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branding together

Brand Bites: Watch IFC's Portlandia Skewer Anti-Corporate Art

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 3, 2014 03:39 PM

"Since the 50s, one common target about making a statement has been McDonald's. Ronald McDonald plus something violent and crazy like money equals… shock."

So begins the excellent takedown of anti-corporate art from IFC TV series Portlandia. It's just the latest brand integration from the product placement-friendly satire series. In fact, the show has re-teamed with Geico on its latest storyline that kicked off the first episode of the show's fourth season last week.Continue reading...

Sports Illustrated Throws Caution to the Wind for 50th Anniversary Barbie Issue

Posted by Dale Buss on February 12, 2014 04:04 PM

In a brand collaboration that could be described as the "Anti-Dove" campaign, Barbie and Sports Illustrated are getting together to celebrate the 50th anniversary edition of the magazine's swimsuit issue. And not surprisingly, social media has been atwitter over the implications.

The half-century edition of Sports Illlustrated's biggest issue of each year will hit newsstands and the internet next week, and it presents Barbie as a doll-size version of some of the magazine's supermodels, clad in a new version of the black-and-white swimsuit the Mattel doll wore when she was introduced in 1959.

It's a surprising partnership, to be sure, starting with the the fact that Barbie is aimed (mostly) at girls and Sports Illustrated is aimed (mostly) at men, which raises uncomfortable questions about why they're getting together. (Yes, Barbie is for adult collectors, too—that's why there will be a limited edition Sports Illustrated Barbie at Target).

The co-branded special issue is launching with a campaign called "Unapologetic", as both brands' owners clearly anticipated the hullaballoo that would ensue when two icons of hyperphotogenic femininity got together to get even more in the faces of their long-time foes.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Lenovo Aims to Build Global Tech Brand to Rival Samsung, Apple

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 30, 2014 02:28 PM

Google’s mobile phone experiment has ended after just 22 months with the announcement that it sold Motorola's handset business to China's Lenovo Group for $2.91 billion. 

Following its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility in 2012 to "supercharge Android," Google has uncharacteristically struggled to boost its market share in the mobile hardware business, with Motorola's global share of the smartphone market falling to about 1 percent in 2013. 

So while Google will retain Motorola's bank of 20,000 patents to be used to build up its successful Android brand, the aging brand's fate in hardware now lies in the hands of Lenovo—a little-known Chinese company that has been making some big moves in the tech world lately. In a blog post on the news, Motorola hailed Lenovo as its new brand steward.

“Lenovo has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola into a major player within the Android ecosystem,” Google CEO Larry Page wrote in a blog post about the sale. His sentiments are echoed by IDC analyst Ramon Llamas, who told the Wall Street Journal, "This gives Lenovo the all important foothold to get into North America.”Continue reading...

brands under fire

Southwest Caught in Tainted Water with SeaWorld Over Longtime Partnership

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 15, 2014 07:27 PM

Blackfish, shortlisted for an Academy Award Best Documentary nomination, chronicles the life of SeaWorld's largest killer whale, Tilikum, who killed his trainer, Dawn Brancheau, in February 2010, as well as two others in previous incidents. 

The controversial film includes behind the scenes footage of SeaWorld's orca shows, including shocking footage of the species' cruel treatment in captivity and the pressures of the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry to exploit the animals. 

SeaWorld called the film by Gabriela Cowperthwaite "shamefully dishonest, deliberately misleading, and scientifically inaccurate," as a surge of petitions and protests surfaced on social media.

But there's an unlikely brand caught in the crosshairs: Southwest Airlines.Continue reading...

digital moves

DreamWorks Teams Up with Fuhu for Kid-Friendly Tablet Debut at CES

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 3, 2014 06:51 PM

What do you get when you pair Fuhu’s Nabi with DreamWorks? DreamTab, a tablet for kids for under $300, available this spring chock-full of original content. The new tablet, which will feature animated characters from studio hits including Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon and Kung-fu Panda, will debut at next week's CES 2014 conference in Las Vegas.

Thanks to programming and content from DreamWorks, the 8-inch by 12-inch device will allow kids to stream movies, TV shows and play games with various innovative parental controls and educational tools, according to Fuhu's press release.

The Google Android-powered tablet computer (using the new 4.4 Kit Kat Android based operating system) will be programmed like a cable channel. “We could push out a new character moment every day of the year,” Jim Mainard, the studio's head of digital strategy and new business development, told the New York Times.

“The moments will include stuff like drawing lessons from DreamWorks animators and more, SlashGear notes. “The tablet is also tipped to get tech allowing it to work with DreamWorks toys... and will also have the ability to send instant messages and email.”Continue reading...

olympic effort

BMW Sponsorship, Car Tech Grease Rails for US Olympic Bobsled Team

Posted by Dale Buss on January 3, 2014 12:38 PM

The calendar has flipped, and so has BMW of North America—over the US Olympic bobsled team.

Even as BMW kept watch on Friday for year-end US sales-results comparisons between it and Mercedes-Benz over which brand ended up selling the most luxury cars in 2013, as BMW did in 2012 and 2011, the company also was gearing up to tout its marketing campaign around the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

The highlight of BMW's effort clearly will be a groundbreaking branded entertainment program, titled "Driving on Ice." The half-hour documentary—debuting Sunday, Jan. 5, at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC, the hub for all things Olympic—highlights BMW's complete redesign of the US two-man bobsled.Continue reading...

green shoots

Coca-Cola, Ford Weave PlantBottles Into Car Seats for Fusion Energi Concept

Posted by Dale Buss on November 15, 2013 02:59 PM

Coca-Cola and Ford have come up with a unique approach to advance recyclable packaging: using Coke's PlantBottle technology to make car seat cushions, seat backs, head restraints, door-panel inserts and headliners in a new concept vehicle for the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.

Scheduled to be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month, the car will demonstrate the first use of PlantBottle technology, which utilizes plant-based materials, beyond consumer packaging and is the first step in what the two brands say is a joint commitment to develop innovative new products from renewable content.

"It's important to realize that PET resin is part of the broader polyester family, so this is clearly the most significant partnership we have so far as we look at the broader impact of the potential for the PlantBottle," Scott Vitters, GM of the PlantBottle packaging platform for Coke, told brandchannel.Continue reading...

Taco Bell, NBA Renew Cross-Platform Sponsorship Deal with New Video Twist

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 16, 2013 12:57 PM

When the Chicago Bulls take on the champion Miami Heat on Oct. 29 for the NBA season opener, viewers can be sure to have a hankering for a beefy, crunchy burrito or a sweet churro before the final buzzer sounds.

Taco Bell has been the official QSR partner of the league for the last four years and now the pair have announced an extension of that deal that includes prominent placement during telecasts and online through all of the NBA, WNBA, and D-League platforms.

The multiyear deal will also include a new digital/social media program on NBA.com and other platforms dubbed "Buzzer Beaters" that will aggregate video of game-winning shots, according to Ad Age.Continue reading...

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