A Very Branded Halloween: From Ghoulish Oreos to Domino's Box-O'-Lantern

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 31, 2013 06:21 PM

The average American household will spend $44 on candy for Halloween this year, a total aggregated spend of more than $2 billion. And the top chocolate brands—Snickers, M&M's, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups—won't be the only brands to benefit.

This year brings the usual bonanza of contests and antics from a broad swath of brands eager to show their playful—and spooky—sides.

From Google's witchy animation to FedEx's Zombie Survival Kit, here are a few that caught our eye:Continue reading...

let's make a deal

Bing Replaces Deals with Credit Card-Linked Offers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 7, 2013 05:12 PM

Daily-deal sites have gone through various growing pains in recent years, with several efforts being shuttered. One of those was Microsoft's Bing Deals, but now the effort is getting new life under a new program, Bing Offers, which consolidates offers from such sites as GroupOn and LivingSocial. The initiative is currently being tested in Seattle. 

According to TechCrunch, Microsoft has launched “a limited test of a new Bing Offers feature” that allows users to “link their credit cards to their Microsoft accounts.” Users will be able to swipe their linked credit cards to utilize a deal that they've pre-purchased online, eliminating the need to keep track of QR codes, emails and other forms of coupons. The capability comes through CardLinx, which counts Bank of America, Discover, Facebook and LivingSocial as clients. With a goal to “reduce consumer and merchant friction for payment-enabled offers and ads,” the technology behind the program is one being similarly utilized in efforts by Facebook and Amazon

While Microsoft is currently only offering link-ups between businesses like Pizza Hut and Bucca di Beppo, it plans to take the initiative nationwide soon. 

search and destroy

Bing Integrates Pinterest Boards for More Intuitive Image Search Results

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on October 3, 2013 11:54 AM

Following a recent facelift that included a revamped logo and improved search results, Microsoft's Bing search engine has now announced that it will incorporate Pinterest pin boards into its image search results. 

The engine's results already included social media data, but now when a user does an image search, related pin boards from the social site will populate on the right side of the screen. The added function gives the search engine a bit of a human touch, as all other image search results on Bing (and Google, Yahoo, etc.) are populated by an algorithm.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Microsoft Stumbles Again, Apologizing for Aimless Apple Parody Videos

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 17, 2013 07:07 PM

It’s pretty clear that Microsoft has more problems than just selling the products and software it makes. After posting—and pulling—seven amateur ads knocking Apple's design process, the company has drawn more negative attention to itself than its intended target. 

Following the debut of Apple's latest iPhones last week, the company posted a series of short videos dubbed, "A fly on the wall in Cupertino," which featured several bumbling actors posing as Apple designers pitching the gold iPhone 5S and the plastic 5C to two people, arguably Tim Cook and Apple design chief Jony Ive. "You asked us to create the gold standard in iPhones," one actor says, "And it turns out... that is super hard."

The videos were quickly criticized for bad acting, low-budget production values, and worst of all, not being funny. Following the backlash, Microsoft pulled the videos, and a spokesperson told CNET that they were "intended to be a lighthearted poke at our friends from Cupertino," but "it was off the mark, and we've decided to pull it down."Continue reading...


Microsoft Hopes to Set Up Bing for Success with New Logo, Search Upgrades

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 17, 2013 04:31 PM

Following a recent trend of web facelifts, Microsoft's Bing search engine has debuted a new logo and site redesign as it looks to continue its fight to overtake Google search. 

The move follows logo updates by Yahoo, YouTube and (maybe) even Google itself, but Bing's transformation goes a lot farther than simply going from a round to flat design. 

According to a blog post by Lawrence Ripsher, General Manager of User Experiences at Bing, changes have been considered for some time as the way people search has changed in recent years. “We ‘search’ on maps using our fingers, ask our devices questions using our voice, use our social networks to figure out what’s happening, and even use our phone’s ‘eyes’ to navigate foreign cities,” he wrote. “Search has never been asked to do so many things in so many different ways across so many devices.”Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Toyota, Bing, Sony and more

Posted by Dale Buss on September 17, 2013 09:35 AM

In the News

Toyota mourns death of Eiji Toyoda, who turned company into an export giant.

Bing releases new logo and design overhaul. 

Sony will reportedly launch a dongle device, the Smart Stick, to compete against Google's Chromecast

Bentley says its ultra-luxury SUV will create a new segment.

Chevrolet offers limited-run new colors on small cars.

Ford hits two million EcoBoost engines.

Green Giant goes “X-rated” in web videos.Continue reading...

rules of engagement

Fox Boosts Viewer Engagement with Expanded Use of Real-Time Bing Pulse Poll

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 16, 2013 06:49 PM

Fox News is breaking broadcast TV's fourth wall with Bing Pulse, an on-screen tabulation tool that lets viewers identify their political affiliation, gender, and “agree” or “disagree” with the show's talking topics in real-time.

Since July, Special Report with Bret Baier has experimented with the social tool that appears on-screen as a virtual poll, but afte successfully engaging viewers, the tool will now be used three times per week, including its addition to the newly-launched show MediaBuzz, anchored by Howard Kurtz.

“The next generation of viewer is going to expect more,” said Baier told Variety. “They are just going to want to have more ability to let their feelings be known and have some interaction and see some payoff.”Continue reading...

digital moves

Microsoft's Bing Looks to Give Schools Ad-Free Internet Access

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 27, 2013 03:54 PM

Parents are always concerned about what dangers are lurking for their kids out in the world, particularly in places seemingly out of their control. One of those places is the digital world, where age-inappropriate content is always one click away. 

Microsoft’s Bing search engine is aiming to make parents feel a little better about sending their kids online, at least while they're in school. The company announced this week that it is developing a special edition of Bing called Bing for Schools that will ditch all advertising and adult content, apply more privacy protection, and add in some learning features to help with digital literacy. Plus, it will be free and no software or special web address is needed to access it, according to CNET.Continue reading...

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