brand ambassadors

Microsoft's Brand Ambassadors: Oprah, Jessica, Gwen, Steve - and Gandalf

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 20, 2012 01:54 PM

Oprah Winfrey devoted two hours last Sunday night on her OWN cable network to Favorite Things, with the items given to ‘deserving military spouses.’ The franchise, an annual brandstravaganza on her former daytime talkshow, this year reverted to the talk show host's personal picks, with one in particular causing a kerfuffle. 

"The Surface, Microsoft's first tablet, feels like a Mercedes-Benz to me, people!" Oprah wrote on her website. "The full-size keyboard built right into the cover makes work easy, the very smart kickstand makes watching a movie or Skyping a friend a delight, the less than a pound-and-a-half weight makes a great alternative to a laptop, and the many other features make it fun for work and play. Now, that's a wowser!"

Unfortunately, it was a follow-up tweet professing her love for the Surface tablet to her 14.8 million followers on Twitter that got her in trouble, as she wrote "Gotta say love that SURFACE! Have bought 12 already for Christmas gifts. #FavoriteThings" from an iPad.

We can only hope that Gandalf won't tout his love for the new Windows Phone from an iPhone. Microsoft is partnering with Warner Bros, the studio behind the highly-anticipated The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first installment of a trilogy to be released (in the UK) on December 13, starring Sir Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman as Gandalf and Bilbo respectively.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Microsoft Unleashes Global Marketing Blitz for Windows 8, New Devices

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 25, 2012 03:23 PM

You know the launch of the Windows 8 operating system, Windows Phone 8 and the Surface tablet is a big deal for Microsoft when it pulls out the big guns — chairman Bill Gates — to talk about why this week, with Friday's launch of Windows 8 globally and these new devices, represents a game-changer for the company and the brand. 

Microsoft is spending hundreds of millions of dollars and is the brand’s largest sustained global marketing activity in its 37-year history, including opening pop-up stores around the world in the brand's biggest retail activation to date. 

The Times Square holiday store in New York, for example, will give the first 100 people a year’s Xbox Music Pass (value $99.90) with purchase. The Big Apple will also be home to Microsoft's Microtropolis, a major interactive installation at Pier 57 on the Hudson River. Opening Friday, it's described as:

a stylized one hundred and sixty foot version of NYC in an art installation we are calling Microtropolis. Microtropolis is Manhattan experienced through Windows. It creates the ultimate hands-on demonstration of Windows 8, with the city of NYC as the backdrop. As you walk into the installation, you are literally walking through the avenues and streets with skyscrapers towering above. This interactive experience has hundreds of devices placed on rooftops within the city, customized to the neighborhoods in which they are placed.Continue reading...


Lenovo Promotes IdeaPad Yoga With Bond-like Short Film

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 12, 2012 05:02 PM

To promote Lenovo's new IdeaPad Yoga (a hybrid tablet and laptop that can be configured, yoga-like, into various 'modes' or 'poses' including bending backwards), the brand released "The Pursuit," a film-like short (that's the director's cut, above) that was shot in Hungary. The Bond-like heroine's mission: "Find the Yoga, uncover the code, make the switch. But with the opposition in hot pursuit her skills and the dynamic moves of the Yoga will be put to the test."

"Yoga was actually the code name," says Lenovo CMO David Roman, "but the code name was so logical — it was just a perfect fit — that it ended up becoming the real name. And it was justifiable to have a name [as opposed to a number] because it really is a new category."

The creave name stands in contrast to Lenovo's "ThinkPad Tablet 2," for example, which may get renamed. "We are looking at our naming overall," Roman says. "We don't feel that our naming is up to snuff. It can be confusing. Taken product by product it makes sense, but put them together it doesn't."

executive decision

Apple CEO Issues Appology for iOS 6 Maps Mishaps

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 28, 2012 11:21 AM

Apple CEO Tim Cook has apologized for the iOS 6 Maps kerfuffle, following the brand's eviction of Google Maps and proprietary (but glitchy) maps function — one of the key features consumers demand from their smartphones. Google, meanwhile, just upgraded its maps app with high-resolution aerial views.

A contrite Apple posted the apology online (read the full text below) in a mea culpa that the Financial Times calls "a rare moment of contrition from the world's most valuable company," and — unexpectedly — suggested installing rivals' map apps "while we're improving Maps." Cook's personal apology for "mapgate" also raised comparisons to how Steve Jobs handled the iPhone 4 "antennagate," for which the company — but not Jobs personally — apologized.Continue reading...

brand launch

Is Apple's Brand Lost? Yes, If It's Using iOS 6

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 21, 2012 10:14 AM

Everyone wants to tear down the guy at the top. But in a matter of a month, Apple has made that work a lot easier. And for once, it has nothing to do with China. Well, not Foxconn anyway.

First, Apple's court win over Samsung for patent infringements met with "rounded corner" derision with the brand seen as an anti-innovation patent bully (a German court ruling today puts the patent wars ball back in Samsung's court). Then, there is the ongoing iOS 6 Google Mapsgate. And now, Apple has been accused of jobbing its fans to promote the iPhone 5 release.

But really, it's all about the maps. The stupid, stupid maps.Continue reading...

brand launch

Apple’s iPhone 5 Already Shaking Things Up

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 19, 2012 05:15 PM

As iPhone 5 fever is upon us, it's hard not to think of The Jetsons. The series debuted in 1962, but its creators vision of video phones (as well as tanning beds and robot vacuums) seemed pretty far down the line. After all, the series was set in the year 2062, but who knew the video phone would be so ingrained in our lives 50 years ahead of that schedule.

Apple is having a banner week as fans await the release of the phone that has been getting rave reviews for its larger screen, lighter body, improved camera and speakers, and faster downloads. And its iOS 6 software powering the new phone is winning accolades, if irking some for dropping Google Maps.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Air: Come for Carbonated Alcohol Inspired Fun, Stay for the Vice Party

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 10, 2012 06:04 PM

It's water. It's booze "Alcohol-Inspired Refresher" with a dash of berry or a citrus twist. But you can call it Air. 

That's the brand name for the cutting edge of the alcoholic beverage market: carbonated water infused with alcohol and refreshing bubbles, named after the stuff that dares to defy the Helvetica fatigue.

It's a "refreshingly" simple branding in a market where "blackout drinks" carbonated alcoholic beverages once ruled.

But selling Air in a can — seriously?Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Microsoft's Surface Tablet Takes Aim at More than the iPad

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 19, 2012 02:02 PM

The images may make it look like a notebook, but Microsoft's new Surface line is all about tablets. As the center of the computing industry continues to shift from PC to mobile, Microsoft, maker of keyboards and mice for three decades, is directly challenging Apple’s iPhone and iPad dominance with the Surface sub-brand.

"Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen made a big bet — a bet on software — but it was always clear that we had to push hardware in ways that sometimes manufacturers hadn't envisioned," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at Monday's unveiling. "We believe that any intersection between human and machine can be made better when all aspects, hardware and software, are working together."Continue reading...

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