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olympic effort

On Eve of Sochi Olympics, AT&T Leads Brands Protesting Russia's LGBT Stance

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 4, 2014 07:17 PM

With the Super Bowl over, it's time for the US and the rest of the world to move on to the Winter Olympics, which are set to begin this Friday in Sochi, Russia. Amid the controversy over Russia's anti-gay laws, brands are doing their best to keep spirits high and tread carefully in what has become a very sensitive situation for sponsors, athletes and fans alike.

AT&T is the latest Team USA Olympic sponsor to debut its campaign, but it's doing so in a way that makes its views clear beyond cheering athletes. For the It's Our Time campaign (hashtag: #ItsOurTime) the telecom giant is rolling out an app, a website and video booths around the US to encourage fans to send "USA!" chants over to Sochi to show their support for their home team.

That's not the only messaging attached to the campaign. While it was Coca-Cola that recently took a stance by running the first ever Super Bowl ad featuring a gay couple, it's AT&T that's leading the way on the Olympic LGBT front by publicly speaking out in favor of equality and condemning homophobia, specifically Russia's ban on gay "propaganda."Continue reading...

sporting brands

Gunner Do It: Inside Puma's Record-Breaking Arsenal Football Club Deal

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 28, 2014 07:36 PM

Puma has made a major move, signing a five-year "kit" deal with English Premier League powerhouse Arsenal, dealing a major blow to 20-year partner Nike.

The move is all part of a brand renewal strategy under new Puma CEO Bjoern Gulden that aims to re-establish the brand in the sports apparel market, which has taken a backseat to its lifestyle brand in recent years. 

The new $249 million deal is the largest ever for "the Gunners," as the legendary football club is calld by fans, and Puma, and drops the apparel-maker's logo right back into the spotlight on the backs (and rear-ends and cleats) of one of the league's hottest clubs, Sports Business Daily notes.

Arsenal’s previously struck a sponsorship deal with Emirates Airlines in 2012 for five years and $248 million.

In addition, Puma has gained the rights to produce other Arsenal-related merchandise. Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger, who is also slated to sign a new contract with the club, will be given a large pool of cash to recruit free agents.Continue reading...

Genius Concept: BMW USA Upgrades Powertrains, Products, Dealerships

Posted by Dale Buss on January 27, 2014 03:06 PM

"All of the above" has become a popular term in the auto industry for a power-train strategy that attempts to field entries based on every mode of propulsion in the marketplace.

But BMW now is applying the concept more broadly to its entire business model, attempting to advance in every conceivable way to include not only "green" propulsion systems but also a much wider variety of products in all segments, more expert sales people and spiffier US showrooms.

Its plans include the introduction its all-electric i3 small car in the US this spring and says that hybrids and electrics under the i sub-brand could one day comprise 10 to 15 percent of its global sales while the internal-combustion engine continues to be the major drivetrain 10 years from now.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

Big Personalities—and Their Sponsors—Set to To Take the Field at Super Bowl XLVIII

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 23, 2014 06:56 PM

Two unexpected sports stars have emerged ahead of the Feb 2. Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos. 

Derrick Coleman, the star of Duracell's internet-to-TV ad has gained worldwide attention for his encouraging tale that chronicles his life as a deaf athlete. The heart-warming underdog story was originally intended to just run on the internet, but launched on broadcast TV on Jan. 10 following an excess of positive feedback. The ad landed on the No. 2 spot on Ad Age’s Viral Video Chart this week after garnering over nine million views.

But that was pre-game. Following the Seahawks' win over the San Francisco 49ers, another star emerged, though with a rougher entry. Fellow Seahawk Richard Sherman made the internet explode after he reportedly mouthed off to several 49ers players and then delivered an equally jarring post-game interview to reporter Erin Andrews.

Sherman caught serios heat from fans on social media who called him "selfish," "nasty," and "unsportsmanlike," among other things, (though now the tide is changing). While Sherman later apologized, marketers saw a rising star.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...

mobile brands

CES 2014: AT&T Vies for Consumers, Partners in Deal for Sponsored Data

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 7, 2014 04:50 PM

Consumers are already unhappy with the size of their cell-phone bills, but providers have got the mobile-hungry masses in a vulnerable spot: Pay up if you want to keep watching those cat videos wherever and whenever you want, America!

AT&T announced during Monday's Developer Summit at this week's Consumer Electronics Show that it will start selling data sponsorships, which will allow companies to sponsor data downloads by AT&T customers so the download won’t count against the consumer’s monthly limit. The sponsoring brand’s logo will be visible on the screen and the monthly bill, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"Customers just look for the Sponsored Data icon and they know the data related to that particular application or video is provided as a part of their monthly service," said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility. "That’s what makes this a win-win for customers and businesses." Continue reading...

olympic effort

BMW Sponsorship, Car Tech Grease Rails for US Olympic Bobsled Team

Posted by Dale Buss on January 3, 2014 12:38 PM

The calendar has flipped, and so has BMW of North America—over the US Olympic bobsled team.

Even as BMW kept watch on Friday for year-end US sales-results comparisons between it and Mercedes-Benz over which brand ended up selling the most luxury cars in 2013, as BMW did in 2012 and 2011, the company also was gearing up to tout its marketing campaign around the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

The highlight of BMW's effort clearly will be a groundbreaking branded entertainment program, titled "Driving on Ice." The half-hour documentary—debuting Sunday, Jan. 5, at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC, the hub for all things Olympic—highlights BMW's complete redesign of the US two-man bobsled.Continue reading...

brand partners

Intel Gets Inside New Levi's-Branded 49ers Stadium

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 19, 2013 06:37 PM

The world may be turning its attentions to mobile devices that don’t have Intel chips, but the company that came to fame for powering PCs still wants to stay front and center in the minds of consumers. So it is placing a bet on sports marketing to help keep the name alive and thriving.

Its name popped up in sports-business stories last week when the company signed a five-year, $25 million deal with Spanish soccer giant Barcelona to stick the Intel logo on the inside of its jerseys so that fans can see it when their favorite players lift their shirts after scoring a goal.

“I know it’s bizarre and strange because it’s not shown on a day-to-day basis, but it’s more about the symbolic space,” said David Haroldsen, Intel’s vice president of sponsorship, according to the Washington Post. “It authentically tells the story of who we are rather than just being another brand that is visible with all the other logos that exist. We believed we would have more value with the symbolic placement with occasional pop-up moments within the game.”Continue reading...

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