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car talk

Amidst Recalls and Expansions, German Auto Brands Jockey for Luxury Leadership

Posted by Dale Buss on February 20, 2013 04:14 PM

The three German luxury auto brands are like a trio of high-performance machines in an extended road race, each taking the lead for a while as they jockey for position and probe for the opportunity to make an unstoppable surge and finally blow past the competition.

These days, Audi and Mercedes-Benz are in second and third place, with BMW hanging on to a tenous lead for this year that many watchers believe it eventually could lose—at least for a while.

The most immediate factors: BMW has just announced the biggest safety recall in its history, while Audi plans a major expansion of its SUV lineup and Mercedes-Benz has announced its most ambitious new-product blitz in the brand's history. Continue reading...

ad watch

Brands Get Sporty to Bring in Sales

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 20, 2013 10:08 AM

While consumers may get excited about their brands, it's nothing compared to the passion they display when it comes to sports. With that, two European companies are tapping sports fanaticism to lure in customers.

Ford Europe, who has been selling its wares for 38 years, is currently running a campaign that aligns its brand with football across the continent. In a commercial spot released Monday, Ford aims to discover just how loud the fans of Turkey’s Galatasary are after driving around the country in the brand new Ford Tourneo, which conveniently can handle a few traveling fans.

Watch the fun ads after the jump: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...

cola wars

Pepsi Does the Harlem Shake, Coca-Cola Reveals Marc Jacobs-Designed Cans

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 15, 2013 12:56 PM

Coca-Cola has spent plenty of bucks on making iconic ads in the past, but its latest 60-second spot is coming from a low-priced source—a fan of the brand—while the company just revealed a trio of new cans designed by global creative director Marc Jacobs. The details on the latest moves in the cola wars:Continue reading...

brand news

Victorinox Consolidates Its Swiss Army Knife Lines, Cutting Wenger Brand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 30, 2013 02:06 PM

Need some tweezers? How about a toothpick? Maybe a bottle opener? Magnifying glass? Fish scaler? Pliers? 

Depending on what version of the Swiss Army Knife you buy, you can get them all — along with plenty of other handy little tools in one place.

Those days, though, appear to be coming to an end for one Swiss Army Knife brand. Wenger SA, which has been making the knives since 1893, announced Wednesday that it is cutting the cord on the business, Bloomberg reports.Continue reading...

doing good

Fendi to Pour Millions Into Rome's Treasured Fountain, Restoring Its Luster

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 29, 2013 12:22 PM

About $4,000 worth of coins are thrown into Rome’s massive, gorgeous Trevi Fountain each day. Making the gesture is said to guarantee your return to Rome.

Now Fendi is throwing a lot more than a few coins into the Trevi’s waters. The Italian fashion house has announced it will hand over $2.9 million to help keep the centuries-old fountain, featured memorably in Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita,” in good shape.

Fendi, founded in Romein 1925, announced the 20-month project Monday along with two of its big-name designers, Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi.Continue reading...

auto motive

In Ford Earnings, a Tale of Two Continents: Stronger U.S., but Weaker Europe

Posted by Dale Buss on January 29, 2013 11:58 AM

Ford reported a tale of two continents in its quarterly earnings today, with robust North American profits but deepening losses in troubled Europe.

In the United States, Ford has become a sales and earnings juggernaut, posting pretax profits of more than $8 billion last year, including $2 billion in the fourth quarter on the strength of a 4.7 percent increase in U.S. auto sales last year and an increasingly healthy pickup-truck business. Ford's U.S. employees will share in the bounty to the tune of a profit-sharing check averaging about $8,300 per hourly worker for 2012, up from about $6,200 each in 2011.

Yet Ford could only report an increasingly woeful picture in Europe, which is slipping into a continent-wide recession. Ford Europe lost $732 million in the fourth quarter and $1.75 billion for the full year — more than Ford's previous forecast of $1.5 billion in European losses for 2012.Continue reading...

media brands

Different Reasons for Apple and Disney to Wince as Fictional Works Premiere

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 28, 2013 04:06 PM

The Sundance Film Festival has a solid history of showcasing interesting films that have gone on to be big hits, like Little Miss Sunshine, Reservoir Dogs, The Usual Suspects, Clerks, and Hoop Dreams.

But it's looking like Jobs — which stars Ashton Kutcher portraying Apple founder Steve Jobs' quest for glory — may not be one of them.

The film, which closed out the 2013 festival last week, received mixed reviews. The Guardian's Ed Gibbs gave it two out of five stars, calling it “an overly reverential and saccharine view” of Jobs, who died more than a year ago.Continue reading...

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