auto motive

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...

game change

Tim Hortons at 50: Celebrating Its Canadian Roots, and its Future

Posted by Amanda Caswell on July 29, 2014 08:01 PM

The days of the "double double" are numbered. Well, not quite. But Tim Hortons can see a future where their brand experience pushes far beyond that iconic order.

At the company's recent franchise owners conference, an innovative invite-only concept store highlighted the evolving landscape of Canadian tastes and explored what might be new in store. As "Tims" gets ready to turn its first store into a celebration of its 50 years in business, it's also brewing up a fresh pot of brand experience, and envisioning how future stores can transform.

Cue its "Restaurant of the Future" concept store, which goes beyond brewing just java—this location also served coffee beers inspired by the famed Tim’s flavor, and an expanded menu that included omelets and crepes.Continue reading...

traveling brands

With Business Travel Booming, Brands Bring Sharing Economy to the C-Suite

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 29, 2014 05:22 PM

Business travel accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars each year, and it's only growing. Despite the recent string of airline disasters, the Global Business Travel Association expects spending on business travel to go up around 7 percent this year, to about $1.18 trillion—$292.3 billion of that in the US, according to the New York Times. China, with a sustained 16 percent yearly growth rate, is expected to pass the US in travel spending by 2016. 

With plenty of money to be made, brands are tweaking their business models to accomodate the industry's influx.   

Airbnb, which is in the midst of a rebrand, is devoting an entire section of its new website to business travelers. "It's about making it easier to find accommodations that are appropriate for work trips," says Lex Bayer, head of business development and global payments at Airbnb, according to USA Today. The offering will cater to travelers that are looking to combine business with pleasure.Continue reading...

tech style

At Wearable Tech Expo, Brands Acknowledge Hurdles to Adoption

Posted by Brittany Messenger on July 25, 2014 05:05 PM

As if there were any doubt, the Wearable Tech Expo this week in New York made one thing is certain: the branded wearable space is ready for take-off—but not before sorting out a few potential hurdles.  

In her keynote address at the conference, Myriam Joire, Pebble’s Chief Evangelist, identified battery life technology and usability challenges as two key issues the industry needs to solve.

"If you want to go beyond us, the early adopters, the tech savvy users, you have to solve usability challenges," Joire commented. "The people who buy a smartwatch at Target don't want to do anything complicated. They want it to add value to their lives. Notifications alone have value right now. A busy mom carrying groceries who gets a notification that she has a text message and doesn't have to pull her phone out—that's gold."

But is product innovation enough to grow the industry? While improvements to battery life and usability will allow wearables to serve their users better and longer, how will they get consumers to even give them a shot?Continue reading...

brand partners

Walk a Mile in GE's Shoes—On the Moon

Posted by Ilan Beesen on July 21, 2014 05:39 PM

It’s been 45 years since our species, or any other for that matter, first stood on the moon. Still, there are few things that can capture the imagination quite like the thought of people walking on that distant rock that shines down on us in the night sky.

There was the heroism of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, the ingenuity of the NASA scientists, and technological prowess of the engineers at Grumman who built the Apollo Lunar Module. There was the grainy footage and the raspy audio that produced the resounding “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” which is as poetic a phrase today as it was in 1969. And there was also a footprint.

Significant technology went into that footprint, but it wasn’t only NASA that made that iconic moonwalk possible. It was the silicon rubber developed by GE that gave the moonboot the strength to withstand the most hostile environment a human boot has ever endured.

Now, GE is revisiting that magical moment with a poetic gesture of its own. And this time, 100 earthbound sneaker lovers will be invited along for the ride, or at least have the opportunity to leave some footprints of their own—only not on the moon.Continue reading...

bc q&a

Of Mazda, Music and Miata: 5 Questions with Russell Wager

Posted by Dale Buss on July 18, 2014 03:03 PM

Music has long been a great currency of marketing. But automotive brands are taking their involvement with music to new levels these days as they seek ways to make connections digitally and with their toughest demographic, Millennials.

Honda, for example, just launched an ambitious effort called Honda Stage that involves concert sponsorships and other music touch points. Nissan this week announced a two-year partnership with the Americana Music Association, give the brand closer ties to country music and Nashville.

And Mazda, though a small brand by automotive standards, now also is trying to mount an outsized presence in the music arena. The automaker just announced an expanded partnership with the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series, making Mazda the official automotive partner and doubling the brand’s participation this year to eight or nine events.

The series involves combining entertainment and running, featuring live bands performing at every mile along the course and a post-event headliner concert. Mazda will also have lots of on-site activations such as the Mazda Fueling Station with free food and beverages. It kicked off in Chicago this week and continues through December.

Mazda’s North American vice president of marketing, Russell Wager, talked to brandchannel about the new partnership and the brand's bigger strategy and goals:Continue reading...

branding together

With Swash, P&G and Whirlpool Help You (and Your Clothes) Get Wrinkle-Free

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 17, 2014 12:12 PM

High-tech de-wrinkling has found favor with a certain royal couple in the UK. A German manufacturer has created a machine that irons clothes for the likes of Prince William and his lovely bride. According to the Daily Mail, a Tubie costs £850 ($1,400) and consists of a bag that consumers place their clothes on before inflating it with hot air that forces (tsk, tsk) “crumples and creases out of shirts and trousers.” (Its puffed-up system recalls one of those inflatable creature signs you see at car dealerships.)

Now P&G, maker of Tide and other fine laundry products, has found a way to freshen up clothes that aren’t quite making it to the washer right away or have to go to the dry cleaner. The consumer packaged goods giant has teamed up with Whirlpool on Swash, a subtly stylish (that's it standing at attention on the left, above) $499 plug-in machine that uses special Swash pods to “refresh clothes” in 10 minutes, Ad Age reports.

While Swash won't be available for at-home use until later this year, the companies have started building buzz on Instagram (hashtag: #theswasheffect) during a NYC fashion show that was held last night at the Standard Hotel with stylist Kate Young and attracted VIPs such as Randi Zuckerberg.Continue reading...

branding together

Apple and IBM Partner to Transform How Companies Work

Posted by Shirley Brady on July 15, 2014 09:09 PM

Apple and IBM have struck a global partnership to work together to create business-software applications for iPhone and iPad users.

Highlights from the press release about the co-branded enterprise mobility deal:

The new IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions will be built in an exclusive collaboration that draws on the distinct strengths of each company: IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities, with the power of more than 100,000 IBM industry and domain consultants and software developers behind it, fused with Apple’s legendary consumer experience, hardware and software integration and developer platform.Continue reading...

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