GM Shuffles Its Cards Overseas In Hopes of Finding Balance in Europe, Asia

Posted by Dale Buss on November 18, 2013 04:57 PM

For decades, the "old" General Motors lived uncomfortably with the evident overlap between its Buick and Oldsmobile brands in the US market, a counterproductive overlap that encompassed product segments, dealers and, of course, many customers. But it took the company until just before the 2009 bailout to finally end the brand confusion by vanquishing Oldsmobile.

GM faces a similar conflict in Europe between the Chevrolet and Opel brands, and CEO Dan Akerson has said, "Something has to change" about the arrangement. What isn't clear at this point is exactly what will change. But the whole problem is pretty consequential for the company.

Opel is to GM in Europe what Chevrolet is to GM in the United States: the big, bellwether, crucial brand for the company in that market. That remains the case despite the woes of the European auto industry that have affected every company, brand and segment, and would seem to favor a further incursion by budget-priced Chevrolet. But Opel outsells Chevy five-to-one there despite GM's efforts to grab a significant foothold for Chevrolet over the last several years, including shared Opel and Chevy showrooms and some similar product lines.Continue reading...

retail

Here Comes COS: H&M Readies to Introduce Upscale, Artsy Sibling to US

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 15, 2013 03:42 PM

Swedish retail giant Hennes & Mauritz is gunning for its “coolly-minimal younger sibling,” COS, to make big a splash in the US market after building up quite a fanbase in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The brand will make its debut in the spring, joining fast-fashion phenom H&M. 

But the higher-priced, more artsy brand has no intention of settling for second place. According to H&M's head of business, Marie Honda, the high-fashion brand has the potential to be huge. After testing the waters earlier this month with a NYC pop-up shop at Opening Ceremony, the upscale, minimalist and cosmopolitan COS brand will target US ities "that have an international feel," Honda told Women's Wear Daily

Come spring 2014, the brand plans to launch US e-commerce and open its first store in April in NYC's Soho neighborhood. 

It’s a strategic shift for H&M, which launched in the US market as a trendy and cheaper alternative to Gap, Zara and Forever 21, and for whom American stores deliver the most revenue after Germany.Continue reading...

automotive

Lexus Turns Driving Into an Artform in Lexus IS 300h Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on October 28, 2013 03:04 PM

If you drive "ugly," you may be ugly. That seems to be a primary message inherent in a new art-inspired promotion in Europe and Japan for the Lexus IS 300h hybrid, called Art is Motion.

Lexus has equipped one of the cars with software that produces a "generative self-portrait" of the driver behind the wheel based on the work of artist Sergio Albiac that is converted into paint-brush strokes. A system onboard the car "paints" a digital picture of the car's owner that takes shape in real time on its computer screen as the car proceeds, and on the Art is Motion website, based on his or her driving style and efficient use of energy.

Not surprisingly, the more the driver relies on battery power instead of gasoline as the car goes, the more flattering is the "generative self-portrait" that emerges. Or, as LeftLaneNews.com put it, "Those who employ the hybrid system's 141-hp electric motor more will end up with a more accurate painting in cooler colors. On the other hand lead-foots who make greater use of its 178-hp petrol four-cylinder will draw a more abstract depiction in "virulent" hues."Continue reading...

campaigns

Nestle Fitness Breast Cancer Campaign Tweets to Save the Tatas

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 25, 2013 12:35 PM

If this is what Apple meant by "wearable tech," then they might be on to something.

Nestlé Fitness is promoting breast cancer awareness with the latest in social undergarments: the Tweeting Bra. Yes, a bra that tweets reminders to your mobile phone to administer a breast self-examination. As digital and corporate citizenship campaigns go, you might call this one off the hook. It's also putting the Geek in Greek, with some chic.Continue reading...

end of an era

The Devil Waves Bye-Bye: Condé Nast Kills Internships as 'Unpaid' Debate Goes Global

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 24, 2013 11:07 AM

Interns take heart—the era of your unpaid servitude may be over, but so may be your job prospects. 

Following multiple lawsuits and a global debate on the ethics of unpaid labor in the name of "experience," Condé Nast, the publisher of such leading glossies including Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ, announced that it is abolishing its internship program starting next year. Over the summer, two former interns, one with W magazine and the other with The New Yorker, filed lawsuits claiming they were paid below minimum wage. 

It's yet to be seen whether other companies will follow suit, but there's no doubt that others will be looking to dodge the bad headlines and nightmarish PR spin that Conde and others, like Hearst, have had to endure in the last few years.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

North American Alliance Bids for Transparency in Efforts to Improve Bangladesh Factories

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 23, 2013 07:17 PM

More than half of the 620 Bangladesh garment factories contracted by 23 North American retailers and apparel makers have been inspected for fire and building safety, according to a report from the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.

Since the April collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex that killed more than 1,100 garment workers and a November 2012 fire at the Tazreen factory that killed 112, close attention has been paid to Bangladesh's booming garment industry—but it's still not enough. Earlier this month, another factory fire killed nearly a dozen people—a building that was reportedly left out of inspections by both the Alliance and European-based Accord on Fire and Building Safety.  

In a bid to be more transparent amid criticism over its non-binding agreement, the Alliance has released a full list of all of its contracted factories that includes names and addresses, as well as number of workers and building composition. The list also indicates which factories are utilized by Accord members.Continue reading...

rebranding

Iberia Airlines Rebrands for a Better Future With New Logo and Livery

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 15, 2013 05:57 PM

Iberia Airlines, which merged with British Airways in 2010, has kept its national pride intact as the airliner carries out a rebrand across its fleet and service. 

The airline worked with leading brand consultancy Interbrand on its new visual identity and brand experience, including a new livery design that makes greater use of Spain's national colors, red and yellow. Its iconic crown remains on the tail, but moves to a smaller location on the fuselage.

Its new logo features a bold 'Iberia' typeface and a new symbol that's reflective of the old 'IB' logo. The new look will officially debut through mid-November, but the extent of the rebrand goes far beyond a paint job.Continue reading...

sip on this

Gatorade Sets Itself Up for Major European Exposure

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 3, 2013 07:12 PM

Maybe it’s the increased exposure that Premier League football is getting in the United States through NBC’s new deal, but Gatorade is showing some extra interest in Britain’s top soccer teams this month. The brand, which got its start at the University of Florida in 1965, is now sold by PepsiCo in 80 countries—and will soon be found inside the coolers of some the world's top soccer teams. 

Gatorade just announced two three-year deals with Liverpool F.C. and Arsenal F.C., KamCity.com reports. The Liverpool deal will net some serious exposure for the brand since the sports drink will be imbibed in the team's locker room and on the field, while the Arsenal deal only includes the club's under-18 and under-21 development squads.Continue reading...

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