holidaze

Holiday Ads 2013: Brands Tap Celebrities, Award-Winning Animators for Over the Top Ads

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 20, 2013 07:12 PM

John Lewis’ 2013 Christmas campaign in the UK, a seasonal rite of passage, is “a £7m multi-media festive extravaganza,” animated by Disney's Lion King artists and costing £1m alone.

It’s just one example of how high (and early) the bar is being set for branded holiday ads this year as shoppers around the world, weary from escalating costs-of-living and economic challenges, plan to spend only $800 this holiday season on gifts, down from $854 last year

And so retailers are pulling out all the stops to get attention from consumers, hoping to draw them in with witty and charming ads and deep promotional discounts. UK advertisers alone are set to spend nearly $630 million on ads in the last three months of the year, while American brands got a head start, with Kmart airing its first holiday-related ad one-hundred days before Christmas. Indeed, advertisers seem to be heading back to the small-screen while maintaining a solid presence on social media to get the most out of holiday promotional efforts. 

And that has led some brands to go above and beyond. From Kmart's controversial "Show Your Joe" ad to Best Buy and Marks & Spencer's celebrity-heavy campaigns, brands are working hard to get the attention of shoppers. 

Here's some of the most extravagant holiday ads we've seen so far: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...

brand news

In the News: Sony, Volkswagen, Adidas and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 15, 2013 07:58 AM

In the News

Sony puts US fans in a lather with PlayStation 4 launch at critical time for company.

Volkswagen recalls 2.6 million vehicles worldwide and says UAW vote at its plant wouldn't affect US expansion plans.

Adidas goes with NBA "BIG logo" and short-sleeved jerseys for Christmas Day promotion.

A.G. Lafley shuffles P&G executives as one moves to Google.

Alexander McQueen collaborates with Damien Hirst

Berkshire Hathaway takes big stake in ExxonMobil.

Cisco earnings miss portends broader changes in industry.

Compuware gets shareholder pressure to put itself up for sale.

Comcast plans to start selling films.

Dolce & Gabbana appeal tax evasian conviction. 

Eminem taps brand partners to promote new album.Continue reading...

celebrity brandcasting

Lady Gaga Masters Art of Branding as ARTPOP Heads to #1

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 13, 2013 06:25 PM

Lady Gaga’s latest album, ARTPOP, was released in conjunction with two pop-up stores (ARTPOP-ups, you might call them) in New York City and Los Angeles, dubbed "ARTPOP Pop Up: A Lady Gaga Gallery."

The gallery/shop installations feature Gaga-related items like the computer chair where she posed naked, her infamous meat dress and everyday items like albums and t-shirts. The ARTPOP gallery experience is sponsored by Ubisoft, creator of video game Just Dance 2014, which features two Gaga songs, Beats By Dr. Dre and Interscope, Gaga’s record label.

While it's all a highly orchestrated ploy to generate buzz and sales for the star's new album with the Jeff Koons cover, it’s also a multimedia art installation, with blank walls and artsy tools available for visitors to create their own masterpiece while a video wall projects Gaga and her quotes. 

It paled in comparison to the brand-savvy singer's ARTPOP album release party in Brooklyn's Navy Yard on Sunday, an over-the-top spectacle that cost about $3 million to produce with the quiet aid of American Express, according to Billboard. (Two words: flying dress.)Continue reading...

retail

J.Crew Crosses the Pond in Search of Brits with Fat Wallets

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 8, 2013 05:37 PM

J.Crew has crossed the pond to bring its own brand of preppy duds to London's Regent Street, opening its first flagship outside North America today. The 17,000-square-foot store houses separate men's and women's shops, as well as Crewcuts, the retailer's children's boutique. The London expansion will also include two other retail locations, one women's and one men's store. 

Combatting an increasingly "promotional" retail environment in the US, the retailer hopes that greater brand awareness through physical locations in the UK will provide a needed boost. J.Crew has also opened 3 new retail locations in Canada recently, as well. 

"London was an easy decision,” said chairman and CEO Mickey Drexler. “It is a place where people understand and respect the integrity of great style and design."

Indeed, finding a place among London's High Street stores may be a better fit for the increasingly upscale J.Crew brand, whose prices are in stark contrast to its fellow shopping mall tenants in the US, such as growing fast fashion brands like H&M. But with some product prices in the UK bumped up almost 40 percent, the retailer runs the risk of creating sticker-shock in Europe. "I've heard rumblings about it," Creative Director Jenna Lyons said, regarding additional taxes and duties associated with having an international location, "and we're doing everything we possibly can to keep the quality of the product as good as it can be and maintain the tightest possible price."Continue reading...

brand trainwrecks

Abercrombie Tries to Right Itself While Lululemon Keeps Running Into Walls

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 7, 2013 02:57 PM

And so the saga of out-of-touch retailers continues.

After a rousing few months of PR lows, teen outfitter Abercrombie & Fitch and yogi cult clothier Lululemon still have some gas in their engines. The purveyor of $90 stretch pants has largely recovered from its March "sheer pants" issue, with sales—and poor judgment—back at normal levels. A&F, however, has had a rougher go at it since the brand was thrust into the spotlight in May over some ill-advised comments from CEO Mike Jeffries that brought to light the brand's 'cool kids only' culture.

The consumer outcry over Jeffries' old comments—"A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."—only added wood to the fire that was A&F's falling sales. The company netted its seventh quarterly consecutive loss in same-store sales this week, resulting in an overall 30 percent devaluation in 2013. And after months of trying to put a band-aid on the brand damage, A&F announced that it will begin stocking more styles and larger sizes of its women's tops by spring and even start selling shoes and accessories in a bid to woo back teens that have defected to trendier retailers like H&M and Forever 21. 

In an age where inclusiveness is the key, A&F's preference for the “all-American kid(s) with a great attitude and a lot of friends," could be called downright archaic. Outright ignoring the flourishing plus-size industry, the retailer previously only carried up to a size large for its women's clothing, while rival American Eagle, as well as H&M and Forever 21 produce XL and plus-size lines.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...

brands under fire

Brands' Firewalls Fail as Another Deadly Blaze Kills Bangladesh Garment Workers

Posted by Dale Buss on October 10, 2013 05:37 PM

The scourge of deadly fires and building accidents in Bangladesh garment factories continued this week despite the flurry of attention to the problem over the last year by western and European apparel retailers.

Leading retail brands including H&M, Carrefour, Hudson's Bay, Gap, Walmart and Joe Fresh have admitted possible links to an Aswad Composite Mills factory in Sripur where a fire broke out overnight and killed at least 10 people, after most of its 3,000 employees had gone home. There were reports that the factory had some modern firefighting equipment, but to no avail. 

Workers said the blaze appeared to have been started by a malfunctioning knitting machine, according to Al Jazeera, while the country's top inspector said safety problems had been raised last month. The story is one all-too-familiar for Bangladesh's garment industry—a $20 billion trade— which saw over 1,100 people die in the Rana Plaza collapse in April after cracks were reported in the building by engineers, but their warnings were ultimately ignored by factory owners.Continue reading...

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