Best Global Green Brands 2014

sporting brands

Lance Armstrong Endorsement Deal Proves Thorny for FRS

Posted by Dale Buss on June 25, 2012 03:09 PM

FRS, a leading U.S. brand of supplement beverages and other products, is experiencing the ups and the downs of powerful celebrity endorsements — simultaneously. 

The brand's three leading athlete endorsers are New York Jets Quarterback Tim Tebow, who is beginning to whip up Gotham-sized buzz in his new home; Christie Rampone, a player on the U.S. Olympic Women's Soccer team that is gearing up to compete in London; and Lance Armstrong, whose rep has been crashing down following a new U.S.-government investigation of doping allegations — charges the most legendary cyclist of all-time is vigorously denying.Continue reading...

brand inspiration

Skechers Post-FTC Image Rehab: Take a Page From TOMS (Again)

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 14, 2012 11:01 AM

Skechers recently got itself into hot water when it had to shell out $40 million to settle a suit brought against it by the Federal Trade Commission to settle false advertising charges that its “toning sneakers” could make consumers look and actually be healthier without having them change their behavior in any other way.

Now the shoe brand is looking to build back some of the good feeling it torpedoed with that incident.

The company just announced that it has “donated its first million pair of kids’ shoes through its BOBS from SKECHERS program, which gives a new pair to a child in need for every BOBS footwear purchase.” Those shoes will be finding the feet of kids in the U.S., Central America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

The BOBS sub-brand, which already mimics philanthropic brand TOMS in name, logo and shoe design, is clearly taking a cue from TOMS' "One For One" mission, which donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased.

That clearly doesn't bother celebrity ambassador Brooke Burke-Charvet, the co-host of Dancing With the Stars, who trades her Skecher Shape-ups "toning shoes" for BOBS for the photo opp.Continue reading...

truth in advertising

Skechers Settles FTC Toning Shoe Suit for $40 Million

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 16, 2012 01:14 PM

The Federal Trade Commission announced today that Skechers has agreed to pay $40 million to settle false advertising charges that, as to USA Today puts it, "mislead consumers with claims that its toning sneakers would do everything from help them lose weight to make their 'bottom half their better half' without ever going to a gym."

The settlement, which will be used to provide refunds to buyers of Shape-ups and other Skechers toning sneakers, is believed to be the FTC's largest ever involving consumer refunds, David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, told USA Today.

“Skechers’ unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles. The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health,” stated Vladeck in a press release. “The FTC’s message, for Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims.”

The announcement follows Reebok's $25 million settlement in September following similar FTC charges regarding its toning shoe marketing claims. Skecher's settlement was larger than Reebok's, Vladeck told USA Today, because it has a bigger slice of U.S. market share for toning sneakers. Skechers' toning shoes were promoted with celebrity endorsements by Brooke Burke, Joe Montana and Kim Kardashian (in a 2011 Super Bowl commercial).Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Cereal Thriller: Detroit Tigers Pitcher Scores Home Run with Fastball Flakes

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 16, 2012 11:52 AM

Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander was the best pitcher in the American League last year, taking home his first Cy Young award after winning 24 games last year. So he capitalized a little bit on his popularity in the offseason and allowed his name to be put on a cereal to be sold in Meijer stores in the region as well as online.

Well, Verlander’s Fastball Flakes are selling like crazy. Originally, 100,000 “limited-edition” boxes were ordered but Crain’s Detroit Business reports that 110,000 boxes have been sold since the charity-supporting cereal went on sale in February.

“This has been one of our more successful products,” said Doug Ritchart, an account manager with the cereal’s manufacturer, Pittsburgh-based PBL Sports Inc., to Crain's.

Verlander is in the middle of a five-year, $80 million contract so he’s not hurting for cash. As a result, the profits from the sale of the cereal are all going to veterans medical assistance at two facilities in Michigan, according to USA Today.

PBL most famous product of all time was Flutie’s Flakes, a cereal featuring former Buffalo Bills quarterback Doug Flutie, which sold more than 2 million boxes. Good luck beating that, Verlander.

celebrity brandcasting

Michael Jordan's Post-Bulls Legacy Takes a Beating

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 9, 2012 10:26 AM

Some of the shine has started to come off of Michael Jordan’s once-seemingly eternal luster. Being the owner of the NBA’s worst team, by far, as well as being very anti-player during the last strike has left some not loving Jordan these days.

While Jordan isn’t named in the lawsuit, one of the products with the name of His Airness place don it by the folks at Nike has raised the ire of an energy-drink company. Urban Motive Sportswear is going after Nike for using the phrase “lottery pick” in its “Jordan LS Lottery Pick Jacket,” according to The Urban Daily.

UMS has been selling an energy drink called Lottery Pick since 2004 and it claims that Nike’s product has been hurting the sales of their drink, especially in Chicago where Jordan led the Bulls to six NBA championships.  The suit has it that Nike’s product “damaged [UMS] in a manner that cannot be fully measured or compensated in economic terms and for which there is not adequate remedy at law.” UMS “even claims to have gifted Jordan’s sons some of their merchandise,” The Urban Daily notes.

And to make matters worse for Brand Jordan (as opposed to Jordan Brand, his Nike-backed shoe line), he's coming under fire for an endorsement pitch for Gatorade, with a consumer watchdog criticizing the implied message to youths.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Wheaties Heading to the Locker Room?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 5, 2012 10:01 AM

There was a time, not so long ago, that every athlete in the land dreamed of seeing his or her face on a box of Wheaties, "the Breakfast of Champions." Wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin has been there. Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench has been there. Soccer legend Mia Hamm has been there.

Probably the most famous Wheaties box, though, was the one featuring Olympic decathlete Bruce Jenner, who won gold in Montreal in 1976 and of course went on to be the step-patriarch of the Kardashian family. In all, hundreds of athletes have been on a Wheaties box since the practice began in 1934. It’s not looking good for the athletes of tomorrow to get the same pleasure. In fact, most athletes of tomorrow aren’t likely eating Wheaties for breakfast.

General Mills, the maker of Wheaties and a slew of other cereals, may be responsible to 32% of the cereal market domestically, but Wheaties is only bringing in 0.5% of the market these days, according to CNBC’s Darren Rovell. Back in the ’60s, Wheaties was powerhouse as it took care of 6.5% of all cereals, he notes.

"Wheaties had a clear brand identity," stated Lloyd Moritz, the editor of cereal blog The Breakfast Bowl, on CNBC. "The problem was they rested on their laurels."

Rovell points out that Wheaties has made efforts to expand with Honey Frosted Wheaties in the mid-90's, Wheaties Energy Crunch in 2001, and the two-year-old Wheaties Fuel — but none of them caught on.Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Ad Watch: Richard Gere is Big in Japan Thanks to Orangina Campaign

Posted by Shirley Brady on April 4, 2012 01:46 PM

Richard Gere's new French-made commercials for Suntory's Orangina drink in Japan have skyrocketed sales to the tune of a million cases in the first four days of the commercials' debut. In the spots, the American actor plays Tora-san, an updated version of a sentimental figure from Japanese cinema: a "hapless traveling salesman from an iconic series of Japanese films," according to the Wall Street Journal's Real Time Japan blog. Watch more below.Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Celebrity Brand Match: Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, David Beckham, Tina Fey & more

Posted by Shirley Brady on April 2, 2012 11:55 AM

Rocawear's first ever TV commercial features founder Jay-Z, above. In other celebrity brandcasting today, Burger King's new commercials feature Mary J. Blige, David Beckham, Jay Leno, and Salma Hayek promoting BK's 10 new menu items, its biggest menu expansion since 1954, which debuts today.Continue reading...

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