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tech in the spotlight

Apple is Reportedly Folding Beats Music Into iTunes

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 5, 2015 01:34 PM

Apple spent $3 billion to acquire Beats Music just six months ago and now the word on the street is that the ultra-cool Beats technology is being folded into Apple’s iTunes. According to 9to5mac.com, Apple is “actively working to launch a completely new paid streaming music service that will compete with Spotify and Rdio” and “leverages Beats’ technologies and music content.”

The service still doesn’t have a name but will “deeply integrate” Beats into Apple TV, iTunes, and iOS, the site notes. It will also lose the signature Beats black-and-red design for the more traditional gray iTunes, a move that could irk a few of the Beats fans that have been now forced to become Apple people. One plus is that the pricing is currently under discussion is rumored to be $7.99 a month rather than the more standard $9.99 a month.Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

adidas is Bringing Kanye West to NY Fashion Week, App in Hand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 4, 2015 11:45 AM

Buying upscale sneakers can be a bit of an event—especially when it involves a paparazzi-ready name such as Kanye West. That's why adidas, which has a new deal with the entrepreneur following his previous collaboration with Nike, is changing the way the business works.

A new app, adidas Confirmed, allows consumers to reserve their sneakers before they hit stores. This way, consumers can know that a pair of sneaks will be waiting for them and long lines can be eliminated. Think of it as the mobile equivalent to Staples' Easy button—a Yeezy button, if you will.

"We are addressing a real market need," said Simon Atkins, adidas VP of Brand Activation, in a press release. "The adidas Confirmed mobile app is our way of improving the customer experience and reaching kids in an environment where they spend most of their time." Continue reading...

brand innovation

Breakthrough Branding: Theranos, with Walgreens, Revolutionizes Healthcare

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 3, 2015 12:08 PM

Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford University at 19 with a big, disruptive idea.

She founded Theranos in 2003 with the goal of streamlining and standardizing blood tests via a handheld device. At the time, she was a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering at Stanford University, but she left academia to start her company with a bridge loan from a venture capitalist.

Now 30 and America’s youngest female billionaire, Holmes is the CEO of Theranos, and her company is disrupting the very profitable business of blood testing and analysis.

Its simple value proposition hinges around blood tests and early detection that can help detect dozens of medical conditions based on one or two drops of blood drawn with a finger pinprick. From that nanotainer of blood, Theranos can run more than 70 tests for anything from blood sugar abnormalities to sexually transmitted infections—and at a cost of 50 to 90 percent less than Medicare reimbursement rates.

Walgreens is a believer, both as an investor and retail partner.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Matt Damon, Water.org and Stella Artois Raise a Glass (and Hope) to Women

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 23, 2015 12:34 PM

Stella Artois Water.org

Water.org, the nonprofit cofounded by Matt Damon to help bring clean drinking water to developing nations across the globe, has made a very powerful partner: Anheuser Busch InBev. 

One of the world’s largest brewer's brands, Stella Artois, has just launched its first global social action campaign, announcing it at the Sundance Film festival in partnership with Water.org.

Called Buy a Lady a Drink, the campaign asks consumers to purchase a $12 chalice with Stella’s name on it. There are 20,000 limited-edition chalices being sold through Amazon.com. More than just a stylish branded memento, however, the money can provide clean water to a family for five years, as Water.org notes in a press release. Continue reading...

brand strategy

Chobani Hopes to Squeeze More From Sundance Film Fest Than Super Bowl

Posted by Dale Buss on January 21, 2015 05:25 PM

Chobani new products January 2015

Fighting through a plateauing of its growth as rival brands chip away at its pioneering position in Greek-style yogurt, Chobani keeps attempting to innovate through the slump with new products aimed at new day parts, and new marketing—now including a sprinkling of pixie dust.

The New York-based originator of the Greek-yogurt phenomenon has announced what it calls "a major portfolio expansion" with new products including Kids and Tots yogurt pouches, and a line of oatmeals and yogurt blending ancient grains.

The children's products feature Disney and Marvel characters ranging from Winnie the Pooh to Spider-Man on packaging.Continue reading...

branded entertainment

Branded Entertainment: Can Intel Recapture 'Inside Films' Magic?

Posted by Abe Sauer on January 21, 2015 11:01 AM

Dell Intel What Lives Inside short film branded entertainment 2015

A decade and a half. That's how long it's been since the "Dell Dude" Christmas commercial that launched a brief era of Dell market dominance in consumer computing.

That ad, like many more (increasingly annoying) ones after it, closed with Intel's iconic five-note mnemonic chime that mimicked "Intel Inside."

Now Intel is reteaming with Dell, the replacement for its former "Inside Films" series partner (Toshiba) as it's getting the band back together on a landmark branded entertainment collaborative entertainment project. Continue reading...

CES Watch

CES 2015: Swarovski Brings Bling to Wearable Tech with Misfit

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 5, 2015 12:03 PM

Swarovski Shine Misfit wearable tech

Swarovski is known for embellishing other brands' high-end items, such as Buscemi's $2,100 sneaker, in addition to its own line of sparkly jewelry and crystal accessories. Now it's wooing tech-savvy fashionistas and bringing bling to wearable tech in an exclusive collection, available only in the US, with Misfit.

The co-branded Swarovski Shine smart jewelry collection, which competes with Tory Burch x Fitbit, Rebecca Minkoff x Case-Mate and Opening Ceremony x Intel's haute wearables—and, of course, Apple Watch—includes two wearable devices (the Vio pendant and Slake bracelet) and nine accessories.

In addition to being the world's first solar-powered wearable, a violet-colored Slake bangle launching later this year promises another first: "the tracker will be the first not to require any charging or battery changes."Continue reading...

CES Watch

CES 2015: Kodak, Post-Bankruptcy, Returns to CES With Products and Partners

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 22, 2014 04:04 PM

Kodak Seedonk baby monitor

Just over a year after emerging from bankruptcy with a focus on selling patents and licensing its brand, Kodak is returning to the Consumer Electronics Show for the first time in three years.

CES 2015, which kicks off in two week in Las Vegas, will honor Kodak's new co-branded line of baby monitors with Seedonk with a product innovation prize at the show.

Among other licensed products debuting at the show, Kodak announced that it will debut a line of Android-powered mobile devices in partnership with the UK's Bullitt Group. CES attendees can check out the Kodak-branded mobile devices in Las Vegas, including a 4G smartphone, a tablet and a connected camera to follow next year.

“Kodak has one of the world’s most powerful brands and we intend to renew it and apply to it to expand our consumer business and grow the company,” said Steven Overman, Kodak's UK-based President, Consumer & Film Division, and Chief Marketing Officer, in a press release announcing its CES return. Continue reading...

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