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the revolution will be televised

Occupy Wall Street at One: Still in Search of a Brand Identity

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 17, 2012 03:15 PM

Occupy Wall Street protesters gathered in New York's financial district to mark the first anniversary of the movement, their presence contained by metal barriers and riot-clad police forming human walls. The current activities, dubbed a “roving carnival of resistance” include “nonviolent civil disobedience” as well as events planned in at least 15 other cities including Asheville, North Carolina, San Francisco and Hilo, Hawaii. 

Chants of "All day, all week, Occupy Wall Street" and "We got sold out, banks got bailed out," greeted Wall Street workers arriving at their offices, echoes of the original goal of the protest to generate "a swirl of mobile occupations of corporate lobbies and intersections," as stated on the Occupy website for the Sept. 15-17 anniversary events, promoted on Twitter with the hashtags #S15, #S16 and #S17.Continue reading...

chew on this

Organic Brands Caught In Fight Over California's Prop 37 GMO Debate

Posted by Dale Buss on September 17, 2012 01:11 PM

The vast majority of American consumers don't care whether their foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Food executives and think tanks will tell you that and cite, for example, how Indiana local bakery Aunt Nellie's bombed when it introduced a specifically labeled "non-GMO" bread a couple of years ago.

But California isn't most of America, with a more health-conscious outlook than most states. That's why mainstream food companies are in a hot and heavy contest against GMO opponents over Proposition 37, The Right to Know Genetically Modified Food Act, a piece of state legislation that, if passed in November, would require GMO-containing products to disclose that on labels, and make California the first state to mandate genetically modified food.

Similar to what happened to automakers after California took an extreme position on cutting emissions, essentially imposing that higher standard on cars sold all over the country, food and beverage companies are concerned that California will serve as a bellwether in GMO labeling regulation as well.

In a particular bind in this fight are the many mainstream food conglomerates that now own organic brands, which by definition don't include GMOs: Kellogg, owner of GMO poster brand Kashi; General Mills, owner of the Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, Larabar and Food Should Taste Good brands; Coca-Cola, owner of Odwalla and Honest Tea; PepsiCo; and Dean Foods, owner of Horizon Organics.Continue reading...

China's Violent Anti-Japan Protests Hit Japanese Brands

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 17, 2012 11:07 AM

"Car destruction ahead. Japanese made cars should turn around now."

So read the warning on a flattened cardboard box one Chinese man held up to traffic in the city of Xian. The man's advice was not based on fearful speculation either, as cities across China erupted in anti-Japanese protests over the weekend (including, The Economist notes, about 3,000 at the Japanese Consulate in Shanghai on Sunday), Japan's auto brands were bracing for the backlash. One man set his own Honda Civic on fire in front of a dealership. One of the more moving photos shared on social media was of a young woman, weeping as she begged protesters to spare her car.

Targeting Japanese products for boycott or destruction is nothing new in China. But this weekend's actions — sparked by ownership dispute over islands between the two nations — were especially dire, called the worst flare-up of tensions between the nations in decades by The New York Times. As Japanese companies ordered their workers to stay home and closed their factories over fear of reprisals, what's unknown is the degree to which Japanese brands have been hurt in China's marketplace.Continue reading...

sip on this

Big Soda Vows to Fight Bloomberg's NYC Big Soda Ban

Posted by Dale Buss on September 13, 2012 06:06 PM

To no one's surprise, the New York City Board of Health approved on Thursday a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, street cars and movie theaters. It was the first restriction of its kind and scale in the country.

It also surprised no one that Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the spiritual father and political force behind the ban, quickly hailed the enactment of his brainchild. "NYC's sugary drink policy is the single biggest step any gov't has taken to curb obesity," he stated. "It will help save lives." The Mayor's Office also released statements of support, along with the news that the new Barclays Center will comply.

The measure will take effect in six months unless the American soft-drink industry manages to get some judge to overturn it. Of course, there's always the possibility that popular sentiment could turn heavily against the ban and result in political pressure that would cause its reversal. But no one is betting on that.

"This is not the end," Eliot Hoff, a spokesman for New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, an industry-financed group opposed to the ban, commented in a statement to the New York Times. "We are exploring legal options, and all other avenues available to us." The coalition's chairwoman, Liz Berman, also released a video statement reiterating that stance.Continue reading...

celebrity brandcasting

What's at Steak? For Eva Longoria, a Sexy Eatery in Vegas

Posted by Dale Buss on September 13, 2012 03:06 PM

Eva Longoria certainly isn't the first actress or actor to yield to the conceit that they've got a great idea for a restaurant. But she may be the first to think she can sell a steakhouse aimed at women. Thus, Longoria's part-owned SHe by Morton's is reportedly all set for launch by New Year's Eve in Las Vegas.

It replaces her old Las Vegas eatery, Beso, a failed restaurant in which she also was a part-owner, on the same site. And while she's no longer busy with Desperate Housewives, she is busy campaigning for Barack Obama, and appeared at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte to pitch her personal story in an outreach to women and Hispanics — two groups she'd no doubt welcome to her relaunched dining concept, too.

With a 1920's theme, SHe aims to be "an updated interpretation of the gilded age when wealth and excessive opulence ruled America's upper-class combined with a modern version of art deco to create a feeling of empowerment, especially for female guests," according to a news release. While set in the era of Prohibition, it won't prohibit men — and may have a successful role model in STK, a Vegas chophouse with a sexy vibe located at the racy Cosmopolitan hotel with the tagline "Not your daddy's steakhouse," which is also aimed at high-rolling, confident women.Continue reading...

sip on this

Dew Process: PepsiCo Stunt Takes a Pop at Bloomberg's NYC Soda Ban

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 13, 2012 10:55 AM

In the 1920s and early ‘30s of New York, as Prohibition ruled the land, folks didn’t have to go without a drink. There were speakeasies aplenty back on those days that would be happy to quench your thirst as long as you didn’t mind needing to remember the password, being ready to dump your liquor at the drop of a hat, and having a few extra bucks to help pay off any police that happened by the place.

The folks at Mountain Dew seem to think that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is about to return the Big Apple to those long-gone days if his suggested bill — which could be passed today — winds up restricting consumers from buying sodas that are bigger than 16 ounces goes through. Some call it a gamble; Bloomberg says he’s looking out for the long-term health of his city’s dwellers and visitors.

The whole thing has got Mountain Dew execs and indeed the entire beverage industry agitated — and not because of the caffeine in their beverages, either. The PepsiCo-owned soda brand has teamed up with "cultural production" studio New York Art Department to plaster ads around New York City that say “Prohibition” and feature a 17 ounce, vintage can of Mountain Dew (long before it was abbreviated to Mtn. Dew). To drive the message home, a smaller message quips: “Also available in legal sizes!” 

On a more serious note, New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, an industry coalition backed by the American Beverage Association, says more than 250,000 New Yorkers have signed a petition. While small business and industry lobbying has failed to sway New York City’s Board of Health, which appears poised to pass the ban on Big Soda (update: it passed), you can be sure Bloomberg's public health watchdog is unhappy with another move Mountain Dew has made as well.Continue reading...

political season

7-Eleven's 7-Election Obama/Romney Coffee Poll is Surprisingly Accurate

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 10, 2012 11:58 AM

If you need any more proof that politics is basically just pro sports for really out of shape people, look no further than the "7-Election."

Yes, 7-Eleven has once again brought back its election year themed promotion that allows Americans to vote in their favorite way, with their mouths. Specifically, by putting things into it. But this isn't your daddy's "7-Election." This year, there's so much more 7-Election that it should be called 10,000-Election.Continue reading...

place branding

Can a TV Show Save Brand USA?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 15, 2012 03:03 PM

Brand USA, the government marketing arm pitching America as a travel destination, is getting into the branded entertainment business, with a new website now seeking television programming pitches. But is America lacking for TV shows about America?

“We know how incredible a destination can look on television and that, for many viewers, it’s what may inspire a booking for their next holiday,” commented Jay Gray, VP of Business Development, Brand USA. Continue reading...

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