holidaze

Holiday Windows 2013: Brands Go Bright for Global Sidewalk Displays

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 23, 2013 05:45 PM

In the twinkling of an eye, retailers transform their windows for the holiday season into stylish and distinct winter wonderlands. From the nostalgic to futuristic, high-tech to old-fashioned, brands around the world invest countless hours and funds into creating a special, visual experience for guests of all ages. 

With Christmas and the New Year quickly approaching, here are a few that have got us in the holiday spirit:Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Abercrombie and GM CEOs, Novartis Eyes Merck, and more

Posted by Dale Buss on December 10, 2013 09:15 AM

Abercrombie & Fitch renews contract with CEO.

Boeing holds tax-breaks "bake-off" between states.

Chobani enters Super Bowl for first time.

Dr Pepper Snapple smells trouble with sewage in Houston.

GM names Mary Barra, industry's first female CEO, to succeed Dan Akerson, report says, while US loses $10.5 in bailout, which a study calls a financial success; meanwhile, company vacillates over ending Australia operations.

Jeep partners with NBCUniversal for Cherokee.

Kawasaki plants marketing seeds for '14.

Kia launches new Red Zone sub-brand for tuners.

Lululemon names new CEO as founder steps down as chairman. Continue reading...

retail watch

Thanksgiving Holiday Sales Are a Mixed Bag of 'Good' and 'Could Have Been Better'

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 2, 2013 04:52 PM

It’s tricky to find consensus on the success of this weekend’s spending, but one thing is a fact—Black Friday marked the first billion-dollar-plus day of this year’s holiday shopping season.

Accorind to comScore, consumers spent $1.2 billion online, with sales up 18.9 percent this year from last as retailers pushed their open hours from Friday to Thanksgiving day.

"Consumers appear to have responded to retailers' strong push to get them in the stores and online early this year," Shawn DuBravac, CEA chief economist and senior director of research, told USA Today. "The dust is still settling, but early indications point to a weekend of record-breaking online sales and a healthy appetite for key tech products."

ShopperTrak reports that sales were off 13.2 percent on Black Friday, but with more stores open earlier on Thanksgiving this year, and for longer hours, the combined sales of Thursday and Friday were actually up 2.3 percent over the same two days last year. Still, a more somber take from the National Retail Federation puts the weekend spend at about $1.7 billion less than in 2012. “There are some economic challenges that many Americans still face,” Matthew Shay, CEO, NRF, told the New York Times. “So in general terms, many are intending to be a little bit more conservative with their budgets.”Continue reading...

retail watch

Brands Set Off on All Out Marketing Blitz in Race for Black Friday Sales

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 27, 2013 07:02 PM

Thanksgiving is a time to share with loved ones, express gratitude, and take stock of the ad frenzy that is holiday shopping. And with brands turning the clock forward on Black Friday promos, marketing teams are in an all-out race to grab the attention of savings-hungry consumers. 

According to research from Shareablee, of the top 25 retailers on Facebook in the first half of November, Walmart accounted for 27 percent of the total shares by fans, followed by QVC with 9 percent, and Macy’s and Nordstrom at 8 percent. On Twitter, BestBuy is dominant with 30 percent of retweets in the category, followed by Nordstrom at 9 percent, Ebay and Target at 8 percent respectively and Walmart at 6 percent.

Target has outpaced all retail competition with six times more Black Friday posts than any other brand, while JCPenney’s one Black Friday post earned the highest level of engagement with over 54,000 likes, comments and shares.  

Are you planning on braving the crowds? If so, here's some offers to keep an eye out for:Continue reading...

retail watch

JCPenney Heads Into Holiday Shopping Season with Sales Gain, Cheapest Pants in Town

Posted by Dale Buss on November 20, 2013 05:07 PM

JCPenney finally reported seeing a silver lining in its financial results. Which is only appropriate, considering that the brand also released its new, glittery holiday advertising campaign, the first national effort under new CMO Debra Berman.

The beleaguered chain reported a wider third-quarter loss than a year ago, but investors cheered the results nonetheless, sending JCPenney stock higher on Wednesday. That was because, while the company nearly quadrupled its quarterly losses, part of it was the toll necessary for JCPenney to continue to reverse many of the huge changes to its marketing, merchandising, product and promotion policies and programs under former CEO Ron Johnson, who was ousted last spring.

Besides, JCPenney's first monthly same-store sales gain in nearly two years came in October. That meant the brand finally may be stanching the bleeding of the last two years. Quarterly revenues still dipped by nearly 5 percent for the retailer, but executives were able to report that the defection of customers and loyalty to the brand may finally have bottomed out during the period.Continue reading...

black friday

Target Deploys Black Ops as Latest Holiday Sales Season Tactic

Posted by Abe Sauer on November 19, 2013 11:36 AM

Target is hoping you have a holly, jolly, CIA espionage Christmas.

With the holiday selling season looking to be one of the most cutthroat in memory, is it any surprise that one of the biggest names in retail is turning to an ex-CIA covert specialist?

"I really don’t know a thing about merchandising, but I do have a son. They convinced me that a lot of the skills I acquired over the years could help moms treat Christmas like a covert operation," former CIA operative, Jonna Mendez, said in a recent interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Mendez—a career "Chief of Disguise" for the CIA—will be dispensing advice on Target's sub-site Abullseyeview.com on how her “years spent as a top-secret agent" can benefit parents looking for the perfect Christmas gift. 

Target's hiring of Mendez may be a genuine attempt to find new sales tactics amid a grim consumer spending outlook, or it might just be a PR stunt to attract coverage like the Star-Tribune's. After all, the list of shopping tips "from the super sleuth" seem to stem a lot more from Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective than from the bowels of Langley, Va.Continue reading...

campaigns

Gap Gets Praise for Culturally-Inclusive Holiday Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 18, 2013 11:12 AM

Gap has put its own spin on holiday cheer with this year's #MakeLove campaign featuring artists and activists who are making a difference in the world.

The retailer has received praise for featuring a diverse group of personalities in its print and digital adverts, from rapper Q-Tip to artist and civil rights icon Harry Belafonte, and music celebebrities including Tony Bennett, Kenna, Cyndi Lauper and Billy Porter. It has especially received attention for featuring the face of Indian-American designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia in all 866 Gap retail stores in the US, online and on social media, in which he wears a traditional Sikh turban.

Ahluwalia has become one of the most prominent Sikh celebrities in America through his House of Waris line and appearances in films such as Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic and Spike Lee’s Inside Man.

Consumers have reacted positively to the inclusive campaign on social media:Continue reading...

retail watch

Macy's Gets In the Holiday Spirit as Walmart Wrestles with Consumer Grinch

Posted by Dale Buss on November 14, 2013 05:42 PM

Divergent third-quarter sales results from Macy's and Walmart spell two different tales for the retailers. But they also bespeak one America—a consumer public that is really honing in on deals as holiday shopping enters the most crucial period.

Macy's surprised its Wall Street followers with a 22 percent profit surge for the period and same-store sales growth of 3.5 percent, just one quarter after its earnings results missed analysts' expectations for the first time in six years. The chain and analysts credited, in part, good response by management to economic and consumer trends and a determined execution of its strategic blueprint that calls for expansion of the My Macy's localized-merchandise platform and omnichannel retailing, among other things.

But there was no mistaking the main reason for Macy's better-than-expected results: It did a better-than-expected job of appealing to financially strapped middle America with discounts and other promotions.Continue reading...

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