brand history

At 50, Weight Watchers Still Has a Great Figure

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 20, 2013 12:02 PM

Born out of an all-too-common social faux pas in 1961—founder Jean Nidetch was mistakenly congratulated for being pregnant in a supermarket—Weight Watchers is about to turn 50. The original weight-loss brand now operates in about 30 countries with its trademark programs using a science-driven approach to help participants lose weight.

After her supermarket encounter, Nidetch, who weighed 214 pounds at the time, checked into an obesity clinic but became convinced there must be a better way to lose weight. She created a typewritten meal plan and shed 20 pounds in 10 weeks, followed by convening a small group of friends who met regularly to plan out menus to lose weight.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Reddit Sensation Grumpy Cat Readies for Trademark Battles

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 15, 2013 02:28 PM

You want to make Reddit sensation Grumpy Cat really grumpy? Try using her name on a product without prior authorization.

The owners of the cat that took social media by storm five months ago have filed for a trademark for the name "Grumpy Cat" as well as the cat’s likeness. After all, their little kitty, whose name is actually Tardar Sauce, has since gotten her own website, Facebook fan page, retail space, an appearance on the Today Show and her own commercial for Friskies cat food, according to SmallBizTrends.com.Continue reading...

china

Brad Pitt's Cadillac China Ad Shows Auto Brand's Confusion With Market

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 13, 2013 10:25 AM

After a short teaser spot two weeks ago, the Cadillac ad for China with the brand's new spokesman Brad PItt is here. It's terrible in general, but it's even worse for the Chinese market. Cadillac knows white is the color of funerals in China, right?

In the ad, Pitt (or maybe a CGI Pitt, it's hard to tell) cruises around San Francisco, pensively doing "creative" person things. Maybe the actor is on his way to Chinatown since he's banned from entering China itself.

He swipes some digital displays while never saying a word. Couldn't GM have asked him to speak a little Mandarin? Chinese love it when celebrities humble themselves by mangling some Chinese. It's even been rumored that Pitt and Angelina Jolie are learning a little Mandarin. Not that Cadillac appears to "speak Mandarin" any better. It's latest attempt to grow its flagging sales in China may hint at a deeper problem with its fundamental understanding of the market.Continue reading...

ad watch

Cheers and Jeers for Beyoncé's Platinum Promos for Pepsi

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 6, 2013 05:39 PM

Beyoncé is beyond busy. Following her Pepsi-sponsored Super Bowl halftime show, she presented an award at the Grammys with Ellen Degeneres, she's the cover girl for the March issue of Vogue, she did an interview with Oprah Winfrey and her documentary aired on HBO, not to mention that her "Mrs. Carter World Tour" is almost upon us, kicking off in Belgrade in April and reaching the U.S. in late June. 

The star posted a Warhol-inspired ad to her Facebook page (which has over 43 million likes!) and can be seen striking three poses, highlighting her much-talked about new bleached blonde hair. The caption, in a nod to her soda sponsor's "Live for Now" tagline and the 60's inspiration: "Pop Art inspires me to Live for NOW."

In another made-for-social promo image, Pepsi's $50 million girl channels Monroe and Bardot, clad in a pair of teeny shorts and a tight-fitting white turtleneck. The ads, which promote her upcoming Pepsi-sponsored tour have come under some fire for portraying the vocal star with a visibly fairer complexion.Continue reading...

getting by with a little help

Michelle Obama Brings Let's Move to Schools With $50 Million Boost From Nike

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 28, 2013 01:51 PM

Critics feeling that Michelle Obama has been overexposed lately, from presenting at the Oscars to mom-dancing with Jimmy Fallon, will have a hard time critiquing her latest move. The First Lady is expanding Let's Move, her three-year-old initiative to get kids moving and combat childhood obesity, and she's tapping one of the world's leading brands in the "get moving" space—Nike. 

NIKE, Inc. President & CEO Mark Parker joined First Lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in Chicago to announce Nike’s $50 million, five-year commitment to help launch a new Let's Move program for schools, an extension of the brand's involvement in the organization's Designed to Move study that found that only one in three American kids are active daily.Continue reading...

china

Bradillac: Cadillac Tries to Build Brand in China with Brad Pitt, Smoother Lines

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 22, 2013 11:38 AM

It's a rough start when your new China spokesman is banned from China—but it appears Cadillac is going ahead with a new deal to make Brad Pitt its face in the world's fastest growing auto market.

Though with sales plunging in China and Audi and BMW eating its lunch, the brand needs to do something. It's too bad that even Brad Pitt won't likely be able to sell the Chinese an angry car they don't want. 

Cadillac's new $3 million dollar endorsement with Pitt (Bradillac?) may add some perspective to Pitt's recent, less than smooth entry to Chinese social media. In January, Pitt joined microblogging platform Weibo and posted "Yep, it is the truth. I am coming…"

The news was forwarded tens of thousands of times by those wondering if China's ban on the actor—following his film "Seven Years in Tibet"—had been lifted. Just a few weeks later, Pitt's account disappeared. It's unclear if the actor himself deleted it or if Weibo shut it down, something the platform is wont to do. Continue reading...

brand ambassadors

Lindsey Vonn Supports Sponsor Red Bull While in Rehab

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 20, 2013 10:29 AM

When Gold Medal skier Lindsey Vonn's uplifting Facebook post from rehab carried the Instagram/Twitter hashtag #givesyouwings, it was just the latest example of how injury has become another opportunity for athlete spokespeople to service their brands.

Vonn posted the positive message alongside a picture of herself working out her abs as she is recovering from knee surgery after a brutal injury. The picture included her Red Bull water bottle. (She later tweeted a graphic picture of her post-op knee).

Yes, Red Bull is a Lindsey Vonn sponsor, but the fact that the four-time World Cup champion might not strap on skis for another six to eight months isn't stopping her endorsement duties. In fact, as many brands are learning, there may be as much to gain from a sponsor's thrill of victory as there is from his or her agony of defeat.Continue reading...

brand ambassadors

'Blade Runner' Sponsors Nike, BT Shocked, but Sticking with Oscar Pistorius, For Now

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 15, 2013 01:53 PM

Oscar Pistorius was a man once known for being the fastest double-leg amputee on the planet. Now that the so-called Blade Runner has been charged with murder for the shooting death of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp early Valentine’s Day morning, his sponsors, who pay out about $2 million to Pistorius annually, are moving just as quickly as Pistorius to figure out how to deal with the sudden PR nightmare.

Nike’s attachment to Pistorius was compounded by the fact that an ad featuring the Olympian used the tagline, “I’m the bullet in the chamber.” It was pulled from Pistorius’s website on Thursday, Ad Age reports. The victim's tweets before her murder also created a social media nightmare for anyone or any company attached to the paralympic athlete.

"Nike extends its deepest sympathy and condolences to all families concerned following this tragic incident," his sponsor said in a statement. "As it is a police matter, Nike will not comment further at this time." Two other sponsors, Oakley and BP Global, both used the word “shocked” in their statements on the issue. Thierry Mugler fragrances had nothing to say other than it was waiting to see what happens with the investigation.

British Telecom, better known as BT, also went the “appalled” route with its statement: "Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy. Given the ongoing legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further."Continue reading...

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