brand ambassadors

Campaign Watch: Toyota Releases Hugh Jackman Ads in China and Japan

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 31, 2014 02:16 PM

David Duchovny isn't the Hollywood star who's moonlighting as a pitchman overseas—though Hugh Jackman's foreign-language star turn is likely to be less controversial.

Between stints as Wolverine, Jackman has become the new face of Toyota in Japan and China. In a new spot, below, Jackman stars as "Levin" in a short film that also stars Taiwanese actress Shu Qi as "Cynthia" and just debuted at a special event in China.

The Aussie actor joins other Hollywood leading men taking a spin in China for auto brands including Nicolas Cage in the Senova brand "Town of Car Legends" for BAIC (Beijing Auto) and George Clooney, who whisked away Bonnie Chen for Mercedes-Benz.

Watch Jackman's new Toyota China spot along with another spot in which he (literally) sings the praises of Toyota in Japan:Continue reading...

retail

Apple's Ahdrendts Scores Victory with EU Trademark for Store Designs

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 10, 2014 03:39 PM

Apple scored a victory in an EU court ruling today, allowing the company to register the layout of its retail stores in Europe as a trademark, extending its intellectual property right that it acquired in the U.S. in 2010.

EU's top court said Apple's flagship stores fulfilled requisite trademark criteria: they constitute a sign, can be represented in a graphic and distinguish goods or services of one company from another. In its global expansion, Apple met resistance from German authorities last year, took the issue to court, and it eventually came before the European Court of Justice, the final arbiter on EU law.

"From this the Court concludes that the representation of the layout of a retail store, by a design alone, without indicating the size or the proportions, may be registered as a trade mark for services," the court’s judgment said.

Going forward, new Apple stores will have a slightly different look.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Squeezed by the Competition, Tesco Hopes Customer-First Approach Works

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 4, 2014 04:23 PM

The UK's biggest retailer, Tesco, is going through its roughest patch in decades, dogged by the rise of discount chains like Lidl and Aldi and consumers opting to shop online as opposed to in-store. 

In the fourth quarter of 2013, sales in the core UK business dropped 3 percent from the same period the year before, but things got even worse in the first quarter of 2014, with sales falling 3.8 percent compared with the previous year's numbers. According to Kantar Worldpanel data, Tesco has lost more than one million customer visits per week, worth an estimated £25m ($41.9 million) in sales—a staggering exodus that led to a 29 percent fall in market share, its largest drop in at least 20 years.

No wonder investors are starting to wonder if CEO Philip Clarke has the right plan to get the once-dominant retailer, which fell 16 percent in brand value according to brandchannel parent Interbrand's latest Best Retail Brands report, back on track.Continue reading...

brand inspiration

On Eve of World Cup and AGM, McDonald's Taps Consumers for Input

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 21, 2014 02:20 PM

Coming off another disappointing quarter of sales, the "McScary" mascot launch and on the eve of its always feisty annual general meeting, McDonald's is turning up the volume on consumer engagement in order to tune in to what fans want from the world's biggest quick serve restaurant brand. 

Building on the user-generated content trend that's been tapped by Coca-Cola for its "Ahh Effect" campaign, as well as Airbnb, Canon and other brands, McDonald's UK is asking the public to weigh in on its newest burger. Mixing and matching 80 different possible ingredients, consumers can design the burger of their dreams on the MyBurger website and then vote on others' submissions. The top 12 will be judged and the winning combos will be sold for a limited time in 1,200 restaurants across the UK.

"Customization and digital engagement are becoming an integral part of how consumers interact with companies and we want to continue to innovate as a brand," Alistair Macrow, SVP and chief marketing officer of McDonald’s UK, told Marketing Magazine.Continue reading...

retail

Could Drexler and Yanai Make J.Crew the Middle Man in Fast Retailing's Empire?

Posted by Dale Buss on March 4, 2014 10:42 AM

Hoping to capitalize on the chain's success even as competing retailers falter, Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing is reportedly in talks to buy preppy clothier J.Crew. Could J.Crew become the missing jewel in Fast Retailing's bid to become the globe's biggest retailer?

Just last week there were rumors that J.Crew was planning its second IPO as a way to gain access to funds for expansion. CEO Mickey Drexler and creative head Jenna Lyons have turned the brand around over the last decade, making the mid-priced brand extremely attractive to Fast Retailing, which hopes to take advantage of J.Crew's accomplishments and build on them even as some iconic competitors, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, struggle with the finicky retailing scene.

But just because the retailer has managed some success doesn't mean it came easy. The inveterate micro-manager has admitted that J.Crew recently has "strayed too far" from the brand's core styling motif and that the company's recent opening in the UK was "tricky."Continue reading...

chew on this

McDonald's Global Challenge: Fight Sluggishness at Home, Build Relevance Abroad

Posted by Dale Buss on February 11, 2014 03:51 PM

It's not easy being a global brand, even if you're McDonald's, as you still have to succeed locally. It's possible that its continuing domestic US sales woes are mostly due to treacherous winter weather and a bad new product bet or two. But it's also possible that the chain and the brand are reaching the end of once-outsized relevance to the American consumer as it continues to face food health and labor critics.

Until it becomes evident which scenario is true, McDonald's CEO Don Thompson is relying on improved performance in key international markets to offset the brand's frustrations in the United States. He will rely on incoming US CMO Deborah Wahl to help him tackle the larger issue of McDonald's actual place in its home market. The auto industry marketing veteran is still transitioning into her new role, which she formally assumes on March 3.

The chain reported that US same-restaurant sales fell by more than 3 percent in the first quarter, or about double the percentage decline expected by analysts. Thompson blamed the snow and cold but analysts cited the continued sluggishness of the US economy. But of course, it could be the third factor: American consumers have gotten used to bypassing McDonald's more and more.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Sony Throws in the Towel on PC Business as It Turns Focus to Gaming, Mobile

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 7, 2014 01:39 PM

It's been a rough decade for Sony, and it doesn't look to be getting much better. The international electronics brand announced recently that it expects to lose $1.1 billion in the current fiscal year on continued losses from its PC and TV businesses. 

As a result of slowing PC sales as consumer move to tablets and smartphones, Sony said it will sell its VAIO PC brand to investment fund Japan Industrial Partners. Its television-manufacturing unit, which has lost $7.8 billion over the last decade, will be spun off into a “separate, wholly owned subsidiary,” according to the New York Times. The last time Sony's TV unit turned a profit was in March 2004, while global PC sales fell by 10 percent last year.

In addition to the restructuring of its business units, Sony will lay off 5,000 employees, most of whom will likely come from outside its Japan homebase.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

30 Years After Mac, Apple Cranks Up Innovation for Eager Consumer Market

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 24, 2014 05:02 PM

While today marks the 30th anniversary of Apple's iconic and game-changing Macintosh computer, the Best Global Brand isn't spending much time on nostalgia. Instead, it's pressing forward into new product realms and perfecting the ones it currently rules after a period of static development, to the dismay of competitors like Samsung.

With new ventures in wearable technology on the horizon, expansion of its iPhone line to suit bigger tastes, and budding partnerships in TV and autos, Apple has never been better. As for the competition, well, they've seen better days. 

Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker and Apple arch rival saw its growth "slow sharply" in the fourth quarter—the first time the company has recorded a decrease between quarters since 2011. While prospects for the first-half of 2014 are weak for Samsung, Apple can expect a marked boost now that it has officially sealed a deal with China Mobile, the world's largest carrier, as well as one with Japan's largest carrier, according to the New York Times.Continue reading...

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