auto motive

Running On Air: Automakers Choose Sides In Race for Hydrogen-Powered Car

Posted by Dale Buss on January 28, 2013 06:45 PM

It's not exactly the USA versus the USSR over which country could get to the moon first. (Actually, the technology involved is, in many ways, more complicated.) 

But the sudden rivalry between two coalitions of global automakers over fuel-cell technology will be an interesting and important struggle over the next few years. Which team — Daimler, Ford and Nissan, or BMW and Toyota — will be first to jointly bring an affordable, zero-emission car to market powered by hydrogen?

"We believe we were never as close to reaching a breakthrough in fuel-cell cars as today thanks to this partnership," said Thomas Weber, Daimler's head of research and development, according to Automotive News.

The age of mass-market, affordable fuel cell electric vehicles may soon be here thanks to a unique, three-way agreement among Nissan, Daimler and Ford. The three auto giants have joined forces to share Research & Development and investment for this next-generation, zero-emission technology.Continue reading...

retail watch

One Year Into the Job, JCPenney CEO Struggling to Spark a Sales Turnaround

Posted by Dale Buss on January 25, 2013 01:16 PM

Many politicians, actors and sports stars have experienced an annus horribilis. But when it comes to corporate CEOs, few have ever had as bad a year as Ron Johnson of JCPenney.

It's been about a year since the former Apple retailing executive blew into Penney's headquarters in Dallas believing that he had a secret formula that would do even more than rescue the company from its threatened place in the nation's retailing industry. Eager to start a "retail revolution," Johnson sought to simplify the company's structure and re-program the American consumer's attitude toward store pricing, discounting and promotional tactics.

A year ago today, at a splashy two-day press event in New York, Johnson outlined his vision for transforming the 110-year-old department-store chain over four years through "Fair and Square" pricing as part of a rebranding and repositioning for the company. But it's not working.Continue reading...

that's entertainment

Ron Howard Aims to Direct More Brands' Storytelling Efforts

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 8, 2013 03:19 PM

Ron Howard has wanted to be in the marketing business for decades now, but his wife told him that if he had time to take away from his work as a famous director, producer, and actor, he better fork it over to his wife and kids.

Well, the kids are all grown up now and Howard must have gotten buy-in from his wife because the partnership of Howard and producer Brian Glazer – the duo behind such classic films and TV series as Splash, Apollo 13, 8 Mile, A Beautiful Mind, Friday Night Lights, 24, and Arrested Development – are bringing their storytelling savvy to the marketing world, according to Fortune.

The appeal of working with brands, Howard told Fortune, is that marketers are “wide open” about their how they deliver content, using "long form, short form, live events.” They're also eager for better quality storytelling, and eager to bring Hollywood-honed creativity to their brands. Down the road, Howard says, "We could bring in an Academy Award-winning screenwriter to work on a brand."Continue reading...

branding together

Chevrolet Helps Disney Re-imagine Epcot Test Track

Posted by Dale Buss on December 7, 2012 11:19 AM

Two of America's most beloved brands are getting together to update one of its most popular amusement attractions. GM and Disney held a grand opening of the new "Test Track Presented by Chevrolet" pavilion at Epcot in Orlando on Thursday.

A few lucky park-goers already have gotten to experience the substantially overhauled ride over the last few days. The redesigned pavilion aims to retain the classic appeal of the ride experience for Disney fans while gaining a lot more mileage for General Motors out of its long brand partnership for the attraction.

"You look at the Disney guest and the Chevy customer and it seemed like the ride is an absolute equalizer for them," Grace Morgan, director of auto shows, exhibits and experiential marketing for GM, told brandchannel. "And we wanted to be able to tell a more modern Chevy story."Continue reading...

fashion therapy

All Yoko Ono is Saying Is Give Jockstraps a Chance

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 3, 2012 09:54 AM

Yoko Ono has always been full of surprises. Whether it’s spending a week in an Amsterdam hotel bed with John Lennon to promote world peace, coming onstage in Tokyo and having audience members cut her garments off until she was naked, and directing a film that consists pretty much entirely of people’s buttocks as they walk on a treadmill. It's all in a day's work for the avant garde artist/musician.

Well, Ono has added another interesting twist to her long and fascinating career. She has launched a limited edition menswear collection, Fashions For Men 1969-2012, for New York-based indie fashion retailer Opening Ceremony based on sketches that she gave Lennon in 1969 before they were married. “The designs were intended to emphasize his 'very sexy bod,'” according to the Daily Mail.

Thankfully we may never know if Lennon donned any of the 18 designs for jock straps, light-up bras and hoodies emblazoned with butt prints, but the 79-year-old Ono is hoping that men across the globe will. But you have to get them while they’re hot. There are only 52 of each product except for the sweatshirts and posters that will likely be desired by a much larger audience. Prices range from $75 to $750.

Ono, of course, is still keeping her personal brand in the news while also keeping Lennon's brand alive and well heading into 2013. Still, she argues, it's a labor of love: “I made this whole series with love for his hot bod and gave it to him as a wedding present,” Ono stated about the collection. “You can imagine how he went wild and fell in love with me even more.”Continue reading...

branding together

Chrysler Unveils "Imported From Detroit" Workwear with Carhartt

Posted by Dale Buss on November 29, 2012 01:07 PM

The Chrysler brand and Carhartt this week launched a limited-edition "Imported From Detroit" work wear collection that pays homage to the spirit of the Motor City, and serves as yet another reminder of the effectiveness of Chrysler's turnaround branding campaign sparked by the 2011 Super Bowl commercial featuring Eminem.

Debuting at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, the collection includes shirts, jackets and pants that are individually hand-numbered, 100-percent Made-in-America, and reflect iconic Carhartt styles with exclusive design detailing such as blacked-out hardware and leather brand labels.

"The pairing of the Chrysler brand and Carhartt is another example of how we are continuing to champion the energy created from the 'Imported From Detroit' campaign," stated Saad Chehab, president and CEO of the Chrysler brand. "Carhartt shares Chrysler's respect and appreciation for hard-working Americans."Continue reading...

logo-a-gogo

Starbucks Blows Up Logo for Holiday Collection with Rodarte

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 14, 2012 02:07 PM

The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and Starbucks would love to offer one-stop shopping so its caffeinated customers needn't bother with any other retailer. Why not pick up some gifts while refuelling during holiday shopping?

To help make that happen, the 41-year-old company collaborated with funkster designers Rodarte, the fashion label known for its hip clothing and Black Swan costumes, to create a few limited edition stocking stuffers for its North American holiday collection.

Rodarte has designed for Starbucks a tumbler as well as a tote bag, reusable up sleeve, and a Starbucks card. If it appears that the Starbucks logo is a bit blurry and pixelated, you don't need to get your eyes checked because it is — a daring choice for a brand that put so much energy and cash into its logo redesign almost two years ago.Continue reading...

let's make a deal

BMW, in a First, Shares Its Logo and Design Chops with Other Brands

Posted by Dale Buss on November 12, 2012 05:51 PM

First BMW opened its first retail store, in Paris, last spring. And now, the brand is spreading itself around the world with a new licensing strategy that, for the first time, takes its marques outside the dealer channel with new products.

Now bearing the BMW imprimatur and logos are a variety of new licensed product lines that bring the automaker to a new range of lifestyle brand partners, including Maclaren baby strollers (coming in January) with four-wheel suspension and "ergonomic removable seat liner," Aspex sunglasses with 360-degree pivotable hinges, Group III travel accessories included BMW-branded luggage, and Ball Watch watches.

"This is something they've never really done before, but BMW decided that this [program] could really help build impressions and engage the customer," Jeff Lotman, CEO and founder of Los Angeles-based Global Icons, the brand-licensing agency working with BMW, told brandchannel.Continue reading...

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