nation brands

Brand USA Weathers Washington Turbulence, Advances in the House

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 18, 2014 10:01 AM

US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), once the Republican vice-presidential candidate way back in 2012, did not win himself many fans in the travel industry in April when he showed off the House Republican Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Resolution and it didn’t contain one blessed penny for Brand USA, the public-private partnership that launched in 2012 and helps market America to foreign visitors and the travel industry around the world.

“This budget recommends ending these subsidies and eliminating the new agency because it is not a core responsibility of the federal government to pay for and conduct advertising campaigns for any industry. Moreover, the travel industry can and should pay for the advertising that it benefits from," the document stated, according to Travel Weekly.

Ryan, apparently, did not have enough support this time around, either, because the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week unanimously approved legislation that will fund Brand USA again, Travel Weekly notes. Some changes were made dealing with oversight but the organization still receives essentially the same $100 million chunk of change.Continue reading...

health matters

Four Years Later, FLOTUS' Let's Move Turns Focus to Food Marketing in Schools

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 26, 2014 03:11 PM

In celebration of the fourth anniversary of her Let's Move movement, First Lady Michelle Obama is pressing forward on her ambitions to curb junk food marketing to kids. In an announcement with US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Obama introduced a proposal to ban advertising of sodas and unhealthy snacks in public schools. 

"Our classrooms should be healthy places where kids are not bombarded with ads for junk food," Obama said at a White House event, according to NBC. 

Vilsack said the new rules eliminate marketing for products that can’t be sold in schools. "If you can't sell it, you ought not to be able to market it," noting that companies spend $149 million a year marketing food and drinks to kids in public schools.

According to the FCC, the heaviest marketers are candy and snack food manufacturers and beverage companies and fast-food chains, offering enticements like coupons for pizza for reading books. Still, only two states, California and Connecticut, have banned sodas and junk food from public schools, the former in 2005 and the latter in 2006.Continue reading...

brand targets

Brands Come Out in Force Against Discriminatory Arizona Legislation

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 25, 2014 07:20 PM

A growing firestorm fueled by social media is brewing around Arizona's proposed bill SB 1062, which would permit businesses to refuse service on religious grounds, a measure activists and a growing list of corporations see as "state-sanctioned discrimination" against gays.

Companies from AT&T and Apple to Marriott, Delta and American Airlines, along with Arizona’s two Republican US Senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, are now taking a stand and asking Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the bill. The request from Apple comes as it prepares to open a new sapphire glass manufacturing plant in Mesa which would create about 700 full-time jobs and join its five stores already in Arizona.

Bill SB1062 is similar to measures proposed in Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Mississippi and Kansas in response to the growing gay marriage movement that 17 states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized.

Reaction against the proposed bill is growing so strong that the measure passed last week is prompting tourists to cancel travel plans and has companies threatening to relocate.

“There is genuine concern throughout the business community that this bill, if signed into law, would jeopardize all that has been accomplished so far,” Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, wrote to Brewer, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. “Our economy thrives best when the doors of commerce are open to all,” he wrote.Continue reading...

auto motive

UAW Looks for Silver Lining After Crushing Defeat at Volkswagen's Tennessee Plant

Posted by Dale Buss on February 17, 2014 12:33 PM

Kill the crescendo that was building toward the unfurling of the United Auto Workers banner over Chattanooga, Tenn. Workers at the Volkswagen plant have crushed the union's latest attempt to organize a Southern auto plant and have left the UAW brand tattered and forlorn in the process.

Union hopes were high heading into last Friday's vote at the plant because Volkswagen had decided not to oppose UAW efforts to organize the plant as long as the union agreed, if ensconced there, to establish a German-style "works council" in Tennessee like those at plants in Germany. But the UAW couldn't even win with the skids greased as Chattanooga workers rejected UAW membership by a vote of 712-626.

Union officials and liberal pundits heaped ample blame on the opposition of conservative politicians within Tennessee and elsewhere, who didn't want to see a deterioration of the region's anti-union advantages.

But there were no politicians campaigning in the plant, and VW cleared a path for union organizers to maximize favorable turnout. So now in the wake of the loss, it's fair to ask as Bloomberg Businessweek did, "If the UAW couldn't win this one, what can they win?" As the publication put it, "The defeat creates an enormous obstacle to labor's ambition to organize at other foreign-owned plants in the South."Continue reading...

event marketing

Treading Carefully, Brands Head to Vegas for a Different Kind of Show

Posted by Abe Sauer on January 17, 2014 07:32 PM

CES wasn't the only big trade show to take over Las Vegas this month.

The hordes of tech-loving geeks that took over the city earlier this month have been replaced by a flock of Duck Dynasty-loving show-goers at an event wrapping up today: the 16th largest annual trade show in the United States, with 12.5 miles of exhibitors accounting for a multi-billion dollar industry with a lucrative lifestyle attendance that has gone from just 5,600 in 1979 to a record 630,000 last year.

Brand sponsors, however, have tread lightly this year to court attendees. That's because the US National Shooting Sports Foundation's Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, better known as the NSSF SHOT Show, has had a rough go of it in the past year. Indeed, its 2013 trade show took place just a month after the tragic 2012 shooting at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Conn.

Several longtime, non-firearm industry partners begged off partnerships this year, citing the show's heavy presence and promotion of the kind of "assault" rifle used at the Newtown incident.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Duck Hunt: Media Firestorm Ignites Over Duck Dynasty Star's Anti-Gay Comments

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 19, 2013 02:51 PM

Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson has been put on an "indefinite hiatus" from A&E’s wildly-popular reality series following inflammatory remarks about the LGBT community in an interview for GQ magazine’s January issue.

Robertson, founder of the Duck Commander family business called gays "homosexual offenders" who would not "inherit the Kingdom of God," saying, "But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man… "It's just not logical." 

A&E Networks issued a statement after the remarks were published:

"We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series 'Duck Dynasty.' His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.” 

Robertson gave a personal statement to Fox411 yesterday, saying, in part, "I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."Continue reading...

personal brands

Nelson Mandela Dies at 95, Taking With Him a Unique Brand of Activism

Posted by Abe Sauer on December 6, 2013 10:13 AM

Nelson Mandela's legacy was on full display within an hour of his death.

In its ferocity, speed and uniformity, the outpouring of grief over the passing of 95-year-old Mandela felt like the grieving of a world that suspects it will never have another figure so unifying—not because the world will never be given another person as heroic as Mandela, but because the world has changed too much to ever embrace one.Continue reading...

political brands

Clever Advertising Can't Rescue Obamacare On Its Own—But It's Trying

Posted by Dale Buss on November 14, 2013 12:49 PM

As President Obama addressed the growing travails of Obamacare today, the marketing juggernaut for the troubled Affordable Care Act has continued. Not surprisingly, a lot of the ads—some from state-run health-insurance exchanges and allies that are carrying the load for local Obamacare rollout—are targeting the Millennial generation.

Younger, healthier Americans need to carrry the fiscal load for Obamacare if it's going to work out financially. But so far they're not biting much, just as most Americans have been slow to embrace coverage by signing on at HealthCare.gov. Less than 2 percent of the 7 million Americans federal officials expected to sign up for new health insurance under Obamacare actually did so in October. And so the President on Wednesday was at a press conference dealing with the political fallout.Continue reading...

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