Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 22, 2012 11:51 AM
American Express continues to innovate in the social media space, working with Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook, and now adds a major gaming play to its virtual and real portfolio. Today, AmEx and Zynga launched a co-branded, prepaid Serve Card, called Zynga Serve Rewards, linking everyday spending to virtual rewards for millions of online gamers.
Tied to AmEx's Serve next generation open payments platform and digital wallet, this latest move is a first in the prepaid card market by offering in-game incentives for daily expenditures. The reloadable Serve pre-paid debit card will reward users in Farmville cash.
“We're excited to partner with American Express to invent new ways for people to experience Zynga play in more parts of their day,” stated Mark Pincus CEO and Founder of Zynga. “Together we can add surprise and delight to every day shopping.”Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 21, 2012 01:54 PM
Waterstones, in a surprise move, has partnered with Amazon to sell the e-tailer's Kindle e-book reader, as detailed in a press release and seen in a video, below, from managing director James Daunt.
What a difference a few months make in the fiercely competitive digital versus physical retail wars. In December, Daunt called Amazon “a ruthless, money-making devil," adding, "They never struck me as being a sort of business in the consumer's interest.”Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 9, 2012 03:07 PM
The branding-refreshed Girl Scouts are expanding from the iconic cookie sales into candy bars, which will be sold at U.S. retailers from June through September. For many, it’s a match made in heaven.
"The idea of working with Girl Scouts clicked on so many levels," commented Cherry Joh, marketing manager at Nestlé Crunch, which came up with the idea of a limited-edition candy bar and pitched it to the Girl Scouts USA, who sold $760 million worth of cookies last year through increasing digital savvy as they celebrated their 100th anniversary in March.
To whet your appetite, here’s what’s cooking:Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 8, 2012 02:02 PM
Scion as a brand is going back to the future. Back, that is, to the time when there was no Scion brand — back to more conventional vehicles and marketing than the iconoclastic touch that led to the origination of Toyota's "youth" brand in 2004.
When Toyota announced Scion brand sales for April, executives hoped to continue a trend begun in the first quarter, when Scion sales were up by 19 percent over a year earlier. After four bad years, Scion sales actually ticked up by 8 percent last year over 2010.
In fact, according to Toyota's April U.S. sales press release, Scion posted April sales of 5,503 units, up 8.4 percent versus April 2011. The tC sports coupe led the way with sales of 2,008 units, and the xB urban utility vehicle recorded April sales of 1,617 units. The all-new iQ premium micro-subcompact — the world's smallest four-seater — posted monthly sales of 962 units, followed by the xD five-door urban subcompact with 916 units.
Ironically, the reason Scion is on the cusp of a brand resurgence is that Toyota has scrapped the original reason for the brand.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 4, 2012 11:01 AM
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University are joining the ranks of elite universities jumping into the burgeoning MOOCs — massively open online courses — business. The schools' new partnership, dubbed edX, is also spurring the boom in online video education.
Stanford, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan recently partnered in Coursera, a commercial company with $16 million in venture capital.
Beyond academia, the just announced TED-ED website offers customizable tools for educators, while Khan Academy has helped countless students, teachers and parents with its free treasure trove of online videos, offering more than 3,000 tuturials on everything from math to physics.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 30, 2012 01:16 PM
Microsoft has invested $300 million in a digital venture with Barnes & Noble in a bid to make the bookseller's Nook e-reader available to millions of new customers, from consumers to students, through integration with the Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system.
"Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them," commented Microsoft president Andy Lees to the BBC. "We're on the cusp of a revolution in reading."
“The shift to digital is putting the world’s libraries and newsstands in the palm of every person’s hand, and is the beginning of a journey that will impact how people read, interact with, and enjoy new forms of content,” said Lees in a statement.
Microsoft gets a 17.6% share of the yet-unnamed joint venture, for now (Hulu-like) being called NewCo, with Barnes & Noble owning the remaining 82.4%. The deal includes Barnes & Noble’s College business and the company’s shares are up more than 80%, reaching $25, the highest level since 2009.Continue reading...
sports in the spotlight
Posted by Shirley Brady on April 26, 2012 03:33 PM
Following the 20-second teaser that debuted on April 3rd, Nike's 60-second "Fast Is Faster" commercial, above, is being shared first via Twitter and Facebook today, with the broadcast debut in the first round of the NFL Draft on ESPN between the first and second picks. The "Fast is Faster" campaign showcases Nike's new team uniforms for the NFL.
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 20, 2012 02:55 PM
Traditional retail brands are increasingly looking to e-commerce start-ups for innovation, wedding their physical distribution and resource abundance with nimble, digital sales. Walgreen’s acquisition of Drugstore.com and Walmart's purchase of Kosmix are two high-profile examples. “These guys are usually slow and lumbering giants,” said Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru to the New York Times. “But they need to make proactive investments. Because, left to their own devices, they could never emulate these businesses.”
Add Nordstrom to the list of startup-hungry retailers. The Seattle-based upmarket store brand made few acquisitions in its 111-year-old history before last year, when it acquired ‘flash sales’ site HauteLook and became a lead investor in shoe subscription service Sole Society, a spin-off of HauteLook. This month Nordstrom acquired a stake in socially savvy e-tailer Bonobos in a deal that gives the latter $16.4 million in cash and access to more than 100 Nordstrom stores, while the latter can tap into the Bonobos team's expertise on branding and digital marketing with humor and savvy.
Just how deft is the Bonobos brand when it comes to tapping the zeitgeist? For Earth Day, the menswear e-tailer has created a line of denim made from beer bottles. That's right. Recycled. Beer. Bottles.Continue reading...