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brand battle

Netflix, Amazon Even the Playing Field with New Streaming Content Deals

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 17, 2013 04:08 PM

The streaming race between Netflix and Amazon is neck and neck again as both service providers have inked new streaming deals for in-demand programming.

The news comes just a week after Netflix suffered a blow as it relinquished its deal with Viacom and saw Amazon quickly scoop up its rights to popular kids programming like Dora the Explorer, Blue's Clues and others. But now, Netflix is back on the horse thanks to a new deal with DreamWorks.

The long-in-the-making deal with DreamWorks Animation will supply Netflix with 300 hours of original programming inspired by much-loved DreamWorks characters like Shrek and The Croods, as well as series featuring Casper the Friendly Ghost and Lassie, which DreamWorks has rights to through its purchase of Classic Media.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Marriott Importing European Hotel Brand to US to Entice Millennials

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 3, 2013 02:46 PM

Marriott is making another bid for Millennial travelers as it announces plans to import its European-based hotel chain, AC, to America. Earlier this year, Marriott introduced a partnership with IKEA for a new hotel brand called Moxy, which will cater to Millennials across Europe. 

AC Hotels, which is based in Madrid, was bought by Marriott back in 2010 and rechristened AC Hotels by Marriott, HotelChatter.com reports. The hope was that it would help Marriott expand its footprint across that continent, USA Today reports. That’s resulted in 79 AC Hotels by Marriott across Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. Now it’s looking to do the same in the States with a plan for 200 more in the next 10 years.

"It's the right time to bring it to the US," says Brian King, global brand officer for Marriott Endorsed Brands, according to USA Today. "You import wine and you import cars. We're going to import a hotel brand."Continue reading...

brands under fire

Apple CEO Defends Tax Strategy, Attacks US Tax Code in Testimony with Senate Panel

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 21, 2013 03:52 PM

Apple CEO Tim Cook was in Washington, D.C. Tuesday to go before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation, which is accusing the huge corporation of avoiding paying US taxes.

Sure, Apple paid about $6 billion in taxes to the US government last year and, according to iMore.com, “already pays $1 out of every 40 tax dollars the U.S. collects,” but according to the committee, Apple has been stashing billions in offshore accounts in Ireland, where the company had reportedly negotiated a tax rate below 2 percent. One of the Irish subsidiaries is known as Apple Operations International, which has no employees but posted $30 billion in income from 2009 to 2012, the Committee reports. 

"We are proud to be an American company, and we are equally proud of our contributions to the U.S. economy," Cook told the panel. While the company was lauded for its technilogical and economic contributions to the US, Sen. Carl Levin told the panel that "Apple executives want the public to focus on the U.S. taxes the company has paid, but the real issue is the billions in taxes it has not paid, thanks to offshore tax strategies whose purpose is tax avoidance, pure and simple," the L.A. Times reports.Continue reading...

campaign tactics

Coca-Cola Gets Personal in Europe with "Share a Coke" Campaign

Posted by Barry Silverstein on May 15, 2013 02:42 PM

Summertime is a great time for sharing soft drinks—and Coca-Cola wants to make the most of it in a very personal way with the "Share a Coke" campaign, launching across Europe this month.

"This month we're swapping our names with yours," proclaims the world's leading soft drink in a concept that has a country's most popular names showing up on Coca-Cola bottle labels. In Great Britain, for example, Coke bottles on shelves this summer will feature 150 of the UK's most popular names. In addition, Share a Coke vending machines will be on tour so Coke fans can personalize their very own Coca-Cola or Coke Zero bottle. The company is also encouraging Facebook users to create a virtual personalized Coke can to share with someone.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Global Brands Come Under Fire as Another Factory Disaster Claims Nearly 100 in Bangladesh

Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 24, 2013 06:45 PM

The spotlight on global retailers sourcing product from Bangladesh just got brighter as another garment factory collapse in Bangladesh has killed 96 people and injured more than 1,000 in Savar, 20 miles outside of Dhaka. It’s the latest in a series of horrific accidents and fires plaguing Bangladesh's booming garment industry, including last November’s Tazreen factory blaze that killed 112 workers.

In Savar, factory owners reportedly ignored a warning about a crack in the building and an advisement to not allow workers into the five garment factories housed there, which employ mostly women. "There was some crack at the second floor, but my factory was on the fifth floor," said Muhammad Anisur Rahman, according to Reuters. "The owner of the building told our floor manager that it is not a problem and so you can open the factory." 

Rahman said his firm was sub-contracted to supply Walmart stores and Europe's C&A, but subsequently said he was referring to a past order rather than current work. Reuters reports that website New Wave, owner of two factories in the building, listed 27 majority buyers, with firms in Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Canada and the United States.Continue reading...

brand evolution

Havaianas: From Peasant Footwear to Global Fashion Powerhouse

Posted by Barry Silverstein on April 24, 2013 05:38 PM

Havaianas, best known to the world's consumers as the brand that represents the ubiquitous flip-flop, turned 50 in 2012. It was a year in which the Brazilian company made enough flip-flops to circle the world 50 times.

Carla Schmitzberger, who oversees the brand in her role as head of the sandals business unit at Havaianas' parent company, Alpargatas, said that until the 1990s, "mostly poor people wore" Havaianas. "However, there was a small group of wealthier people that were wearing the product, but they were wearing them at home, and they were embarrassed to be seen with them because they were considered a poor person's footwear," she shared in an interview in the latest edition of Interbrand IQ.

Indeed, the brand was launched in 1962 with the goal of outfitting Brazil's peasants — not by a Brazilian but by a Scotsman, Robert Fraser, who was inspired by traditional Japanese shoe design.Continue reading...

brands under fire

US Musicians Go After Marvel Over Film Score Outsourcing

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 24, 2013 12:42 PM

Marvel Entertainment may have brought a lot of joy to a lot of folks over the years with the creation of such characters as Spider-Man, Captain America and the Hulk, among tons of others, but one group isn’t exactly feeling the love these days: American musicians.

The unhappiness stems from the fact that Marvel, which is owned by Disney, has been using European musicians that come cheaper than their American counterparts to score its many successful films in recent years, the Los Angeles Times reports

The American Federation of Musicians is drawing attention to their discontent with protests at Marvel Entertainment’s L.A. locations as well as nearby stops where the newest installment of Captain America is currently being shot and outside the El Capitan Theatre, which will host the world premiere of Iron Man 3 Wednesday.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

IKEA's Elk Lasagne Latest Product to Suffer Meat Mix-Up

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 8, 2013 11:41 AM

What North Americans know as moose and Europeans call elk apparently make a tasty meal. Since January, consumers in Europe and Asia could find the animal’s meat in lasagna sold at the Swedish furniture giant's stores. But recently there has apparently been a little something else in IKEA’s Elk Lasagna that consumers weren’t aware of: pork.

This isn't the first meat mix-up that IKEA has dealt with, as the company was one of several retailers implicated in the horse meat scandal that has swept across Europe. IKEA has been forced to remove its famed Swedish meatballs from its restaurants and frozen food aisles, and adding to its meat woes, the brand has just pulled nearly 18,000 units of its elk lasagne from its stores and websites after authorities in Belgium discovered the product contained a percentage of pork meat.Continue reading...

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