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brand extensions

Connected Couture: AT&T Eyes Wearable, Digital Clothing

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 9, 2011 01:03 PM

AT&T is going into digital duds as its "Emerging Devices Unit" prepares to manufacture "clothes that track the wearer’s heart rate, body temperature and other vital signs and upload the results to a web portal."

Sensor-based, a.k.a. bio-clothing that monitors overall health, tracking daily activity and sending data to the cloud is one latest focus for Glenn Lurie, President of AT&T’s Emerging Devices Unit. "People want this kind of feedback about their health. Automatically pushing information to a vertically integrated site makes things easier,” he said

The enabled clothing "could resemble the E39 shirts Zephyr designed with Under Armour for athletes participating in the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this year,” with AT&T providing the connectivity for the push to smartphones and the web.Continue reading...

celebrity brandcasting

Spice Girl Geri Halliwell the Latest in a Long Line of Pop Stars' Lifestyle Brands

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 31, 2011 05:33 PM

Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell just revealed her lingerie collection for Next in the UK. Available in spring 2012, Halliwell made no bones about her goal: "Basically, my aim was to make boobs look bigger and bums smaller."

Halliwell is just the latest pop star who has discovered that licensing her brand for a consumer line is far more lucrative than making music. From Kylie Minogue to Jessica Simpson to Jennifer Lopez to Gwen Stefani to Lady Gaga, pop stars and brand licensers are making beautiful, profitable music together.Continue reading...

checking in

Virgin Hotels Chooses Chicago for US Launch

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 25, 2011 12:31 PM

Virgin Group’s Virgin Hotels brand was announced only slightly more than a year old but it now has the location of its first U.S. hotel all locked up and it’s going to be in downtown Chicago, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Virgin has just bought the 83-year-old, 27-story Art Deco Old Dearborn Bank Building in Chicago, an official landmark, and now will convert it into a 250-room hotel with restaurants, lounges, and meeting space, the site reports.

The plan, according to the Journal, is to open three to five such places in the U.S. in the next five years. This one is expected to open in the fall of 2013, but others that have not yet been announced may open sooner, WSJ notes. Cities that have been scouted by Virgin include New York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, and Washington, D.C.

Of course, with the tough economy, hotels aren’t exactly thriving right now but Virgin isn’t worried. “Virgin takes a long-term view,” said Anthony Marino, chief of Virgin Hotels, to the Journal.

"We’re not necessarily here to time the markets perfectly. What we’ve learned is that if you focus on our customer and get the product right, you’ll have the staying power to endure the cycles. At the end of the day, you’ll come out OK."

As for why it chose to rehab a classic property in the Windy city for its US launch? "Chicago is a top destination for pleasure and business, with all the qualities we look for in Virgin Hotels locations: It's economically vibrant, culturally exciting and a sports and entertainment hub," commented Raul Leal, president and COO of Virgin Hotels, to the Chicago Tribune.

fashion therapy

Karl Lagerfeld to Expand Brand in 2012 With Masstige and Prestige Lines

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 24, 2011 05:46 PM

The creative director for Chanel and Fendi is taking his solo act to the Web.

With backing by Apax Partners, Karl Lagerfeld is launching "Karl," described as a "rock chic" diffusion line (priced at $85 to $400, reports AFP) as an online-only collection. The fashion e-tailer net-a-porter will sell the line exclusively starting January 25th before it goes on sale in February at KarlLagerfeld.com.

Lagerfeld, who dipped his well-shod foot into the masstige business with affordable streetwear collections for H&M (a collaboration that didn't end well) and Macy's, also has a second signature collection in the works.

According to Reuters, "Lagerfeld, 78, is also planning to launch in autumn 2012 a more upmarket label called "Karl Lagerfeld Paris", [to be] sold in multi-brand and department stores, with items priced between 300 and 2,000 euros."Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Dan Aykroyd Can Finally Drink His Own Vodka in his Home Province

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 24, 2011 01:05 PM

When Canadian-born actor/comedian Dan Aykroyd decided to start selling his own alcoholic beverages four years ago, starting with launching a wine brand, he likely never imagined that he wouldn’t be able to drink one of his own products in his own hometown.

Then along came Crystal Head vodka, which he started selling in the U.S. in 2009 for $50 a pop and packaged it in a skull-shaped bottle. Brilliant marketing, right? Well, yes, except that it meant that Aykroyd couldn’t sell the stuff in his own home province due to a ruling by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario that it was in violation of the board’s social-responsibility rules, according to thedrinksbusiness.com blog.

“The image of the human skull is the thing that’s really problematic for us,” LCBO spokesman Chris Layton said at the time of the ban, according to the website. “It’s an image that’s commonly associated with death, which is especially problematic at a time when there are concerns around binge drinking by younger adults.”Continue reading...

brand extensions

Jamba Juice Expands Brand With Google, Bare Fruit Deals

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 20, 2011 03:31 PM

You like fruit juice? You like chips? You are in luck. Jamba Inc. and Bare Fruit LLC, which sources its apples from the Pacific Northwest, are joining forces for a new line of Jamba-branded dried-fruit chips, according to the Associated Press. The licensing deal will result in "all natural" chip flavors that will include mango, Fuji apple, and Granny Smith apple, which should be in stores by the new year. The company, which has 746 Jamba Juice stores in the U.S. and six outside, “has been trying to grow by licensing its brand for consumer products,” AP notes.

"Our focus continues to be on developing differentiated Jamba-branded products that make it convenient and easy for health-conscious consumers to lead healthier and more active lives,” stated Julie Washington, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer Products, Jamba Juice Company. “This latest offering, created with Bare Fruit, leverages our collective expertise in fruit to create a line of wholesome snacks that are lower in calories, higher in fiber and naturally sweet.”

Jamba Juice was also just named as one of the latest round of retail partners for the Google Wallet "tap and pay" platform.Continue reading...

brand extensions

One, Two, Three, Merch: Kids, You're In the Army Now

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 4, 2011 03:01 PM

The behind-the-scenes world of trademarking the US military was thrust into the public sphere earlier this year when it was revealed that Disney had filed to trademark "Seal Team Six" just hours after it was announced the elite group had killed Osama Bin Laden. Soon after the fiasco, we found various armed forces extensions moving quickly to trademark their respective intellectual property.

One US armed forces unit that has long understood the value of its brand is the Army. While most Americans are probably familiar with the Army's branding with regard to recruitment and retention efforts, from "Be All You Can Be" to "Army Strong," they are probably less familiar with brand extensions like the Army's new line of toys.Continue reading...

brand revival

There She Is, the Miss America Branding Platform

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 29, 2011 01:01 PM

When 17-year-old Miss Nebraska, Teresa Scanlan, took on the crown of Miss America this past January, she became the youngest Miss America in the pageant’s 90-year history. She likely had absolutely no idea as the show’s host, The Bachelor’s Chris Harrison, began to sing, “There She Is, Miss America,” that things would be changing a great deal during her reign.

The Associated Press reports that “the Miss America organization is partnering with two companies, Infinity Lifestyle Brands and Hilco Consumer Capital, for licensing, sponsorship and brand creation” to create branding and revenue opportunities around the franchise. A new entity has been created entitled Miss America Properties, which will "create a licensing-driven platform focused on partnerships with leading American companies, including fashion, media, lifestyle products, and events."

"Developing Miss America into a license-based brand concept is a natural and powerful opportunity, and we are in discussions with a variety of strategic brands and sponsorship partners that are interested in influencing this transformational process from the onset," stated Cory M. Baker, Managing Director of Brand Strategy and Development, Infinity Lifestyle Brands, in a press release. "The real beauty behind this brand is its applicability and relevance in the marketplace across all product categories," added Jeffrey Branman, Managing Partner, Hilco Consumer Capital.

The beauty pageant business has been tottering on its high heels ever since TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras hit the air, so we'll be fascinated to see how the “Queen of Femininity,” as the song calls her, will evolve. Scanlan, meanwhile, continue spreading goodwill via local appearances and speeches until the next Miss America is crowned at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on Jan. 14.

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