holidaze

Wired Energizes Holiday Shoppers With London/New York Pop-Up Stores

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 30, 2012 06:07 PM

This holiday season, there are about a bazillion pop-ups sprouting up in New York and London, such as one at NYC's Ace Hotel for Krochet Kids International, the organization that teaches Ugandan and Kenyan women to knit, and the Santa Baby cocktail bar in London's Shoreditch area. Tech lovers and brands will no doubt be rejoicing at one particular pop-up that spans the Atlantic to both cities.

For eight years now, Wired magazine has been wowing tech-lovers with an annual pop-up shop stuffed with whatever the latest and greatest happens to be. This year, the magazine is not only back with a Big Apple pop-up stuffed with gadgets, gear, brands and cultural happenings, but also taking the fun to London. 

The London store features products from such companies as MakerBot, Arcbotics Hexapod, Hiut Denim, Makie Lab, Zboard, and plenty of others. Orders could be made on-site for the products to be delivered.Continue reading...

holidaze

Peeps on Earth: Not Just for Easter Any More

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 22, 2012 11:55 AM

The folks that make Peeps, those little marshmallow-chick candies found nesting in Easter baskets each year, have tried to market their product to fit other holidays such as Christmas (snowman and Christmas tree Peeps!), Valentine’s Day (heart Peeps!), and Halloween (Guys: there are pumpkin, ghost, and cat Peeps!) Nice try, Peeps, but the enduring image of the candy is still poking out of Easter baskets, no matter what Just Born seems to do. After all, 700 million of the sugar-beeked things are sold around that time of year.  

Undeterred, Peeps is soldiering on and making another effort this year to break the wall down and market itself as a year-round sweet treat. The brand's holiday 2012 collection includes a new Peeps on Earth line of T-shirts, infant clothing, and water bottles, according to a press release.Continue reading...

sip on this

Starbucks Reads the Tea Leaves, Buys Teavana in Expansion Beyond Coffee

Posted by Dale Buss on November 15, 2012 02:59 PM

Whatever you're sipping these days, Starbucks wants to be the brand you're sipping.

As richly as Starbucks brand has made its name on coffee, selling and evoking the world of coffee-growing, -processing and -drinking, it's the tea universe — with a wide variety of ingredients and flavors and functional purposes — that strikes many as much more intriguing these days. So in announcing its purchase of the Teavana tea chain, the company's biggest-ever acquisition, Starbucks is betting as much on being able to exploit the lore and learning about tea as it is in selling the beverage itself. "We will do for tea what we did for coffee," Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told the Wall Street Journal about the $620-million deal.Continue reading...

retail watch

Spanx Firms Up Retail Strategy with Standalone Stores

Posted by Dale Buss on November 6, 2012 01:55 PM

The textbook case of entrepreneurial success that is Sara Blakely's Spanx shapewear brand has just written a new chapter: on Nov. 2nd, Spanx opened its first standalone retail store in the U.S., at the Tysons Corner Center in Maclean, Virginia, one of three stores opening this fall in addition to the brand's first airport boutique, at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. As the brand posted on its Facebook page, Blakely told USA Today that the opening made her feel "excited, nervous, emotional" as it made the leap into its own bricks-and-mortar retail channel.

Blakely's meteoric rise from inspired but inexperienced entrepreneur to one of the richest women in the world has been one of the most interesting stories in business over the last few years. She started out shilling her first invention — a modernized, footless hybrid of a girdle and panty hose — from a folding table in the foyer of a Neiman Marcus and would ship online orders in white Office Depot envelopes from her Atlanta apartment, as Forbes recounts.

The 41-year-old entrepreneur continued tirelessly promoting her brand to the point where, today, Spanx products are sold in more than 11,500 department stores, boutiques and online shops in 40 countries. As Forbes puts it, Spanx has become the "Kleenex" of the category Blakely invented, with revenues just shy of $250 million last year. And her success made Blakely the world's youngest self-made female billionaire.

Even so, Spanx never had operated its own stores, but it now has the cash and variety of products, including Spanx for men, swimwear and apparel, that the timing couldn't be better.Continue reading...

celebrity brandcasting

H2O-Eau-Eau: Lady Gaga's Next Bottled Adventure Could be Water

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 18, 2012 01:50 PM

She just slapped her personal brand on a perfume bottle, but Lady Gaga clearly thinks she’s making enough money. The performer, on the hot seat  who has unleashed such tunes as “Poker Face,” “Born This Way,” and “Bad Romance” onto the cultural landscape in the last four years is getting into the business of not just selling her art, but selling her name.

Last month, the 26-year-old launched her Fame perfume line with a memorable piece of performance art: sleeping in a giant perfume bottle and possibly peeing in a champagne bucket. Now, the word from New York's Daily News is that Gaga and her creative team are working on producing a “healthy drinking water brand” so she can rake in some more bucks while helping the world stay hydrated.Continue reading...

sip on this

Starbucks Fends Off Dunkin', McDonald's with Square, Passbook Mobile Moves

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 5, 2012 10:31 AM

Starbucks is facing increasing competition from all quarters, including Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's, so the giant of the coffee biz is hoping to increase its market share with innovative new products and brand extensions, with a major focus on mobile going forward.

On the brand extension front, the java giant just started selling its single-serve coffee and espresso maker Verismo online. The caffeinated masses are apparently into it. Cliff Burrows, president of the Americas for Starbucks, says that sales of the machine have “exceeded expectations.” Starbucks is now rolling the product out to 4,300 stores and should finish having them in place in the next few weeks.

“Innovation is so important to us,” Burrows told the Houston Chronicle. “In 2009 we introduced ready-brew instant coffee. This summer we introduced Refreshers, energy drinks made from green coffee extract. We make them hand-crafted, sell them in cans and as instant beverages. Our innovation is ongoing.”Continue reading...

brand extensions

FedEx Sees Riches in Niches with Speedy TechConnect Repair Biz

Posted by Dale Buss on October 2, 2012 11:02 AM

Both FedEx and rival UPS have been reporting slowing and disappointing package-delivery activity lately as the global economy cools, especially in previously high-growth areas such as China and India. So FedEx is hoping to extract more revenues from its domestic operations by offering a new service boasting a three-day turnaround: PC repair.

FedEx has begun reaching out to major corporations to perform repairs on their "enterprise" small computers overnight through a new subsidiary called TechConnect, which will repair consumer electronics such as the iPad and the Nook. The company has been fixing its own technology gear for 30 years and saw a gap in the repair marketplace while its primary delivery business has been slowing.

"We found there was a high level of dissatisfaction in the marketplace," TechConnect manager Tod Taylor told USA Today. "What we offer is unparalleled turnaround time."

"First of all, we're probably one of the biggest repair shops for devices like that in the world for the very simple reason that FedEx basically invented the handheld, package-tracking device," FedEx CEO Fred Smith explained to Fortune. "Because a lot of that equipment is built into our DNA, we became very good at repairing it. And it was just a natural progression to tell a lot of our big customers that if you want us to also repair these devices, we can do it for you."Continue reading...

brand extensions

FedEx Sees Riches in Niches with Speedy TechConnect Repair Biz

Posted by Dale Buss on October 2, 2012 11:02 AM

Both FedEx and rival UPS have been reporting slowing and disappointing package-delivery activity lately as the global economy cools, especially in previously high-growth areas such as China and India. So FedEx is hoping to extract more revenues from its domestic operations by offering a new service boasting a three-day turnaround: PC repair.

FedEx has begun reaching out to major corporations to perform repairs on their "enterprise" small computers overnight through a new subsidiary called TechConnect, which will repair consumer electronics such as the iPad and the Nook. The company has been fixing its own technology gear for 30 years and saw a gap in the repair marketplace while its primary delivery business has been slowing.

"We found there was a high level of dissatisfaction in the marketplace," TechConnect manager Tod Taylor told USA Today. "What we offer is unparalleled turnaround time."

"First of all, we're probably one of the biggest repair shops for devices like that in the world for the very simple reason that FedEx basically invented the handheld, package-tracking device," FedEx CEO Fred Smith explained to Fortune. "Because a lot of that equipment is built into our DNA, we became very good at repairing it. And it was just a natural progression to tell a lot of our big customers that if you want us to also repair these devices, we can do it for you."Continue reading...

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