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campaigns

Dumb Ways to Die Goes Plush for Public Safety Campaign Extension

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 21, 2014 03:46 PM

Last year, the marketing and advertising industry went nutty over Metro Trains Melbourne's "Dumb Ways to Die" cross-platform campaign by McCann Australia. The public safety campaign, which went viral thanks to a catchy song for its PSA ads, online game and addictive mobile app, took home top honors at Cannes Lions and continue to collect accolades, have now inspired a curious new line of products.  

Melbourne Metro has announced it's keeping the love going with a line of plush merchandise that is based on the characters in the campaign, and will be sure to appeal to kids of all ages in the same way that Uglydolls became a staple of dormitory rooms worldwide.

"We never set out for this to be a goal and it certainly didn't factor into anything around determining the creative," Metro General Manager-Corporate Relations Leah Waymark told Ad Age. "But countless people asked, 'Where can I get the t-shirt?' We had a lot of people who produce items approach us, from t-shirt makers to toy makers, to people who wanted to produce TV shows. But we narrowed it to what we thought would be most important, and that's the brand integrity."Continue reading...

brand aspiration

Goldie Blox Builds Dream Scenario with Viral Video, Shot At Super Bowl

Posted by Dale Buss on November 22, 2013 06:12 PM

The founder of Goldie Blox may be writing a dream script for a startup, one that already includes an idea with traction, a madly viral video, and high-profile nod in the New York Times—and an effort that could very well culminate in a Super Bowl commercial on February 2.

One of the videos that Goldie Blox has posted on its YouTube channel since its inception two years ago has gotten skyrocketing views, over 7 million so far, according to MarketingDaily.com. It shows young girls in stereotypical pink princess outfits suddenly breaking out of character to grab a tool kit, goggles and hard hats, constructing things with Goldie Blox building-block toys.

"Girls to build the spaceship / Girls to code the new app / Girls to grow up knowing / They can engineer that," the video hums, adapting an old Beastie Boys song. "It's OK to be a princess," Goldie Blox Founder and CEO Debbie Sterling, a Stanford University mechanical-engineering graduate, told the New York Times. "We just think girls can build their own castles too."Continue reading...

local branding

Mattel Localizes Barbie for Education-Focused China Market

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 8, 2013 06:38 PM

Barbie apparently wasn't much of a success in China when the famous doll's focus was all manicures, makeup and party dresses. The company's six-story store in Shanghai closed its doors in 2011, and since, Mattel has been hard at work creating a Barbie more suitable for the Asian culture—one focused instead on education. 

"Joy and learning are like oil and water in China," said Peter Broegger, Mattel's Asia Pacific senior vice president, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. So Mattel is trying to emphasize the learning part of Barbie’s life, releasing such dolls as Violin Barbie, while simultaneously trying to get the government to encourage more play from the children of its nation. "If they allow for more play, half of our marketing is done," Broegger told the Journal. Violin Barbie may be completely disproportionate in her body but she apparently can play a mean Tchaikovsky.Continue reading...

holidaze

Toy Brands Jump Start Holiday Promos to Get Ahead of Sluggish Spending

Posted by Dale Buss on October 22, 2013 06:39 PM

It's D-Days—Decision Days—for many American parents as they seek to get their holiday shopping done for their kids before the crunch of school programs, seasonal festivities and general mayhem ensues.

And sure enough, Fisher-Price, Toys R Us, Amazon and other brands are showing up with timely messages about how eager they are to help. They're all the more interested to make hay early in the season because the forecast for Christmas spending this year is cloudy at best.

Fisher-Price this season is targeting Millennial moms of kids up to ages five years old and, to accommodate the greater digital sensibilities of this generation, the Mattel-owned brand has boosted its digital-media spend by 50 percent.

"We know we need to reach her in this digital space," Lisa McKnight, Mattel's senior vice president of marketing for North America, told Advertising Age. "They want to make informed decisions when they make their purchases."Continue reading...

games people play

Monopoly Empire is a Future CEO's Dream—and a Whole Lot of Marketing

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 11, 2013 03:49 PM

Hasbro’s Monopoly board game has partnered with dozens of cities and organizations over the years to create unique editions of the board game. From the Boy Scouts of America and American Idol to the Boston Red Sox and Teaneck Township, New Jersey, the Monopoly brand has gone out of its way to find large, passionate niche audiences that might be interested in throwing around a little fake money.

But the game's latest edition, Monopoly Empire, puts millions of dollars worth of buying power in the hands of players in the form of major brands, including Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Chevrolet. Bearing the tagline "Own the world's top brands," it features 22 brands in total, and even adjusts the game's purpose to fit the big-brand model. Instead of racking up real estate on Park Place, players instead work on covering their Times Square-like billboards with brand logos. The first to do so wins.Continue reading...

viral buzz

Silly Bandz Who? The Latest Rubber Bracelet Craze is Courtesy of Rainbow Loom

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 12, 2013 05:52 PM

Malaysian immigrant Cheong Choon Ng spent his days as a crash-test engineer for Nissan in Michigan, but, for three years, his nights and weekends were spent perfecting a toy that made it easier for his two young daughters to create bracelets out of rubber bands. Little did he know, he had a hit on his hands of Silly Bandz proportion. 

Ng's Rainbow Loom hit the market with a tutorial video that his daughters made, and soon, his invention outgrew his living room operations. More than a million of the kits have sold since. But where there is success, there are followers, particularly, as the Wall Street Journal points out, in today’s world of 3-D printing, online marketing and speedy manufacturing.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Fisher-Price Under Fire for Making False Claims About Educational Apps

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 8, 2013 01:43 PM

After new parents nail down the basics of changing daipers and hourly feedings, most are concerned with building their new bundle of joy's cognitive level. With a more than ample amount of products, including videos, books and apps available to choose from, a parent's investment in education can start pretty early. However, not every product and method out there lives up to its claims, which is where Fisher-Price is finding itself these days. 

The longtime toymaker and others like them have come under fire by advocacy group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which has said that the companies involved have all produced mobile apps that claim to be able to help kids get smarter—but actually can’t. The Washington Times reports that the group has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about the practice.Continue reading...

license to thrill

Hasbro Extends Licensing Agreement with Booming Angry Birds Franchise

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 18, 2013 07:05 PM

Because there isn't already enough Angry Birds-themed merchandise in the world, Hasbro and Rovio's Angry Birds have signed a new expanded licensing agreement that will find new Birds gear hitting the market before year’s end.

Since the original Angry Birds mobile game launched in 2009, more than 12 million copies have been sold through Apple’s app store alone. That has led to Angry Birds-branded T-shirts, pillowcases, cake toppers, pet toys, skateboards, and, of course, Duck tape.

Rovio, the creator of the brand, began distributing a weekly animated cartoon series, Angry Birds Toons, in March and a full-length animated Angry Birds movie is expected to hit screens in the summer of 2016, according to a release.Continue reading...

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