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...
ready for takeoff
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 14, 2013 11:53 AM
After more than a year’s worth of rumors, plenty of negotiations and three earlier attempts at merging, US Airways and the bankrupt American Airlines—which made a last-ditch effort to revamp their image earlier this month—have finally agreed to come together and be one. While they're now moving in together and sorting through their stuff, the actual marriage and formal union won't be completed until the third quarter of this year.
In an $11 billion all-stock deal, the two big brands are joining to create the world’s largest airline—but investors and consumers alike are pondering if bigger is indeed better. The new company, which will fly under American’s name and revamped logo but be run by US Airways CEO Doug Parker, is predicting that it “will produce annual savings and new revenue totaling more than $1 billion by 2015,” Bloomberg reports.
"American Airlines is one of the world’s most iconic brands," Parker stated in the merger announcement press release. "The combined airline will have the scale, breadth and capabilities to compete more effectively and profitably in the global marketplace. Our combined network will provide a significantly more attractive offering to customers, ensuring that we are always able to take them where they want to travel, when they want to go."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 6, 2013 02:45 PM
For generations, background music of pretty much any type has been commonly known as Muzak.
Elevator riders, phone customers on-hold and consumers everywhere would often find themselves pausing in their day to figure out the name of the Muzak-adapted song they had stumbled across.
But now it appears that future generations will have no idea what Muzak is, and that the Muzak name itself will belong to the past.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 30, 2013 12:07 PM
What will Hilco Consumer Capital do now that it has iconic music retailer HMV in its hands?
The company, which has previously acquired several other struggling brands like Polaroid, Borders and Linen 'n' Things, recently took over the bankrupt firm, paying off its £176m ($277.45 million) in debt to Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland.
The long-enduring HMV chain has 240 stores in Britain, Ireland, Singapore and Hong Kong, with about 4,000 employees in all. (In 2011, Hilco took in HMV's Canadian operations.) Its struggles come after Blockbuster, Tower Records and other once-dominant music and video retailers have declined or died off as digital delivery and online ordering continues surged.
Hilco is supported by media companies like Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Music and Warner Music, all of which will likely play a big part in the next step. Retail-Digital.com reports that those companies “have offered to cut the price of DVDs and CDS and are even considering offering the retailer better credit terms.” That could soon mean good deals for consumers.
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 25, 2013 04:53 PM
Print publications have been cutting back in various ways in recent years, including employing smaller staffs and printing on smaller paper sizes. Now the 119-year-old Billboard is unveiling a total redesign that involves its own chopping down.
In the redesign, which debuts Saturday, the brand’s iconic capital “B” loses a bit of ink and be lowercased. Business Insider points out it follows a recent design trend that's seen brands like Arby’s, Weight Watchers, Lifetime and the brand formerly known as as J.C. Penney’s, jcp.
The longstanding colors inside Billboard’s lettering will disappear on the print publication to give it a more grownup feel, but remain mostly the same on the brand’s website (though the blue in the “a” is lighter and now the “b” will get a touch of green). Each letter will also be much thicker.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 25, 2013 03:07 PM
In the United States, 7-Elevens aren’t exactly known for their funky appearance. But in Sweden, convenience-store consumers will be experiencing a completely different aesthetic in 2013 as the brand undergoes a groovy redesign there.
Stockholm was the location of the chain’s first European shop in 1978. Now its Swedish locations are getting an overhaul that started rolling out in December, using the company’s green and orange color scheme as its foundation in a highly minimalist way.
Green-and-orange striping abound on the chain’s cups, napkins, and bags, while green also adorns store walls, making the environments appear warmer than their antiseptic American counterparts.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 25, 2013 01:16 PM
Many politicians, actors and sports stars have experienced an annus horribilis. But when it comes to corporate CEOs, few have ever had as bad a year as Ron Johnson of JCPenney.
It's been about a year since the former Apple retailing executive blew into Penney's headquarters in Dallas believing that he had a secret formula that would do even more than rescue the company from its threatened place in the nation's retailing industry. Eager to start a "retail revolution," Johnson sought to simplify the company's structure and re-program the American consumer's attitude toward store pricing, discounting and promotional tactics.
A year ago today, at a splashy two-day press event in New York, Johnson outlined his vision for transforming the 110-year-old department-store chain over four years through "Fair and Square" pricing as part of a rebranding and repositioning for the company. But it's not working.Continue reading...