chew on this

McDonald's Readies to Make Bigger Imprint in Asia with 2014 Vietnam Debut

Posted by Adeline Chong on July 22, 2013 11:56 AM

McDonald’s announced recently that it will be opening its first outlet in Vietnam next year in Ho Chi Minh City, the country's commercial hub. 

While the fast-food giant has an immense presence in greater Asia, McDonald's is late to market in Vietnam, where Yum! Brands' KFC and Pizza Hut, along with Burger King, Subway, Jollibee (Philippines), and Lotteria (South Korea) already have a solid presence. Trailblazer KFC opened its first restaurant in 1997 and now has 100 outlets in Vietnam. Burger King, meanwhile, opened just last year and has 12 outlets, while Starbucks opened its first location in Ho Chi Minh City this past February. 

McDonald’s apparently considered the market over a decade ago, however the lack of a domestic cource of beef and a poor supply-chain infrastructure deterred the company. Prior to that, the company was briefly banned from the country in the 1990s—about the time that the local economy became accessible to the rest of the world, according to the Financial Times.Continue reading...


How Unilever is Translating the Dove Real Beauty Campaign for China

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 15, 2013 04:04 PM

If I only have an A-cup breast, will you still love me? So asks a new Dove campaign in China.

On the heels of its success with the "Dove Real Beauty Sketches" campaign in the west, Dove is taking its self-esteem message to women in the world's most populous nation.

Interestingly, the campaign takes on a whole different set of baggage in China, where a gender imbalance and the stigma over "leftover women" make for a tricky environment for marketers—one where messaging runs the risk of exploitation, or even worse, being ignored in the din.Continue reading...


Global Consumers Vary on the Importance of Brand-Focused Shopping

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 15, 2013 11:24 AM

The whole branding industry may be for naught in North America. According to the new Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Shopping Behavior, those residing in North America and Europe are much more concerned about the pricing of a product than its brand. Meanwhile, consumers in the Asia and Asia Pacific regions are impulsive, brand-centric shoppers, while those in the Middle East and Africa tend to consult industry experts for advice on the most famous brands.Continue reading...


The Week in China: Chatting with the CEO of 'China's Foursquare,' China's Insatiable Auto Market and more

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 12, 2013 01:47 PM

At top: Ok, it's not China but it is great. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's political party woos support by launching "a smartphone app called Abe Pyon, which roughly translates as Jumping Abe."

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: An interview with "China's Foursquare" Jiepang about "Jiepang 5.0"… Lacing auto sales add-ons… banned lingerie ads… Bruce Lee for scotch… Foxconn for "iPhone 6"… McDonald's gives away Kleenex… Asiana post-crash PR… Australia's "Chinese theme park"… Xiaomi leaks… China spoofs Jay-Z again... and more.Continue reading...

ready for takeoff

Singapore's Tigerair Strives for Renewed Reputation with Rebrand

Posted by Adeline Chong on July 9, 2013 01:07 PM

In Asia, the tiger is highly revered and seen as a symbol of strength, power, courage and energy. With its recent makeover and steps taken to improve its operations and customer service, it appears that the newly minted Tigerair intends to uphold the symbolism behind its name, leaping tiger in its logo or not.

The low-cost, Singapore-based carrier formerly known as Tiger Airways announced its rebranding earlier this month, complete with a new, more subtle logo and a renewed approach to consumer relations. The airline will now allow passengers to make changes to bookings online and have also announced mobile and web check-in for all passengers—services already widely available on competing low-cost carriers like Air Asia. The carrier hopes to get a leg up on competition though with its new call center—an ammenity that other airlines don't offer in the region—to field customer inquiries and opinions.

Tigerair CEO Koay Peng Yen told brandchannel, “We hope to be able to better connect with our customers through our new brand personality—warm, passionate and genuine. We will also strive to deliver more positive experiences to our customers by improving our service quality.”Continue reading...

brand mascots

When Hello Kitty Met Pedobear: The Kumamon Craze

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 8, 2013 02:57 PM

While the US struggles with multiple cartoon mascot controversies, Japan's Kumamon is taking the rest of the world by storm.

The mascot of the high speed train of Kumamoto City ("kumamon" means "bear thing" in Japanese) was launched in 2010 and is now a fixture of Japanese culture as well as an increasing number of branding and marketing campaigns. It's only the most popular anthropomorphized mascot in Japan's robust history of anthropomorphized mascots. But don't confuse Kumamon for Pedobear, another of Japan's popular kuma exports.Continue reading...


Nissan Leverages Lower Yen for Aggressive US Price Discounts

Posted by Dale Buss on June 17, 2013 06:46 PM

Just when things seemed hunky-dory in the US auto industry, Nissan wants to threaten the situation by sharpening its price edge.

At least that's how other car brands look at Nissan's aggressive move to grab US market share by cutting prices on seven models and boosting incentives, taking maximum financial advantage of the weakening yen that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made a central plank of his "Abenomics" strategy to boost the island nation's economy.

Nissan's marketing moves "strike me as a scorched-earth policy of going for market share and sales volume at seemingly all costs," Michelle Krebs, an analyst for, told Bloomberg.Continue reading...

sip on this

Starbucks Brings Its Global Brand but Adopts Local Flavors in Asia Markets

Posted by Dale Buss on June 3, 2013 07:06 PM

The recent Asian tour by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz highlighted an expansion initiative that may prove the company's most challenging ever: peddling coffee in lands dominated for centuries by drinking tea.

Still, Schultz gamely made stops in Japan and Thailand, where in addition to China and India and other places, Starbucks is bringing its unique brand of experiential drinking, sustainability and community involvement in the hopes of creating some of the same kind of brand magic that it has achieved in the United States and elsewhere. At the same time, it is pursuing LEED environmental certification for many of its stores there.

Actually, Starbucks already has nearly 1,000 stores in Japan, its first international market outside of North America. Schultz stopped by to celebrate the opening of the new Starbucks Meguro store in Tokyo, whose design and experience has been inspired by the traditional Japanese "Ichi-go ichi-e" service spirit (literal translation, according to Starbucks: one time, one meeting). The store features what the company called in a release "locally relevant, simple design solutions" including cues from traditional tea houses, parts of a green garden and local contemporary art.Continue reading...

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