Best Global Green Brands 2014

campaigns

Campaign Watch: Castrol, Pepsi, Old Navy, Xbox One and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on June 5, 2014 01:01 PM

Castrol's new stunt video goes viral and racks up more than 5 million views.

Below, Australia's Creative Fuel conference spoofs creatives, creatively, and more:Continue reading...

brand news

Brand News: Sears, Time Inc., Unilever and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on May 22, 2014 09:03 AM

TOP 5 STORIES

Brands to Watch

Sears closes more US stores in wake of quarterly loss while Sears Canada tests YouTube shoppable videos.

Time Inc. opens ad space on magazine covers, breaking industry taboo.

Unilever unloads Ragu and Bertolli brands for $2.15 billion.

Best Buy hits sales slump in latest quarter.

Facebook adds fingerprinting tool to track users' TV and audio usage.

MORE BRAND NEWS

Airbnb will hand over host data to New York.

Amazon adds first batch of HBO content to Prime.

Beats co-founders face legal action as Spotify hits 10 million subs.

Fab slide continues with fourth round of layoffs.Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Amazon Forges Ahead with Streaming Initiatives as Retail Quietly Builds

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 21, 2014 05:33 PM

Netflix may be grabbing the headlines lately, but Amazon has been hard at work building up its streaming arsenal and now presents a bigger threat than ever to competing brands. 

To the joy of advertisers, Amazon has started to include preroll ads ahead of its original series pilots, starting with a campaign from Geico. 

“The move combines two of advertisers' biggest wishes—premium content and a measurable audience—on a service that venture capitalist Mark Suster once called 'the biggest threat to YouTube,'" Ad Age notes.  

Geico, the presenting sponsor for Amazon's pilot season is running banners on program landing pages as well as 15-second repurposed television spots at the start of non-kids series including The After. Amazon users can choose which pilots they'd like to see green-lighted for future Prime Instant Video. Geico's pilot sponsorship also includes placements on Amazon.com, the Kindle Fire "wake" screen and movie site IMDb.com.

"We're testing and learning,” said Lisa Utzschneider, Amazon VP-Global Ad Sales. “It's early days, and we're looking at all different video formats. We're focused on creating a great experience for our customers."Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Netflix's Biggest Foe isn't HBO, It's the Internet Providers that Move Its Content

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 19, 2014 07:32 PM

As the battle between Netflix and major internet service providers rages on, consumers are paying the price with degraded service.

The complicated plumbing required to deliver a Netflix video to a consumer’s computer or TV is near invisible to users, who are unaware of the bandwidth that companies have to put out in order to transmit such content. The actual data transfer occurs at global “interconnection” hubs, aka, “telecom carrier hotels” where companies like Time Warner Cable, Verizon and AT&T share space. Born in the days of high volume landline telephone traffic, the telcos shared amiably enough, but with the addition of high-bandwidth services like Netflix creating a drain, those relationships have broken down. And now broadband companies are increasingly charging "tolls" to third-party intermediate players like Level 3 and Cogent. 

“This is a scenario that open Internet advocates have been warning about for years," Time notes. “It’s no secret that the big telecom and cable companies resent the fact that they are obliged to deliver high bandwidth content like Netflix—which competes against their own video offerings—in addition to less bandwidth-intensive traffic like emails and chats.”Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Netflix Embraces More Debt to Spread Its Wings Abroad

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 5, 2014 06:27 PM

During the first half of the Super Bowl this past Sunday, Netflix saw an expected drop in usage. The decrease was as much as 20 percent, Variety reports. But once Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers had done their thing at halftime and the Seahawks added on a quick seven points to start the second half, plenty of Americans ditched the game and headed back to Netflix.

The video-streaming company is hoping that it can be the distraction of choice around the globe. It has announced that it plans to raise $400 million to expand internationally. Most of the investment will be focused on its European expansion, but it will also reserve funds for investments, acquisitions and more original content that the company is becoming increasingly known for.

Last year, Netflix made news for winning its first Emmy with House of Cards while also collecting an Oscar nomination for its documentary, The Square. House of Cards will debut its second season on Valentine’s Day and has already been signed on for a third to be produced, according to the New York Times. Netflix has also seen plenty of critic and fan love for its newest series, Orange is the New Black. As a result, its fourth-quarter numbers were better than expected and added 2.3 million new domestic subscribers, bringing the total number to 33.4 million domestically.Continue reading...

sporting brands

NHL Hopes to Emulate NFL in Coverage, But Not Lawsuits

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 27, 2013 02:36 PM

The NHL has long been in the shadow of pro football, baseball, and basketball in the American psyche, but Commissioner Gary Bettman has been plugging away to try and gain ground. 

The league’s latest effort takes a page directly from the National Football League's playbook by creating a new television series that gives fans a view into the behind-the-scenes world of professional hockey, Ad Age reports. The seven episodes of NHL Revealed: A Series Like No Other will debut on the NBC Sports Network, another brand that is battling to better compete against market leader ESPN. The NFL found an interested audience for the two behind-the-scenes shows it has been a part of: HBO’s Hard Knocks and Showtime’s Inside the NFL.

The plan is to follow pro players at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, as well as at the pro games being played outdoors this season, one of the league’s biggest successes in recent years. The games debuted in 2008 and have grown each year since, though it was not played in 2013 due to the disagreement between owners and players that shortened the season. There will be six outdoor games played this season, and only one of them will not be part of the NBC series—but that's only because it will be the focus of an HBO special.Continue reading...

campaigns

Roku Goes Big on Self-Gifting for Holiday Campaign

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 12, 2013 05:58 PM

So much for the season of giving. According to the US National Retail Federation, more than half of "holiday shoppers plan to spend an average of nearly $140 on 'self gifts,'" and brands like Roku are hoping that streaming services will be at the top of their list. 

Set-top box maker Roku is upping the ante with a $12 million “Now This is TV” holiday ad campaign to keep pace with competitors like Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, Xbox One, Google's Chromecast and Apple TV. The effort eclipses Roku's entire 2012 marketing budget, but with Netflix and Amazon pushing out original series on top of offering expansive video libraries, Roku hopes the ad effort will bring attention back to its broad content library as a "key differentiator," Ad Age reports.  

As popular as Roku's set-top boxes are, there is plenty of competition. Apple has reportedly sold more of its set-top boxes than Roku, and Google's Chromecast offers a pared-down, more affordable version of Roku's services, but it seems consumers still prefer the little black box. In a report from Parks Associates, 37 percent of respondents who had streaming video said they primarily used Roku while only 24 percent said Apple TV was their first choice.Continue reading...

brand aspiration

Prime Directive: Bezos Pushes Original Content, From Amazon Studios to Amazon Studio

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 28, 2013 01:20 PM

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (as the story goes) chose a company name starting with "A" so it appeared early in search results, and Amazon, as the world's largest river, fit his vision of creating the biggest store in the world. 

Staying true to that founding DNA as it expands from the world’s first online bookseller to include everything from original programming to fashion, Bezos has tapped Clark Johnson (Homicide: Life on the Street, The Wire) to produce his next project, Alpha House, for the Amazon Studios unit. The GOP comedy, created by Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman, debuted its pilot episode on Amazon in April, using the preview as a focus group to tweak the show before its exclusive debut to Amazon Prime members next month.

The $79-a-year Prime subscription service is key in Amazon’s plan to snare viewers. “It’s about making delight for Prime members,” commented Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to the Seattle Times. “What can we do that would make somebody be a happy Prime member? If we can make great television for them, that’s going to be an element of that. And they pay us an annual fee for that.” Those members are Amazon's VIPs, big spenders who typically shell out three times more than non-Prime Amazon shoppers across Amazon's channels.Continue reading...

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