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what's in a name

When Almonds Are Apricots: A Tale of Naming Woes in China

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 14, 2013 12:38 PM

"I wish I could say this was a strategically thought out name choice supported by consumer research but it’s really a story of crisis management."

So begins the tale, as John Talbot, Vice President of Global Market Development for the Almond Board of California told brandchannel, about how California Almonds recently rushed to rename its product in its largest export market and how it spun the branding crisis to its advantage.

It all starts 40 years ago and ends with the Farsi word for almond.Continue reading...

license to thrill

Headed to Malibu? Don't Forget Your Branded Volleyball

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 8, 2013 11:01 AM

With its most famous resident putting a "For Sale" sign in her front yard, the city of Malibu, California, is looking for new ways to attract tourists and boost income. 

CNBC reports that Malibu has signed a deal with Excel Corp. in order to start “licensing apparel, active wear, and even things like sunglasses, watches, and volleyballs” with the extra money going to “fund special projects.”

The city is forking over $90,000 for Excel to design a logo and find licensees.Continue reading...

that's entertainment

Oscar is the Word: Academy Awards Officially Rebrand Show for 2013

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 20, 2013 06:01 PM

This year, the 85th Academy Awards takes on a new name with a younger tone, "The Oscars."

"We're rebranding it," Oscars co-producer Neil Meron told The Wrap. "We're not calling it 'the 85th annual Academy Awards,' which keeps it mired somewhat in a musty way. It's called 'The Oscars.'"

Still pursuing a younger demographic despite the failure of James Franco and Anne Hathaway as co-hosts in 2011, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences publicist Teni Melidonian said, "It is right for this show, but we could easily go back to using 'Academy Awards' next year."

"It'll be like the Grammys,” Meron added. “The Grammys don't get a number, and neither will the Oscars." The awards show hit a ratings high of 55 million in 1998, the year of Titanic, but have been on a decline ever since.Continue reading...

trademark wars

American Winnebago Finally Puts Down Australian Copy Cat in Trademark Battle

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...

web watch

Despite Pushback, ICANN on Track with TLDs

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 20, 2013 11:14 AM

ICANN has been moving full-steam ahead under new CEO Fadi Cherhade, announcing that April 23rd will be the approval date for the first TLDs for delegation.

Once recommended for delegation, an applicant must pass a technical test and sign a Registry agreement with ICANN, which takes between five to six months, before a registry launch—which can take up to a year after they have been approved for delegation. 

There is no “sunrise” period for branded TLDs (Top Level Domains), but generic terms or open registries require a sunrise period of 30 days for trademark holders, followed by a 60-day landrush period, after which public domain sales could start. 

About 1,900 applications for new gTLDs are currently pending; 40 percent are for brand names and another slice is for “generic” words like .app, .insurance, .search and .book. “If allowed to register as closed domains, a single player could control the entire domain string related to a “generic” word – and prevent others from registering within it,” notes an article by InfoLawGroup.

Many have already voiced concern about “closed generic” domains and ICANN has asked the public for comment by March 7, 2013. 

Meanwhile, the American Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has asked ICANN to slow the process down “to set up a defensive mechanism so trademark holders can prevent registration of their exact trademarks across all the registries for a single reasonable fee.”Continue reading...

trademark wars

Titanic II Operator Sets Course for Gigantic Trademark Battle

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 19, 2013 11:02 AM

Describing something that is oversized may soon involve a lawyer. The terms “titanic” and “gigantic” are both being considered for trademarking.

The man behind the plan, Clive Palmer, is an Australian billionaire who is having the Titanic completely re-created by a Chinese shipyard so it can set sail from England for North America in 2016. Palmer’s Blue Star Line, named after White Star Line, the company that owned the original Titanic, has filed a trademark request for a number of terms, including "Titanic," "Titanic II," "Titanic III," "Blue Star Line," and "Gigantic", although he's already promoting "Titanic II" on his website.

Palmer, a mining tycoon, believes that White Star Line had thought about naming one of its ships Gigantic, but never got around to it after its Titanic liner famously slammed into an iceberg near Newfoundland and sank, taking more than 1,500 lives along with it. “I think [the trademark application] will be OK,” Palmer said, according to Australia’s Boorowa News. “We'll just see how we go. I think there is a report back on it already, saying it is OK for a ship.”

However, there is some debate as to what he'll be able to trademark.Continue reading...

rebranding

If Only in Name, Muzak, Which Joined the American Vernacular, Fades Away

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...

brand wars

As Cracker Barrel Moves to Extend Its Brand, Kraft Says: Hold the Cheese

Posted by Dale Buss on February 5, 2013 04:55 PM

Kraft is moving to prevent Cracker Barrel restaurants from extending its store brand into American supermarkets, where Kraft's Cracker Barrel cheese brand has been a major player since 1954.

There was seemingly no big threat to Kraft or to its Cracker Barrel cheese trademark when Lebanon, Tenn.-based Cracker Barrel Old Country Store sold merely a few grocery items under the Cracker Barrel name at small general stores attached to most of its 600-some U.S. restaurants.

But now that Cracker Barrel has struck a major licensing agreement with the John Morrell Food Group to sell Cracker Barrel-branded food products through grocers and mass merchandisers, Kraft says it is concerned that the restaurant chain's brand expansion could create confusion among consumers — and thereby damage the Kraft line.Continue reading...

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