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what's in a name

In gTLD Debate, More Big Brands Take Issue With ICANN's Dotbrand URLs

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 18, 2011 11:14 AM

We recently looked at the coalitions of brands joining forces to voice their opposition to how ICANN is ushering in its so-called dotbrand URLs (aka its new gTLD, or generic Top-Level Domain program that lets trademark holders pay for the right to add their brand name to their web addresses, such as .nike or .coke) in January. Now you can add a few more.

The U.S.-based Coalition for Responsible Internet Domain Oversight (or CRIDO) led by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has added six major marketers to their ranks, including the world’s largest retailer and second-largest food company. Walmart, Kraft Foods, adidas, Reebok, Toyota and the J.M. Smucker Company have joined CRIDO, bringing the total number of companies and industry groups to 93.

“We are very pleased that six more leading marketers representing an extremely broad range of business sectors have joined forces with CRIDO to oppose ICANN’s TLD expansion program,” commented ANA president and CEO Bob Liodice. “This growing coalition sends a very clear signal that there is serious dissatisfaction with ICANN’s program from across the entire Internet stakeholder community.”Continue reading...

what's in a name

Overstock.com Backpedals on O.co Rebranding

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 14, 2011 11:25 AM

Overstock.com announced in January that it was rebranding its URL to O.co as a speedier online shortcut to its wares. In June, it unveiled the new name and logo at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA (above) in time for a U2 concert, a signage change that following Overstock's six-year deal in April for naming rights to the home of NFL's Oakland Raiders and the Oakland Athletics MLB franchise.

"Our customers associate 'O' with Overstock.com, which made the transition to O.co seamless. As a Savings Engine, this is the next step in adding more visibility to our shortcut," said Overstock.com Chairman and CEO Patrick Byrne in a press release. "Naming the facility O.co Coliseum demonstrates our commitment to seeing through the execution of the new domain."

"Overstock.com is clearly at the forefront of digital marketing and their decision to use a .CO domain in such a big way, underscores their willingness to lead the market and to disrupt the status quo," commented Juan Diego Calle, CEO of .CO Internet SAS in the same release. "With the exponential growth of mobile commerce, where shaving milliseconds means gaining a strategic competitive advantage, customers around the world can now reach the company's products and services quickly and securely by simply typing O.co — the shortest possible URL in the world."

Now, however, the company is backing off from the new name because customers couldn't find its snappy new URL.Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Jenny Craig Unveils "Jenny" — and Mariah — Kicking Off Industry's Seasonal Push

Posted by Dale Buss on November 10, 2011 12:25 PM

It's almost the time of year again for weight-loss brands to make hay while the sun shines. And Jenny Craig is stepping up in a big way.

The leading diet brand is overhauling its approach for the post-holidays weight-loss season, adopting a new, more holistic positioning that goes beyond simple dieting. The brand has begun a relationship with the American Heart Association, supporting local efforts and reaching out to moms over their concerns about childhood obesity.

Jenny Craig has dropped its surname, to go with just "Jenny," and has recruited a slimmed-down Mariah Carey to serve as Jenny's brand icon and celebrity spokesperson.

"'Jenny' has a greater vision," CEO Dana Fiser told brandchannel. "We can do good work. Overweight is, of course, a huge part of the population. And we're concerned about children. We really think with this new brand platform and the American Heart Association that we can help modify behaviors with mothers and also influence the behaviors of children."Continue reading...

it's on!

Occupy Movement Sparks Brand Boycotts

Posted by Abe Sauer on November 3, 2011 01:02 PM

The long winter of discontent for the discontented is setting in, historically early in the Northeast. Just as the Occupy movement is claiming some victories (Bank of America rolling back its $5 monthly fee in response to Occupy and social media outcry), some of its most important outdoor encampments are facing winter weather.

Now, a second wave of activism tangential to the global protests sparked by Occupy Wall Street is popping up. As supporters move to raise Made-in-the-USA money to help the movement through the winter, others are boycotting businesses perceived to show sympathy — or not.Continue reading...


Old Navy's New Campaign Hits Funnovations Trademark Issue [Updated]

Posted by Abe Sauer on November 2, 2011 03:28 PM

This week, Old Navy launches its 2011 holiday marketing campaign, which "invites customers to 'Come fun, Come all' and experience the secret source of all Old Navy fun — the place where the brand's quirkiest ideas are born and tested."

The "magical tour of where the brand's fun and quirky ideas are born and tested" is called "Funnovations Inc."

It's a way for Old Navy to breathe a little excitement into the brand by giving consumers a look at, and some input into, its product pipeline. The only question is if Old Navy used its Researchovations department to see if the Willy Wonka-esque "Funnovations" was already trademarked. (Hint: It is.)Continue reading...

political brands

Occupy Wall Street: The Trademark and Media Circus Continues

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 1, 2011 07:33 PM

The weather may be getting colder in its birthplace, but the Occupy Wall Street movement — which today rejoiced with news that Bank of America is backpedaling on fees — is heating up as more parties want a piece of it.

The unincorporated association of organizers behind the protests filed a trademark application last week (Oct. 24), seeking an official license to use the term in periodicals and newsletters, on clothing and bags and on a website with "photographic, audio, video and prose presentations." 

The bigger question: can a grassroots movement be branded, and who stands to win or lose? The trademark battle actually began weeks earlier, as brandchannel's Abe Sauer reported, with variations on the theme from "Occupy D.C. 2012" to "We are the 99%" and "I am the 99%."Continue reading...

web watch

As Dotbrand URLs Loom, ICANN Faces gTLD Backlash [Updated]

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 1, 2011 10:55 AM

The imminent change in domain names that will be ushered in by ICANN's new gTLD (generic Top-Level Domain) program is turning into a veritable war.

A last-minute campaign to stop it is being led by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), which has reached out to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Direct Marketing Association, and more than 20 other advertising and marketing organizations to join their protest. They're lobbying Congress and the Commerce Department on the new TLD program, which is scheduled to commence on January 12th, with the ANA telling Adweek they will take their objections to court if necessary.

Separately, another consortium of brands and trademark holders calling themselves CADNA, or the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, is hosting a conference today in New York, where they will discuss their concerns and collective proposal to ICANN. With speakers including the VP of legal for DirecTV and the former VP of digital for Mattel, CADNA is taking a less aggressive approach to the issue.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Occupy Wall Street Trademark Wars Begin

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 25, 2011 10:55 AM

Boasting glamorous commercials with high production values, a recognizable "brand" and a million loyal brand champions, it was only a matter of time before opportunists started to look for ways to cash in. Now, both the 99% and the 1% are trying to claim 100% of the Occupy Wall Street and 99% movements.

On October 18, Robert and Diane Maresca, a couple from Long Island, New York filed to trademark "Occupy Wall Street" for use on "Clothing, shirts, sweat shirts, headwear, footwear."

"If I didn’t buy it and use it someone else will," reasoned Robert. The couple's pending trademark application for the movement is not the only one. Nor are private citizens the only ones trying to ride the populist wave.Continue reading...

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