2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

retail watch

JCPenney Goes From Worse To Worst, While Sears, Walmart Confront Own Problems

Posted by Dale Buss on February 28, 2013 05:26 PM

Is it just us, or does J.C. Penney's "Yours Truly" ad sound like a goodbye? Unfortunately for the 100-year-old brand, it may not be far off. 

J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson may be testifying in the suit against his company by Macy's over Martha Stewart any day now. Sitting in the hot seat in that courtroom can't be any worse than sitting in the hot seat that he already occupies: as the man who presided over what's been called "the worst quarter in retailing history" by Business Insider and who seems increasingly unable to stop Penney's self-imposed slide.

Not that things are hunky-dory at some of his competitors these days either. Sears' problems continue and now Walmart is having trouble keeping its shelves stocked.

Things seem to be spinning out of control at Penney. This week, Johnson reported an adjusted decline in same-store sales of nearly 32 percent for the fourth quarter; and for the fiscal year as a whole, sales dropped by a staggering total of $4.3 billion compared with 2011—just before Johnson was hand-picked as CEO by the Penney board that had been starstruck by his accomplishments running Apple retail. Last month, he finally conceded that the "no-sales" basis of his strategy might be flawed. Continue reading...

retail watch

JCPenney Hopes to Breathe Life into Retail Sales with Pop-Up Shops

Posted by Brittany Waterson on February 27, 2013 12:37 PM

JCPenney, seemingly a permanent fixture in the news these days, seeks to push past the negative financial and branding headlines and tap into customer experience with their new pop-up shops, which will hopefully garner appeal from designer collaborations. 

The store, which is currently embroiled in a high-stakes trial with Macy's and Martha Stewart over product licenses, has had a rough time since CEO Ron Johnson took over a year ago. The brand's "no markdown" strategy backfired, and word on the street is that employee morale has hit an all-time low at the company's Plano, Texas headquarters. 

However, the company had a moment during the Oscars broadcast. The new campaign, a series of commercials introducing JCP’s latest brand partnerships expanded on last year's rebranding campaign with Ellen DeGeneres. It also boosted activity on Facebook and Twitter, rewarding some followers with gift certificates.

Now, with the success of shop-in-shop brands like Sephora, MNG by Mango, Levi's Denim Bar and Liz Claiborne, the retailer is adding more designers to its in-store boutique lineup and plans to expand to home goods later this spring. Each brand will have their own design aesthetic within their individual shop.

With its in-store designer additions, J.C. Penney joins Target, Macy's (now battling JCP in court over Martha Stewart) and Bloomingdale's as the latest department store to experiment with boutique-style shops. In fact, JCP is stealing from Target's playbook with a new exclusive home goods collection by American architect Michael Graves—Target's first designer partnership, which launched in 1999 and produced a whopping 2,000 items—and Justin Timberlake's William Rast collection, which launched as a Target exclusive in 2010.

Other upcoming JCPenney designer collaborations include in-store boutiques for Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler, Designs by Conran, Watchgear by Tourneau, Carters and Giggles. Here's a look at the in-store boutiques now hitting its stores:Continue reading...

see you in court

Terry Lundgren's Testimony Questions Future of Macy's Without Martha

Posted by Dale Buss on February 26, 2013 05:12 PM

Testimony by Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren this week helped answer one of the questions raised by his company's determined pursuit of perceived justice in its suit against J.C. Penney and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia: Why does this dispute seem so personal? Macy's helped the company after Stewart got out of prison eight years ago and Lundgren had come to consider her a friend.

But Lundgren's remarks on Monday about the centrality of the Martha Stewart deal to Macy's business raised another, more important question for all three brands: Why is the Martha Stewart imprimatur so important to the dean of department-store chains and why does Penney believe her brand has so much appeal that it's willing to allow its CEO to share company secrets in court about its tremendous potential?

As first of the three most important people in the trial to actually take the stand, Lundgren left no doubt about how important sales of Stewart-branded merchandise have become to the chain. While the home department is usually the least profitable section of a Macy's store, because of its long lead time and slow turn of products, he testified according to Advertising Age, 40 percent of Macy's advertising is attached to the home business. And that's largely because Macy's wants consumers to know it's got Martha's stuff. Continue reading...

brand wars

Macy's-Stewart-J.C. Penney Case Off to a Catty Start—And That's Just the Lawyers

Posted by Dale Buss on February 21, 2013 06:12 PM

Sure, we get the occasional brand vs. brand dustup in court, but the three-ring circus that opened this week, pitting Macy's against J.C. Penney and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia already has brought more color than that Apple-Samsung dispute last year—and that's without any of the colorful principals even making an appearance yet.

In the first day of testimony in a Manhattan court on Wednesday, the Stewart-Penney alliance and Macy's made the outlines of their arguments pretty clear.

Macy's believes that an agreement by Stewart's company to supply some of her homeware designs to a giant J.C. Penney "store within a store" violates Macy's agreement for its own Stewart-brand merchandise that has been renewed through 2018. Besides, they believe Martha Stewart and her company owe Macy's some loyalty because it struck a deal with her in 2004 when she was just out of prison for conspiracy.

J.C. Penney and Stewart, on the other hand, believe they're doing nothing wrong in planning to sell Stewart-designed stuff as long as it doesn't bear her actual name and likeness, which they concede would violate terms of the Macy's deal. Besides, this argument goes, a bunch of the stuff has already been manufactured overseas and is on boats on the way to the U.S. for their debut in Penney stores—and does Macy's really intend on asking these ships to turn around?Continue reading...

fashion therapy

Michael Kors: From NYC Club Kid to King of Fashion

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on February 18, 2013 10:57 AM

Michael Kors may very well be the most influential person in New York fashion—or at least the one with the most business prowess. 

The brand was just named the most-searched American fashion brand worldwide, beating out prominent names like Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein in a study by Digital Luxury Group.

Launched in the early 80's, the designer's clothing and accessories company continues to beat Wall Street expectations and reel in more HENRYS, or "High Earners Not Rich Yet" shoppers, with fashionable yet accessible handbags, watches and sportswear. Rightfully so, the designer's Fall 2013 collection debuted at New York Fashion Week with a survival theme, perhaps a reflection of its leading man's reputation in the industry. 

Arguably the new Coach, Kors claimed market share from its rival accessories manufacturer after the holiday shopping season. Coach has seen a slowdown as of late, with competitors like Tory Burch and Kate Spade—both of which appeared in the most-searched top 10—taking a strong stand in the luxury goods market.Continue reading...

cola wars

Pepsi Does the Harlem Shake, Coca-Cola Reveals Marc Jacobs-Designed Cans

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 15, 2013 12:56 PM

Coca-Cola has spent plenty of bucks on making iconic ads in the past, but its latest 60-second spot is coming from a low-priced source—a fan of the brand—while the company just revealed a trio of new cans designed by global creative director Marc Jacobs. The details on the latest moves in the cola wars:Continue reading...

auto motive

Lincoln Promotes New Chapter With Grammys Campaign Starring Beck and MKZ

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 10, 2013 08:25 PM

Ford's Hello, Again project for the relaunched Lincoln brand and its new MKZ model was promoted with a new commercial, above, that premiered during the Grammy Awards broadcast on CBS Sunday evening. The description:

"We revisited our 90-year history of making automobiles to introduce the Lincoln Motor Company. We filtered our past greats through a fresh vision to say, 'Hello, Again' to the luxury motorcar. But we haven't stopped with automobiles. With 'Hello, Again' we'll commence a series of projects with artists who share our vision of reimagination. And along with you, watch as they explore familiar territory to return with original creations we’ve never met before."

Celebrating the art of sound, the Lincoln brand invited musician Beck (a master of reinvention himself) and director Chris Milk to reimagine the composition of David Bowie's classic tune, "Sound and Vision." The Feb. 6th recording session involved 167 musicians playing a set list from a series of rotating platforms, creating a 360-degree immersive event for a "new digital experience" as the audience (including Australian musician Sia) circled the performance.Continue reading...

brand collaborators

Gimmick or Gold Mine, 'Creative Director' Brand Craze Adds Timberlake to Ranks

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 8, 2013 03:24 PM

The list reads like a Who’s Who of A-list celebrities: Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Victoria Beckham, Swizz Beatz, will.i.am. But it's not a concert bill.

Instead, it's a list of stars who have recently agreed to serve as creative directors for brands — a trend that seems to blur the lines between star bling and business acumen.

Bud Light Platinum is the latest, announcing this week that it's inked deal with Justin Timberlake “to provide creative, musical and cultural curation for the brand.” The collaboration is to debut at Sunday’s 55th Grammy Awards via an ad, "Platinum Night," which features his latest single, "Suit & Tie." "Bud Light Platinum brings a refined, discerning aesthetic to beer that plays well with what I'm doing," Timberlake stated in a press release.Continue reading...

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