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brand wars

Macy's-Stewart-J.C. Penney Case Off to a Catty Start—And That's Just the Lawyers

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...

brand and bottle

Brangelina Joins Fergie, Drew And Other Stars Launching Celeb Booze Brands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 18, 2013 07:02 PM

If there are two things that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt need it’s more money and more publicity. So the pair will release their first wine from their organic 1,000-acre French estate, Chateau Miraval, next month with their names on the bottle, Bloomberg News reports.

The rosé, formerly known as “Pink Floyd,” will be labeled as Miraval and feature Pitt and Jolie’s names on the back of the bottle along with Perrin, the family that Brangelina has partnered with to help create and distribute the wine. The trio will also distribute a white later this year and reds in 2014. “We are intimately involved and quite enthused over the wine project with our friends the Perrin family,” Pitt said via his publicist.

One thing that brought Perrin and Pitt-Jolie together was the fact that both vineyards grow their vines organically, something the Perrin family has been doing since 1950. Now the Hollywood escapees are joining a long line of celebs who have extended their personal brands to alcohol brands.Continue reading...

chew on this

Hipster Branding: Taco Bell Woos Cool Kids to Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos

Posted by Dale Buss on February 13, 2013 05:02 PM

Murmurs were afoot early on the street and on the tweet, thanks to Taco Bell's Facebook hint that fans should head to a pop-up store at New York City's Ariston Flowers in the Chelsea neighborhood, setting the Twitterverse aflutter.

The product: new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos. The password: ask for the blue bouquet.

But just when things began to heat up at the flower shop, Taco Bell also was letting the whole country know about what likely will be its biggest new-product announcement of 2013. The Yum! Brands chain is hoping to tap into the same fervor for Cool Ranch as it did a year ago for the original Nacho Cheese flavored Doritos Locos Tacos, which kicked off a frenzy new Doritos-based-shell franchise.

And if the blue nail polish on today's Facebook announcement wasn't hint enough, Taco Bell is wooing the cool kids to Cool Ranch by appealing to hipsters — judging by its Super Bowl commercial, as a mindset and not necessarily just millennials.Continue reading...

games people play

Toy Fair: 'Breaking Bad' Action Figures, a 'Julius' Spinoff, New Crayons and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 11, 2013 05:13 PM

The 110th American International Toy Fair has kicked off in New York, which means that it is time for toy freaks to opine on everything from Superman’s underwear to the merits of creating toys based on "Breaking Bad" — a TV show about a dying chemistry teacher who turns to cooking up methamphetamines in a desperate cash-raising scheme for his family.

Warm and cuddly? Not exactly. But the fair has that elsewhere in droves, including a new line of Fisher-Price plush toys (and other items) relating to the launch of Saban's forthcoming "Julius Jr." show for preschoolers on Nickolodeon's sister network, Nick Jr. — a spinoff of Paul Frank's omnipresent monkey character. ("Julius Jr. is a funky monkey with a penchant for invention," according to a press release.)

Saban, which also owns the Power Rangers brand, is also debuting a bevvy of new action figures, plush toys, board games, consumer electronics and more as the Rangers celebrate their 20th anniversary. The brand has a new show on Nickelodeon as well — "Power Rangers Megaforce" — which has some new products attached to it.Continue reading...

sip on this

Big Chill: Marley's Mellow Mood Seeks to Dominate in Relaxation Drink Sector

Posted by Dale Buss on February 8, 2013 12:20 PM

Since entrepreneurs launched the "relaxation" beverage category several years ago, brands with catchy names like Vacation in a Bottle and Drank have mostly gone nowhere, at least in terms of the volume of sales that some expected. Beverage Digest has called the sector "one of the more conspicuous underperformers," with Americans seemingly less eager to kick back with such brews than they are to power up with energy drinks.

But now one relaxation player, Marley Beverage, believes that it can leverage the visage of reggae icon Bob Marley and an official association with his family to consolidate a huge chunk of the segment — and maybe even re-energize this type of functional beverage overall.

Marley sold two million cases of its ready-to-drink Marley's Mellow Mood sodas and teas last year, and Kevin McClafferty, president of the Southfield, Mich.-based brand, told brandchannel that he expects Marley to double that volume in 2013. In addition to other expansion plans, a new deal to distribute Marley's Mellow Mood in more than 2,000 Walmart stores nationwide will be key to fulfilling that goal.Continue reading...

traveling brands

Starwood's Eco-Conscious '1' and Elite 'Baccarat' to Join Booming Hotel Industry

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 6, 2013 05:34 PM

'1' hotels will rely on reusable materials in their construction, Starwood says...

...while the Baccarat brand will invoke the elegance of the longtime crystal manufacturer. 

It's been 13 years since private equity firm Starwood Capital Group got out of its investment in hotel giant Starwood Hotels & Resorts. But apparently, it misses the lodging business.

SCG, which is involved in many areas of global real estate, announced on Wednesday the creation of two hotel brands: Baccarat Hotels & Resorts and 1 Hotels & Resorts.

The announcement comes as the U.S. hotel industry shares a boom that is also occurring in many world cities. Many analysts expect the expansion will continue for at least a few years as supply attempts to catch up with demand.Continue reading...

celebrity brandcasting

More Barrymore: Actress Launches Her Own Wine Label and Cosmetics Brand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 17, 2013 01:20 PM

Meet Drew Barrymore, the expanding solo retail brand.

The 37-year-old actress, who has spent her lifetime performing, announced this week that she has undertaken lines of wine and cosmetics.

"I just want to do the things that you actually do in life, which is drink wine and play with makeup," she told OK! magazine in an interview posted Thursday. "It took years... to make both of these brands."

Barrymore Wine, which launched itself with a Pinot Grigio, was created to honor her family, she said on the label's website.  In promotional copy highlighted by Buzzfeed, she pokes fun at "Real Housewives of New York" star Ramona Singer, who has also launched a Pinot Grigio: “Move over Ramona Singer, you’re so yesterday’s news… let the “Real” Stars, not reality stars, show you how to drink Pinot Grigio!”Continue reading...

branding together

Walmart, Tesco Cozy Up to Restaurant Partners

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 9, 2013 04:28 PM

Ordering fast food is pretty easy to do, but fast-food marketing execs are aiming to make it even easier for consumers, while also saving a bundle on real estate by opening their new locations under someone else's roof.

Nation’s Restaurant News reports that a few fast-food chains aren’t spending all the bucks of creating new standalone locations but instead investing in opening up new eateries inside existing supermarkets, retailers, and convenience stores. While nested within a retailer's branded storefront, bringing their food services directly to shoppers also helps to differentiate the stores from their competitors. Such U.S. fast-food brands as Checkers Drive-In, Fazoli’s and Huddle House are “investing in nontraditional partnerships,” NRN notes, in order to “reach more customers and better serve their franchisees.”

As part of its franchising push with sister brand Rally's, Checkers has opened two in-store Walmart locations and is looking into adding more. “It has to be the right type of partnership,” commented Jennifer Durham, VP of franchise development for Checkers and Rally’s. “With Checkers and Rally’s being the most value-relevant brands in QSR and Walmart being the most value-relevant retailer, it made sense to join forces. We wouldn’t go into a Nieman-Marcus, because that’s not where our consumers live.”Continue reading...

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