brand extensions

LivingSocial is Now in the Credit Card Business

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 2, 2012 03:04 PM

In a bid to pull ahead of Groupon and other daily deals sites, LivingSocial is expanding its brand.

According to a report by Reuters, LivingSocial will launch its first credit card in the next few months, with no annual fee, offered with Chase and Visa to all U.S. subscribers in an effort to draw repeat customers for its merchant partners.

"Small and medium-sized local businesses will never be able to have their own credit card or loyalty program. We will be able to bring them the benefits of that," the company's CFO, John Bax, told Reuters.

Merchants will be offered short-term funding similar to other co-branded credit card and loyalty programs including deferred interest payments and rewards for spending. With ten purchases monthly, cardholders earn ten ‘Deal Bucks’ credits extensible to all LivingSocial daily deals and special offers such as discounted travel packages.

The move is designed to increase its utility to its subscribers — and counter critics who accuse the daily deal industry of advertising big ticket discounts and not cultivating loyalty or enough repeat business.Continue reading...

brand extensions

Even Hotels Wants You to Check Out Even Healthier

Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 29, 2012 12:04 PM

While some hotels may be considered trendy, you wouldn't think a major global hotel chain would watch lifestyle trends so carefully that it would launch brands around them.

But InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) is different. Back in 2004, IHG introduced Hotel Indigo, widely regarded as the first of the boutique hotel brands that started a trend among large hoteliers. In 2007, IHG started refurbishing its somewhat dowdy Holiday Inn brand and gave franchisees until the end of 2010 to "contemporize" or risk losing rights to use the iconic name. Today, most Holiday Inns have been updated to reflect a whole new look. Holiday Inn Express, which pioneered the limited-service hotel segment in 1990, is one of the fastest growing hotel brands.

Now IHG is bringing a new hotel brand to the chain's biggest U.S. cities, bucking the trend of major chains making investments in Asia and Europe while avoiding a soft and saturated North American market. The just-announced brand, called EVEN Hotels, is all about lifestyle — a healthy one.Continue reading...

kiddie brands

Lego Hits Brick Wall With Lego Friends for Girls

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 22, 2012 10:17 AM

For generations, Lego has been considered a pretty unisex toy. You could build anything with those colorful little plastic blocks, but that was before big-time partnerships and licensing ever became truly part of the marketing equation.

When you walk into a toy store and look at the Lego shelves, it’s not too hard to find Lego products aligned with things that are traditionally marketed to boys, and lately they've been co-branded: Lego Harry Pottery, Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Alien Conquest, etc. The strategy helped Lego engineer a massive brand turnaround, making about $1 billion last year in the U.S. alone. The next step, naturally? Creating Lego lines aimed at girls.

Having dipped a toe in the water with pink boxes containing brightly colored bricks and flowers, Lego went all out with the launch of Lego Friends, a line expressly targeted to girls, that launched in December. Not everyone, however, is convinced that gender-specific Lego is the way to go.Continue reading...

personal brands

Should Oprah Winfrey Regret Striking Out on Her OWN?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 14, 2012 02:04 PM

Oprah Winfrey made a major faux pas during Sunday's Grammy Award broadcast on Sunday night by tweeting: “Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if u have a Neilsen box,” as OWN debuted the latest episode of Winfrey's flagship series, Oprah’s Next Chapter.

Not only did Oprah violate Nielsen rules, (and misspell its name as "Neilsen"), she surprised and offended many. In fact, social media experts like Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus, Gary Vaynerchuk and New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter all questioned if the tweet really came from Oprah.

Indeed it did. She also defended the action after a Twitter follower called the request "desperate" by responding: "'desperate' not ever part of my vocab." Is this what Brand Oprah has come to?Continue reading...

branded entertainment

Hasbro Transforms Into Movie Studio

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 14, 2012 01:01 PM

When you Google "Hasbro," the company is identified as “Hasbro Toys, Games, Action Figures and More.” While the first three have dominated the company’s business for most of its 89 years, it’s that last part that is getting a lot of the company’s attention these days.

The “and more” has taken the form of TV and film productions related to Hasbro products. Thanks to the success of the Transformers films, which have grossed $2.6 billion worldwide and are based on the toys that were strewn across the playrooms of little boys in the mid-’80s, Hasbro has begun delving deeper into the worlds of television and film production, according to the New York Times.

Helping to build Hasbro’s confidence in this area is the success of its G.I. Joe movie, which grossed $302 million worldwide. Now a sequel to that film is coming out this summer as well as an action-adventure film based on the Hasbro game Battleship, which was promoted with a Super Bowl commercial (at top).Continue reading...

brand extensions

Smell Ball! New York Yankees Scents a Branding Opportunity

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 13, 2012 11:08 AM

The Yankees have had some odd brand extensions before: How about some Yankees Sod and Grass Seed at Home Depot for your own Field of Dreams? Or a Yankees Halloween lawn ornament? Or maybe you need a few $545 New York Yankees stained-glass hanging billiards light?

For the fan that wants to actually smell like a Yankee, though, they are finally in luck. The team has approved an official fragrance, and plans to unveil two different perfumes later this month, very simply entitled “New York Yankees” (for him) and “New York Yankees For Her,” according to ESPN.

Fox Sports points out that the team may have been inspired by the success of shortstop Derek Jeter’s Driven from Avon, which went on sale in November 2006. It’s done so well that Avon introduced Driven Black, which is “a mysterious blend of exotic saffron, blood orange and precious woods.” Who could ask for anything more?Continue reading...

brand extensions

Amazon Eyes Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores. But Will They Deliver?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 7, 2012 03:51 PM

Most retailers are trying to find a way to get more consumers to go online. The reasons are simple: less overhead, fewer employees with health insurance, and a much higher profit margin.

But Amazon isn’t like other retailers. The word on the street in its home base of Seattle is that Amazon is thinking about opening its first-ever brick-and-mortar location, according to the Good E-Reader blog. “Amazon sources close to the situation” tell the site that the company is aiming to open the store in the next few months. 

“This project is a test to gauge the market and see if a chain of stores would be profitable,” Good E-Reader reports. “They intend on going with the small boutique route with the main emphasis on books from their growing line of Amazon Exclusives and selling their e-readers and tablets.” At least they'll have a well-honed delivery system.Continue reading...

web watch

HuffPo TV: Arianna Huffington Looks to Boost Engagement with Video

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 3, 2012 02:11 PM

The Huffington Post is expanding its brand on video. The HuffPost Streaming Network will launch this summer with 12 hours of original video five days a week. With the goal of being "CNN meets YouTube" and a “never-ending talkshow,” HuffPo cofounder Roy Sekof will oversee the new video network , to which AOL is committing at least 100 employees exclusively, with current editors and reporters expected to contribute as well.

AOL paid $315 million to acquire Huffington Post in a deal that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong calls "the Super Bowl bet we made on Arianna." Now it's ponying up at least $10 million to take the HuffPo brand into video. With a goal of producing up to 16 hours of video programming daily next year, it's a clear play for increased ad inventory and stickier content.Continue reading...

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