2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

tech innovation

Musk Continues Innovation Streak with Detailed Plan for Hyperloop

Posted by Dale Buss on August 13, 2013 07:33 PM

Elon Musk has obliquely compared himself to Henry Ford. But if he keeps going, a better comparison could be Thomas Edison. The inventor and serial entrepreneur already has his hands in state-of-the-art electric cars, space travel—and now perhaps a travel innovation for those of us looking to keep our feet planted on Earth. 

His latest fascination is what he calls a "Hyperloop" transportation system that could, he says, whisk passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in a mere half-hour or less. Musk conjectures that it would cost less than $6 billion in total and could transport 7.4 million people each way each year. But it would take up to a decade to complete. Musk laid out all of the details in a 57-page technical paper and invited feedback.

Why is Musk even bothering? The PayPal co-founder has plenty going on with two actually functioning enterprises that he founded, SpaceX and Tesla. In fact, he was just awarded $4.3 million in stock-based pay for his ongoing work on Tesla's next nameplate, the Model X all-electric SUV. He completed vehicle and engineering prototypes and even the first production unit of the new model.Continue reading...

tech style

3D Printing Gaining Traction in Personalized Fashion

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 8, 2013 06:12 PM

Personalization is the name of the customer-service game these days. Look at the recent success of Coke's Share a Coke campaign in Britain, where the brand replaced its name on bottles with 150 of the most popular names in the UK. 

As for the fashion industry, personalization is now coming in the form of 3D printing. Forbes reports that San Francisco-based clothing company Continuum creates 3D printed bikinis that consumers design themselves. After customers build out their design and upload their measurements on the company's website, Continuum prints out the final product in nylon. The custom creation costs $275.Continue reading...

conversation starter

Futuristic Brands Tout Flying Cars and Want to Send People to Mars

Posted by Dale Buss on August 6, 2013 06:17 PM

Since the dawn of manned flight, among the goals of big dreamers were flying an airplane that also is an automobile, and traveling to Mars.

As far as the first goal is concerned: check. The Terrafugia Transition "roadable" aircraft, which debuted at the New York Auto Show last year, made test flights at an experimental-aircraft convention in Wisconsin last week. And in regards to the second goal: We're still working on it, but an outfit called Mars One has come up with a remarkable new twist.

The startup behind the Transition had a successful first public outing for its invention at the EAA AirVenture fly-in in Oshkosh, Wis., which ended last weekend. One of the world's most important venues for showing off experimental and classic aircraft, EAA has had some fatalities over the years. But the Transition garnered nothing but oohs and aahs for its flawless performance at the show, where a prototype of the $279,000 machine indeed rolled down a road and then took off into the air.Continue reading...

media triage

Jeff Bezos Buys The Washington Post, Stuns Media World

Posted by Dale Buss on August 5, 2013 06:06 PM

Jeff Bezos revolutionized the internet, e-commerce and bookselling (and then all retail) when he founded Amazon.com. Now he may want to do the same with newspapers, becoming the latest non-news-media figure to invest in a fading American print icon by buying The Washington Post.

It's difficult to believe that the e-tailing magnate will be able to do anything better with the Post than it already has in the traditional world of newsprint and ink, since that business model has become even more decrepit than the brick-and-mortar retail stores supplanted by Amazon's huge digital impact.

Another death knell for newspapers and their traditional ownership was sounded just a few days ago when Boston Red Sox owner and billionaire John Henry rescued the Boston Globe and other local print properties from the hands of the New York Times Co. by buying the once-proud publisher for a measly $70 million. There also remain rumors that the conservative industrialist Koch Brothers, along with several other non-media moguls, harbor a desire to buy Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Apple in Dire Need of Innovation as Tumbling Sales Put Reign in Question

Posted by Ben Berkon on July 24, 2013 12:43 PM

Apple’s comparatively diminutive third quarter earnings might have exceeded market expectations, but the announcement also solidified Samsung’s place as the worldwide smartphone king. Apple reported sales of $35.3 billion and a profit of $6.9 billion, down 35 percent and 46 percent, respectively, since the first quarter. In fact, Samsung earned $1.43 billion more in profit last quarter than Apple.

The mounting issue in Apple-land is that the company has failed to truly release a new, innovative product since the iPad. While iPhone sales jumped 20 percent to 31.2 million, the company's most popular product continues to be one of the most expensive smartphones on the market—posing a great opportunity for competitors like Samsung, BlackBerry and Nokia to tout their similar products and more cost-efficient models. 

To Apple’s credit, the company has attempted to expand its brand into new realms. The debut of iTunes Radio, for instance, could give cornerstones Spotify and Pandora a run for their money. But perhaps the most interesting addition was hiring fashion guru Paul Deneve as a chief-level “special projects” officer. The assumption is that Deneve will lead Apple’s charge into wearable technology, most notably with the rumored iWatch

But radio and a watch might not be enough to save the once indestructible brand.Continue reading...

sustainability

Making Good: Nike Looks to Make a Better World with New Sustainability App

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 9, 2013 11:39 AM

With a commitment to making a "Better World," Nike is determined to produce more environmentally conscious, and sustainably innovative, products. And it's not just looking at its own branded products, either. The sports apparel giant has released a new mobile app (now available for Apple's iOS devices) called Making with the lofty goal of helping designers and the fashion industry (as well as consumers) decide what source materials are the most environmentally responsible.

Using information from the students at London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion as well as the Nike Materials Sustainability Index, the app “ranks materials used in apparel manufacturing in terms of the use of water, types of chemistry, amount of energy and the levels of waste required during production,” Sustainable Business Oregon reports.

"Innovation is in Nike's DNA, and sustainability is an integral part of Nike's design process," said Lee Holman, Nike apparel design VP, in a press release. "We've created the Making app to empower any designer around the world to make better materials choices in the initial stages of the innovation process to ultimately create products that are better for consumers and better for the planet."Continue reading...

brand strategy

Apple Fashions a New Position for CEO of Yves St Laurent as it Eyes Wearable Future

Posted by Barry Silverstein on July 3, 2013 12:56 PM

The next step in the remarkable evolution of the Apple brand may be just around the corner. In a move that "caught the fashion industry by surprise," Apple has announced it is adding Paul Deneve, CEO of fashion giant Yves St Laurent (YSL), as a vice president of "special projects," reporting to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

While heads are still spinning in the fashion sector, it isn't as strange as it sounds. Deneve, after all, was with Apple's European operation on the marketing side from 1990 to 1997, so he is hardly an unknown. Not to mention that YSL's revenues just about doubled under his leadership.

While some see this move as directly related to Apple's anticipated launch of an iWatch, others believe it has broader implications. "More likely it is to explore the extension of the Apple brand, or its platform technology into clothing and fashion," notes Forbes. "Digital technology is in fact extending its reach to every aspect of life, including clothing and other wearables like glasses." After all, the computer wearables market "is perfect for Apple to mainstream. It advances contextual computing. And it has the added virtue of being a bigger potential market than smartphones..."Continue reading...

brand innovation

Microsoft Unites Rugby Fans with Skype-Enabled 'Hole in the World' Activation

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 28, 2013 02:36 PM

Sports rivalries can get pretty intense when fans take to the streets, but Microsoft has found a way to make a series of rugby matches between Australia and Wales into not just a peaceful exchange between rivals, but one of the coolest fan interactions ever.

To celebrate a series of matches between the Australian and UK rugby sides, the Seattle-based tech brand is using its Skype technology to enable a virtual "Hole in the World" that allows supporters from both countries to look into an eight-foot-wide “hole” and see fans from the other side, in real-time, thus creating an opportunity for exchanges between the two groups.Continue reading...

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