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...

start your engines

Nissan's Deal with Cummins Bumps Fenders with Ram's Longstanding Partnership

Posted by Dale Buss on August 21, 2013 02:44 PM

The US pickup truck market keeps coming back, so brands are looking for every which way to gain an edge. Nissan, for example, has just turned to co-branding, while General Motors no doubt will be making a big deal about the stellar performance of its models in federal safety tests.

Both Nissan and Toyota mostly idled over the last few years in trying to improve their standing in the full-size pickup truck market as a downturn in the segment reflected the Great Recession and the toll it took on many important vertical markets for the vehicles, especially housing construction and contracting. But now that housing has bounced back and pickup trucks are outselling the general vehicle market again, the Japanese brands are re-focusing on a segment that long has been dominated by the Detroit Three.

Toyota, for instance, is building a new version of its Tundra full-size truck. And Nissan has struck a deal with Cummins to provide a turbodiesel engine in the 2015 calendar year. It'll be a 5.0-liter V-8 based on a design unique from the turbodiesel engine that Cummins long has supplied for the heavy-duty versions of Ram pickups, which is a 6.7-liter inline-six cylinder.Continue reading...

branding together

Beech-Nut, Goya Co-Brand Baby Food to Woo US Hispanics

Posted by Dale Buss on July 15, 2013 06:01 PM

Goya and Beech-Nut are hoping that a partnership will yield big results from the confluence of three trends: the growing Hispanic population in the US, the proliferation of food products aimed specifically at that demographic, and the rising interest of mainstream global CPG companies in exploiting the other two trends.

The two companies are expanding the availability of a co-branded line of baby food, called Beech-Nut Goya, that launched in April. The baby-food range is being promoted as "Authentic Hispanic flavors made especially for your baby" as it rolls out to stores across America, according to Ad Age. With Hispanics now accounting for one-fourth of all US births as the fertility rates and birth numbers of other major American demographic groups wane, the co-branded line makes sense for both brands.

The baby-food market has been getting a lot of attention lately from non-traditional but major CPG players, including Campbell Soup, which just bought Plum Organics and its baby- and toddler-food lines, and Groupe Danone, the Paris-based maker of yogurt, which at about the same time bought Happy Family, another organic-baby-food startup.Continue reading...

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