follow the money
Posted by Barry Silverstein on December 3, 2009 07:07 PM
It all started with a phone call Jack Dorsey received from a friend, a small business owner frustrated because he couldn't easily accept a credit card payment from a customer. Dorsey is not one to let opportunities pass him by. The co-founder of Twitter and two colleagues came up with a prototype for a mobile phone-based payment system.
Yesterday Dorsey unveiled "Square" -- via a tweet, of course. Square is just that, a really small plastic square that plugs into the headphone jack of an iPhone. Swipe a credit card through the device and the payment information is transmitted via an iPhone application. The product is now in beta; applications are expected to be available for the new Droid and Blackberry phones by early 2010.
The brilliance of Square is that it can work on any mobile device via an application, but no information is stored on the device. That's all done through a "person-to-person" payment system Dorsey designed from the ground up.Continue reading...
Posted by Stephanie Startz on December 3, 2009 05:39 PM
Planning on sending a sexy text, a "sext"? Or maybe starting a nasty rumor? Mobile device brand LG, James Lipton and his beard implore you to “Give It A Ponder.”
LG’s new campaign taps into mobile culture and the undoing people experience via their own thumbs. The campaign artfully employs traditional media in television and print ads and successfully utilizes Web 2.0 features on the web site giveitaponder.com.
The campaign’s television ads feature an omnipresent James Lipton, beloved but oft-teased host of Bravo's Inside The Actors Studio, sharing the wisdom of his beard with young people whose moral compasses need some assistance pointing true north.Continue reading...
stuck in neutral
Posted by Abe Sauer on December 2, 2009 01:01 PM
Netflix once dominated the DVD rental industry -- revolutionized it, in fact, destined to be a business school case study for decades to come. But what will that lesson be?
To its loyal users, the Netflix brand is still quite strong. For starters, its online interface is easy and intuitive, even for a new customer. Over the years the brand has made commendable efforts to maintain brand loyalty. More than once, Netflix has issued unprompted apologies for service disruptions and followed up with free benefits to members. The brand that claims that 90% of its members evangelize the service to others they know.
But lately, Netflix has been hurting from increased competition, increased production costs and more importantly, a huge shift in the fundamentals of its sector.
Netflix has long been aware of the fact that the days are numbered for its DVDs-by-mail model. And while it was an early proponent of streaming online video, it has struggled to dominate in that realm as it did in DVDs.Continue reading...
Posted by Sara Zucker on December 2, 2009 11:38 AM
What happens when two branding titans collide? In the case of Saks and Microsoft, a precipitation of fashion and technology.
Companies are going all-out this holiday season. We can see proof of that in the collaboration between Saks Fifth Avenue and Microsoft, which will take place in honor of the sixth annual Snowflake Spectacular display at the department store's New York flagship, and will display shoppers' holiday Twitter updates right in the store's windows.
The Saks Fifth Avenue holiday windows will be powered by Windows 7, helping to bring life to the children’s book “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Flake.” The windows show the story of a snowflake named Twinkle and includes 3-D animations and interactive displays. More than 20 video monitors were provided by Microsoft, powered by Windows 7 to animate some of the book’s key scenes.
The windows will also feature ice-skating penguins and a voiceover of the book that is audible to passersby.Continue reading...
search and destroy
Posted by Stephanie Startz on December 1, 2009 07:51 PM
The bidding has closed.
A French court has fined eBay $2.5 million, after deciding that the online auction site violated a 2008 order forbidding the sale of luxury conglomerate LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton goods. LVMH owns Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs and Christian Dior, among others.
While eBay has been in court before for similar cases and won, the specifics in the suit with LVMH differ. According to the Times of London, LVMH has exclusive contracts with retailers licensed to sell their goods. Because of those agreements, the French court declared that eBay had no right to allow the sale of goods associated with brands retained under the LVMH umbrella.Continue reading...
Posted by Peter Feld on December 1, 2009 06:24 PM
Cyber Monday is being pronounced a success, with shopping up 13.7% and Amazon reportedly edging Wal-Mart.
The folks at the US Federal Trade Commission had their heads screwed on straight for once, by deciding to wait until the day after Cyber Monday to launch new rules requiring bloggers and celebrities to disclose when they promote a product online for pay, or in exchange for free stuff. (I know: as if anyone there even made the connection.) Well, we kind of joked about who might get caught up in these rules -- and questioned whether celebrities who tweet for pay will test the trust of their audience -- but, we suddenly notice (just in time!), we are included.
The FTC has been under fire from bloggers for issuing strict rules without sufficient guidelines or consumer education, considering that fines can range up to $11,000. It has promised to target advertisers, not bloggers, or maybe just big fish, or maybe not heavily fine the little fish -- which has raised concerns of selective prosecution. In a "heated but civil" interview between blogger Edward Champion and the FTC's Richard Cleland, it's noted that partner marketing links such as Amazon Associates are included in the disclosure requirements.
Well, as brandchannel readers have likely noticed, we use Amazon Associates. This is a well-known program that pays participants for referring business to Amazon, via links which are easily seen (because the URL string includes "brandchannelcom") and which will bring a fairly small amount of revenue to the site if you follow that link and make a purchase. We've included them for many years when we link to media (books that are reviewed, or films in our brandcameo section), and have been using them on this blog when referring to certain products Amazon sells. (Those references being there because they belong in the story, not so as to send business to Amazon.)Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on November 27, 2009 12:42 PM
Look what brand decided to grace Black Friday with its presence? Apple.
Oh to be a brand as strong as Apple with no need to drag down your image by joining the deep-discounting Black Friday tradition. This year, Apple's in-store discount offers include knocking $101 off $1,200 Macbook Pros, $41 off the $500 64G iPod Touch and $21 off the $230 Apple TV, amongst others. Are these great deals? No.
How do tech shoppers feel about this? Predictably:
This is the most sorry excuse for a Black Friday sale I've ever seen. At first I saw this as a missed opportunity on Apple's part. But now it seems more like a glaring slap in the face to anyone who ever thought about buying an Apple product today...
Apple products are available at big box retailers for less. For example, Target offered 32G iPod Touches for $30 less than Apple's online store.
As usual, this is a shrewd branding move on Apple's part. Those who are entry level Apple users will seek out the brands at big box discount prices. Brand-loyal Apple aficionados who shop at the Apple Store? The brand already knows they are hooked. Every dealer knows, only the first hit is free.
For all Black Friday Live! posts go to the Black Friday Live! tag.
Posted by Stephanie Startz on November 25, 2009 06:41 PM
Motorola knows what boys like, Motorola knows what guys want. Motorola’s milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. And they’re like, “You’re better than Apple. Yeah, you’re better than Apple.”
Thanks to the release of the Droid smartphone, Motorola has surged past Apple in brand loyalty polling among men ages 18–34.
Recently released tracking data from YouGov’s BrandIndex shows Apple dropping from a high of 48.1 to 22 in the month of November. Motorola, during the same timeframe, has remained relatively stable with a BrandIndex score fluctuating between 32.3 and 29.3. Blackberry continues to sink with a score below 10.Continue reading...