retail

Walmart Pitches Healthcare to Customers While Trimming Benefits for Employees

Posted by Dale Buss on October 7, 2014 05:27 PM

When it comes to healthcare, Walmart giveth to its customers—and taketh away from its employees.

The retailing giant announced Tuesday that it plans to eliminate health insurance coverage for its part-time US employees who work less than 30 hours a week, while raising insurance premiums across the board for all employees.

At the same time, Walmart said that it plans to offer consumers one-stop shopping, in-store and online, for healthcare insurance.

Neither move is particularly surprising for America's largest private employer.Continue reading...

that's entertainment

Gabba Gabba Trademark: CBGB Takes Its Brand Global

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 29, 2014 01:39 PM

CBGB, the legendary graffiti-covered New York punk rock club that was so influential that its awning is in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, may have closed its doors in 2006 (to become a John Varvatos store with hints of its notorious past intact) but its brand lives on.  

Originally created to feature "Country, Bluegrass and Blues (and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers)", CBGB's (as it was better known) was a home of sorts for New York’s best punk rock and new wave acts, such as the Ramones, Talking Heads and Blondie—before a rent dispute caused the place to shut down in 2006 with a final concert by Patti Smith.

But it took only a few years for the CBGB channel to launch on iHeartRadio, an annual music festival to debut, and for merchandise featuring its iconic logo to evolve from t-shirts and sweatshirts to baby bibs and onesies.

Now it's poised to go worldwide, thanks to a new licensing deal with Epic street cred.Continue reading...

brand extensions

Mazda Extends 'Spirit and Soul' of Brand's Design Language

Posted by Dale Buss on September 25, 2014 05:09 PM

Mazda is working on its brand cachet both on the road and off the road—in fact, about as far off-road as you can get, considering that the Mazda brain trust is considering designing its own chairs and apparel.

Aspirationally borrowing a page from Porsche, which has its own non-automotive Design Group, Mazda global design boss Ikuo Maeda would like to launch a Mazda Design line, starting with an artsy new metal and leather chair, Automotive News report3e. Styling and hawking clothes, furniture, household goods and other gadgets could help elevate this very mainstream car brand into something more value-added, Maeda figures.

Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai supports his notion, Maeda told the publication. For now, the only public evidence of Maeda's dream is a single chair designed by his studio, called the Kodo Chair, which Mazda exhibited at last year's Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Milan's global furniture fair. The sleek and slinky chair (above) was based on the cars' curvy design language and evoked a form-fitting cockpit.Continue reading...

bc q&a

History in the Making: 5 Questions with A+E's Dan Suratt on HISTORY's Planet H

Posted by Shirley Brady on August 19, 2014 01:33 PM

A+E Networks' HISTORY channel has launched a unique brand extension that taps today's technology to engage kids with the past. Planet H launched  earlier this month with two mobile games that will encourage learning through play.

The games, priced at $2.99 each and available on iOS, Android and Amazon's Kindle Fire platform, are the cable brand's first major attempt to fill a gaping hole in kid-sized historical content. Developed in partnership with RED Games, which has developed apps for other A+E Networks brands, the games allow young users to explore past empires and the American frontier on their mobile device of choice. 

"The idea to bring a younger audience to the HISTORY brand has been kicking around for years, but up until recently there's been nowhere for it to live," Dan Suratt, A+E’s EVP of digital media and brand and content licensing, told Ad Age. "Now we have all of these other platforms and devices that appeal to younger demos like tablets and smartphones that make it easy to reach these demos without making huge financial commitment."

brandchannel Editor-in-Chief Shirley Brady chatted with Suratt to talk Planet H, mobile-first branding and future brand extensions and experiences.Continue reading...

automotive

Jaguar Dusts Off Iconic Lightweight E-Type for Historic Concours Event

Posted by Dale Buss on August 12, 2014 03:29 PM

The more Jaguar recovers from its near-death experience a few years ago, the more the brand can afford to look back at its original glory days. That seems to be behind Jaguar's move to revive an old racing vehicle known as the Lightweight E-type and display it at the Pebble Beach Concours in California this weekend.

Jaguar then plans to sell the new E-types, which Top Gear calls a "beauty of a time traveller," as "period competition" vehicles to some very demanding hobbyists who want to race them in classic car rallies, which is why they'll be offered first to existing Jaguar collectors.

The roots of the project date back a half century—to 1963, to be precise. That's when Jaguar—owned for the last few years, along with Land Rover, by India's Tata Group—built 12 of 18 planned "Special GT E-type" project cars for the race course. The remaining six were never built until now.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Protecting the Sport of Fitness: In and Out of the Box, CrossFit Defends Its Brand

Posted by Nicole Briggs on July 22, 2014 02:04 PM

CrossFit: chances are you’ve tried it, either loved it (or hated it) or know someone who can’t live without it. The fitness phenomenon launched by Greg Glassman in 2000 has grown from cult popularity to an expansive lifestyle brand based off its strength and conditioning programs.  

Today, there are more than 9,000 affiliated gyms, and although CrossFit Inc. licenses its name to those gyms for an annual fee, having thousands of affiliated locations across the world makes it extremely hard to fish out the reals from the fakes. 

After all, part of the success of a brand could be directly related to the how well they police their trademark(s), and CrossFit's legal team is no stranger to the good ol' cease and desist letter. The brand has previously gone after Cross Gym, CrossFat, Caldera Cross-Fit, CrossFitFood and Don’t Cross Me, I’m Fit, to name a few. 

The brand has an even greater responsibility to protect its name thanks to the lucrative 10-year deal it signed with Reebok in 2010 that has been largely responsible for the brand's mainstream proliferation with branded workout gear, Reebok-branded CrossFit gyms and its title sponsorship of the annual CrossFit Games, which kick off this Friday.Continue reading...

mobile brands

Amazon Hopes to Set Fire to Mobile Market with First-Ever Smartphone

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 18, 2014 04:12 PM

By year’s end, there will be 1.75 billion smartphone users on the planet, most of whom will have a Samsung or Apple device in hand. Amazon, however, is looking to turn the tide with its first-ever entry into the smartphone market.

At a press event today in Seattle, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduced Fire, the e-commerce giant's first phone—and a pretty nifty one at that. Branded in keeping with its device naming strategy, the 4.7-inch Fire Phone will be available exclusively in the US on AT&T's network next month.

It boasts the expected high-pixel camera and ample storage (with an assist from Amazon's cloud), but Bezos detailed two new functions that will separate the brand from the pack.

Amazon Fire Phone will feature a new service dubbed "Firefly" that can recognize printed names, numbers, barcodes and even works of art in a function that will allow consumers to scan a product, and then order it directly from Amazon. The function can identity music and add it to a playlist, read an email address on a business card and even read wine labels thanks to a partnership with Vivino.

The Firefly feature, which has a dedicated button on the phone, is similar to Amazon's new Dash grocery service and its Price Check app.Continue reading...

sip on this

Brooklyn Brewery Takes Its Sips to Stockholm in Local Beer Brand Extension

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 30, 2014 06:25 PM

The brand of New York City's Brooklyn borough has been rising for years and is now so stamped on American culture that it is easy to caricature. Brooklyn Brewery, one of the fastest-growing craft brewers around, has benefited from the borough's brand rise and its latest step is giving it (and the borough) a more global reach.

According to Bloomberg, the brewer has partnered with Carlsberg, its Swedish importer, and D. Carnegie & Co. to open a new brewery in Stockholm, Sweden, that will sell their wares. Sweden is the second-most popular market for Brooklyn beers outside of the borough itself, but the new brewery won't be just serving up traditional Brooklyn brews. A whole new line of beers, Nya Carnegie, are flowing from the taps there since it opened in early April.Continue reading...

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