brands under fire

Scouts Face Increasing Criticism for Policies, Partnerships Deemed Off-Brand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 10, 2014 10:57 AM

The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America seem like they would be the perfect all-American brands, but the children's service organizatons have had their fair share of controversy. 

In a continuation of the gay rights saga surrounding the Boy Scouts, Walt Disney recently announced that it would cut funding to the organization due to its policies surrounding openly-gay Scout leaders. While the company doesn't donate funds directly to the organization, the company said it would "stop allowing employees to do volunteer work through Disney’s VoluntEARS program in exchange for cash donations to the Boy Scouts of America," according to Time.

The national organization voted last year to allow openly gay youths but decided to keep its ban on openly gay leaders intact. Other major brand sponsors, including Lockheed Martin, Chipotle, Merck and UPS have stopped funding the organization as a result. 

The Girl Scouts, on the other hand, are also having a bit of an image issue as the organization looks to put its brand in front of more children. The group struck a deal last year with Mattel for a Girl Scouts-themed Barbie doll, including a related patch, booklet and website.Continue reading...

Sports Illustrated Throws Caution to the Wind for 50th Anniversary Barbie Issue

Posted by Dale Buss on February 12, 2014 04:04 PM

In a brand collaboration that could be described as the "Anti-Dove" campaign, Barbie and Sports Illustrated are getting together to celebrate the 50th anniversary edition of the magazine's swimsuit issue. And not surprisingly, social media has been atwitter over the implications.

The half-century edition of Sports Illlustrated's biggest issue of each year will hit newsstands and the internet next week, and it presents Barbie as a doll-size version of some of the magazine's supermodels, clad in a new version of the black-and-white swimsuit the Mattel doll wore when she was introduced in 1959.

It's a surprising partnership, to be sure, starting with the the fact that Barbie is aimed (mostly) at girls and Sports Illustrated is aimed (mostly) at men, which raises uncomfortable questions about why they're getting together. (Yes, Barbie is for adult collectors, too—that's why there will be a limited edition Sports Illustrated Barbie at Target).

The co-branded special issue is launching with a campaign called "Unapologetic", as both brands' owners clearly anticipated the hullaballoo that would ensue when two icons of hyperphotogenic femininity got together to get even more in the faces of their long-time foes.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Yelp, Chick-fil-A, Toyota and more

Posted by csauser on February 12, 2014 09:33 AM

In the News

Yelp unveils website revamp and upgrades local content.

Chick-fil-A launches switch to antibiotic-free chicken.

Toyota recalls 1.9 million Priuses to update software.

Annie's Homegrown sets to roll out new snacks strategy.

Audi boosts output of A3, Q5 in Germany.

Belk launches contest offering Edwin McCain as wedding singer.

Burger King beefs up Big King.

Dean Foods hurt by food-stamp losses.

Paula Deen readies comeback.

Dow Chemical rejects activist investor's call for major breakup.

DuPont moves toward approval of GMO crop in Europe.Continue reading...

local branding

Mattel Localizes Barbie for Education-Focused China Market

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 8, 2013 06:38 PM

Barbie apparently wasn't much of a success in China when the famous doll's focus was all manicures, makeup and party dresses. The company's six-story store in Shanghai closed its doors in 2011, and since, Mattel has been hard at work creating a Barbie more suitable for the Asian culture—one focused instead on education. 

"Joy and learning are like oil and water in China," said Peter Broegger, Mattel's Asia Pacific senior vice president, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. So Mattel is trying to emphasize the learning part of Barbie’s life, releasing such dolls as Violin Barbie, while simultaneously trying to get the government to encourage more play from the children of its nation. "If they allow for more play, half of our marketing is done," Broegger told the Journal. Violin Barbie may be completely disproportionate in her body but she apparently can play a mean Tchaikovsky.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: FDA, Abobe, Mattel and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 8, 2013 09:18 AM

In the News

FDA bans artery-clogging trans fats.

Adobe sees accounts compromised in big security breach.

Mattel gives Barbie doll a proportional makeover for China market.

Boeing warns it could build 777X jet outside of Washington State.

CBS admits errors in 60 Minutes report on Benghazi.

Fiat offers car-sharing service in hard-hit Milan.

Groupon is pinched by Gmail change and posts wider loss.

Jaguar Land Rover boosts profit for parent Tata Motors.

Kohl's adds emotional brand spots to holiday mix.

Marriott International buys African hotel chain.

McDonald’s sales growth remains sluggish.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Google, Billabong, Chobani and more

Posted by Dale Buss on July 17, 2013 09:36 AM

In the News

Google pitches online-TV service as it faces more demands by European regulators.

Billabong gets financial-rescue package.

Chobani gets caught in crosshairs of GMO debate.

Apple is said to be developing ad-skipping as part of its TV strategy.

Bank of America's Q2 profit rises 62 percent on cost-cutting campaign.

Big Ten and Detroit Lions plan to announce new bowl game at Detroit's Ford Field.

Robert Downey Jr. tops Forbes' list of highest-paid celebrities.

EA Games' creative director jumps ship to start own gaming company. 

ESPN set to announce next X Games site this morning and finalize deal to bring back Keith Olbermann.

Fancy Feast turns to Pinterest.

Jamba Juice launches big blitz for kids' menu.

KFC tests fast-casual concept.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Tumblr, P&G, Camel Cigarettes and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 31, 2013 09:22 AM

In the News

Tumblr brings sponsored posts to users' feeds.

P&G lines up race for Lafley's successor.

Camel cigarette brand under fire for targeting kids. 

Caterpillar reaches tentative deal with union in Milwaukee.

Conde Nast opens up Vogue cafe in Dubai. 

DC Entertainment unveils new 75th anniversary Superman logo.

Dell proceeds with its buyout effort.

Fiat awaits court's verdict on share price before proceeding with Chrysler merger.

Jaguar speeds to early success with F-Type launch.Continue reading...

license to thrill

Headed to Malibu? Don't Forget Your Branded Volleyball

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 8, 2013 11:01 AM

With its most famous resident putting a "For Sale" sign in her front yard, the city of Malibu, California, is looking for new ways to attract tourists and boost income. 

CNBC reports that Malibu has signed a deal with Excel Corp. in order to start “licensing apparel, active wear, and even things like sunglasses, watches, and volleyballs” with the extra money going to “fund special projects.”

The city is forking over $90,000 for Excel to design a logo and find licensees.Continue reading...

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