brand ambassadors

Inspiration Behind Aunt Jemima Brand at the Heart of $2 Billion Lawsuit

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 11, 2014 06:37 PM

Aunt Jemima stares down from grocery-store shelves with a beatific smile, but the woman who is supposedly the inspiration behind the brand has at least one great grandchild who isn’t too happy.

Last year, the progeny of Anna Short Harrington, whose descendants argue that she was the inspiration behind the Aunt Jemima brand and recipe and whose likeness served as the model for the brand, which was bought by Quaker Oats in 1935, discovered that the company “had trademarked Harrington's likeness and picture in 1937" and "determined that they were owed royalties,” Reuters reports.

Harrington's great-grandson, D.W. Hunter, filed a $2 billion lawsuit on August 5 against Quaker Oats Co., PepsiCo, which owns Quaker Oats, Pinnacle Foods and Hillshire Brands Co., for exploiting Harrington's image and recipe for years without paying an "equitable fair share of royalties" to her family.Continue reading...

retail watch

Aeropostale Crops Its Brand to Reveal Younger, Fresher AERO

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 4, 2014 01:46 PM

Aeropostale is just the latest former cool kids brand to give itself a facelift in light of increasing competition from fast fashion brands including Forever 21, H&M and Uniqlo. 

The clothing retailer has launched Aero Now with a campaign that shows off the brand's new visual and verbal identity in stores, with AERO now its name on its stores, on its website (even if the URL aero.com is already claimed) and across mobile and social media (as Mobile Commerce Daily noted) that's timed to this week's back-to-school push across North American retail.

Its new positioning is summarized in the tagline, "You've changed, so we've changed" — which hints at the major restructuring underway at the brand.Continue reading...

mobile brands

BlackBerry Assistant Takes ‘Natural Language’ to the Next Level

Posted by Darcy Newell on July 25, 2014 11:14 AM

You know about Siri and Google Now, and you may have heard about Microsoft’s recent beta launch of the Cortana intelligent personal assistant with Windows Phone 8.1.

But there’s an even newer, natural language UI-powered, virtual assistant on the scene, ready to respond to users' voice commands for everything from reminders to directions to texting. BlackBerry has announced its plan to launch its own assistant feature this fall, available on the upcoming BlackBerry 10.3 operating system and the much-anticipated smart phone release, the BlackBerry Passport.

According to a post on the Inside BlackBerry blog, this new virtual assistant feature will boast capabilities currently unavailable in the market today, such as reading email messages and marking them unread, or turning on the flashlight function.

We’ll have to wait a few months to determine whether BlackBerry’s assistant offering will truly “walk the talk” next to its peers. But in the meantime, it's interesting to consider BlackBerry’s naming approach.Continue reading...

the revolution will be televised

Change Channel: Networks Hope Brand Refreshes Will Bring Back Viewers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 16, 2014 06:52 PM

Screen time may be growing thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices, but TV brands are feeling the pressure from video and on-demand services that are snapping up subscribers with original content. As a result, US cable networks big and small have been on a rebranding spree, hoping to recapture viewers' attention with new identities and a fresh aproach to content. 

MoffettNathanson principal analyst Michael Nathanson says that pure-play cable network operators such as AMC, Discovery Network and Scripps Networks will have the most difficulty in this new marketplace, FierceCable.com reports. "This has and will continue to impact margins going forward," Nathanson said, according to the FierceCable

Earlier this week, Oxygen flipped the switch over to a new feel with its redesigned logo and the addition of “very real” as a tagline. “The new Oxygen will feature authentic, proudly imperfect and diverse characters with stories that are culturally relevant for young, modern women,” the NBCU-owned women's network said in a press release for the TV Critics Association press tour that also announced two new shows and other three projects in development.Continue reading...

name game

Pyrotry in Motion: On July 4th, Firework Brands Light Up the Sky

Posted by Penelope Davis on July 4, 2014 04:36 PM

According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, the sale of consumer fireworks could pass $675 million this fireworks season.

Amidst the oohs and ahhs and smiles of the old and young alike are those brilliant bursts of artistic sparkles. Firework names certainly have come a long way from the black cat, cherry bombs, bottle rockets, Roman candles, and the beloved sparklers many of us grew up with.

But as brand and product naming across most industries has shifted to more storytelling and emotional connections, so has the world of fireworks—and firework names.Continue reading...

diversity watch

Burger King Courts LGBT Community and Millennials With Proud Whopper

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 2, 2014 12:21 PM

Pride Month may have just come to a close, but Burger King is looking to make it last a bit longer with the showcasing of its Proud Whopper, a burger sold in a San Francisco location during last week’s Gay Pride festivities that is no different from other Whoppers but came encased in brightly-colored paper.

When the burger was unwrapped, the text inside read, “We are all the same inside.” The brand unveiled a video today about the burger (watch below) as the chain is working “to connect with customers, particularly with the younger individuals fast-food chains are known for courting,” the Associated Press reports.

"A burger has never made me cry before," a young woman says in BK's pride burger spot. Reaching consumers on a personal level was also the rationale behind the brand’s recent replacement of its longtime “Have It Your Way” slogan with “Be Your Way.”Continue reading...

brand faces

GM's Barra on the Hill: It’s Not What She Said, It’s How She Said It

Posted by Elisabeth Dick Oak on June 19, 2014 12:14 PM

GM CEO Mary Barra’s long road to redemption continued this week with her most recent appearance before Congress. As the face of the “new GM,” the company’s hopes for a comeback may rest not just on what Barra is saying, but how she’s saying it.

From the moment the news broke, Barra has owned up to every aspect of the debacle with a straightforward, the-buck-stops-here message. “I want to once again express my sympathies to the families that lost loved ones and to those who suffered physical injuries,” she testified on Wednesday before the House Commerce Committee. “I am ever mindful that we have a special responsibility to them, and the best way to fulfill that responsibility is to fix this problem by putting in place the needed changes to prevent this from ever happening again.”

Straightforward? Absolutely. Sincere? Probably. Compelling? Among others, John Oliver, host of HBO's Last Week Tonight, would disagree. Although Oliver’s show is a satire, he’s not wrong when he says, “she rolled a shiny, new statement proudly off GM’s PR assembly line.” Barra’s message is an important one, but her words sound as canned as most of GM’s communications. More importantly, she never even references GM’s customers.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Change the Mascot Hails Cancellation of Washington Redskins Trademarks

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 18, 2014 11:56 AM

The fight against the Washington Redskins mascot just got a whole lot more interesting.

Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the organization's trademarks related to its team mascot after the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) ruled that the marks were "disparaging" to Native Americans. 

While the trademarks are no longer viable, the team can continue to use them—though with no protection from unauthorized merchants that sell Redskins gear, a stipulation that could drive the team's valuation down over time.

The action was the result of a lawsuit against the team filed by “five Native Americans” eight years ago, the USPTO said. “This victory was a long time coming and reflects the hard work of many attorneys at our firm,” lead attorney Jesse Witten, of Drinker Biddle & Reath, told the Washington Post.Continue reading...

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