traveling brands

Lonely Planet Sold to Reclusive Billionaire Who Vows to Continue Storied Journey

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 20, 2013 01:33 PM

BBC Worldwide has only been the sole owner of the Lonely Planet brand since 2011 after buying 75 percent of it in 2007, but it's been ready for some time to let it go.

For $42 million less than it had purchased it for—and after years of partnering with Melbourne, Australia-based founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler to build the business into a strong global brand—BBC Worldwide this week sold the world's biggest travel publisher for $77.7 million. The buyer is NC2 Media, which vaguely describes itself as “primarily engaged in the creation, acquisition and distribution of quality digital content and the development of the technologies to make that possible.”

The media company is run by a billionaire Kentucky recluse who supposedly doesn’t use email, made a good chunk of money from selling low-cost cigarettes before selling them off and renouncing tobacco, and is one of the top five landowners in the U.S. with 1.7 million acres to his name, Brad Kelley.Continue reading...

health matters

Singapore Latest to Join Anti-Tobacco Fight

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 13, 2013 05:16 PM

The U.S. government has been in a long-running battle with Big Tobacco to try and get nasty images placed onto cigarette packaging, a fight that seems destined to end up in the Supreme Court someday.

Singapore is the latest country that appears ready to step into that same boxing ring. With 5.3 million people, Singapore may not be the largest country in the world, but it has the world’s fourth-leading financial center and one of the top five busiest ports in the world, and soon, it may be difficult to see any packs of cigarettes. The Wall Street Journal reports that "the Singapore government is proposing to ban shops from displaying tobacco-related products."Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Walmart, Diageo, HSBC and more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 4, 2013 08:46 AM

In the News

Walmart philanthropic director Sylvia Mathews Burwell expected to be nominated Monday as Obama's budget chief.

India develops a taste for premium beer while officials approve $2 billion Diageo deal.

HSBC set for $23 billion profit as turnaround gains traction.

AB InBev takes to Twitter and newspaper ads to fight watered-down-beer charges.

AIDS drug breakthrough sees infant evidently cured through early use of virus-blocking drugs.

Alfa Romeo reboot marks tough road for Fiat.

American Airlines drops below 60,000 employees for the first time since 1987.

AOL's new Brand Group CEO Susan Lyne lays out her goals.

Asos joins brands using Twitter's Vine for short form social video marketing.Continue reading...

brands under fire

New Zealand Ready—but Waiting—to Follow Australia’s Lead Against Smoking

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 21, 2013 11:48 AM

Australia’s smokers had to start purchasing cigarette packs with extremely graphic images on the front last December, which did not sit well with the world’s Big Tobacco companies, whose lawyers have been set loose to try and repeal the Aussies' anti-smoking efforts. Now, New Zealand is ready to enact a similar effort that will remove branding from cigarette packages and sell them with plain wrapping.

New Zealand, however, won’t push forward with the practice until it sees how all that legal wrangling works out for its larger neighbor.

“This announcement demonstrates that the New Zealand government recognizes the significant international trade issues with standardized packaging and will not implement it until the pending international legal challenges to Australia’s law are resolved,” Philip Morris said in a statement. “There is no credible evidence that standardized packaging will lower smoking rates, but strong evidence that it will jeopardize jobs, benefit the black market for cigarettes, and is a breach of international trade rules that have already made Australia’s policy subject to WTO action.”

The WTO actions were set in motion by a few nations that happen to be—surprise!—big producers of tobacco: Ukraine, Zimbabwe, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Indonesia.Continue reading...

trademark wars

American Winnebago Finally Puts Down Australian Copy Cat in Trademark Battle

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 20, 2013 03:31 PM

Winnebago Australia has finally done what America’s Winnebago Industries has been wanting it to do for decades: change its name. After a long legal battle, Winnebago Australia, which has never been affiliated with the U.S. motor home company of the same name, is changing its name to Avida.

Avida actually successfully trademarked the word “Winnebago” in Australia back in 1997, but Federal Court of Australia Justice Lindsay Foster ordered the cancellation of that registration last summer, saying that CEO Ben Binns “intentionally hijacked the Winnebago marks in Australia in a bold attempt to preempt Winnebago’s opening its doors here,” Bloomberg reported at the time.

However, don’t think that Avida is finished using the Winnebago name for its own self-promotion in Australia and New Zealand just yet.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Titanic II Operator Sets Course for Gigantic Trademark Battle

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 19, 2013 11:02 AM

Describing something that is oversized may soon involve a lawyer. The terms “titanic” and “gigantic” are both being considered for trademarking.

The man behind the plan, Clive Palmer, is an Australian billionaire who is having the Titanic completely re-created by a Chinese shipyard so it can set sail from England for North America in 2016. Palmer’s Blue Star Line, named after White Star Line, the company that owned the original Titanic, has filed a trademark request for a number of terms, including "Titanic," "Titanic II," "Titanic III," "Blue Star Line," and "Gigantic", although he's already promoting "Titanic II" on his website.

Palmer, a mining tycoon, believes that White Star Line had thought about naming one of its ships Gigantic, but never got around to it after its Titanic liner famously slammed into an iceberg near Newfoundland and sank, taking more than 1,500 lives along with it. “I think [the trademark application] will be OK,” Palmer said, according to Australia’s Boorowa News. “We'll just see how we go. I think there is a report back on it already, saying it is OK for a ship.”

However, there is some debate as to what he'll be able to trademark.Continue reading...

chew on this

Food App, All-Day Breakfast: Flat Sales Prompt McDonald's to Experiment Abroad

Posted by Dale Buss on January 23, 2013 03:15 PM

McDonald's is sort of limping along in the U.S. on the strength of its value menu, and there do not seem to be prospects for a return to sizzling growth anytime soon. So the fast-food chain is relying on the historic strengths of its brand — including locations, familiarity and convenience — to carry it through what is expected to be a ho-hum near-term future.

On Wednesday, the world's biggest QSR reported a higher fourth-quarter profit, but same-store sales growth of just 0.1 percent worldwide. That measure grew slightly in the U.S. thanks to the Dollar Menu and from pushing franchisees to stay open on Christmas. But same-store sales fell by 0.6 percent in Europe —McDonald's biggest market — and fell by 1.7 percent in the region encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Japan's sales decline of more than 6 percent in the fourth quarter was especially severe.

The immediate problem for McDonald's, at least in the U.S., is that first-quarter comparisons are becoming difficult due to last year's mild winter, and the chain doesn't have much new up its sleeve right now.Continue reading...

china

Chinese Viewers Flocking to Brands' Online Mini-Movies

Posted by Abe Sauer on January 22, 2013 11:58 AM

In PepsiCo's short film, Bring Happiness Home, a ragtag bunch of Chinese travelers trying to get home for Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) comes together thanks to Pepsi and Lay's. The film has logged more than 100 million views in its first week of release online, and is among many recently produced pieces that suggest 2013 could be an explosive year for branded content in China.

But it's not just potato chips and fizzy drinks that have found success in short film branded content in China recently. Cartier, Louis Vuitton and even the nation of Australia put together hits. And China's branded content business is just getting started.

The nation is a key market for product and marketing innovation for the company. Contributing to the success of Pepsi's Bring Happiness Home are established stars like Zhou Xun (周迅), Louis Koo (古天乐), Show Luo (罗志祥), Zhang Guo Li (张国立) and Angela Chang (张韶涵). In fact, star talent is often the common denominator in China's blooming branded content scene. Continue reading...

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