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...


Fiat Tries To Raise Profile in the U.S. as European Sales Flounder

Posted by Dale Buss on April 4, 2013 05:33 PM

Fiat is still just eking out sales gains in the U.S. market. In March, it sold only 3 percent more variants of its 500 mini-car than a year earlier, when it was barely sellling any at all, and it isn't making much of a cultural or media footprint, either. Its main ad continues to be a year-old TV spot showing Fiats in Italy diving into the sea to make their way to the United States.

That just won't do in the American market for the brand, whose merger with Chrysler will finalize next year, especially while Fiat sales in Europe remain in the dumper.

In turn, Fiat is doing a few new things, which reportedly will include a new North American advertising campaign via traditional and online media. It's likely to include more exposure for the sporty Abarth version of the Fiat 500 as the brand likely couldn't hurt itself by giving wider berth to the buzz-worthy TV spot showing a scorpion pinching off the bikini top of Romanian supermodel Catrinel Menghia.Continue reading...


PPR Rebrands as Kering, Paying Homage to its Roots and Mission

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 22, 2013 04:19 PM

PPR, the multinational holding company that is home to brands including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Brioni and Sergio Rossi, is rebranding as Kering, indicative of a transformation from French conglomerate to internationally focused sportswear (encompassing its brands including Puma, Tretorn and Volcom) and luxury-goods group. 

The new name, accompanied by an owl logo and tagline, "Empowering Imagination," is pronounced "caring." CEO Francois-Henri Pinault explains, "We are there to care for the brand and take care of the brand," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Pinault carries on his father’s legacy as founder with the new name, which a press release explains was inspired by family roots in France's Brittany region as "Ker" meaning home in Breton, with the action-associated "ing" implying "doing" and "going."

Manfredi Ricca, the managing director at Interbrand in Milan, commented to the International Herald Tribune that the new identity reflects an awareness that companies need “a strong angle on what they stand for,” both for consumers and for employees, to demonstrate their “overarching vision” and values.Continue reading...

Audi Getting "Hotter and Stronger" by the Day

Posted by Dale Buss on March 13, 2013 11:12 AM

For Audi, it's the best of times and the worst of times. It depends on whether you're talking about selling vehicles to Americans, Chinese—or Europeans.

Overall, Audi executives stated in a conference call detailing the company's 2012 performance and results on Tuesday, they're bullish as can be about beating the company's global vehicle sales record of 1.46 million last year and increasing deliveries to more than 2 million vehicles by 2020, with the aim of snatching the luxury-sales crown from rival BMW by that year. They also expect to reach 1.5 million annual sales worldwide earlier than their previous plan by 2015.

However, Europe stinks for selling cars right now as the continent sinks into recession and even luxury buyers are pressed. "Overall development in western Europe was recessive [last year] and economic output contracted," Audi CFO Axel Strotbek commented, according to Automotive News Europe.Continue reading...


H&M Launches & Other Stories Brand in Europe

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 12, 2013 04:22 PM

H&M has added another ampersand to its business portfolio. This one, though, is at a higher end than the attire found in the chain’s more than 2,000 locations worldwide.

& Other Stories launched on March 8th with a bash in London, where the new brand will have its first brick-and-mortar store that will offer the brand’s first clothing line as well as a number of products from other labels and designers. Called C-labs, these temporary partnerships include such companies as The Lake & Stars lingerie, Clare Vivier’s bags and accessories, Alyson Fox’s jewelry and fashion designs by Abigail Lorick Im, WWD reports. “We like working with people who we like,” Anna Teurnell, & Other Stories’ head of design, told WWD. “And these labels complement what we have already.”Continue reading...

checking in

IKEA and Marriott Team Up to Launch Millennial-Friendly Budget Hotel Chain

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 5, 2013 03:12 PM

Inter IKEA, the parent of IKEA, announced last summer that it was partnering with a hotelier to create a new hotel brand that oddly wouldn’t feature any of the Swedish furniture maker’s products. It’s now been confirmed at the Berlin International Hotel Investment Forum that Marriott is the partner and Moxy will be the name of the new affordable hotel chain, which plans to open 150 locations across Europe in the next decade.

“Moxy Hotels is the essence of the next generation traveler, not only Gen X and Y but people with a younger sensibility, for whom contemporary style is paramount,” said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International in a press release. “Every aspect of the hotel was thoughtfully researched and crafted to reflect and deliver on the changing lifestyles and expectations of this fast-growing customer segment.” 

According to TravelBite, this will be Marriott’s first budget brand in Europe. Fifty of those locations should be up and running in the next five years and Inter IKEA will be ponying up $500 million to help out, the Wall Street Journal reports. While the hotels won’t use IKEA furniture, the company has found a way to keep construction costs down in a different way: “Many of the hotels will use rooms prefabricated offsite and then assembled like IKEA furniture, a modular type of construction that is new for Marriott.”Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Taco Bell, Bird's Eye Latest to Get Sucked Into Horse Meat Scandal

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 1, 2013 04:38 PM

The horse meat scandal is spreading across Europe, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Dominican Republic, seizing media attention and making retailers and consumers squeamish at the thought of what could be in their meat.

Four beef products sold by Bird's Eye, Taco Bell and catering supplier Brakes have been found to contain horse DNA as the Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) conducts a third wave of tests.

An aptly titled article, "Having a cow over chow," asks, “What is it about horses? Over in Europe, everyone is happily munching on frozen lasagnas and shop-bought meals from various supermarkets, knowing it has all kinds of dodgy cuts of beef in it. But when it emerges they contain horse meat, everybody gags…Consumers need to ask themselves: When you buy something cheap, why is it so cheap? The answer is often uncomfortable to swallow.”

The FSA is asking retailers to test beef products for the presence of more than 1 percent of horse meat. Specific products in the headlines include Birds Eye's Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese and Beef Lasagna (removed by the company from store shelves last week), Brakes' Spicy Beef Skewer and Taco Bell's ground beef.

"Once we learned of this issue, we immediately voluntarily tested our product for our three Taco Bell restaurants in the UK,” said a spokesperson for the company, which has posted a response to the horse meat crisis on its UK website. "Based on that testing, we learned ingredients supplied to us from one supplier in Europe tested positive for horse meat."Continue reading...

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