2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

retail watch

Savior or Executioner? Industry Waits to See What Hilco Will Do With HMV

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.

HMV, a High Street staple in many British towns, and its iconic Nipper the Dog logo are sentimental favorites in the U.K., and the chain played a part in launching The Beatles.Continue reading...

see you in court

Fair Use? Jury to Weigh on Universal Takedown of YouTube Baby Video

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 28, 2013 02:31 PM

On Feb. 7, 2007, Stephanie Lenz did something completely unmiraculous. She posted a 29-second video of her 14-month-old son dancing around the house with a push toy while enjoying Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy. Cute, right?

Universal Music's lawyers were less than charmed — and a six-year legal battle ensued between the music giant and Google, the parent company of YouTube. While more than 1.2 million people have heard Prince do his thing on the video since its posting, Universal has been trying to get Lenz to take it down, citing copyright infringement.

But Lenz and lawyers with the Electronic Frontier Foundation have been fighting to keep it up — and will now have have their case heard before a jury. At issue is whether Universal considered the definition of “fair use” before sending the takedown message, The Hollywood Reporter notes.Continue reading...

media brands

But Will It Be a Hit? Recording Industry Bible Billboard Rolls Out a New Look

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...

brand vs. brand

Amazon Disrupts Apple's Online Ecosystem With Mobile MP3 Store

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 18, 2013 03:03 PM

Amazon is moving to take a good bit of cash from Apple’s coffers.

The 19-year-old online retail giant has “launched a mobile version of its MP3 store for the iPhone and iPod Touch, giving users a way to buy songs from the online retailer with their devices,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Significantly, as the company's press release notes, the move allows iPhone and iPhone touch users to download songs directly onto their devices using the web — and without using the Apple Store.Continue reading...

brand challenges

HMV Fights to Save "Well-Loved Brand" From Collapse

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 15, 2013 02:12 PM

While some version of HMV has been fighting the good fight for recorded music since the late 1800s, it looks like the retail chain’s ability to lift its fist to the air could soon be coming to an end.

While the brand outlasted plenty of other music retailers (Tower and Virgin come to mind), HMV is finally joining all those that have gone before it, seeking the British equivalent of bankruptcy protection and halting trading of its shares on Tuesday in the hopes that it will find a way to survive.

Not much has worked for the company since it started attempts to adapt back in 2007. Books, DVDs, and computer games are all not selling well there, either. As the BBC reported, the company failed to draw new customers as it broadened its offerings, causing disappointment among its core consumer base as CDs made room the number of CDs they could offer because of all of the new products.Continue reading...

doing good

Let's Go Crazy: Coca-Cola Aims to Inspire People to Open Happiness

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 11, 2013 02:02 PM

Coca-Cola is famed for its Open Happiness campaign, committing random acts of kindness with surprise giveaways and pop-up brand experiences in local markets.

Now the reigning Best Global Brand is inspiring people to commit their own random acts of happiness in a pro-social campaign that invites you to "Go crazy and do good for others."

The "Let's Go Crazy" theme was introduced last year during the brand's UEFA Euro 2012 European campaign. This campaign's theme song: Supertramp's "Give a Little Bit." Watch more of the stealth acts of happiness in the new campaign below.Continue reading...

super bowl

Super Bowl Ad Watch: Wonderful Pistachios Gets Crackin' With Psy

Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2013 03:31 PM

Wonderful Pistachios announced today today that it plans to make its first appearance during the Super Bowl, befitting its rapidly rising status as a snack brand to challenge even the granddaddy of the business, Frito-Lay, and its Doritos brand that often dominates Super Bowl advertising with its Crash the Super Bowl fan-created ad campaign.

"We're thrilled at being able to bring consumers a healthy alternative that tastes good and is as fun as any other big brand they might enjoy during the Super Bowl," Marc Seguin, chief marketing officer of the Wonderful Pistachios brand — a corporate sibling to Pom Wonderful — told brandchannel. "We have a product that's unique, and just as fun [as Frito-Lay's], but also really healthy."

Wonderful's Super Bowl ad will continue its marketing theme of "Get Crackin'" that has featured unexpected spokespeople including Rod Blagojevich, the then-discredited and now imprisoned former governor of Illinois, "but with a new twist," Seguin said. "We'll definitely take it up a notch for the Super Bowl." 

That "twist" will feature the stylings of South Korean rapper Psy of "Gangnam Style" fame, whose music video has notched a record-breaking billion views on YouTube. Psy will wear a pistachio-green suit in the ad and show a special way to crack open pistachios, in keeping with the Get Crackin' campaign theme.Continue reading...

media brands

VH1 Gets #Plussed With New On-Air Look and Logo

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 8, 2013 05:42 PM

When VH1 got started way back in 1985, the cable TV network followed right in the footsteps of its sibling MTV, although focused its efforts at an older demo. While MTV (short for Music Television) scored big with tunes for adolescents and young adults (Men at Work, anyone?), VH1 (an acronym for Video Hits One) was going for the slightly older crowd, playing music videos featuring the likes of Elton John, Donna Summer, and Rod Stewart.

The thirst for an endless stream of music videos on both Viacom-owned channels came to a halt only a few years into their collective existence and shows with varying levels of quality were cranked out. VH1 scored hits with the annotated Pop-Up Video series, the gossipy tell-all bio series Behind the Music, and the artist-centric VH1 Storytellers. The music in both brands has consistently been drowned out since then with a slew of other programming, inspiring the perennial plea by boomers to bring back the music to MTV and VH1 (season three of IFC's Portlandia kicked off with a plotline to take back MTV from tween with its original VJs and news anchor, Kurt Loder.)

VH1, for one, has decided to indicate that shift with a change in its logo (or as the company likes to call it, "tagmark"). 

As announced at the TCA TV Critics Association press tour, VH1 is kicking off the new year by adding a plus sign to the end of its logo, to reflect the changes in the digital world — meshing together the network’s music, pop culture and nostalgia content together — in tandem with adopting a black-and-white look and feel to its visual identity and on-air promos. It's promoting the new look with, naturally, a #plussed hashtag on Twitter.Continue reading...

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