brand extensions

Soda Style: Coke Teams With Bathing Ape Creator NIGO for Retro Fashion Line

Posted by Johnny Trinh on February 1, 2013 03:52 PM

A Bathing Ape (also known as BAPE) creator Tomoaki Nagao (who's also known  as NIGO®) has linked with Beams creative director Hiroshi Kubo to produce a limited-edition collection of retro-styled Coca-Cola vendor wear.

NIGO®’s newest label, Human Made, is inspired by pre-1960s Americana. He’s placed a huge emphasis quality and authenticity while still keeping a whimsical nature to the brand with the addition of lighthearted graphics provided by Sk8thing.

As an avid collector of vintage memorabilia, it’s a no brainer that a collaboration with Coca-Cola — ranked currently by Interbrand as the world's best global brand — is a natural fit for both parties. In an interview, NIGO® reveals that he was once a Japan Coca-Cola yo-yo champion back in the '80s and also pulled from his bespoke collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia to inspire this new line.Continue reading...

digital moves

In Tokyo, an App Aims to Make the Physical Newspaper Relevant to Children

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 29, 2013 12:58 PM

The Tokyo Newspaper, aka Tokyo Shimbun, and Dentsu Tokyo have created an augmented reality app that "translates" stories from the newspaper into a child-friendly format. Replete with cartoon-character commentary on stories, headlines (pop-ups) and child-friendly text, the app makes it easier for children to understand what's on the printed page.

The app, which was chosen recently by Ad Age as a Creativity Pick of the Day, provides opportunities for advertisers as well. Companies like yogurt-maker Meiji are placing interactive ads in the paper targeting children and their parents.

The move comes as newspapers worldwide search for new ways to sustain their printed product as readers, especially young ones, become accustomed to receiving their news in the digital space. But while the focus tends to be on attracting millennials and others crucial to the papers' survival, recruiting even younger readers is also a part of other newspapers' efforts.Continue reading...

chew on this

Food App, All-Day Breakfast: Flat Sales Prompt McDonald's to Experiment Abroad

Posted by Dale Buss on January 23, 2013 03:15 PM

McDonald's is sort of limping along in the U.S. on the strength of its value menu, and there do not seem to be prospects for a return to sizzling growth anytime soon. So the fast-food chain is relying on the historic strengths of its brand — including locations, familiarity and convenience — to carry it through what is expected to be a ho-hum near-term future.

On Wednesday, the world's biggest QSR reported a higher fourth-quarter profit, but same-store sales growth of just 0.1 percent worldwide. That measure grew slightly in the U.S. thanks to the Dollar Menu and from pushing franchisees to stay open on Christmas. But same-store sales fell by 0.6 percent in Europe —McDonald's biggest market — and fell by 1.7 percent in the region encompassing Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Japan's sales decline of more than 6 percent in the fourth quarter was especially severe.

The immediate problem for McDonald's, at least in the U.S., is that first-quarter comparisons are becoming difficult due to last year's mild winter, and the chain doesn't have much new up its sleeve right now.Continue reading...


Detroit Auto Show Preview: Nissan to Debut Brand Scent

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 9, 2013 05:05 PM

Nissan is pulling out the stops for its North American Auto Show return next week — and the stopper. In a bid to woo car-lovers heading to the Detroit trade show next week, the Japanese automaker is appealing to the senses, including testing a brand smell that it may roll out to its dealers. And it won't be that dreaded "new car smell," either; Nissan describes its brand scent as "quite a modern smell — a bit Oriental," according to a press release.

"As is tradition in luxury hotels and retailers, which pipe pleasing music and fragrance into their lobby and common spaces, the Nissan display features its own special scents and sounds, carefully choreographed to create a complete experience for visitors," Nissan added of the multisensory exhibit design, above, which will travel to ten trade shows this year. "A distinctive fragrance will be periodically released into the display area."Continue reading...


Toyota Happily Faces the New Year as World's Top-Selling Automaker

Posted by Dale Buss on January 3, 2013 05:12 PM

Toyota's report of a 27-percent gain in U.S. sales in 2012 is the latest welcome sign of recovery and revival by a company that has been tortured — by itself, by economic forces and even by Mother Nature — for the last four years. Management led by CEO Akio Toyoda has been clearing the decks for what promises to be Toyota's best year in several.

"With sales nearly doubling the [percentage] increase of a healthy industry" overall in the U.S. last year, Toyota "had a breakout year," said Jim Lentz, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., in a press release. "As we move into 2013 and the market sees continued growth, we expect to outperform the industry once again with another nine product launches on the horizon."

What's more, Toyota in 2012 reclaimed its title as the world's largest automaker, selling 9.7 million vehicles globally and leapfrogging GM and Volkswagen to get back on top.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Night and Day, Starbucks Grows Up as a Global Lifestyle Brand

Posted by Dale Buss on December 20, 2012 04:59 PM

When you're a lifestyle brand and not just the logo on some commodity product, you've got to meet and ideally exceed customer expectations. In three arenas around the world, Starbucks is confronting both the challenges and the opportunities in having customer bases that expect more out of it than they do other brands.

In its home turf of Seattle, in addition to Washington, D.C., Orange County, CA and a handful of other locations around the United States, Starbucks finally is addressing customer expressions of a desire for the chain to offer a broader menu than mainly coffee, tea and pastries — and that entails Starbucks creating an evening ambience to match its achievements with other day parts.

A potential answer is Starbucks Evenings, a test concept that has been quietly piloted over the past year. After 4pm daily in these locations, the store flips to a menu offering a selection of wines, beers, various small plates (such as truffle mac and cheese), salads (baby arugula with fresh basil and pickled beets, anyone?), sandwiches (such as fire grilled chicken with goat cheese) and even desserts.Continue reading...

brand evolution

BAPE Celebrates Eight Years in America: A Fan's Perspective

Posted by Johnny Trinh on December 12, 2012 11:19 AM

A Bathing Ape (BAPE) celebrates its 8th anniversary in the U.S. today, marking the opening of its New York City flagship store on December 12th, 2004. It's a bittersweet time for many longtime fans, including this writer.

The Planet of the Apes-inspired brand paved the way for many streetwear brands, with a limited edition run of products sparking a huge craze outside of Japan at a time where you could only attain items imported by proxy vendors or resellers. As a result, it was ranked #3 on Complex's "50 Greatest Streetwear Brands" ranking last year.

The New York store, located in SoHo, is still a mainstay for streetwear aficionados, tourists and fans of the Bathing Ape lifestyle — and many of them will be flocking to the store today to pick up the limited edition anniversary gear. With the recent 10th Anniversary of BAPE London, I am reminded of my experiences over the last eight years with BAPE New York and the Bathing Ape brand.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Uniqlo Turns Earthquake-Honed Relief Platform to Sandy Survivors

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 10, 2012 12:57 PM

When UNIQLO CEO Tadashi Yanai set his sights on the US in 2007, the fast-fashion retailer that combined the back-to-basics approach of American Apparel, the competitive pricing of Old Navy, and the foreign edge of a Zara or H&M, was already "a retail juggernaut in Japan, with 760 stores in six countries, 20,000 employees, and earnings of US$ 3.5 billion in 2004," as we noted.

The Fast Retailing Co.-owned brand, whose name is derived from "unique clothes," is now the leading global Japanese retail holding company (and Yanai its richest citizen), posting global sales of 820 billion yen for its 2011 fiscal year, making it the world’s fourth largest apparel retail company and a true innovator thanks to its Heattech heat-generating fabric.

That innovation is now being turned to help individuals affected by Super Storm Sandy as the northeastern US braces for winter cold. The brand announced today that it has just kicked off United in Warmth to bring about just that. The 10-week program will donate and distribute 100,000 Heattech items to men, women and children and 10,000 Ultra Light Down jackets to adults affected by Sandy through a 10-week volunteer program on Saturdays, holding true to its brand commitment of “changing clothes, changing conventional wisdom and change the world.”Continue reading...

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