Posted by Dale Buss on February 21, 2013 06:12 PM
Sure, we get the occasional brand vs. brand dustup in court, but the three-ring circus that opened this week, pitting Macy's against J.C. Penney and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia already has brought more color than that Apple-Samsung dispute last year—and that's without any of the colorful principals even making an appearance yet.
In the first day of testimony in a Manhattan court on Wednesday, the Stewart-Penney alliance and Macy's made the outlines of their arguments pretty clear.
Macy's believes that an agreement by Stewart's company to supply some of her homeware designs to a giant J.C. Penney "store within a store" violates Macy's agreement for its own Stewart-brand merchandise that has been renewed through 2018. Besides, they believe Martha Stewart and her company owe Macy's some loyalty because it struck a deal with her in 2004 when she was just out of prison for conspiracy.
J.C. Penney and Stewart, on the other hand, believe they're doing nothing wrong in planning to sell Stewart-designed stuff as long as it doesn't bear her actual name and likeness, which they concede would violate terms of the Macy's deal. Besides, this argument goes, a bunch of the stuff has already been manufactured overseas and is on boats on the way to the U.S. for their debut in Penney stores—and does Macy's really intend on asking these ships to turn around?Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 21, 2013 02:50 PM
It has been nearly 16 years since the episode of “Ellen” that found its main character, as played by Ellen DeGeneres, come out of the closet and tell the world that she was gay, followed up by the historic "Yep, I'm Gay" cover of TIME.
That, of course, was a watershed moment and plenty has happened since. States have legalized gay marriage. Gay characters that don’t fall into ancient stereotypes actually populate mainstream films and television shows. Those in the 18- to 44-year-old demographic are mostly all for gay marriage, leading many to assert that, with time, it will be fully integrated into American culture.
That same demographic is the target of most marketers, which has led to a rapid growth in gay-themed ads. Anti-gay sentiment clearly isn’t dead, though, and marketers take the risk of getting one faction of its fans upset when it goes that route, a fact Kraft’s Oreo brand found out last summer when it put a rainbow-themed Oreo on its Facebook page and then discovered a massive fight occurring in its comments section.
Amazon has now stepped in to show that it’s happy to have its products, specifically Kindles, used by gays or straights. In a new ad campaign that broke this week, a shirtless man and bikini-wearing woman sit next to each other at a resort looking at their e-readers. While he squints at what looks like an iPad in the sunlight, she can see her Kindle Paperwhite just fine. He decides to purchase a Kindle from his device and after, suggests that they should celebrate. She says that her husband is bringing her a drink right now. His response? “So is mine.” Touché.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 21, 2013 11:48 AM
Australia’s smokers had to start purchasing cigarette packs with extremely graphic images on the front last December, which did not sit well with the world’s Big Tobacco companies, whose lawyers have been set loose to try and repeal the Aussies' anti-smoking efforts. Now, New Zealand is ready to enact a similar effort that will remove branding from cigarette packages and sell them with plain wrapping.
New Zealand, however, won’t push forward with the practice until it sees how all that legal wrangling works out for its larger neighbor.
“This announcement demonstrates that the New Zealand government recognizes the significant international trade issues with standardized packaging and will not implement it until the pending international legal challenges to Australia’s law are resolved,” Philip Morris said in a statement. “There is no credible evidence that standardized packaging will lower smoking rates, but strong evidence that it will jeopardize jobs, benefit the black market for cigarettes, and is a breach of international trade rules that have already made Australia’s policy subject to WTO action.”
The WTO actions were set in motion by a few nations that happen to be—surprise!—big producers of tobacco: Ukraine, Zimbabwe, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Indonesia.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 20, 2013 03:31 PM
Winnebago Australia has finally done what America’s Winnebago Industries has been wanting it to do for decades: change its name. After a long legal battle, Winnebago Australia, which has never been affiliated with the U.S. motor home company of the same name, is changing its name to Avida.
Avida actually successfully trademarked the word “Winnebago” in Australia back in 1997, but Federal Court of Australia Justice Lindsay Foster ordered the cancellation of that registration last summer, saying that CEO Ben Binns “intentionally hijacked the Winnebago marks in Australia in a bold attempt to preempt Winnebago’s opening its doors here,” Bloomberg reported at the time.
However, don’t think that Avida is finished using the Winnebago name for its own self-promotion in Australia and New Zealand just yet.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on February 20, 2013 02:03 PM
Donald Trump is not about to get out-bullied. The real estate mogul and celebrity designer is threatening to sue the organizer of a petition that urges Macy's to "Dump Trump" and its varied line of merchandise under the Trump name.
Through a letter from his lawyer, Trump has threatened a $25 million suit against Angelo Carusone, who started the drive on SignOn.org urging Macy's to sever ties with the lightning-rod personality. Trump's attorney alleges that Carusone is "tortiously interfer[ing] with Mr. Trump's business and contractual relationships" and accuses Carusone of "mob-like bullying and coercion" and "intentionally disseminating misinformation."
Carusone's response was to release a letter from his own lawyer defending his First Amendment rights, as well to call Trump a "bully" and describe Trump's brand as "consequence-free bullying and chicanery" in a press release. He told brandchannel that "threatening to sue someone for $25 million who lives in a studio apartment" and "to silence them—I'd say it's fair to call that 'bullying.'"Continue reading...
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...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 19, 2013 11:02 AM
Describing something that is oversized may soon involve a lawyer. The terms “titanic” and “gigantic” are both being considered for trademarking.
The man behind the plan, Clive Palmer, is an Australian billionaire who is having the Titanic completely re-created by a Chinese shipyard so it can set sail from England for North America in 2016. Palmer’s Blue Star Line, named after White Star Line, the company that owned the original Titanic, has filed a trademark request for a number of terms, including "Titanic," "Titanic II," "Titanic III," "Blue Star Line," and "Gigantic", although he's already promoting "Titanic II" on his website.
Palmer, a mining tycoon, believes that White Star Line had thought about naming one of its ships Gigantic, but never got around to it after its Titanic liner famously slammed into an iceberg near Newfoundland and sank, taking more than 1,500 lives along with it. “I think [the trademark application] will be OK,” Palmer said, according to Australia’s Boorowa News. “We'll just see how we go. I think there is a report back on it already, saying it is OK for a ship.”
However, there is some debate as to what he'll be able to trademark.Continue reading...
brand vs. brand
Posted by Shirley Brady on February 18, 2013 09:45 PM
Tiffany is more than irked at Costco for selling diamond engagement rings as "Tiffany" rings. The luxury jeweler last week formally filed suit against the wholesale retail giant.
Costco CEO Craig Jelinek commented in an internal email communication that was sent to all employees this evening [Feb. 18, 8:27 pm EST], "We are disappointed that our efforts to resolve the issue with them did not result in an amicable solution as we had hoped."
Jelinek also acknowledged that the retailer erred by using the word "Tiffany" in describing the engagement rings:
"That was intended to describe a setting style used in those rings, and was not intended to claim that the rings were of any particular brand. In retrospect, it would have been better had we not used that description the way we did."
Below, read Costco's company-wide email:Continue reading...