Best Global Green Brands 2014

brand challenges

McDonald's Promotes Reading, Healthy Eating with Happy Meal Books—But Is It Enough?

Posted by Dale Buss on October 10, 2013 04:27 PM

McDonald's certainly can't win with some critics. Its new promotion involves giving away millions of books that will advance both children's literacy and their understanding of healthy eating. But all some people see are a cynical way to sell more fast food.

Which, of course, is what McDonald's is in business to do. It'd be tough to make a mass business, employ all those workers and pay all those taxes with a trade that offered only, say, hand-made artisan sandwiches of artichokes and avocados with a chaser of kombucha.

In lieu of toys, McDonald's US plans to distribute more than 20 million paperback books inside its Happy Meals in the US during the first half of November, a gambit which could make it the country's "largest children's book publisher for the month," as Ad Age observed.

The move is "yet another effort to appease criticis who have lambasted its Happy Meals for the food quality, the licensed toys and kid-targeted marketing," noted USA Today. The brand launched a similar effort back in the UK back in January, where it received much the same criticism.Continue reading...

social media watch

Pinterest Woos Print Brands with 'Pin Now, Read Later' Article Pins

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 26, 2013 12:42 PM

At 4 years old, Pinterest is stepping up and out of the photo-centric ‘virtual pinboard’ model it has risen to success with, adding ads in the form of ‘promoted pins,’ and now article pins to woo publishers and readers.  

Pinterest is aggressively seeking to leverage its more than 5 million daily article pins from brands like BuzzFeed for whom the pinboard has become a top traffic referral. The new article pins will give brands the ability to include headlines, authors, story descriptions and links to the source from the pin itself.

“The addition of the more useful article pins is only one of many changes taking place at Pinterest this year, as the company moves to turn its growing traction into a real, monetizable business," TechCrunch notes. “The move to expand the focus to articles and news content, then, could potentially position Pinterest as a modern-day bookmarking tool akin to Delicious, or even a competitor to 'read it later' services like Instapaper or Pocket.”Continue reading...

digital moves

Tesco Looks to Boost Own-Brand Digital Services with Low-Price Hudl Tablet

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 23, 2013 07:39 PM

It there’s one thing the world needs, it’s another tablet. At least that’s what some executives at Tesco, the world’s third-largest retailer thought. The brand has turned out its own device, the seven-inch Hudl, which is supported by Google’s Android, Reuters reports. The hope is that it “will boost online shopping and drive sales of [Tesco’s] digital entertainment content."

Tesco is doing its best to bounce back from a tough year that saw it combat a global horse meat scandal and failed grocery ventures in the US and China. Unfortunately, the Hudl won't have a much easier road, with such major competitors as Apple, Samsung and Amazon to face. But the retail giant hopes to make inroads in the market with its low-priced offering.Continue reading...

digital moves

Under New Owners, Maxim May Get its Own TV Network

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 16, 2013 02:49 PM

Maxim Magazine is reportedly heading to television as new owners Darden Media Group aim to launch a Maxim-branded TV channel and an indie music label. The publication will stick around too, as it remains one of the largest men's magazines despite a downturn in circulation and recent cutback from 12 to 10 issues annually.

One pay-TV operator is already on board with two more reportedly in the wings as Darden’s plan to distribute Maxim TV to 35 million households by year’s end comes to fruition. "Although the publishing industry has seen seismic shifts over the past several years, the opportunities to create powerful, transmedia brands that engage consumers and advertisers on multiple platforms is significantly on the rise," Darden said in a press release.

No stranger to programming, Maxim has produced one-off programs for cable including "Hot 100" for VH1, video content for its website and YouTube, apps for mobile and Xbox Live, and has plans to roll out similar apps for PlayStation 3 and set-top devices like Roku.Continue reading...

media meltdown

Tina Brown Abandons Ship for new Venture, Leaving The Daily Beast in Limbo

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 12, 2013 03:52 PM

The second wheel just fell off the Newsweek/The Daily Beast wagon as Editor in Chief Tina Brown has announced she's leaving to start her own events company. 

Her successful stewardship of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker was not replicated in her run with Barry Diller’s InterActiveCorp, who she partnered with in 2008 to found The Daily Beast

Her new venture, Tina Brown Live Media, will focus on building the Women in the World conference brand that she has run for several years with Diller's wife, Diane von Furstenberg, and Meryl Streep. It “is really a marriage of her commitment to journalism and story telling, its going to be really event orientated," according to a source, Slate reports

Though now, the future of The Daily Beast is less clear, with Diller already floating the idea of a sale—or worse, a shutdown.Continue reading...

brand history

Vanity Fair Celebrates 100 with New Logo, Retro Cover

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 6, 2013 01:42 PM

Yahoo isn't the only one to debut a new logo this week, as Vanity Fair, celebrating its 100th anniversary, has released a tweaked version of its iconic typeface. 

Gracing the cover of its commemorative October issue is model of the year Kate Upton, who was captured by famous photographer Annie Leibovitz blowing out a celebratory candle—a pose that mimics the original cover of Dress & Vanity Fair's first issue in October, 1913.

“In an age when nothing seems to last—not convictions, not even cities—a centennial, like the one Vanity Fair celebrates this year, makes me marvel at the simple fact of longevity,” Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter commented.Continue reading...

brand revival

Newsweek Finds New Life Abroad

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 2, 2013 03:25 PM

Newsweek has been dying a slow, painful death now for years, but a pair of thirty-something media magnates think they have what it takes to salvage the venerable brand.

Etienne Uzac, CEO of IBT Media, and his business partner, Jonathan Davis, “aspire to leadership of the digital media revolution,” according to CNN. The pair is already well on their way as the owners and co-founders of the International Business Times, among the top .02 percent of global URLs with an audience of over 7 million in the US and 13 million worldwide. IBT Media’s portfolio includes 10 international online news properties such as Medical Daily, Latin Times and iDigitalTimes and publishes in seven languages.

After being sold multiple times, the latest owners acquired Newsweek from Barry Diller's IAC in early August, after a failed merger between The Daily Beast and the once-venerable weekly news magazine saw just about every last supporter abandon the brand.

Even though Diller called his acquisition of Newsweek a "mistake" in a recent interview with Bloomberg, Uzac sees potential beyond the US to grow the Newsweek brand internationally. "We plan on deepening the current relationships and potentially adding more global partners," he told Ad Age.Continue reading...

brand extensions

Penguin Random House Expands Diversification Effort with TV Series

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 19, 2013 04:47 PM

Following its July merger, which formed the most dominant publishing house in the business, Penguin Random House has continued to looking beyond books into opportunities in TV and film—agendas that the once competing companies pursued individually prior to coming under the same roof.  

The newly-formed company's first co-produced TV project, Heartland Table, will debut on the Food Network on Sept. 14, featuring up-and-coming chef Amy Theilen, whose debut cookbook, "The New Midwestern Table," will be released 10 days later. 

The move towards content diversification began in 2005 when Random House formed a film unit, which was followed up last year with the creation of a TV division. Random House Studio has so far produced two feature films: 2007's Reservation Road and 2011's One Day. While Reservation Road was a loss, and One Day is yet to be profitable, the films spurred book sales, with Nicholls' "One Day" selling over one million copies each in the US and Germany. 

"It launched David Nicholls as a major commercial novelist—which will, of course, help us now with his future novels," Peter Gethers, editor at large for Random House, told the Wall Street Journal.Continue reading...

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