Posted by Tom Shanahan on October 24, 2014 02:12 PM
Wearables, wearables, wearables.
They’re everywhere, yes. And now that Apple’s jumped on board and wearable tech was a all the rage at last month's New York Fashion Week, it’s certain the craze will continue, and perhaps morph from a craze to a way of life.
Technology companies are now expected to build products that seamlessly fit into our lives: make them smaller, give them straps, attach them to faces and so on. But what if you don’t want to look like you’re wearing technology? What if you want the technology, but not at the expense of style?
Luckily, there are a few brands leading the charge, not by building technology first, then thinking of a way to wear it, but about design a great piece of clothing, then creating the technology to go with.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 16, 2014 04:02 PM
Heineken continues to press its advantages as a premier premium beer brand (#95 on Interbrand's new Best Global Brands report) in a world where volume brews continue to fade.
New Heineken US initiatives range from an extension of its #Heineken100 partnerships with American luxury goods designers, to a new long-term deal with US Major League Soccer and greater use of contextualized "native" advertising on mobile.
The #Heineken100 initiative is the most upper-crust by far. The brewer recruited Chris Gibbs, onwer of pioneering retail outpost Union Los Angeles, to identify and work with other tastemakers, defined artisans and creators who "not only embody Heineken's aspirational and metropolitan essence, but are on the cusp of becoming innovators in their industries," said Belen Pamukoff, Heineken's brand director of marketing, in a press release.
For the fifth year of #Heineken100, the three new brand partners are Parabellum, a premium bison leather goods brand; high-end eyewear label GLCO (Garrett Leight California Optical); and RTH, a Los Angeles-based purveyor of re-engineered American surplus apparel, handcrafted housewares, leather portage and Native American jewelry.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 10, 2014 03:03 PM
Louis Vuitton just took the top luxury brand spot in Interbrand’s annual Best Global Brands report, coming in at No. 19. The next highest luxury brand is Gucci at No. 41. Part of the reason Interbrand, which owns brandchannel, put Vuitton so high was because the company has "repositioned to protect and elevate" itself after years of being one of the most counterfeited brands in the world.
But it's not resting on its laurels—or its logo. Under the banner "Six Iconoclasts. One Icon" the brand invited a few friends to update its image and breathe some life into its logo-laden luxury items with some previously unthinkable designs.
Invited to take a swing: fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, red-soled shoemaker Christian Louboutin and architect Frank Gehry, along with artist Cindy Sherman, industrial designer Marc Newson, and fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, all of whom took the 118-year-old logo and gave it a a shakeup in a new collection of bags and trunks that's being promoted as #CelebratingMonogram.
The only guidance the six were given, according to the Wall Street Journal, was to “use the brand’s famous … brown-and-gold ‘LV’ symbol in a new way.”Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on September 18, 2014 03:24 PM
After exclusively launching U2’s new Songs of Innocence album to 500 million iTunes accounts this past week, Apple is delivering something else in response to customer demand. And true to Apple form, it’s an intuitive, easy-to-use and simple piece of technology—a delete button.
A case study in how not to show customer appreciation, the unwanted gift of U2 music to all iTunes customers, whether they were fans of the Irish rockers or not, was hyped as the largest album release ever, and a "shrewd" marketing partnership (to the reported tune of $100 million) to celebrate the roots of the brand's longstanding tie-in with the band.
It turns out that the U2 album giveaway was a teaser for a bigger gift to come—and not only to music lovers but to musicians and the music industry as a whole. As TIME reveals in an exclusive cover story today, Apple is working with U2 on a bigger "secret project": a new digital music format designed to delight and excite customers to buy not only individual tracks but whole albums-as-experiences, and in so doing, "save the music industry."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 10, 2014 03:17 PM
Target's new CEO, Brian Cornell, has decided to go back to the future to retool the retailing brand while Home Depot CEO Frank Blake has to hope that he can see something other than Target in the crystal ball for his own brand, as Home Depot deals with a potentially mammoth data breach.
Target suffered a debilitating customer-data breach nearly a year ago, but the brand clearly was having problems before that. The biggest: Former CEO Gregg Steinhafel had allowed Target to drift away from a distinct identity as the au courant mass merchandiser whose chic apparel and homewear designs elevated it above price-first rivals such as Walmart and dollar stores. Steinhafel instead added a greater variety of goods and focused on grocery expansion.
Now, with Steinhafel gone, PepsiCo veteran Cornell is only a month into his job but told the Wall Street Journal that he has one major strategy planned: return to the narrower range of categories where the chain originally made its reputation as "Tarjay," including fashion and furniture, as well as expand fast-growing other segments including organic foods and children's wear.Continue reading...
Posted by Isobel Oliphant on September 5, 2014 07:24 PM
Wearable tech is in the spotlight this week with a slew of devices unveiled at two once-opposed, now merging, worlds.
At the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, brand innovators including Asus, Sony and Samsung are showcasing smartwatches and activity-tracking smartbands, while Motorola released its Moto 360 smartwatch today. And as New York Fashion Week got underway, Intel launched its MICA band in collaboration with Opening Ceremony and announced a smartwatch with Fossil; Rebecca Minkoff (partnering with Case-Mate) and CuteCircuit showcased their respective takes on wearable tech; and a panel today explored the intersection of fashion and technology.
Wearables are no longer the stuff of science fiction, and the future of fashion (and the fashion of technology) is here, as the high-end brands help the garment industry evolve from textiles to tech styles, and Fashion Week is morphing into Fashion Geek Chic.
IDC estimates that more than 19.2 million wearables are expected to ship this year, tripling last year’s sales figures, while wearables could become a $50 billion industry in five years according to Credit Suisse research. Yet many observers feel that widespread adoption hinges on a true marriage of form and function.
Apple devotees are certainly waiting to see if the brand's highly-anticipated smartwatch (and just-revealed collaboration with designer Marc Newson) will strike that delicate balance when revealed next week at its first ever product launch with fashionistas on the invite list.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 28, 2014 02:34 PM
It's hard to believe it’s been a decade since the iconic sitcom Friends ended a ten-season run. In honor of the beloved sitcom’s 20th anniversary—it premiered September 22, 1994—a replica of the show's iconic "Central Perk" coffee shop will be opening in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood September 17 for one month.
The pop-up is a collaboration between Warner Bros. and Eight O' Clock Coffee, which will also serve up a limited-edition Central Perk Roast for the occasion for free.
Visitors to the pop-up can expect special appearances by James Michael Tyler, aka "Gunther"; photo ops with the actual orange couch from the show; in-store performances similar to Phoebe’s improvised songs like Smelly Cat; and contests and giveaways with prizes including Friends on Blu-ray, a DVD of all 10 seasons and Central Perk Roast samples.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 15, 2014 10:01 AM
Target says it's got some of its biggest problems in Canada figured out and has begun to reverse them with a three-pronged turnaround plan that will focus on the chain's supply chain, pricing and merchandise selection in an attempt to turn around an important geographic expansion that has gone badly awry.
The chain has been facing a number of problems lately, including the monumental data breach last December and a loss of much of its overall brand mojo in the US, and those problems helped lead to the departure of CEO Gregg Steinhafel earlier this year.
But the problems in Canada—where Target massively launched last year by opening 124 stores and three distribution centers—led to a loss of nearly $1 billion as sales fell short of expectations and rivals pummeled the retailer.
Now, new Target Canada boss Mark Schindele is insisting that the new initiatives will improve its business performance, pricing and inventory issues and deliver the Target brand experience to Canadian customers.Continue reading...