in the spotlight
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 22, 2012 10:01 AM
It took years of work and sacrifice to win seven straight Tours de France, but it only took a minute for all seven to be taken off the record of the now-disgraced Lance Armstrong.
The announcement finally came Monday morning that cycling’s governing body, the International Cycling Union (which couldn't catch Armstrong red-handed through 218 tests) was erasing the famed rider’s slate since there was plenty of evidence that Armstrong himself hadn’t exactly been clean during his cycling days, and was banning him for life from competing in the sport.
The man who made the Nike anti-doping commercial above has denied it vehemently, of course, but his fellow riders have one by one decided to talk about what they saw him do and how they were, well, Strongarmed into cooperating, as the New York Times reported in a damning recap of their testimony.In the wake of the ICU decision, one of Armstrong's last remaining sponsors — Oakley — announced it's severing ties with the cyclist.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on October 19, 2012 12:01 PM
MetLife is taking its buddies in the Peanuts gang to Walmart, as it pitches a whole new way to buy insurance — in a box, with Snoopy on the cover, which can be picked up in the baby or pharmacy section:Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 17, 2012 10:29 AM
A week after the United States Anti-Doping Agency let loose a thousand pages of painful details about how Lance Armstrong and pretty much every other top American bicycle pro of the last decade doped, Nike has finally released its own news on the matter.
Following a protest at its Beaverton, Ore., HQ yesterday, Nike this morning confirmed it's dropping the athlete with two terse paragraphs, serving up a serious financial blow to Armstrong even though still continuing to support the Livestrong philanthropic brand he founded. The sports giant just released a limited-edition collection to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Livestrong, which promotes cancer awareness and healthy living, as part of a licensing deal that will continue.
Just as Joe Paterno's name was scrubbed from the Nike campus, Armstrong will also see his name removed from the fitness center on the Nike campus in Oregon, as CNN is reporting that Nike will remove his name from the building. In tandem with Nike's news, the disgraced cyclist also announced this morning that he was stepping down from his role as chairman of Livestrong.
The news prompted a mass exodus from Team Armstrong. On the heels of Nike's announcement, sponsor Anheuser-Busch announced it's dropping the cyclist when his deal as a Michelob Ultra brand ambassador ends on Dec. 31st. The Giro brand, which produced a custom $15,000 bike helmet for Armstong's 2010 Tour de France race and a branded line of helmets, also quit Team Armstrong, along with the Honey Stinger brand and, as the Wall Street Journal reports, RadioShack .
In all, Bloomberg estimates that Armstrong stands to lose $30 million as his sponsors flee.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 11, 2012 02:06 PM
Customers will notice something different about Wendy's starting in March: A new logo that updates the pig-tailed, red-haired "Wendy" in the brand's first revamp of its iconic brand face in 29 years.
Yes, in the tradition of Betty Crocker and Aunt Jemima, Wendy — the name comes from the daughter of late founder Dave Thomas — gets a smoother new 'do and more stylish freckles. It's the first logo change for Wendy's since 1983 for the Dubin, Ohio-based fast food brand, and just the tip of the iceberg for changes coming to the burger chain, which last year dethroned Burger King for #2 spot in America.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 10, 2012 03:17 PM
What is it about the living legends of sports? These larger-than-life heroes -- people like Barry Bonds, Tiger Woods, and Lance Armstrong — should be symbols of lasting integrity, yet they often seem to self-destruct, shocking their fans and shaming their sport.
Still, these personalities' brands somehow weather the storm and they move on. Woods, publicly debased for his marital infidelities in late 2009, proved the point when he finally won a tournament late last year, the first since his 2009 Australian Masters victory. The situation with Lance Armstrong, however, plays by a different set of rules. The world's greatest cyclist was disgraced by doping charges that resulted in his being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from cycling. In August, Armstrong decided not to fight the charges, a move that many interpreted as admitting guilt without saying it.
Now, the boom is officially being lowered on Armstrong by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The organization announced on October 10 that it is releasing its "Reasoned Decision" in the Lance Armstrong case (click here for a PDF). The USADA called it "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 10, 2012 02:12 PM
Marks and Spencer has started a ‘shwopping’ fashion revolution. “It's time to open your mind, your heart, your arms and your wardrobe. Shwopping is a way of living and thinking, because we think that old clothes shouldn't just be thrown out, they should do some good,” explained Ab Fab actress Joanna Lumley at the initiative's launch back in April.
Shwopping asks every shopper to donate an old item when purchasing a new one at selected stores, and M&S will pass the clothes along to Oxfam's network of charity shops across the UK to help those less fortunate. The campaign’s Facebook app lets users shwop socially and register for a monthly prize draw.
In-store Shwop Drops (two items per store visit) make donations easy, and items need not be from M&S. “Our ultimate aim is to collect as many clothes as we sell and change the way we all shop,” says the brand, which just launched a "swhopped" ladies coat (above) last week: a stylish black peacoat that is also the first high street clothing product made from used clothing.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 8, 2012 03:08 PM
Nissan is doubling down on its investment in the Leaf electric vehicle in a big way, by opening a $1.6-billion factory in Smyrna, Tenn., to bring to the U.S. production of a car that has been built in Japan until now. Although Nissan is selling fewer Leafs than a year ago, the Japanese automaker — which just moved up 30 percent to #73, with a brand valuation just shy of $5 billion, on Interbrand's new Best Global Brands report — is determined to turn around Leaf's fortunes.
In addition to localizing Leaf production, Nissan underscored the EV's woes late last week as word got out that it plans to introduce a budget version of the nameplate next year in a bid to make the sticker price more plausible to more Americans, according to Automotive News. The low-cost trim level would be positioned below the two higher-spec Leaf versions currently on the market, apparently, and will debut as part of a 2013-model facelift of the entire Leaf line. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 28, 2012 04:21 PM
One of the most exciting (and highly teased) debuts at the Paris Auto Show is the new Jaguar F-TYPE, which Global Brand Director Adrian Hallmark calls the brand's "first sports car in 50 years" and many fans hail as a return to Jag's roots.
While the new arrival was feted at the Musee Rodin this week at an affair graced by the presence of American singing sensation Lana Del Rey and Hollywood director Ridley Scott, the highlight for auto enthusiasts was the unveiling of the F-TYPE to assembled global car media by Hallmark and other Jaguar executives.
Owned and being revived by Tata Motors after the Indian industrial conglomerate bought it from Ford, Jaguar is counting on F-Type to turn heads and keep its strong sales momentum going, reports the Wall Street Journal. In the effort, the all-new two-seater is a front-engined, rear-wheel-drive convertiblewith three powertrain options, including a V8S version that will reach 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and has a top speed of 186mph.Continue reading...