Hover Car Is Just The Start of VW's China Comeback

Posted by Abe Sauer on August 27, 2012 03:05 PM

About a year ago, Volkswagen announced its new "People's Car Project" (自造车) in China. The idea was to crowd source unique concepts from Chinese Internet users. About 120,000 ideas later, VW chose three and displayed them at the Beijing Auto Show in May. One of those three ideas was a VW "Hover Car" (磁悬球形车).

That car is now here. Kind of… It's just one more piece of VW's massive push. 

VW Beetle, meet the VW "Moth."

In a promotional video shot in the Chinese city of Chengdu, VW introduces the Hover Car and allows the parents of "Dark520" to take a spin. Dark520 is the handle of the People's Car Project user who suggested the hover project. Continue reading...

political season

Oil Companies Spending Big Bucks to Sway Alaska Voters

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 22, 2012 12:27 PM

It takes money to make money. A few oil companies are throwing their cash around in Alaska in the hopes of swaying voters to their side in an Aug. 28 election that will decide a ballot measure that “supporters claim would restore Alaskans’ voice in federal coastal decisions,” according to the Alaska Dispatch.

Royal Dutch Shell has shelled out $150,000 against the effort, while Exxon and Conoco put in around $150,000 each and BP contributed $100,000 to “Vote No on 2.” Overall, the group has raised more than $1,450,000 and more than $690,000 of that came in the last two weeks. Two big mining companies have also contributed cash. In fact, only eight individuals have given money to “Vote No on 2,” Alaska Dispatch reports. 

That is in stark contrast to the group that is pushing for Ballot Measure 2 to pass, the Alaska Sea Party. They have raised about $205,000 this year, almost all from individuals. The largest gift by far came from a guy who is against one of the mining companies developing in the area; he put in $25,000. Continue reading...

sporting brands

BP and Visa Only Brand Winners at Olympics?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 17, 2012 01:16 PM

Back at the start of the year, when consumers were asked what brands popped to mind when they thought of the Olympics, Nike was the number-one answer. Of course, it didn’t matter that Nike wasn’t actually an official sponsor of the event, but why quibble with such trivial details? In fact, Nike did a good job keeping attention on them during the Games themselves with the brilliant pushing-the-rules ad “Find Your Greatness.”

The point is, brands can shell out truckloads of cash to be involved in and event organizers can employ hundreds of “brand police” to ensure their paid sponsors aren’t getting screwed, but that doesn’t mean that when the Olympics end, people aren’t left saying, “I really should drink Coke more often!” or “Wouldn’t it be great to have a little more Panasonic around the house?”

YouGov BrandIndex, a daily consumer perception research service of brands, insists that only two of the partners for London 2012 “broke through in any significant way in consumer perception while a few had “very modest or no significant movement” or even “went backwards,” according to a company release. Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Ochocinco, Arco, Cosmo and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on August 14, 2012 08:56 AM

In the News

Apple rumor created by Swedes as a prank goes viral.

BP nets $2.5bn in deal to sell Californian refinery business and Arco brand.

Canada's media ownership concentration criticized in new report.

Chad Johnson negates powerful personal brand as VH1 series cancelled.

Cosmopolitan founder Helen Gurley Brown passes, remembered, at 90.

Dewar's global brand ambassador chats with the New York Times.

Ford banks on 2013 Fiesta.

GE and Chobani take gold in Ace Metrix Olympics ad ranker.

HarperCollins plans pop-up record store to promote new book.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: GM, Chick-fil-A, AB InBev and more

Posted by Dale Buss on July 31, 2012 09:01 AM

In the News

GM has new CMO tout Chevy relationship with Manchester United, after changing the terms, as pundits make recommendations on GM's way forward.

Chick-fil-A brand perception drops in wake of LGBT controversy.

Anheuser-Busch InBev sees North American drag on results.

Apple gets knocked for new "Genius Bar" Mac TV campaign as company mulls uses for corporate cash hoard.

BP posts weak earnings.

Chobani celebrates success that led to Team USA sponsorship.

Chrysler earnings leap on U.S. gains.Continue reading...

London 2012

London 2012 Watch: Nike Gets Away With "Greatness"

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 30, 2012 05:01 PM

Today's Brandlympics round-up is brought to you by fencing, as celebrated in Google's daily logo salute to the sports of the London 2012 Summer Olympics:

Nike "Greatness" Unchallenged by LOCOG

Nike pushed right up against all the rules that the Olympic organizers have been saying protect its sponsors when it released a tongue-in-cheek campaign last week that featured athletes in London across the globe (except for England) with a British commentator noting that greatness wasn’t just happening at one particular place. It was clearly a sly bit of ambush marketing, tweaking the Games in London (and rival Adidas, the Games' official sponsor) and giving a shout-out to all the average-Joe athletes around the planet, which is amusing since Nike is partially responsible for the insane-celebrity athletic culture we all live in. According to the Guardian, London’s Organizing Committee has said that it won’t attempt to take any legal action against Nike. Why not? Well, the ad campaign technically doesn’t break any rules because it never mentions the Olympics by name and doesn’t suggest that it is a sponsor of the Games in any way. Whatever consumers want to think, well, that is their business. Hello, halo effect.Continue reading...

diversity watch

What Do Sally Ride, Ernst & Young and Chick-fil-A Have in Common?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 26, 2012 11:46 AM

It’s complicated, the whole issue of personal privacy in an era of social media transparency, and the fact that the first female astronaut, Sally Ride, who this week died at age 61 from pancreatic cancer, came out publically in her obituary, listing her partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy first, as a survivor, is stirring the pot of comment and prejudice.

"Could she have helped the cause? Maybe," says Fred Sainz, VP of communications for the Human Rights Campaign. "For her not to have shared an incredibly important aspect of her life — being in a committed long-term relationship with a woman — meant many Americans did not get to see a dimension of her life that would have helped them understand us (gay people) and our contributions to society.

Ride was open in her personal life, "She just didn't want to go public with it during her lifetime. And that's a big difference," said Sainz. "There's no question that Sally Ride could have been fired if she'd come out while she worked for NASA.”Continue reading...

brands under fire

Shell Swats Back at Greenpeace Save the Arctic Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 24, 2012 12:04 PM

Royal Dutch Shell, the number one company on Fortune’s Global 500 list, is threatening legal action against the Greenpeace network of environmental activists as the company forges ahead with plans to begin drilling for an estimated 90 billion barrels of Arctic oil in the next two decades.

Greenpeace, which is seeking to make the Arctic a global sanctuary from commercial and environmental exploitation, tweeted today, “As 1 million of you have signed up to #SavetheArctic, Shell threatens Greenpeace with legal action.”Continue reading...

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