up and away

The Final Frontier: Musk, Branson and Brands Engage in the New Space Race

Posted by Dale Buss on May 30, 2014 05:16 PM

Kennedy and Khruschev have given way to Musk and Branson in the Space Race, with the next significant spacecraft set to be branded as SpaceX or Virgin, not with the ponderous logos of global superpowers.

That’s what the 21st Century has come to, as the once-urgent geopolitical, military and scientific attractions of manned space flight have given way to personal entertainments and branding exercises. Musk/SpaceX and Branson/Virgin both made shows of their latest space travel promises this week.

Musk already has promised to begin taking tourists on SpaceX aircraft into space beginning next year, notable among them a group of “astronauts” who were selected and are being “trained” under a long-running space-themed marketing promotion by Unilever’s Axe and Lynx body-spray brands.

But this week Musk unveiled a cone-shaped spaceship that he hopes one day will ferry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, return to earth and set down like a helicopter, then refuel and take off again—perhaps even the same day. Before a crowd of journalists and SpaceX employees at the company’s California headquarters, according to the Los Angeles Times, Musk revealed a white capsule, dubbed Dragon V2, that is designed to fit seven flyers at a time.Continue reading...

nation brands

Oz Marketing: Australia Pitches Itself as a Foodie Destination

Posted by Sergio Brodsky on May 19, 2014 06:22 PM

We Aussies know that our fair nation's tucker is more than "throwing another shrimp on the barbie," kangaroo meat and Pavlova—and now we've got the backing of the federal government to help spread the word overseas.

As promised last year, Tourism Australia is now rolling out its Restaurant Australia global marketing campaign, a $10 million AUD effort to help pitch our country as the food-lover's paradise we know it is.

As you might expect, the food-focused push promotes Australia’s great produce, local cuisine, and award-winning wine brands accompanied by spectacular locations inviting tourists to the “world’s largest restaurant.” Size is important but it’s not what really matters. When the Australia Trade Commission developed Brand Australia it used “Australia Unlimited” as its central nation-branding idea, which was too vague to define what the nation stands for. Food and wine, however, are proving to be a much more appetizing idea.Continue reading...

brand revival

Rail Services Take on New Life with Investments in the Arts, Luxury

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 14, 2014 05:02 PM

Arts programs are generally on the chopping block when it comes to government funding, but one U.S.-owned organization is going the extra mile to push the arts forward: Amtrak.

The national train service, which launched a writer-residency program back in March, is helping fund a mural project in Philadelphia that will span several buildings along the rail line.

"There are some things that we can do better than other competing modes of transport, and that is to provide the traveler with a deeper engagement with the diverse landscape," Stephen Gardner, an Amtrak vice president told the Wall Street Journal. "One of our taglines is, 'Enjoy the Journey.'"Continue reading...

brand strategy

No IPO Rush for Airbnb as Lodging Marketplace Capitalizes on Interest

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 8, 2014 02:22 PM

Airbnb, the online accomodations marketplace that has been shaking up the hotel industry, is headed for an IPO, but not before the San Francisco-based company snagged former Coca-Cola executive Jonathan Mildenhall to be its new CMO.

Life at Airbnb will likely be a bit of culture shock for Mildenhall, as Ad Age notes that the company spent only $300,000 on measured media in 2013, according to Kantar Media reports. That's pocket change for Coke, which plans to boost its media spend up to $1 billion by 2016. However, Mildenhall may have made a smart move since Coca-Cola is going through a shakeup of its own. An internal Coca-Cola memo obtained by Ad Age has it that the changes "will accelerate the profitable growth of Coca-Cola through world class marketing—both in North America and markets around the world." 

Meanwhile, Airbnb pulled in $450 million in funding last month in its latest round of financing, increasing its lifetime investment to $776.4 million and its valuation to $10 billion. But all that new cash doesn't have Airbnb rushing its IPO. 

"Going public is a means, not an end goal," CTO and co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk told Yahoo! Finance. "It's a way of raising capital, and our company is currently very well capitalized, so there's no need to think about an IPO right now."Continue reading...

ready for takeoff

Spirit Airlines Has a Novel Marketing Platform for You

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 12, 2014 12:51 PM

If you need to vomit while flying Spirit Airlines, be sure to take a moment before you let loose and check out the bag. It may have the logo of some enterprising brand on there. 

Spirit is going after every dollar it can and has opened the doors for brands to advertise on pretty much everything on its planes. Skift.com reports that for just $30,000, a message can be placed on 150,000 “air-sickness bags” for a three-month run. 

The low-cost Spirit already has one of the highest profit margins in the industry, according to Skift, and was the first to charge passengers for bringing on carry-on bags. It also charges them for snacks, drinks, pillows, and blankets and “Spirit flight attendants even make an on-board pitch to sign passengers up for Spirit co-branded MasterCard credit cards.

Skift reports that the Spirit ad rate card offers brands the opportunity to put their logo on window panels, bulkheads, overhead bins, tray tables, in-flight menus, flight attendants’ aprons, and Styrofoam cups. Brands can even wrap a complete Spirit plane in its messaging for a full year for $400,000.Continue reading...

luxury watch

Tommy Hilfiger Dives In to Hospitality with Miami Beach Hotel Buy

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 11, 2014 11:47 AM

Famed fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger may be turning 63-years-old in a few weeks, but he's not exactly coasting toward retirement. Instead, he's heading off an entirely new business.

Women’s Wear Daily reports that Hilfiger “is negotiating to buy The Raleigh Hotel” in the South Beach area of Miami, which carries a reported $100 million price tag. “I’ve always wanted a hotel property,” Hilfiger said. “We’re going to turn it into a five-star chic hotel with all the amenities.”

The 74-year-old Art Deco hotel won't be Hilfiger's last, either. He has launched Hilfiger Hospitality, a venture centered around "fashion, art, music and entertainment." Hilfiger is reportedly pursuing unique properties in both US and international markets.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Comcast Hones In on Universal Theme Parks as Point of Significant Expansion

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 10, 2014 04:43 PM

Comcast has set the TV world aflame in the last few years with its purchase of NBCUniversal and its yet-to-be-finalized deal to acquire Time Warner Cable. But there’s another industry that Comcast is looking to be a serious player in as well: theme parks.

Comcast, which already had $2.2 billion in revenue last year from its theme parks and resorts unit, isn’t shying away from horning in on the territory long dominated by Disney, either. The company's Universal Studios is “investing hundreds of millions of dollars into theme parks in California and Florida.” While it is investing in new attractions for its Universal Orlando Resorts, it also building “the largest hotel construction project in North America: [an] 1,800-room, 1960s-themed Cabana Bay Beach Resort,” of which Comcast is sharing the bill with Loews Corp., the Philadephia Inquirer reports

Six hundred of the rooms will open this month, with the rest scheduled to open by year's end. With that, Universal will have 4,200 rooms, a 75 percent increase from the 2,400 it previously boasted, but NBCUniversal chief Steve Burke says the complex could have between 10,000 and 15,000 hotel rooms in time.Continue reading...

web watch

Brand Watch: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ted Striker Reprise Airplane! for Travel Wisconsin

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 5, 2014 10:02 AM

The Zucker brothers that directed the cult classic Airplane! grew up in Wisconsin. So it's no surprise that Travel Wisconsin recruited the pair for a new state tourism ad spoofing the spoof film, complete with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Ted Striker.

Jerry Zucker teamed with Green Bay Packers star Jordy Nelson last year for a spot spoofing the The Wizard of Oz. Check it out after the jump:Continue reading...

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