what's appening

Will Foursquare Loyalists Warm to Swarm, or Check Out of Check-Ins?

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 7, 2014 04:14 PM

News broke this week that Foursquare is moving beyond check-ins by giving location-based sharing to a new app, Swarm, in a blog post titled, "A look into future of Foursquare." As the mobile check-ins leader splits its app, are they at risk of losing Foursquare's brand equity—and user base? Foursquare user Katie Conneally weighs in on the Interbrand blog. (Update: Check out Foursquare's follow-up blog post for more details on the looming changes).

chew on this

After Conquering Mexican Fare, Chipotle Looks to Apply Model to Asian, Pizza

Posted by Dale Buss on February 13, 2014 04:54 PM

Chipotle has been defining and redefining Mexican fast-casual food for some time now. Is there any reason to think it can't have the same kind of determinative effect in two other segments the company is eyeing for future growth?

While Chipotle has been racking up impressive sales gains and prompting desperate rivals to mimic its sustainable-ingredient positioning and other brand elements, the company also has been experimenting in earnest in Asian fare and artisan pizza, two categories where so far national brands haven't become prominent.

ShopHouse is designed to follow the same model as Chipotle, with guests building their meals as they walk the service line.Continue reading...

kiddie brands

Transformers Toys Go Back to Their Roots Ahead of Fourth Film

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 22, 2014 08:14 PM

In the three decades that Transformer toys have been on the market, they've inspired three big-budget Hollywood blockbusters and inspired hundreds of merchandising endeavors.

But the toys as they were orginally imagined—the ones that actually transformed from a vehicle to a robot with a few simple moves—aren’t around anymore. The transformation process, it seems, is now extremely complicated. Some may disagree, but the instruction booklets for today’s Transformers are much more involved than when it was first released. 

So Hasbro CEO Brian D. Goldner has decided to restore the toy back to its simpler days in honor of its 30th anniversary.Continue reading...

campaigns

Dumb Ways to Die Goes Plush for Public Safety Campaign Extension

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 21, 2014 03:46 PM

Last year, the marketing and advertising industry went nutty over Metro Trains Melbourne's "Dumb Ways to Die" cross-platform campaign by McCann Australia. The public safety campaign, which went viral thanks to a catchy song for its PSA ads, online game and addictive mobile app, took home top honors at Cannes Lions and continue to collect accolades, have now inspired a curious new line of products.  

Melbourne Metro has announced it's keeping the love going with a line of plush merchandise that is based on the characters in the campaign, and will be sure to appeal to kids of all ages in the same way that Uglydolls became a staple of dormitory rooms worldwide.

"We never set out for this to be a goal and it certainly didn't factor into anything around determining the creative," Metro General Manager-Corporate Relations Leah Waymark told Ad Age. "But countless people asked, 'Where can I get the t-shirt?' We had a lot of people who produce items approach us, from t-shirt makers to toy makers, to people who wanted to produce TV shows. But we narrowed it to what we thought would be most important, and that's the brand integrity."Continue reading...

brand aspiration

Prime Directive: Bezos Pushes Original Content, From Amazon Studios to Amazon Studio

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 28, 2013 01:20 PM

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (as the story goes) chose a company name starting with "A" so it appeared early in search results, and Amazon, as the world's largest river, fit his vision of creating the biggest store in the world. 

Staying true to that founding DNA as it expands from the world’s first online bookseller to include everything from original programming to fashion, Bezos has tapped Clark Johnson (Homicide: Life on the Street, The Wire) to produce his next project, Alpha House, for the Amazon Studios unit. The GOP comedy, created by Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman, debuted its pilot episode on Amazon in April, using the preview as a focus group to tweak the show before its exclusive debut to Amazon Prime members next month.

The $79-a-year Prime subscription service is key in Amazon’s plan to snare viewers. “It’s about making delight for Prime members,” commented Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to the Seattle Times. “What can we do that would make somebody be a happy Prime member? If we can make great television for them, that’s going to be an element of that. And they pay us an annual fee for that.” Those members are Amazon's VIPs, big spenders who typically shell out three times more than non-Prime Amazon shoppers across Amazon's channels.Continue reading...

retail watch

Expansion is the Name of the Game for Iconic Clothiers Brooks Brothers, Jos. A. Bank

Posted by Dale Buss on October 9, 2013 01:49 PM

Change is afoot in the long-stuffy business of dressing men for success. And the players aren't pulling their new strategies off the rack.

Jos. A. Bank has just bid $2.3 billion for troubled rival Men's Wearhouse in an unsolicited offer that quickly was rejected by the latter, while retailer Brooks Brothers is looking to take on competition by expanding its high-end brand beyond store shelves. 

Men's Wearhouse clearly has been weakened by sales and profit declines stemming from systemic problems as well as the recent ouster of the chain's founder and pitchman-in-chief, George Zimmer, who remains the company's largest shareholder.Continue reading...

car talk

Cadillac Hopes to Squeeze Sales—and Maybe a New Sub-Brand—Out of 2015 Escalade

Posted by Dale Buss on October 8, 2013 03:58 PM

It isn’t clear if Ludacris is lining up for a new 2015 Cadillac Escalade, but apparently Donald Trump is. And General Motors’ enthusiasm for the first major overhaul of its iconic chiseled and luxuriously appointed mammoth SUV in seven years even has executives considering ways to extend the Escalade franchise beyond a single vehicle, as good as it might be.

GM revealed the redesigned Escalade in New York at an appearance that included Trump’s endorsement as well as company marketers eager to highlight the sleeker exterior, interior wood trim, and quieter and larger inside of the new model. 

Prices of the current Escalade start at $63,475, and GM is looking for a 10 percent boost in sales of the new version beginning next year after Escalade sales have gradually declined over the last several years.Continue reading...

cocktail hour

All the News You Can Drink: Dogfish Head’s Moon Brew, Bud’s Packaging Fail, Wine Biz Gets Corona Boost and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 4, 2013 06:45 PM

Dogfish Head Gets Spaced Out

Delaware brewery Dogfish Head is always up for experiments. Its latest is a small-batch Oktoberfest ale, Celest-jewel-ale, that features an ingredient probably never used before in the brewing process: moon dust. 

According to Fox News, Dogfish made a deal with ILC Dover, which produces spacesuits for NASA, in order to have access to “lunar meteorites” that it ground up and put into the brew like a big teabag.

Much more experimental than that, though, is the brewery’s plan to open a 16-room, beer-themed hotel. It’ll open next year about 11 miles from the brewery, Eater.com reports. Each room will have its own micro-fridges and beer glasses as well as a bottle opener on the wall.

In the spirit of inventiveness, Dogfish has also created a little gadget known as the Randall Jr. that allows consumers to infuse their own beers with interesting ingredients and flavorings. At Dogfish, the brewers want everyone to catch the creativity bug.Continue reading...

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