olympic effort

On Eve of Sochi Olympics, AT&T Leads Brands Protesting Russia's LGBT Stance

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 4, 2014 07:17 PM

With the Super Bowl over, it's time for the US and the rest of the world to move on to the Winter Olympics, which are set to begin this Friday in Sochi, Russia. Amid the controversy over Russia's anti-gay laws, brands are doing their best to keep spirits high and tread carefully in what has become a very sensitive situation for sponsors, athletes and fans alike.

AT&T is the latest Team USA Olympic sponsor to debut its campaign, but it's doing so in a way that makes its views clear beyond cheering athletes. For the It's Our Time campaign (hashtag: #ItsOurTime) the telecom giant is rolling out an app, a website and video booths around the US to encourage fans to send "USA!" chants over to Sochi to show their support for their home team.

That's not the only messaging attached to the campaign. While it was Coca-Cola that recently took a stance by running the first ever Super Bowl ad featuring a gay couple, it's AT&T that's leading the way on the Olympic LGBT front by publicly speaking out in favor of equality and condemning homophobia, specifically Russia's ban on gay "propaganda."Continue reading...

app watch

Brands Jelly-Up as New App Gets Out of the Gate

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 24, 2014 12:35 PM

Biz Stone’s Jelly is just two weeks old, but the mash-up of social and search has reached a roiling boil among fans and brands that were quick to adopt the new tech. 

Jelly scored 28,275 active users on the first day with 100,000 questions asked in the first week. According to Digimind, during the first weeks of January, 77 percent of Jelly’s users were speaking favorably online about the app while 19 percent were negative.

The gently altruistic brand whose tag line is “Let’s help each other” relies on humans rather than algorithms to gather and parse information. “If we’re successful, then we’re going to introduce into the daily muscle memory of smartphone users, everyone, that there’s this idea that there’s other people that need their help right now," said CEO Biz Stone, a co-founder of Twitter. 

A handful of brands have dived in head-first—and whether or not they are using the app correctly is open to interpretation.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Samsung Shows Off an Ecosystem of Appliances at CES 2014

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 9, 2014 06:36 PM

Samsung Electronics aims to be the world’s largest appliance manufacturer by 2015—no easy feat with mega-brands like GE, Kenmore and LG to compete with.

But the South Korean giant is already the fastest-growing appliance brand in the US, with a 10.5 percent jump in market share since 2011. “We’re on track,” said B.K. Yoon, Samsung’s co-chief executive officer, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

The bid is part of a bigger plan by Samsung announced this week at CES in which consumers will use smartphones and tablets to control their air conditioners, refrigerators, washers, LED lighting and more, creating a truly Smart Home. 

The Smart Home platform provides three core services: Device Control, which are customized settings for all of devices via smartphone or Smart TV; Home View, cameras built into Samsung connected appliances to keep an eye on what's going on at home; and Smart Customer Service, which alerts users when it's time to service an appliance.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Intel, BMW, Apple and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 7, 2014 09:22 AM

In the News

Intel jumps into wearables with earbuds, watch.

BMW rolls out driverless car at CES racetrack.

Apple says App Store sales topped $10 billion in 2013. 

AT&T lets content firms subsidize users' data costs.

American Airlines lands a flight after camera is found in bathroom.

Audi and BMW both plan laser headlamps this year.

BYD says Chinese cars are headed to US by late 2015.

Fitbit partners with Tory Burch for high-fashion wearable tech.

GE to spend $1 billion on Thermo Fisher buyout.

GM sees Opel/Vauxhall increase European share thanks to new Adam minicar.

Goodyear sees tire workers in France hold managers hostage.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Target, Whole Foods, Chipotle and more

Posted by Dale Buss on December 19, 2013 09:18 AM

In the News

Target hit by credit card breach of as many as 40 million customers that started on Black Friday.

Whole Foods stops selling Chobani in favor of non-GMO yogurts.

Chipotle joins fast-casual pizza race.

A&E suspends patriarch Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty over anti-gay remarks.

Allstate launches new online game to help avoid holiday mayhem.

AstraZeneca buys out Bristol-Myers Squibb in diabetes joint-venture.

Bayer buys cancer-drug partner Algeta for $2.9 billion.

Boeing loses out to Saab in providing fighter jets for Brazil and taps likely CEO successor.

Chevrolet sees a top US marketer leave.

Christie's finalizes appraisal of Detroit Institute of Arts collection.

Daimler gets stake in Aston Martin with engine supply deal.

Darden spins out Red Lobster amid shareholder pressure.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

GE Robot Band Wins the Internet (and New York City)

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 13, 2013 10:17 AM

In case you missed it, check out Compressorhead — aka GE's heavy metal robot band — in action in New York City's Union Square park yesterday.Continue reading...

branded entertainment

Heavy Metal: GE Brings Compressorhead Robot Band to NYC for Free Concert

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 11, 2013 03:53 PM

IBM may have made a TV star of Watson, but can he rock? GE's brilliant Brilliant Machines campaign touting the power of the Industrial Internet has spawned Compressorhead—a band of robots that will be performing live in New York's Union Square on Tuesday, Nov. 12. The indie band with its own Facebook and Twitter presence was conceived in partnership with BBDO New York. Now they're being brought to life in a free concert scheduled to run from 1:00 p.m. through 8:00 p.m.

Hailing from Germany (as GE's blog post quipped, "Move over, Kraftwerk"), Compressorhead is comprised of three 5 foot tall humanoids—drummer Stickboy, bassist Bones and lead/rhythm Fingers—rendered from scrap metal, with heavy metal music such as Pantera covers via Midi, and moves aided by electro-pneumatics.Continue reading...

traveling brands

Vietnam's Travel Boom a Boon for Manufacturers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 21, 2013 04:40 PM

Vietnam’s economy isn’t very robust right now but its airline industry is on fire. The Aviation Department of Vietnam is expecting domestic passengers to rise 15 percent this year after going up 7 percent last year, Reuters reports. Part of the increase is due to tourist travel into the country being up 10 percent in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period last year.

The boost in tourism has translated into a solid pay-day for airplane manufacturers like Boeing, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp., Bombardier Inc., and Embraer SA, as airlines based in the country could double or triple their fleets in the next few years in order to “serve a domestic market of 90 million people and tourist arrivals growing on average 20 percent annually.” According to Bloomberg, General Electric will be raking in $1 billion to supply engines to Vietnam Airlines’ 787 Dreamliners.Continue reading...

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