branding together

Cup of Joey: Eight O'Clock Coffee and Warner Bros. Celebrate 20 Years of Friends

Posted by Elisabeth Dick Oak on September 23, 2014 12:34 PM

Before you even walk into the new Central Perk pop-up at the corner of Lafayette and Broome Streets in New York City, the first thing you notice is the line stretching around the block. On opening day, nearly 1,500 curious New Yorkers and fans from Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Germany and the Philippines queued up to get their Friends fix and gulped 1,060 free cups of Eight O'Clock Coffee. 

Once inside, you feel as if you've entered a mini-museum. The walls are plastered with photos. Mannequins model costumes from the show. Glass cases display memorabilia such as Ross's "Science Boy" comic book, Monica's engagement ring and Joey's Soap Opera Digest cover issue.

While the pop-up is not an exact replica of the show's Central Perk coffee shop, guests are invited to get their pic snapped on the original pumpkin-colored couch (was it really that orange?) and even meet actor James Michael Tyler, who played barista Gunther on the show.Continue reading...

branding together

Apple Squashes Rumor Mill Over Beats Music Plans

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 23, 2014 11:08 AM

"Apple Plans To Shut Down Beats Music." "Apple denies it is shutting down Beats Music."

Those headlines, from TechCrunch and USA Today respectively, came with hours of one another, proving that even if Apple is not "shutting down" Beats Music, it's sensitive about its role as proud new papa.

It also signals that Apple watchers and Beats fans alike are jumpy, maybe even distrustful, about what the big Apple might have in store for the popular music brand started by Pepsi-endorsed game-changer Dr Dre, whose headphones to streaming music brand arguably has more street cred and cool than Apple's white earbuds and iTunes combined.

Oddly, Dre (the richest hip-hop artist ever thanks to the Apple deal, Forbes announced today) and the Beats brand were mostly MIA during Apple's big iPhone/Apple Watch product reveal earlier this month. And given the subsequent news that Apple is developing a new music format with U2 (linked to Apple by Beats' Jimmy Iovine and a long relationship with Steve Jobs), it could appear that the honeymoon following the $3.2 billion Apple-Beats marriage is over.Continue reading...

branded content

Branded Content Watch: Origins On the Road, Miranda July Tells a Tale and more

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 19, 2014 06:52 PM

This week in branded content, Funny or Die continues to flex its content muscles as Moroccanoil hopes to inspire everyday consumers with super-duper supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Check out the latest branded entertainment and brand videos from Volkswagen, Origins, Canon and more after the jump.

The Project: The Way Too Helpful Neighbor (Volkswagen)

The Pitch: What happens when you drive the all-new Volkswagen Golf through a Target store?

The Verdict: There's a branded content arms race going on between Funny or Die and Vice, and as this VW video proves, Funny or Die owns the humor category. Also: nice cameo, Target!Continue reading...

branding together

U2unes Download: Apple and U2 Announce Next Big Gift to Music

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 18, 2014 03:24 PM

After exclusively launching U2’s new Songs of Innocence album to 500 million iTunes accounts this past week, Apple is delivering something else in response to customer demand. And true to Apple form, it’s an intuitive, easy-to-use and simple piece of technology—a delete button

A case study in how not to show customer appreciation, the unwanted gift of U2 music to all iTunes customers, whether they were fans of the Irish rockers or not, was hyped as the largest album release ever, and a "shrewd" marketing partnership (to the reported tune of $100 million) to celebrate the roots of the brand's longstanding tie-in with the band.

It turns out that the U2 album giveaway was a teaser for a bigger gift to come—and not only to music lovers but to musicians and the music industry as a whole. As TIME reveals in an exclusive cover story today, Apple is working with U2 on a bigger "secret project": a new digital music format designed to delight and excite customers to buy not only individual tracks but whole albums-as-experiences, and in so doing, "save the music industry."Continue reading...

social commerce

Following Facebook, Twitter Expands E-Commerce Efforts with Buy Button

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 9, 2014 11:28 AM

Twitter has dipped a big toe into e-commerce, launching a “Buy” button in the hopes of creating a new and robust revenue stream beyond advertising. The move follows a similar test by Facebook, and precedes what many expect to be an announcement from Apple today about a new mobile commerce platform.

The Buy button launched with an exclusive crop of brand partners, from musicians to retailers, including Eminem, Pharrell Williams, Rihanna, GLAAD, RED, the Home Depot and Burberry.

Embedded in posts for a small number of Twitter users, the button gives access to limited-edition or time-sensitive products. According to Twitter's announcement, “This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun."Continue reading...

tech style

Geek Chic: Wearable Tech on the Runway at New York Fashion Week

Posted by Isobel Oliphant on September 5, 2014 07:24 PM

Wearable tech is in the spotlight this week with a slew of devices unveiled at two once-opposed, now merging, worlds. 

At the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, brand innovators including Asus, Sony and Samsung are showcasing smartwatches and activity-tracking smartbands, while Motorola released its Moto 360 smartwatch today. And as New York Fashion Week got underway, Intel launched its MICA band in collaboration with Opening Ceremony and announced a smartwatch with Fossil; Rebecca Minkoff (partnering with Case-Mate) and CuteCircuit showcased their respective takes on wearable tech; and a panel today explored the intersection of fashion and technology.

Wearables are no longer the stuff of science fiction, and the future of fashion (and the fashion of technology) is here, as the high-end brands help the garment industry evolve from textiles to tech styles, and Fashion Week is morphing into Fashion Geek Chic.

IDC estimates that more than 19.2 million wearables are expected to ship this year, tripling last year’s sales figures, while wearables could become a $50 billion industry in five years according to Credit Suisse research. Yet many observers feel that widespread adoption hinges on a true marriage of form and function.

Apple devotees are certainly waiting to see if the brand's highly-anticipated smartwatch (and just-revealed collaboration with designer Marc Newson) will strike that delicate balance when revealed next week at its first ever product launch with fashionistas on the invite list.Continue reading...

sip on this

Chick-fil-A Enhances Brand Story with Rollout of Thrive Farmer-Direct Coffee

Posted by Dale Buss on September 5, 2014 10:47 AM

Chick-fil-A's new THRIVE Farmers Coffee menu is what the chain calls "coffee with a story." But the new line of Central American coffees that are supplied directly by farmers actually embodies four stories.

It's a story of the fast-food brand shoring up a glaring weakness in its menu; it's the story of Chick-fil-A making a bold move in the fast-food sustainability derby; and it's the story of a brand taking advantage of the opportunity to divert attention to a kind of sublime value and away from its controversial recent history of taking a hard line on socio-political issues like gay marriage.

And, of course, its fourth story is the one that Chick-fil-A is concentrating on as it rolls out THRIVE coffees to its 1,800 US restaurants, sharing how the partnership is helping actual Central American farmers boost their incomes and their families' wellbeing compared with traditional distribution models for coffee.Continue reading...

that's entertainment

Central Perk Pops-Up for Friends' 20th Anniversary

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 28, 2014 02:34 PM

It's hard to believe it’s been a decade since the iconic sitcom Friends ended a ten-season run. In honor of the beloved sitcom’s 20th anniversary—it premiered September 22, 1994—a replica of the show's iconic "Central Perk" coffee shop will be opening in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood September 17 for one month.

The pop-up is a collaboration between Warner Bros. and Eight O' Clock Coffee, which will also serve up a limited-edition Central Perk Roast for the occasion for free. 

Visitors to the pop-up can expect special appearances by James Michael Tyler, aka "Gunther"; photo ops with the actual orange couch from the show; in-store performances similar to Phoebe’s improvised songs like Smelly Cat; and contests and giveaways with prizes including Friends on Blu-ray, a DVD of all 10 seasons and Central Perk Roast samples.Continue reading...

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