2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

brand wars

LG Ambushes Samsung as it Preps to Reveal Galaxy S4 (Updated)

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 14, 2013 04:02 PM

Ambush marketing tends to pop-up in the most high-profile circumstances, and for Samsung, March 14 is D-day. While the mobile brand is busy heavily promoting its Galaxy S4 launch, it's obvious that competitors weren't going to sit on the sidelines and let Samsung have all the fun. 

LG took a swipe at Samsung in New York City’s Times Square, unveiling a massive billboard that directly rips off the Galaxy S4 ad. Not only does LG use a key element of Samsung’s design, but its sign is larger than Samsung’s and hangs just above it, neatly overshadowing Samsung's biggest announcement of 2013.

The billboard’s text also mirrors Samsung’s—which is set to unveil the Galaxy S4 Thursday in New York—reading, "LG Optimus G is here 4 you now" in a reference to the S4—while just underneath, Samsung's sign reads, "Be ready 4 the next Galaxy." The obvious implication is that you need to wait for the next Galaxy while the LG Optimus G is ready for the consumer right now.Continue reading...

chew on this

Hot For Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos, Some Early Fans Come Up Empty

Posted by Dale Buss on March 6, 2013 06:14 PM

Last month, Taco Bell gave away the fact that its next flavor of Doritos Locos Tacos would be Cool Ranch and tweeted that the secret was "out of the bag." The problem is that today, when the chain actually began dispensing the new product to QSR cognoscenti, some Taco Bell outlets couldn't put enough Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos in the bag to satisfy early adopters.

Taco Bell has said that the widely anticipated next variety in the Doritos Locos Tacos phenomenon would be introduced nationwide tomorrow in its biggest marketing campaign ever. However, it wanted to add to the advance buzz created by its announcement on February 13, stoked by the product's appearance in a TV ad during the Oscars and further fed by a variety of social media-savvy teaser videos online.

So the brand let fans know via Twitter and Facebook this week that they would be rewarded today with "a special 'Fan Day' in which they can visit their local Taco Bell and buy a Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco the day before it officially launches on March 7. All they have to do is ask." It was a way, a brand spokeswoman told brandchannel, "of giving back."Continue reading...

retail watch

Target Prepares for Canadian Launch This Week

Posted by Reneé Alexander on March 4, 2013 04:21 PM

After playing coy about its exact launch dates in Canada, Target has confirmed it's opening the first of its Canadian stores this week. Residents in three communities (Guelph, Fergus and Milton) west of Toronto will be able to check out the launch trio of Target Canada "pilot stores" that will open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, part of the first wave of 24 stores soft opening this month in Ontario. As Target's press release puts it,

Like the majority of Target locations opening in Canada, the pilot stores feature a licensed Starbucks, as well as an in-store pharmacy designed to provide guests with superior patient-centered healthcare. “The Target team is excited to open these test locations as we put the finishing touches on our stores, assortments and inventory,” said Tony Fisher, president, Target Canada. “We look forward to delivering on our Expect More. Pay Less. brand promise and providing an outstanding shopping experience as we approach our grand opening in early April.”

The move kicks off the Minneapolis-based retailer's opening of up to 135 locations in former Zellers locations across Canada, 124 of those locations opening their doors this year. Target had said publicly it will start having soft store openings in March but it hadn't given exact dates or specific locations. In advance of this week's opening drive, the brand is practically building snowmen (see a recent Facebook cover image, above), drinking maple syrup straight from the bottle and painting its face at hockey games.

The retailing giant has been on an awareness-building campaign for its highly-anticipated arrival since late last year, one that is expected to ignite an all-out battle for consumers not seen since Walmart stormed the 49th parallel in 1994 with the acquisition of 122 Woolco stores.Continue reading...

sip on this

Dr Pepper Snapple Hopes To Score Perfect Ten With Low-Cal Platform

Posted by Dale Buss on March 1, 2013 06:12 PM

With soda volume down globally, most brands like Coke are pushing amped-up waters, juices and tea beverages in hopes to keep its increasingly health-conscious consumer in its court. Dr Pepper Snapple Group, however, is swerving heavily back in the direction of that most American of beverages: a can of soda. The company is counting on its new Ten platform—all the taste, just 10 calories—to become the vehicle for a reconnection with soft-drink fans that will stun the industry.

In rolling out 7Up Ten, A&W Ten, Sunkist Ten, Canada Dry Ten and RC Ten, in addition to its existing Dr Pepper Ten, company CEO Larry Young is insisting that Dr Pepper Snapple will not be cowed by increasingly aggressive attacks on the effects of soft-drink consumption on the American diet.

"You have to step up to the plate and take a big swing, so I think it's a necessary action," he said on a conference call recently. "We're not going to sit back and let [attacks] bring our volumes down and affect us. We're behind this." 

Meaning, of course, the company is getting behind its rollout of the Ten platform across the variety of its soft-drink platforms, which comprise a stable of iconic brands that Dr Pepper Snapple has assembled over the years. The company plans a $30 million marketing outlay this year to launch 12-ounce-serving versions of the drinks across the U.S. in 2013.Continue reading...

retail watch

Google’s Chromebook Pixel: Questions Arise Over Quality, Price

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 22, 2013 03:18 PM

Since Google began releasing its Chromebook laptops to the mass market in June of 2011, the machines have been known for their low prices and their focus on cloud computing. Now, the company has released its Chromebook Pixel, a laptop that is asking consumers to dig a little deeper into their wallets.

The new computer retails for $1,299 and more than a few tech bloggers are saying that while the Pixel has some nice features, including a fancy touchscreen and certainly is aesthetically pleasing, it might not be worth shelling out the big bucks when other computers deliver just as much for lower cost. TechCrunch notes that “for a machine aiming at power users, it’s a device surprisingly devoid of power features.” Techspot.com concludes, “We can’t fault Google for trying something different and bold with Chrome OS, but at that price it’ll be a hard sell when you can get more for less.” And so on.

However, Mashable.com makes a case for Pixel, starting its review by saying, “The tech pundit jury has apparently reached a solemn, sober verdict on the Chromebook Pixel laptop Google launched Thursday. And the verdict is ... ‘Oh my God, look at the sticker price!’” The review calls the rush to judgment a “pity” and goes on to note that the Pixel is “a pleasure to use, with a screen that's just as eye-poppingly beautiful as a Macbook Retina,” “incredibly fast,” and perfect for someone who is constantly on the go and looking for Wi-Fi access.Continue reading...

brand extensions

Kate Spade Saturday Launches Despite Dispute Over Name

Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 20, 2013 01:16 PM

It's just another day in the mad, mad world of fashion. kate spade new york, the eponymous U.S.-based fashion brand is launching "kate spade Saturday," a brand whose name is being disputed by a similarly-coined NYC retailer.

The diffusion line is making its debut in Japan via an online store and a retail location in Tokyo—complete with an American-style café—with plans to have an online presence in Brazil and the U.S. later this spring. (A "sneak peek" at selected items from the new brand was offered on Fab.com through today, February 20.) CEO Craig Leavitt said the brand "saw an opportunity in the market to engage a new customer base—one that aspires to be part of the kate spade new york brand."

The new sub-brand will feature apparel, a beauty line and home decor at a notch below typical kate spade prices, with a target demographic of consumers ages 25 to 35. The price point will be "about 50 percent below" the kate spade brand, and its retail experience promises to thread digital throughout the graphic, pop art-inspired clothes. However, the brand's introduction has not been without some controversy.Continue reading...

brand launch

Microsoft Launches Outlook.com as Hotmail Goes Cold

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 20, 2013 12:08 PM

After 16 years, Microsoft is kissing Hotmail goodbye and putting its Internet-mail energy behind the brand-new Outlook.com.

The 300 million folks who use Hotmail—which Microsoft acquired back in 1997 when it was just a year old—will be able to keep their current email addresses, but the brand is disappearing and all of those users will be switched over to the new site by summer’s end. 

CNN reports that Microsoft plans to put some big advertising dollars into the new site. That push began Tuesday with the release of two commercials that both highlight how sweet a consumer’s life can be if he or she is using Outlook. This is a shift from Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign, which has aimed to get the 425 million Gmail users around the globe to feel irritated at Google and make the switch to Outlook. Scroogled worked effectively for Microsoft when it initially used it to help expose consumers to the plusses of its Bing search engine compared to Google’s. Continue reading...

retail watch

Hi Neighbour: Target Readies for its Canadian Invasion

Posted by Dale Buss on February 19, 2013 05:12 PM

Could there be a better match than between the red and white of Target's logo and identity and the red and white of Canada's maple leaf flag — or between Canada's relatively sleepy retail environment and the jolt that Target will bring?

Canadians and the Minneapolis-based retailer are moving closer to finding out. Target is poised to open its first outlets in Canada in the next few weeks, the first of a total of 124 stores planned for the country this year. Its coming invasion of store openings in March and April is exciting many Canadian consumers, prompting wariness among its soon-to-be competitors and necessitating a country-specific strategy from Target despite its accomplishments in the much bigger market to the South.

The move north involves more than simply remembering the "u" in "neighbor," as noted on its Canadian website, or featuring hockey-playing polar bears (with its logo conveniently placed center ice) on its Canadian Facebook page. It also means respecting local preferences in food, clothing and doing business.Continue reading...

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