Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 17, 2014 11:47 AM
Sony has gotten itself into a bit of a fine mess by producing a film that was supposed to make people laugh while bringing in a few bucks.
The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, is a comedy about a TV crew sent to North Korea to assassinate the country’s leader. North Korea, not known for its sense of humor, was not a fan of the film’s concept and sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling the film an “undisguised sponsoring of terrorism, as well as an act of war.”
While diplomacy with North Korea was not the goal of the film (otherwise Dennis Rodman would have been cast), its producers surely didn’t predict that the film would end up causing the mighty Sony’s knees to quake. Last month, a hacker group busted into Sony’s global IT network and now the same crew is threatening violence against movie theaters that show the film.
Update: Sony isn’t officially pulling has officially pulled the film, with no plans to release it in theaters, on DVD, on VOD or streaming, while U.S. intelligence officials now believe North Korea was behind the cyberattack.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 10, 2014 01:33 PM
(The following story has been updated with comment from Amazon.)
"They did it again," said Brian Strange, attorney with Strange & Carpenter, referring to the massive security breach Japanese electronics conglomerate Sony suffered on Nov. 24th—the second major security violation the company has faced in the past three years. Strange was one of the attorneys on the class action lawsuit that was filed against Sony in 2012 after 77 million members of its PlayStation Network had their personal information stolen by hackers.
Sony settled that suit in July, agreeing to give away $15 million of games and services to those affected. Now, less than six months later, a second class action suit is in the cards from employees of Sony Pictures Entertainment, with current and former employees seeing reams of personal information—including social security numbers, health insurance reimbursements and performance evaluations with salaries—exposed to the world. The data leak affected 47,000 people, including actors and contractors—not to mention Sony's reputation.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 4, 2014 02:05 PM
Running a major business in China from the U.S. has become increasingly challenging—and Best Buy has decided to fold its cards there by selling off the 184 locations of its Five Star corporation to a domestic real-estate firm.
Best Buy already pulled out of the UK in 2012, and this latest move away from being a global brand reiterates the company's focus on making its North American business, including its operations in Canada and Mexico, the strongest it can be.
From the looks of its performance on Black Friday, Best Buy has some work to do in this department: Its website crashed twice on one of the biggest shopping days of the year.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 28, 2014 03:31 PM
When Ford committed to revive its flagging Lincoln luxury franchise a couple of years ago, it wasn't publicly understood that then-CEO Alan Mulally actually wasn't wild about the idea. That partially explains why Ford has been so slow to actually reinvent Lincoln—as contrasted with just talking about it—and why current CEO Mark Fields still seems to have so far to go to make Lincoln a truly relevant and strong player in the luxury market again.
But that's not stopping Ford from moving ahead in its key market of China, where Lincoln this week officially launched a new line of vehicles specifically tailored for mainland tastes. Lincoln is promoting its mid-sized sedan, MKZ, in China, along with a smaller MKC utility vehicle, another new version of which is going on sale in the United States.
"We believe Lincoln's highly competitive products, coupled with its innovative and personalized ownership experience, will provide our customers with a totally differentiated offering on today's competitive luxury auto market in China," stated John Lawler, chairman and CEO of Ford China, in a press release.
Well aware that the Lincoln brand is virtually unknown in the market, a quartet of ads featuring Chinese artists is now rolling out to highlight the artistry and luxury of the marque.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 4, 2014 10:49 AM
Nestlé has announced plans to spend $550 million by 2020 to improve the environmental and social impact of Europe’s biggest single-serve coffee brand, Nespresso.
The investment “includes securing access to the one to two percent of coffee produce in the world that meets our strict quality and taste standards,” CEO Jean-Marc Duvoisin told Bloomberg. “This approach also allows us to innovate thanks to the direct relationships we build with farmers.”
The "Positive Cup" will see that the brand sources 100 percent of its Nespresso Grand Cru coffees sustainably and includes 15 million francs to assist farmers in Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan, as well as an increase in recycling of Nespresso capsules and reduction of the company’s carbon footprint by 10 percent en route to becoming carbon-neutral by planting trees to compensate.
The plan builds on the brand's AAA Program that it launched in 2003 with the Rainforest Alliance “to protect the future of the highest quality coffees and secure the livelihoods of the farmers that grow them.” Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on August 13, 2014 07:26 PM
On the Fourth of July in 2009, Levi's launched "Go Forth," a new voice and campaign for the Levi’s brand and Levi’s 501 jeans. The "striking" call to arms featured the words of Walt Whitman and summoned America's pioneering zeal. After taking the "Go Forth" platform global two years later, Levi's quietly phased out the tagline in 2012, and it has been without a global brand campaign—until now.
Levi's is in the midst of rolling out the "Live in Levi's Project," a multifaceted global campaign and digital platform (in partnership with AKQA) that features dynamic content to engage fans worldwide in the Levi's brand experience. Blending storytelling with social media, targeted content and e-commerce worldwide is no mean feat, which is why Levi's global chief marketing officer Jennifer Sey conducted extensive research before venturing into the world of shoppable videos, Weibo and WeChat, iBeacon and user-generated content and curation.
Sey, a 15-year veteran with Levi's who was promoted to global CMO a year ago, spoke with brandchannel Editor-in-Chief Shirley Brady about the vision and tactics informing the Live in Levi's platform and the challenge of channeling and elevating passion in such an iconic brand. As Sey commented, "If Levi’s isn’t an icon, I’m not sure what is!"Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on July 31, 2014 02:16 PM
David Duchovny isn't the Hollywood star who's moonlighting as a pitchman overseas—though Hugh Jackman's foreign-language star turn is likely to be less controversial.
Between stints as Wolverine, Jackman has become the new face of Toyota in Japan and China. In a new spot, below, Jackman stars as "Levin" in a short film that also stars Taiwanese actress Shu Qi as "Cynthia" and just debuted at a special event in China.
The Aussie actor joins other Hollywood leading men taking a spin in China for auto brands including Nicolas Cage in the Senova brand "Town of Car Legends" for BAIC (Beijing Auto) and George Clooney, who whisked away Bonnie Chen for Mercedes-Benz.
Watch Jackman's new Toyota China spot along with another spot in which he (literally) sings the praises of Toyota in Japan:Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 10, 2014 03:39 PM
Apple scored a victory in an EU court ruling today, allowing the company to register the layout of its retail stores in Europe as a trademark, extending its intellectual property right that it acquired in the U.S. in 2010.
EU's top court said Apple's flagship stores fulfilled requisite trademark criteria: they constitute a sign, can be represented in a graphic and distinguish goods or services of one company from another. In its global expansion, Apple met resistance from German authorities last year, took the issue to court, and it eventually came before the European Court of Justice, the final arbiter on EU law.
"From this the Court concludes that the representation of the layout of a retail store, by a design alone, without indicating the size or the proportions, may be registered as a trade mark for services," the court’s judgment said.
Going forward, new Apple stores will have a slightly different look.Continue reading...