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Virgin Mobile Australia Taps Brad Pitt's Younger Brother, Doug

Posted by Shirley Brady on July 4, 2012 04:55 PM

Virgin Mobile Australia's latest campaign features a celeb by association: "This is Doug Pitt, the second most famous Pitt in his family. Unlike his brother, Doug's not a super star, he's never been featured on the front page and never made big bucks from a celebrity endorsement. Virgin Mobile believe in a fair go for all, and want your help to make things a little fairer in the Pitt family. Visit and show Doug some 'like'."

brand news

In the News: Apple China, Barclays, Bristol-Myers and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on July 2, 2012 08:45 AM

In the News

Apple pays $60M to end iPad trademark dispute in China, looks to secure domain.

Barclays scandal forces out chairman, saying "the buck stops with me."

Bristol-Myers agrees to buy Amylin Pharmaceuticals for $5B in cash, expands diabetes alliance.

Rupert Murdoch will rebrand the Wall Street Journal as WSJ as part of News Corp. split.

AMC parent ends AT&T U-verse TV dispute with long-term agreement, as Dish feud continues.

Applebee's rolls out fresh menu, look and campaign.Continue reading...

House of the Rising Brand

Hugh Jackman and Steve Wynn Help Expand Aussie Brands in America

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 20, 2012 03:16 PM

Australians have been enjoying Pie Face bakery cafes since 2003. There are now 75 locations dotted along the continent’s eastern coastline.

It currently has a single store in the U.S., located in New York next to David Letterman's NYC home at the Ed Sullivan Theater just north of Times Square (hence its tagline, "From Bondi Beach to Broadway").

But don’t worry, Americans, your days of living without Pie Face's version of the humble Australia meat pie may be soon coming to an end.

Steve Wynn, the founder and CEO of Wynn Resorts who has been in the biz since 1963 when he took over his family’s Maryland bingo parlor, is investing $15 million into Pie Face to help the brand expand.

“Having met the Pie Face USA management team recently and having visited their first store in New York, I came to the conclusion that they were bright people with a bright concept,” Wynn stated. “I look forward to backing them as they expand throughout Manhattan and across the United States.”Continue reading...

mobile brands

Vodafone Cut Costs by Pulling Sports Sponsorships

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 11, 2012 03:03 PM

Vodafone wasn’t quite ready for the information overload that the smartphone revolution brought to consumers. In late 2010, it got a slew of complaints and it lost a half million folks by the end of 2011 because of it, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

That let them with seven million consumers, a number that Vodaphone would clearly like to increase. So it has decided to pull some of its money out of marketing and throw it back into building a better network and creating better customer service.

Vodafone is not re-upping its 11-year sponsorship of the Australian cricket team and also ending its six-year relationship with V8 Supercars. Cricket Australia and Triple 8 Racing Engineering are seeking sponsors as a result of the telco's decision.

The company is also saving money following a decision by Telfonica and Vodafone “to extend their existing network sharing deal to create one single national grid,” according to This could help save “at least 25 percent of their network costs,” the site notes.

“Over the three years from now until 2015 when both parties expect to achieve 98 per cent indoor population coverage across 2G and 3G, the combined potential savings would be in excess of £600 million ($926 million),” analyst Emeka Obiodu commented.

Vodafone, which is also battling to turn around its reputation, also just signed a deal with Optus to form a mobile broadband joint venture in Australia.

health matters

Australia, the World's Happiest Country, is Butting Out

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 25, 2012 11:55 AM

The good folks of Australia are battling hard against the world’s powerful tobacco companies and they aren’t getting a ton of support from some of their brethren across the globe. Australia is planning to ban branded packaging for cigarettes and cigars, and big tobacco isn't having any of it.

The word from Reuters is that “the tobacco industry is providing legal advice to Ukraine and Honduras in their challenges to Australia's new tobacco packaging rules at the World Trade Organization.” These two countries are questioning the move purely for trade reasons since neither owns a big chunk of the Australian tobacco marketplace.

"We know that the tobacco companies, because they have admitted it, are providing legal advice to WTO members in order to encourage them to take action against Australia," said Australian Health Secretary Jane Halton to Reuters.Continue reading...

no kidding around

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Salutes Anti-Smoking Advocates

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 17, 2012 02:09 PM

The U.S. government's campaign to help smokers quit (and keep kids from starting the nasty habit) has led to calls to quit lines more than doubling. The main mind behind the campaign, Dr. Howard Koh, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health, has been a force on the anti-smoking front for 20 years. He was involved in everything from the proposal to put highly graphic images on cigarette packaging and the movement to expand health insurance coverage for tobacco cessation.

While he’s been doing that, Australia’s Attorney General Nicola Roxon has also been hard at work trying to end the world’s fascination with cigarettes. While she was Health Minister in Australia, she launched the idea that all cigarette packs in the country should be sold in plain brown paper, which of course sent the legal departments of tobacco companies into a tizzy. As Attorney General, she is requiring that graphic warnings cover the large majority of the packs.

For their efforts, Koh and Roxon are being recognized at event in Washington, D.C. held by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which works to counter tobacco brands' marketing and frowns on advertising such as characters and other kid-friendly touches, such as Camel's pinkalicious print campaign at right.Continue reading...

chew on this

Obesity Wars: Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and 7-Eleven See the Lite

Posted by Dale Buss on May 15, 2012 06:33 PM

While they suffer from even more ignominy under a new glare induced by the HBO documentary series The Weight of the Nation, the roundly condemned purveyors of "junk" salt, sugar and calories aren't exactly lying low and saying their mea culpas. McDonald's, Coca-Cola and 7-Eleven are each fighting back in their own way.

Coca-Cola has launched a test of its own new "mid-calorie" sodas to join PepsiCo in trying once again the concept of a "hybrid" diet/non-diet drink even though other attempts by both companies to mine a moderately-minded market have failed. Coke plans to test Sprite Select and Fanta Select products this summer — with only half the calories, 70 of regular drinks per 12-ounce can — in test markets in Atlanta, Detroit, Louisville and Memphis.

Interestingly, Coke's new toe in the mid-calorie water will depend on a blend of sugar: Cargill's Truvia brand of natural sweetener stevia plus erythritol, a "sugar alcohol" (unlike the ingredients in PepsiCo's new, nationally available mid-cal, Pepsi Next, which includes sucralose and high-fructose corn syrup). That gives Coke a leg up on an "more natural" claim it might want to make for select beverages against Next.Continue reading...


62M View Chinese Love Story Is Really Australia Tourism Commercial

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 11, 2012 06:05 PM

Following the release of its second installment, China's microblog network Weibo was buzzing about the mini-series 再一次心跳 (Heartbeat Love). For a period, it was a top ten trending topic on the social website.

The "micro-film" is being broadcast online at China's video sharing site Tudou in five 45-minute segments. The story chronicles the dramatic romance of a young Chinese couple, played by wildly popular duo Rainie Yang and Show Luo.

The romance kicks off in Australia, which makes sense — the whole movie is funded by the The Australian Tourism Commission. We spoke with Leo Seaton, manager of media relations for Tourism Australia, about the unique branded entertainment campaign.Continue reading...

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