Target, Toys R Us and Ikea Rustle Up Some Holiday Spirit

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 16, 2012 01:14 PM

Even though we haven’t yet had Halloween, retail brands are gearing up for the holiday season. Target raised eyebrows by releasing its holiday TV commercial before Halloween, which is the marketing equivalent of wearing white after Labor Day in the U.S. But even that hoary old rule no longer applies, so get ready for the holiday blitz to start earlier than ever this year.

Toys “R” Us is already promoting its Marine Toys for Tots Foundation campaign, which is back for the ninth year with Shaquille O’Neal ("Give Back With Shaq!" for the fourth year) offering “Shaq’s Santa Sack,” the first-ever Toys for Tots Wish List filled with donation suggestions.

More than 16 million children are living in poverty in the U.S. according to the United States Census Bureau, and now through December 2, consumers can “Give Back with Shaq” by donating new, unwrapped toys at Toys“R”Us and Babies “R” Us stores or online through Christmas Eve.Continue reading...

personal brands

Tweetstrong: Lance Armstrong Survives Another Big Crash

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 12, 2012 11:34 AM

Racing, sports and Lance Armstrong fans are grappling with the man, the myth and the legend this week, as Armstrong remains, it seems, unperturbed in the aftermath of what appears to be damning evidence that he took performance-enhancing drugs throughout his storied career.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's report accused the U.S. Postal Service team under Armstrong of widespread doping and a cover-up that enabled Armstrong's seven straight Tour de France titles and involved a cover-up so officials never caught Armstrong via a drug test.

While many were saddened and disappointed, other fans and observers didn't care if he took performance-enhancing drugs with his teammates (who he allegedly "bullied") or on his own. For all we know, he may have taken them on a boat and on a train, with a goat and in the rain. But Armstrong himself appears "unfazed," as Reuters puts it, by Wednesday's report and the mounting accusations by others in the racing world.

Armstrong's personal response to the blow-up: he tweeted a link on Wednesday for a press release noting the 15th anniversary of the Livestrong foundation, commenting: "What am I doing tonight? Hanging with my family, unaffected, and thinking about this. #onward." He later tweeted a telling YouTube link, for the late singer Elliott Smith's song, "Everything's coming up roses."Continue reading...

personal brands

Boom Lowered on Lance Armstrong Brand With Damning USADA Report

Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 10, 2012 03:17 PM

What is it about the living legends of sports? These larger-than-life heroes -- people like Barry Bonds, Tiger Woods, and Lance Armstrong — should be symbols of lasting integrity, yet they often seem to self-destruct, shocking their fans and shaming their sport.

Still, these personalities' brands somehow weather the storm and they move on. Woods, publicly debased for his marital infidelities in late 2009, proved the point when he finally won a tournament late last year, the first since his 2009 Australian Masters victory. The situation with Lance Armstrong, however, plays by a different set of rules. The world's greatest cyclist was disgraced by doping charges that resulted in his being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from cycling. In August, Armstrong decided not to fight the charges, a move that many interpreted as admitting guilt without saying it.

Now, the boom is officially being lowered on Armstrong by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The organization announced on October 10 that it is releasing its "Reasoned Decision" in the Lance Armstrong case (click here for a PDF). The USADA called it "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."Continue reading...


Marks & Spencer Sees Shwopping, Recycling and Philanthropy Take Off

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 10, 2012 02:12 PM

Marks and Spencer has started a ‘shwopping’ fashion revolution. “It's time to open your mind, your heart, your arms and your wardrobe. Shwopping is a way of living and thinking, because we think that old clothes shouldn't just be thrown out, they should do some good,” explained Ab Fab actress Joanna Lumley at the initiative's launch back in April.

Shwopping asks every shopper to donate an old item when purchasing a new one at selected stores, and M&S will pass the clothes along to Oxfam's network of charity shops across the UK to help those less fortunate. The campaign’s Facebook app lets users shwop socially and register for a monthly prize draw. 

In-store Shwop Drops (two items per store visit) make donations easy, and items need not be from M&S. “Our ultimate aim is to collect as many clothes as we sell and change the way we all shop,” says the brand, which just launched a "swhopped" ladies coat (above) last week: a stylish black peacoat that is also the first high street clothing product made from used clothing.Continue reading...

start your engines

Lexus Ignition: Promoting External and Internal Entrepreneurs

Posted by Dale Buss on October 3, 2012 04:53 PM

Despite a difficult economy for small business, savvy brands recognize the unflagging appeal of the startup. And so more of them are supporting entrepreneurs or associating themselves with the entrepreneurial spirit, ranging from PepsiCo to General Electric.

Lexus wants a piece of that action, too. The Toyota-owned luxury brand has established a contest called Lexus Ignition in which a Facebook app is soliciting votes on eight technology startups, whose four winners will split up to $100,000 in funding from Lexus US. The startups range from a maker of audio speakers out of "eco wood" to the designer of "the world's first pocket-sized video-stabilization case for a smartphone that eliminates shaky video," according to a Lexus press release. Each innovation could have some relevance to automotive technology.

Timing the social campaign, which is now in week two, to the debut of the all-new flagship sedan, the 2013 Lexus ES, the brand wants to "support other creative projects that exemplify this philosophy," Lexus CMO Brian Smith told brandchannel. The digital campaign reflects "our greater focus on multimedia and connectedness in the car," he said, echoing a key theme for automakers these days.Continue reading...

branding together

Livestrong Celebrates 15th Anniversary with Nike Limited Edition Collection

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 3, 2012 02:47 PM

Lance Armstrong came back from his deathbed to win one of the most grueling races in sports, the Tour de France, seven straight times. Along the way, he inspired a kazillion folks with his autobiography, It’s Not About the Bike, and by founding one of the biggest cancer-research foundations around, the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

While Armstrong supposedly took performance-enhancing drugs during the time of those races and has seen his personal brand take a huge hit, with results from that time period now wiped from his record and his sports legacy in tatters, but many fans don’t seem to care: Lance Armstrong is Lance Armstrong, one of the world’s most incredible athletes with one of the most incredible recovery tales.

So, after a rough year of dealing with those drug allegations and watching his record get wiped clean, the 41-year-old got to celebrate on Oct. 2nd. A highlight of the Foundation’s 15th anniversary (that’s the crystal anniversary for you married folks out there) is the release of a limited edition line of Livestrong apparel by Nike for the holidays. The all-yellow (of course) gear reflects Nike's continued support of the philanthropic organization that Armstrong launched in 1997.Continue reading...

package design

Girl Scouts USA Refreshes Iconic Cookie Box

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 1, 2012 12:04 PM

While the Boy Scouts brand has been rocked by the organization's mishandling of pedophilia charges, the century-old Girl Scouts have gone from strength to strength in their centennial year. The latest change: the iconic Girl Scout Cookies are getting a redesign for the first time since 1999, honoring the significance and continued growth of the $790-million girl-led business. 

The iconic packaging highlights five financial, literacy and entrepreneurship skills that the Girl Scout Cookie Program teaches: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics and the redesign matches the embodiment of Girl Scouting in 2012, part of the brand’s 100th anniversary celebrated in March. 

“We have more than 50 million cookie customers across the country, and the cookie box is the most tangible and powerful way for us to communicate directly with consumers,” stated Girl Scouts USA CEO Anna Maria Cháve about the new cookie box packaging, which features "stories of what Girl Scouts do today."Continue reading...

doing good

Caribou Coffee Remembers 'Friend and Roastmaster' with Charitable Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 28, 2012 10:01 AM

America's National Coffee Day is this Saturday, September 29, and Caribou Coffee is joining the march of philanthropic campaigns using Facebook to launch initiatives and gather momentum in a new partnership with CancerCare, a national nonprofit that provides free support services for anyone affected by cancer diagnosis. Customers can stop in for a free small cup of Amy's Blend coffee on Saturday, and learn about the woman who inspired this annual philanthropic campaign.

The brand was inspired by Amy Erickson, the company’s original roastmaster, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 1995 and inspired the Amy’s Blend program, which originally partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and is now sharing the love with CancerCare. But as you can see from the packaging, it's not just about Amy's story — it's Gretchen's, Caryn's, Gigi's, Cindy's, Lisa's and so on.

So for the 17th consecutive year, Caribou (tagline: "Life is short. Stay awake for it.") will donate 10% percent of all proceeds from Amy’s Blend collection sales between Sept. 29th and Nov. 7th to CancerCare and for every new “Like” the brand will give an additional $1 to the organization.Continue reading...

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