Posted by Abe Sauer on October 1, 2012 10:06 AM
One of the most famous landmarks of colonial era Shanghai was a sign that hung in The Bund park reading "No Dogs and Chinese." That sign never existed, although the urban legend persists because such rules did exist. Now, nearly 100 years later, with Chinese consumers growing more powerful every year, a luxury fashion designer has opened old wounds with a statement so colonially racist it would be comfortable on the streets of the French Concession circa 1921.
In a statement to WWD, the founder of high-end fashioner Zadig & Voltaire said that its new boutique hotel slated to open on the Left Bank in Paris in 2014 "won’t be open to Chinese tourists." Outrageous, for sure. But does the sentiment reveal an uncomfortable relationship between the world's haute fashion houses and their nouveau riche Chinese patrons? Just a week after D&G needed to explain its "Moorish" earrings, Thierry Gillier, fashion brand Zadig + Voltaire's founder, told WWD of the brand's new Paris hotel:
“It will be a slightly private hotel, not open to everybody, with 40 rooms. We are going to select guests. It won’t be open to Chinese tourists, for example. There is a lot of demand in Paris — many people are looking for quiet with a certain privacy.”
Through the weekend the story lit up Chinese social media networks including Weibo. Needless to say, reactions were swift and scathing.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 27, 2012 12:24 PM
The "Is Japan Cool?" campaign from All Nippon Airways, Japan’s largest airline, aims to lure Americans to fly ANA and visit Japan. Unlike the UK's cocky (and to some, uncool) "Cool Brittania" campaign in the late 90's, it's a rhetorical question that peddles Japan's charms with a soft sell. Some might argue, too soft of a sell.
The goal of the “Cool Campaign,” now in its second phase, is to help Americans more easily understand places in Japan through pictures and videos mapping locations and enlightening visitors about cultural institutions, tourist attractions and quirkier trends (Cosplay, anyone?)Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 20, 2012 06:11 PM
American Apparel has been selling its wares in Japan for six years, generating enough sales and attention that the L.A.-based clothing manufacturer has been asked to participate in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Tokyo, which kicks off on Oct. 15.
"We wanted to do something new this year and Tokyo is a city that is very open-minded to new, creative ideas, particularly when it comes to fashion,” stated Katherine Johnson, American Apparel's Japan operations manager. “We are honored to be one of the first brands without an appointed designer to show at a high-profile Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week like this."
American Apparel operates four stores in Japan as well as an online and mobile store and an e-commerce platform with Amazon Japan, while “sales for the company are up 50% over 2011" in the market.
The brand has been under fire in its home market in recent years, but things appear to be calming down as it evolves from fashion weak to Fashion Week. The company posted a sales uptick of 24 percent in its retail stores and 19 percent in e-commerce sales in August, according to the Associated Press.
Posted by Dale Buss on September 19, 2012 09:07 AM
Adidas dumped by university over labor concerns.
American Airlines expects thousands of job cuts and faces rash of late, canceled flights..
Anschutz plans to sell its entertainment group, part-owner of Los Angeles Lakers, in AEG sale to include LA's Staples Center.
Barry Diller and Scott Rudin enter e-publishing of books.
Caesars to rebrand Imperial Palace as The Quad.
Campbell Soup Co. boosts digital marketing.
Canon slashes prices in India.
Coca-Cola heirs lose $37M in foreclosure crisis.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on September 18, 2012 11:56 AM
London may have been the Olympic city this past summer, but it was also "Audi City." The German luxury car brand launched its first digital showroom in London, just in time for the Olympics, pitching it in a movie-style trailer. The innovative concept was designed to digitally present Audi's entire line of cars in a compact space, using such "groundbreaking media technology," says Audi, as the ability for visitors to "digitally select their vehicle from several hundred million possible configurations and experience it in realistic 1:1 scale on screens that almost fill the entire space." More Audi Cities are coming soon.
Audi didn't start the trend of marketing cars in big city downtown areas, however. In May, BMW opened its first "BMW Brand Store" in metropolitan Paris, positioning it as "Future Retail." Unlike the Audi concept, real cars appear in the Paris space, along with an employee BMW unashamedly refers to as a "product genius" in a nod to Apple's retail concept, the "Genius Bar."
Not to be outdone, the iconic Rolls-Royce brand, a motorcar brand many might consider ultra-stodgy, is making a few breakthrough moves of its own. The venerable Rolls-Royce brand, has been around since 1904, but the British icon clearly don't want to be left behind in the 21st Century. In the fourth quarter, Rolls-Royce plans to open a boutique — don't call it a showroom — at Rama 3 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Rolls-Royce already has a Bangkok showroom, but the boutique, the first of its kind to be located in an upscale shopping mall, will feature additional products. Still, why open a "boutique" in Bangkok?Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on September 17, 2012 11:07 AM
"Car destruction ahead. Japanese made cars should turn around now."
So read the warning on a flattened cardboard box one Chinese man held up to traffic in the city of Xian. The man's advice was not based on fearful speculation either, as cities across China erupted in anti-Japanese protests over the weekend (including, The Economist notes, about 3,000 at the Japanese Consulate in Shanghai on Sunday), Japan's auto brands were bracing for the backlash. One man set his own Honda Civic on fire in front of a dealership. One of the more moving photos shared on social media was of a young woman, weeping as she begged protesters to spare her car.
Targeting Japanese products for boycott or destruction is nothing new in China. But this weekend's actions — sparked by ownership dispute over islands between the two nations — were especially dire, called the worst flare-up of tensions between the nations in decades by The New York Times. As Japanese companies ordered their workers to stay home and closed their factories over fear of reprisals, what's unknown is the degree to which Japanese brands have been hurt in China's marketplace.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 13, 2012 10:01 AM
“UNIQLO Lucky Cube with Maru” (you know — Maru, Japan's Garfield turned YouTube and web sensation) is one of the ways UNIQLO USA is celebrating the fall openings of new stores in San Francisco and New Jersey.
The brand’s first West Coast flagship store, 111 Powell Street in San Francisco's Union Square, opens on October 5th. “San Francisco has always been a place of creativity, diversity, and social innovation,” stated UNIQLO USA’s COO Yasunobu Kyogoku. “In this same spirit, UNIQLO takes pride in developing innovative technology to create high-quality casual basics that are not only functional, but also affordable.”
Fans in the Bay Area can win blimp rides, merchandise and other prizes by playing with the You Tube Japanese cat sensation and the game is available now through October 14th on UNIQLO’s website, and via Facebook and Twitter.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 11, 2012 06:33 PM
Just in time to further boost Toyota's comeback in the U.S. market, the Toyota brand has come up with a new tagline — "Let's Go Places" — that it's promoting starting today on its website and other messaging.
As an exercise in gauging the wisdom of switching to a new advertising slogan, quick — what has Toyota's tagline been lately? Of course, this lack of memorability of its marketing message is one big reason for Toyota's new move. It's been "Moving Forward" since 2004.
Another reason is that the automaker wanted to reflect what it called, in a statement, its "commitment to more exciting products." Over the last several years, a paucity of new sheetmetal, and the relative lack of excitement created by the new products Toyota did introduce, have been as responsible for the brand's swoon in the U.S. market as its 2010 troubles with recalls and its problems last year as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.Continue reading...