel partnership with tasc, which produces "all-natural" sports clothing by processing bamboo. tasc uses its "bamboo technology" to produce an entire range of men's and women's athletic wear ranging from tops to yoga pants.

Notably, tasc has come in to replace Nike, which originally dropped its sponsorship of the disgraced cyclist in late 2012 and then, after initially sticking with LIVESTRONG, last year announced that it would end its clothing-supplier relationship with the LIVESTRONG Foundation as well.Continue reading...

what's in a name

Is Your Brand FUCT? Lessons Learned from Scandalous and Disparaging Names

Posted by Courtney Cantor on August 13, 2014 12:33 PM

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has shot down a registration by the streetwear brand FUCT for the term "FUCT" for "athletic apparel," finding that the word is the phonetic equivalent (past tense) of that oh-so popular curse word sometimes called "the F-word" in polite company.

US Trademark Law prevents the registration of any trademark that "consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute," but what's "immoral, deceptive, or scandalous" is open to interpretation, of course.

The famed clothing brand French Connection faced no hardships in the US when registering for FCUK because it was an "acronym" for the brand's "French Connection UK" moniker, even though FUCT's trademark filing argued that it's a coined word and an acronym for "Friends U Can't Trust."

It is not uncommon for a company to push the boundaries of decency in its pursuit of a provocative brand name or logo, as FUCT founder Erik Brunetti (who last year published a book with Rizzoli about the brand's evolution as an in-your-face icon of skateboarding, graffiti and street culture) has stated was his intention. After all, as the popularity of TMZ and the Kardashians have shown us, the public is often captivated by a little bit of scandal.Continue reading...

campaigns

Gap Goes Cute and Dell Goes Cool for Back to School Season Campaigns

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 13, 2014 11:12 AM

With kids across the US trickling back to school over the next few weeks ahead of Labor Day, Gap is kicking its back-to-school campaign into high gear coming off a 2 percent sales boost in July. This year, the company is pulling out a major social effort tied to the brand's newest social presence, @GapKids

The launch of @GapKids includes a new contest, GapKids Class of 2014, that invites “parents to submit photos of their kids for the chance to be featured in a 2015 GapKids marketing campaign,” according to a company press release. All that enter will receive “a socially sharable moving image video of their child that encapsulates the GapKids aesthetic.” Gap has had a similar program, Casting Call, for the last six years, but this year's marks a much bigger investment in social media marketing.

The hope is that parents, who the National Retail Federation says will spend nearly $75 billion on back-to-school spending, will head to the @GapKids Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest channels to share and comment on parenting-related stories.Continue reading...

brand essence

Vans Goes Underground in London for Latest Brand Experience

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 12, 2014 01:14 PM

Skateboarding culture is sometimes characterized as being underground, but Vans is taking the word a bit literally. The brand has just opened a skatepark beneath London's Waterloo Station in a spot known locally as the Old Vic Tunnels. The space, called House of Vans London, will also host house parties with a schedule of music performances, art and film screenings—and it’s all free of charge. What slacker isn’t going to love that?

“The House of Vans London is the physical manifestation of the cultures and creativity at the heart of the Vans brand. London is the perfect city to expand this original concept first established in Brooklyn and it’s an honor to take over this iconic venue from the Old Vic,” said Vans VP of marketing Jeremy de Maillard. “We’re looking forward to building on this legacy, working closely with the local communities and key stakeholders involved in the project.”

According to The Guardian, Vans beat out Apple and Nike for rights to the space and create a brand experience that's designed to "engage and inspire youth culture," one that's fortuitously close to London's infamous legal graffiti wall and the South Bank skatepark on the Thames.Continue reading...

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