corporate citizenship

Forever Proud: TD Bank Walks Its Talk With WorldPride 2014 Sponsorship

Posted by Shirley Brady on July 7, 2014 06:05 PM

The recent WorldPride event in Toronto marked the first time the event had been held in North America—and served as a testament to platinum sponsor TD Bank Group's acceptance of diversity.

The most valuable brand on Interbrand's Best Canadian Brands report, TD Bank not only sponsored WorldPride 2014, which ran from June 20 to 29 and attracted an estimated two million people across the Greater Toronto Area, but helped the host committee land the event by sponsoring their bid and accompanying them to make their case to InterPride, the event's organizer, in a first for a corporate sponsor.

It also wasn't a one-off commitment. TD is supporting 42 Pride events across North America this year, including signing a multi-year partnership with Boston Pride, all part of its bigger committment to equality and creating an inclusive workplace. "This is our tenth year of supporting Pride events," notes Scott Mullin, the bank's Vice President of Community Relations. "Ten years ago it was seen as pretty edgy for a financial institution."Continue reading...

branding together

Manchester United and Chevrolet Tease New Uniforms

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 2, 2014 04:03 PM

While the World Cup continues on through its dramatic knockout stages in Brazil, the rest of the football world goes about its offseason business, such as deciding what players to sign and trade.

For Manchester United, the third most valuable soccer team worldwide according to Forbes, it also includes the introduction of a new Chevrolet-sponsored uniform.

While team and its GM-owned sponsor aren't ready quite yet to show off what the new jerseys will look like beyond a peek at the Nike logo and club crest, they're building up expectations with a teaser video to remind fans that no matter what brand name is on the front of the shirt.

As star striker Wayne Rooney tells the camera, "This shirt belongs to you. Always has. Always will."Continue reading...

brandcameo

Jerry Seinfeld Aces Product Placement (Not That There's Anything Wrong With That)

Posted by Sarah McLaughlin on July 1, 2014 11:38 AM

A few years ago, I was a writer on a very girly TV show for a very girly network when I was presented with an interesting challenge. The girly network had struck an ad sales deal with a tire company for a product placement of said tire company during a scene in the show.

Tire company. Girly show. These two things traditionally did not go together, at least not organically, which is what we quickly found out when we attempted to come up with a scene that would accomplish both goals: Jam in the tire brand and stay true to the voice of the series and characters. Sounds simple, like “hey just write a scene about changing a flat tire,” but that wasn’t going to work because the tire company didn't want to show that their tires had failed. We didn’t want to lose the integrity of the show or make it feel forced. And that is where we—and the tire placement—fell flat.  

Product placement, or what is now called brand integration or “native advertising,” seems to be everywhere. According to PQ Media, advertisers spent $8.25 billion on product placement in 2012, and the market is expected to nearly double in the next five years. Clearly, it must work.

These days it’s hard to tell the difference between where a TV show ends and brand integration begins. Broadcast network TV shows like American Idol, Modern Family and America’s Got Talent shoehorn in inorganic advertisements into scenes and performances. In 2011, American Idol alone had over 500 product placements in one season. You couldn’t miss the giant red Coca-Cola bell-shaped cups the size of an Olympic swimming pool sitting in front of the judges. Makes one long for the days when Russell Brand appeared on the FOX-owned Idol to promote his FOX film Arthur with an awkward interchange with contestants.

So who does it well? Not surprising, it’s a familiar face who loves brands, thinking about brands, observing brands: Jerry Seinfeld.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

Sponsors Pressure FIFA Over Qatar Bid Ahead of World Cup Kickoff

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 9, 2014 11:02 AM

The 2014 World Cup hasn't even gotten underway yet, but major sponsors of the event are already criticizing FIFA for its pick for the 2022 tournament host nation: Qatar. 

The selection of Qatar in December of 2010 immediately raised major concerns for a number of factors, including the punishing heat that the country suffers through during the traditional World Cup months of June and July; the country’s poor human-rights track record; the fact that Qatar doesn’t have much of a history with soccer; and that all of the stadiums for the event needed to be constructed (and will be white elephants after), among other issues that comedian John Oliver can explain for you.

Besides former US President Bill Clinton's total disappointment with the decision to skip the US and head to Qatar, investigators have now revealed that there were likely millions of dollars in bribes exchanged in order for Qatar to win the bid, The Guardian reports. The country has also come under fire for supposedly using "slaves" to help build the needed infrastructure for the event.

On top of everything else, the news of the illegal transactions now has official sponsors including adidas, Sony, Coca-Cola and Visa concerned about their association with the event. "Our expectation remains that all of our partners maintain strong ethical standards and operate with transparency,” Visa said, according to Associated Press.Continue reading...

now hear this

Gatorade Spits Fire—Then Fizzles—After Powerade's King James Goes Down

Posted by Rami Levi on June 6, 2014 04:03 PM

Is it in you, LeBron?

Leading up to Game 1 of the NBA Finals, with the Miami Heat facing the San Antonio Spurs, a rematch of last year’s exhilarating NBA Finals remained the dominant storyline. That is, until the air conditioning at the AT&T Center gave way early in the first half. 

Forget Heat vs. Spurs. The main storyline was now Heat vs. Heat. 

Well, the heat won—and not the basketball team. With just seven minutes to go in a hotly contested nailbiter, LeBron James, one of the best (or the best, if you talk to him) players in the game, literally had to be carried off the court to the sidelines. The heat was cramping his style—and his leg. With their best player looking on through clenched teeth, the Heat lost their lead and eventually the game. 

Following the loss, LeBron very clearly identified the reason for his cramps: “I mean, I got all the fluids I need to get, I do my normal routine I’ve done and it was inevitable for me tonight, throughout the conditions, you know, out there on the floor,” he said. "I lost all the fluids that I was putting in in the last couple of days out there on the floor. It sucks not being out there for your team, especially at this point in the season.”

And with that statement, add one more loser to the boxscore: Powerade.Continue reading...

World Cup Daily

World Cup Watch: Budweiser Rises as One with Help from VICE

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 26, 2014 01:05 PM

With the World Cup in Brazil kicking off on June 12, brands are going into overdrive to capitalize on the growing anticipation.

Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of the massive event, has embarked on a multi-faceted World Cup marketing campaign that includes a co-branded content web series—a first for the brand—in partnership with the Millennial magnet that is the VICE media brand these days.

The "Rise as One: Modern Stories" series started as a documentary on Fox and has been playing out in episodes on its YouTube channel as well as via its (age-gated) World Cup microsite, called (in line with its World Cup tagline), Rise as One.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Manchester United Threatens Nike Deal with High-Priced Demands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 23, 2014 03:47 PM

The season may be over on the field for Manchester United, but it apparently has only just begun for the team's board members.

Coming off its worst season in decades after losing famed coach Sir Alex Ferguson last year, the team recently booted Ferguson's replacement in hopes that Louis Van Gaal can put the team back on track next season. More concerning though than its losing record is its losses on the bottom line. And now one of the team's biggest money-makers—kit supply—is up for grabs. 

The world's most popular soccer team has been wearing Nike gear for more than 10 years thanks to the $510 million that the Portland, Ore.-based company paid out for a 13-year contract to outfit the team. While Nike would like to continue to lucrative partnership, ManU is reportedly looking for even more money once the deal wraps up after next season.Continue reading...

brand inspiration

On Eve of World Cup and AGM, McDonald's Taps Consumers for Input

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 21, 2014 02:20 PM

Coming off another disappointing quarter of sales, the "McScary" mascot launch and on the eve of its always feisty annual general meeting, McDonald's is turning up the volume on consumer engagement in order to tune in to what fans want from the world's biggest quick serve restaurant brand. 

Building on the user-generated content trend that's been tapped by Coca-Cola for its "Ahh Effect" campaign, as well as Airbnb, Canon and other brands, McDonald's UK is asking the public to weigh in on its newest burger. Mixing and matching 80 different possible ingredients, consumers can design the burger of their dreams on the MyBurger website and then vote on others' submissions. The top 12 will be judged and the winning combos will be sold for a limited time in 1,200 restaurants across the UK.

"Customization and digital engagement are becoming an integral part of how consumers interact with companies and we want to continue to innovate as a brand," Alistair Macrow, SVP and chief marketing officer of McDonald’s UK, told Marketing Magazine.Continue reading...

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