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sports in the spotlight

Tobacco Sponsorships Hurting Japan’s Olympic Chances

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 7, 2011 04:10 PM

Many nations, such as the United States, won’t allow tobacco companies to advertise at sporting events. Japan is not one of those countries — and it may pay a big price for that.

Even though there is some debate about if hosting the Olympic Games is financially worth it, plenty of nations are always at the table when the International Olympic Committee is ready to dole out assignments for the next one.

Japan is often one of the ones pulling its chair up at those negotiation sessions. It last had the ginormous quadrennial sporting event when Nagano hosted the 1998 Winter Games and women’s hockey players and snowboarders got to go for gold for the first time.Continue reading...

social media

Apple Tops Brands in Twitter's Hot Topics of 2011

Posted by Abe Sauer on December 6, 2011 04:31 PM

Those who regularly use Twitter [like the author], it's a regular surprise just how fast information can be designated and how that information can culture, spore, and explode with momentum. Just the same, regular users know just how banal Twitter can seem. As you eat up live updates on the #Syria feed, you realize that, instead of #Syria, #Anchorman is trending. Why? Because some basic cable channel happens to be rerunning the film Anchorman and millions are tweeting about it while watching.

Now Twitter has released a list of 2011's "Hot Topics" and it's exactly what an experienced tweeter would expect: true life and gravity (Japan's earthquake, Egyptian uprising) vs. pointlessness (Charlie Sheen's #tigerblood meme). Continue reading...

brand strategy

Toyota and Sony Grapple With Japan Production Issues

Posted by Dale Buss on November 29, 2011 05:01 PM

As the yen continues to hold on to its strength, iconic Japanese brands like Toyota and Sony are having to make increasingly difficult decisions about retaining domestic production in Japan. At this point, it looks like the world's biggest automaker and its most enduring consumer-electronics brand are coming to somewhat different conclusions.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda has surprised many close observers over the last few days by conceding that his company may have to end up skewing future production much more toward other countries and away from Japan because of the persistent imbalance of the yen against the weaker dollar and other currencies.

In fact, he told the Wall Street Journal that Toyota may actually end up exporting Corolla subcompact sedans that it is beginning to build at its just-opened plant in Mississippi, in addition to supplying the North American market from there.Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Mini Kids Collection Launches at Target

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 14, 2011 10:31 AM

Harajuku Mini, Gwen Stefani's highly-anticipated kids' clothing collection for Target, is now available in-store at select Target locations. With prices below $29.99, part one hit stores on Nov. 13, while part two of the affordable chic kids' collection — aimed at toddlers, boys and girls and tween girls — will launch on Dec. 25th.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Toyota, Honda Among Global Brands Worried About Thai Flooding

Posted by Dale Buss on November 4, 2011 05:31 PM

It's nightmarish to consider from a corporate and brand perspective, but the record flooding in Thailand that has endangered lives is also wrenching apart supply chains for both Toyota and Honda, and could become a major disruption to their business. The fear is that the leading Japanese brands do not pass "Go Back to Market" and instead proceed right back to "Supply Chain Jail."

Not even eight months after the March 11 tsunami and earthquake devastated the big Japanese brands' supply lines stretching from Japan and around the world, company executives are confessing that they still don't know quite how badly they'll be nicked by the flooding. The waters didn't reach Toyota's own plants, for example, but they did badly affect suppliers in Thailand that ship electronic components for Toyota vehicles to the automaker's plants around the world.

Already, Toyota has cut back on overtime and Saturday work at its U.S. facilities through at least next week (and is sticking to a plan to open a factory in Indonesia), and Honda has conceded that up to half its North American production ultimately could be affected.Continue reading...

auto motive

Honda's Scary Week Has Nothing to Do With Halloween

Posted by Dale Buss on November 1, 2011 11:58 AM

It was 29 years ago today that Honda began production in North America. The Japanese automaker just announced that it will sharply reduce its North American manufacturing — for the second time this year — because floods in Thailand have disrupted parts supplies. Honda will cut its North American output by half beginning tomorrow (Wednesday), and all six of its plants on the continent will be affected through next week.

About 80 percent to 90 percent of Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the United States are built in North America but are dependent on a few crucial parts, especially electronics, that are supplied from overseas — including in Thailand. The disruptions also will delay by several weeks Honda's introduction of a new version of its CR-V sport-utility vehicle.Continue reading...

good sports

Wambach Wins Sponsorship Race of U.S. Women’s World Cup Team

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 24, 2011 10:16 AM

Losing the final of your sport’s biggest global event after nearly winning in overtime is not an easy thing to live through, but getting boatload of cash out of the deal has got to make that bitter pill a little easier to swallow in retrospect.

That’s where Abby Wambach now sits, a few months after the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team lost the World Cup in a penalty-kick shootout after she had scored an overtime goal that was seemingly for the win before Japan somehow equalized. The U.S. was ready to love this team as it had the women of the World Cup-winning 1999. That team has a few members whose names live on: the star Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain (who famously pulled her own shirt off after scoring the winning goal), the tough vet Michelle Akers, and Julie Foudy, who has helped herself by becoming an analyst on ESPN.

For this summer’s team, the two names that will live on for some time are likely to be Wambach’s and goalie Hope Solo, who seemed to catch the fascination of America during the World Cup run. She broadened her fame by taking a stint on Dancing With the Stars, but hasn’t hooked into the same kind of sponsorship dollars that Wambach has, according to BusinessWeek.Continue reading...

No Place Left to Copy: ACTA International Piracy Agreement Signed

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 5, 2011 02:45 PM

Gucci bags, Apple iClones, New Balance sneakers, jeans of all stripes, Oakley sunglasses, you name it. Head out to any major urban strip, market or sidewalk vendor and you'll find a plethora of knock-offs laid out on a table, selling for a low, low price.

Well, fakers beware. There are now 38 countries committed to an international anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting agreement.

At an Oct. 1st meeting in Tokyo, the United States and seven other nations signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which aims to stamp out piracy and intellectual property theft. Other new ACTA signatories include New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Japan, and Morocco.

Prior to signing, the US was embroiled in debates over the sections of the agreement pertaining to IP protection on the web, a hot-button issue that alarmed online privacy watchdogs such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, with some concerned about ACTA's constitutionality.Continue reading...

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