Posted by Abe Sauer on September 24, 2012 10:14 AM
As one potential war in China heats up, another is officially over, at least according to one brand.
"LEGO and BanBao Have Ended Their War" is the title of the press release sent out by BanBao Europe. The announcement celebrated a settlement between there two brands under which the duo will "seek a fair competition based on respect for each other's position."
If one didn't know any better, it might sound as if Banbao — less well known as Guangdong Jumbo Grand Plastic Moulding Industrial Co., Ltd. — had finally settled a corporate dispute between equals. But Banbao was a lot less conciliatory in more private statements.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 20, 2012 04:06 PM
Nobody wants to relive the days of folks getting trampled for Cabbage Patch Kids or engaging in fistfights for Tickle Me Elmo dolls. Perhaps to avoid such awfulness, which of course brings bad publicity for whatever retailer is involved, and to pick up a few bucks along the way, Toys R Us is letting consumers reserve specific toys before the holiday season — with a catch.
In addition to announcing its list of the 50 “hot toys” (which includes Hasbro's version 2.0-edition Furby, a $70 Laloopsy doll, One Direction dolls) that kids, apparently, are clamoring for this holiday season, the toys' prospective buyers will be informed when the product arrives. That way, nobody has to get trampled.
That’s not to say that Toys R Us isn’t going to do everything it can to get as many people into its doors during the crucial holiday shopping season as it can. Indeed, the Hot Toys RSVP checklist must be downloaded from the Toys R Us website and then printed as a PDF and delivered to a bricks and mortar Toys R Us store with a 20% deposit to hold the item for pick-up. The better to woo you with impulse purchases, my dear.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 13, 2012 04:22 PM
Fast-food giants share a not-so-secret recipe: make the up sell, adding fries to your bill or talking you into some kind of combination meal.
But the up sell isn’t working quite the way it used to. Consumers aren’t asking for "the #5 with fries" anywhere near as much as they used to, Fortune reports. A study by NPD Group finds that sales of combo meals at fast-food restaurants have gone down 12% in the last five years.
That means a billion fewer combo meals were ordered in the five-year period ending this past January than were ordered up in the five years before that. The lousy economy has something to do with it, but the study also showed that consumers would like to have more options in their combos.
The grand-daddy of the combo meal is the Happy Meal, which has been holding on for dear life. Revamped in time for the London Summer Olympics healthier menu marketing, it's been hit in markets such as Chile, where the government is now prohibiting restaurants (but it might as well say "McDonald's") from including toys with meals.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 7, 2012 11:11 AM
As the world’s eyeballs continue to turn toward screens everywhere like flowers to the sun, there are some flights of fancy of yesteryear that don’t involve looking at flat grayness and are surprisingly having a resurgence.
Remember Rubik’s Cube? The simultaneously simple and complex symbol of the 1980s is seeing an uptick in sales, according to the New York Times. The latest wave of speedcubers dominated the attendance of the 2012 World Cube Association’s U.S. National Championship last weekend in Las Vegas. “Anybody blessed with the basic human senses can instantly ‘get it,’ ” said the toy’s creator, Hungarian architecture professor Erno Rubik, to the Times.
While that quality certainly helps the Cube (a brand owned by Seven Towns Ltd.) in its longevity, its appeal transcends play. “You can use Rubik’s Cube to teach engineering, you can use it to teach mathematics, and you can use it to talk about the interplay between design and engineering and mathematics and creativity,” said Paul Hoffman, president of New Jersey's Liberty Science Center, which will mark the Cube’s 40th anniversary in 2014 with an exhibition. “I’m hoping the Rubik’s Cube will excite a new generation and get them into engineering.”Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 25, 2012 12:22 PM
That's Team USA gymnast (and five-time Olympic medalist) Nastia Liukin, above, doing the splits with the special London 2012 Summer Olympics edition Dora the Explorer doll. Mattel's Fisher-Price will sell the interactive Fantastic Gymnastics Dora doll starting in August for $50. What makes the latest doll from the Nickelodeon hit series interactive? Consumers can download the free, Fantastic Gymnastics Dora augmented reality app on retail shelves or download from Apple's App Store.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 12, 2012 02:05 PM
The annual San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) kicks off today, and as ever, it's a massive promotional platform for brands.
Founded as the "Golden State Comic Book Convention" in 1970 by a group of San Diegan comic book fans, the annual fanfest has evolved to include video games, toys and other forms of genre entertainment. That's why Hollywood beats a path south to the show every year — to generate buzz among the estimated 250,000 comic book, sci-fi, fantasy, anime, and video game fans hitting town for the four day pop-culture fix.
One of the biggest movies being touted this year: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, which marks the cast's last appearance as Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner hyping the Nov. 16th final bow with a 1pm ET (above) panel. Also red-hot: Iron Man 3, with Robert Downey Jr. and co-stars on hand to promote the movie scheduled for May 3rd of next year.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Shirley Brady on June 18, 2012 05:26 PM
adidas is under fire after posting a picture of its upcoming JS Roundhouse Mids on the adidas Originals Facebook page. JS is short for Jeremy Scott, the provocative designer who has had a longstanding association with adidas Originals, while the shoe is part of his upcoming Fall/Winter collection for the brand, which is slated for release in August.
Unlike the uproar over Nike's Black and Tan shoe back in March, it's not the colors or name that's offending, but the rubber shackles attached to them that remind some observers (such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson) of the ankle chains that imprisoned African American slaves. That the "adidas" name is also part of the "shackles" is raising hackles (and heckles).
Even so, the brand defended the design and the designer.
"The design of the JS Roundhouse Mid is nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott's outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery," a spokesperson for the brand commented about the Facebook photo, which has been removed. "Jeremy Scott is renowned as a designer whose style is quirky and lighthearted ... Any suggestion that this is linked to slavery is untruthful."
Scott, meanwhile, has deflected criticism of the so-called "slavery sneaker" on Twitter. Update: The designer later tweeted a link to a picture of "My Pet Monster," a plush toy wearing "magic cuffs" released by American Greetings in 1986 that spawned a one-season ABC cartoon series, as the inspiration for the shoe.
Nevertheless, despite initially defending the designer, adidas is pulling the shoe, stating: "We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace."
See Scott's Fall/Winter 2012 adidas Originals collection that included the shoe (along with a close-up) below, and let us know what you think in the comments.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on May 21, 2012 12:02 PM
Brands/Products Spotted: 13
Standout Placement: United States Navy
Most Memorable Placement (positive): United States Navy
Most Memorable Placement (negative): Coke Zero
Overall Product Placement Integration Grade (1-10): 4
Comments: You sank our opening weekend number one box office ranking! Indeed, The Avengers continues to play box office hero for the third weekend in a row, leaving Battleship (aka "Rihanna's Big Screen Debut") to float like so much flotsam. But the movie, based on the classic board game, made plenty of money overseas, pleasing the brands that invested in it, none more so than the United States Navy.Continue reading...