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what's in a name

iWatch What Happens: Swatch Defends Trademark Against Apple

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 5, 2014 02:21 PM

As brands embrace wearable tech and personal computing starts moving to the wrist (or other body parts), Apple fans and foes are on the lookout for its much-anticipated “iWatch,” a piece of wearable tech (that may not even be a watch) that has been elevated to such high status that George Jetson would covet it and a veteran luxury marketer—former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts—will help sell it.

It remains to be seen what Apple will eventually turn out, but one thing is now clear: Swatch, the world’s largest watchmaker, is ready to protect its ground. Having kept its lawyers busy chasing Target and Tiffany, the Swiss firm recently filed complaints against Apple’s application for the iWatch trademark, which is now starting to pop up, because it is too similar to its trademarked iSwatch product, according to media outlets including Bloomberg and the London Telegraph

The iWatch trademark was registered by Apple last year in Japan, Mexico, and Turkey. There has been no move to take Apple to court, but Swatch would certainly prefer that Apple not use iWatch for the consumer-facing product when it launches. “We assess the likelihood of confusion as [high], given the marks are confusingly similar. In all countries where the mark is registered” Swatch intends to stop Apple from using the name, a Swatch rep told the Telegraph.Continue reading...

brand strategy

#Hercules Bowls Over Northeast, Nabbing Another Social Win for Weather Channel

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 3, 2014 04:07 PM

What’s in a name? Everything if you’re in storm branding—the latest battleground for weather services eager to claim mindshare in an increasingly crowded media space.

This week's Nor'easter was called the "East Coast Blizzard" by AccuWeather, "Major Winter Storm" by the National Weather Service, "Bethany" in Connecticut, and "Hercules" by The Weather Channel and most everyone else, including Governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo, who both tweeted messages about the storm using the TV/web/mobile network's #Hercules hashtag. 

In addition to annoying horror writer Stephen King (who dubbed the practice "dorky" to his Twitter followers) and other weather-watching brands by pushing Athena, Sandy and Nemo, The Weather Channel's practice of branding storms (this Western winter season, with the help of a high school Latin class in Bozeman, Montana) has irked the World Meteorological Organization, a 191-member organization based in Geneva.Continue reading...

brand partners

Intel Gets Inside New Levi's-Branded 49ers Stadium

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 19, 2013 06:37 PM

The world may be turning its attentions to mobile devices that don’t have Intel chips, but the company that came to fame for powering PCs still wants to stay front and center in the minds of consumers. So it is placing a bet on sports marketing to help keep the name alive and thriving.

Its name popped up in sports-business stories last week when the company signed a five-year, $25 million deal with Spanish soccer giant Barcelona to stick the Intel logo on the inside of its jerseys so that fans can see it when their favorite players lift their shirts after scoring a goal.

“I know it’s bizarre and strange because it’s not shown on a day-to-day basis, but it’s more about the symbolic space,” said David Haroldsen, Intel’s vice president of sponsorship, according to the Washington Post. “It authentically tells the story of who we are rather than just being another brand that is visible with all the other logos that exist. We believed we would have more value with the symbolic placement with occasional pop-up moments within the game.”Continue reading...

trademark wars

Culinary Creators Face Trademark Woes When it Comes to Foreign Foods

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 9, 2013 12:43 PM

A trademark case out of London hits close to home for one of the culinary world's hottest trends: pho. But it raises a much larger issue as trends cross cultural divides and enterprising types look to cordon what they believe is a unique market. 

Recently, a small Vietnamese restaurant in London called Mo Pho was asked to change its name due to the fact that Pho Cafe, a British chain of Vietnamese restaurants had trademarked the term "pho" several years earlier. Except in Vietnamese, pho is a simple term for "noodle soup," kind of the English equivalent of "cheeseburger." What the case suggests is that any general food term is protectable by trademark—provided it's in a foreign language.Continue reading...

chew on this

America Still Nuts for Cronuts as Chef Aims to Use Fame to Help Others

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 5, 2013 11:33 AM

A combination of a croissant and donut that debuted in New York in May has inspired plenty of people to stand in line, not just to sample one but to get a trademark for it, too.

New York’s Dominique Ansel Bakery in the city's Soho neighborhood started turning out its signature cronut pastry in May to the pleasure of thousands of customers who, thanks to foodie blogs and social media buzz, started lining up early each morning to snag their own.

In fact, so many fans started queuing up around the block (see brandchannel editor-in-chief Shirley Brady's photo below)—that the bakery had to increase its staff and limit how many cronuts a consumer can buy, with each cronut going for $5 a piece. The flaky pastry has even spawned some less-than-legal activity, including cronut scalpers and the "cro-job." 

Other bakeries took note and now cronut-inspired treats are also being sold across the US and overseas, from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, and even in London—much to Ansel's chagrin, Bloomberg reports. His challenge, of course: to sustain the buzz and build his brand without becoming a one-note, cronut wonder.Continue reading...

rebranding

ING U.S. Wants to be America's Retirement Company with Rebrand to Voya Financial

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 11, 2013 02:34 PM

In a bid to redefine the financial journey, ING U.S. has announced that it will be rebranding as Voya Financial

While the announcement was made Thursday, ING U.S. does not plan on incorporating the new name or logo until 2014, as it awaits the completion of its IPO. 

ING Group, the company's Dutch parent, announced last year that it was planning to spin off its US arm through an initial public offering—where Voya will register as the company's stock ticker. The divestiture of the US part of the business along with a ING Direct and a Dutch mortgage lender had to take place in order to get approval for a 2008 bailout.Continue reading...

campaign tactics

Axe Saves Face With Skincare Line as Brand Gets Ready to Head to Space

Posted by Dale Buss on April 3, 2013 01:02 PM

The idea of launching the Axe Face Line with a Facebook promotion obviously was too literal. So the Unilever brand is launching its new line of facial-care products instead with a "Facescore" campaign on Tumblr as a social face-off, supported by ads running on various media websites — and, of course, a presence on Facebook too.

In doing so, Axe is entering a segment of the men's care business of the first time — a more challenging territory than when it had a fairly singular focus on helping young guys simply smell great so they could attract hordes of women.

The launch of the Axe Face Line—including a face wash, shave gel, and post-shave hydrator in four variants—also gives the brand a chance to circle back to promoting Unilever's "Astronaut" marketing platform for the Axe brand (and Lynx brand, in certain territories) grand giveaway of 22 trips to space in 2015.

"Research has shown that a majority of guys don't use facial cleanser; they reach for bar soaps or shampoos or other things to wash their face," Mark Link, Axe US brand manager for Unilever, told brandchannel. "We're launching [the Face line] to address their skincare needs."Continue reading...

rebranding

PPR Rebrands as Kering, Paying Homage to its Roots and Mission

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 22, 2013 04:19 PM

PPR, the multinational holding company that is home to brands including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Brioni and Sergio Rossi, is rebranding as Kering, indicative of a transformation from French conglomerate to internationally focused sportswear (encompassing its brands including Puma, Tretorn and Volcom) and luxury-goods group. 

The new name, accompanied by an owl logo and tagline, "Empowering Imagination," is pronounced "caring." CEO Francois-Henri Pinault explains, "We are there to care for the brand and take care of the brand," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Pinault carries on his father’s legacy as founder with the new name, which a press release explains was inspired by family roots in France's Brittany region as "Ker" meaning home in Breton, with the action-associated "ing" implying "doing" and "going."

Manfredi Ricca, the managing director at Interbrand in Milan, commented to the International Herald Tribune that the new identity reflects an awareness that companies need “a strong angle on what they stand for,” both for consumers and for employees, to demonstrate their “overarching vision” and values.Continue reading...

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