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in the spotlight

+Pool Makes a Splash with Branding-First Concept

Posted by Katie Conneally on September 17, 2014 02:59 PM

It seems like everyday there’s a new tech startup in the news, a new cool project to back on Kickstarter or a new worthy cause to donate to. But with this abundance of new ideas, it’s easy for the average consumer, investor or donor to become overwhelmed. To combat this new idea fatigue, some startups and projects are getting smart about branding their ideas to stand out—sometimes even before they have a physical product or prototype to tout.

+Pool, a concept for a swimming pool that floats in New York’s East River, is an example of how early branding can play a role in future success. From its debut on Kickstarter in 2011, the +Pool idea ("the world's first water-filtering, floating pool") quickly gained traction and supporting, raising $41,000 to explore filtration materials. Another Kickstarter campaign in 2013 netted over $250,000 to build a test pool to bring the concept, called Float Lab, to life.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Apple Naming Evolves With Move From iThings to Things

Posted by Claire Falloon on September 9, 2014 07:08 PM

Forget the iWatch. In the much-anticipated unveiling of Apple’s latest and greatest products and offerings, another more subtle but no less significant game-changer was revealed: the brand's new—or at least evolving—naming convention.

Previously the owner of all things “i,” Apple today moved the needle towards its masterbrand by announcing the new Pay mobile payments platform and Watch smartwatch. While still keeping "i" as part of its iPhone line, with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus revealed today, Apple's naming evolution is interesting on a number of levels.Continue reading...

brand revival

Arthur Andersen Brand is Reborn Over a Decade After Enron Scandal

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 2, 2014 11:04 AM

In 2002, tax auditing firm Arthur Andersen was found guilty of obstructing justice after it was discovered that it had shredded thousands of Enron-related documents. Despite the charges, the since-defunct brand has retained its reputation through the years—a surprising conclusion of a financial industry poll conducted by Prime Group for WTAS LLC, a San Francisco-based firm that is reviving the brand, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Time may heal all wounds, but it doesn’t restock the billions of dollars in bank accounts that shareholders lost in the wake of Enron’s shutdown and certainly doesn’t make life easier for the 85,000 employees of the company that lost their jobs. But WTAS, which bought the rights to the name so it could rebrand to Andersen Tax, looks to change that.

“Our issues with Enron were the mistake of a few,” WTAS CEO Mark Vorsatz told Businessweek. “Irrespective of Enron, we thought we were the benchmark in the industry.”Continue reading...

trademark wars

Trademark Watch: Redskins Appeal, Tesco Dashed, Don't Cross Warner Bros.

Posted by Jerome McDonnell on August 15, 2014 04:04 PM

It's a busy time for trademark watchers, as brands including the Quaker Oats-owned Aunt Jemima and the Clif and Kind health bars have found themselves tussling over trademarks. Some other trademark news of note:

As expected... The Washington Redskins are appealing a federal decision to cancel the team's trademarks. “We believe that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ignored both federal case law and the weight of the evidence, and we look forward to having a federal court review this obviously flawed decision,” Bob Raskopf, trademark attorney for the Washington Redskins, stated. Fierce lobbying on both sides includes a new video supporting the team's controversial name, counteracting a video during the Super Bowl protesting the name.

Tesco hopes dashed: European supermarket giant Tesco was rebuffed in its attempt to trademark the blue dashes underlining its iconic wordmark, as the UK's Intellectual Property Office ruled that the logo's Tevrons (as Tesco insiders call them) were too simple and not distinctive enough to merit trademark protection. While simplicity may be the ultimate sophistication, for trademarks, it's better to be complicated.

Who wants to live forever? In the midst of the mourning over the passing of Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall this week, Mondaq.com took at look at the actors' respective personal trademark registrations and praises both for savvy personal brand management. After all, patents expire and copyright runs its course—but (only) trademarks can last forever...Continue reading...

bc q&a

Storyteller-in-Chief: A Conversation With Levi's Global CMO Jennifer Sey

Posted by Shirley Brady on August 13, 2014 07:26 PM

On the Fourth of July in 2009, Levi's launched "Go Forth," a new voice and campaign for the Levi’s brand and Levi’s 501 jeans. The "striking" call to arms featured the words of Walt Whitman and summoned America's pioneering zeal. After taking the "Go Forth" platform global two years later, Levi's quietly phased out the tagline in 2012, and it has been without a global brand campaign—until now.

Levi's is in the midst of rolling out the "Live in Levi's Project," a multifaceted global campaign and digital platform (in partnership with AKQA) that features dynamic content to engage fans worldwide in the Levi's brand experience. Blending storytelling with social media, targeted content and e-commerce worldwide is no mean feat, which is why Levi's global chief marketing officer Jennifer Sey conducted extensive research before venturing into the world of shoppable videos, Weibo and WeChat, iBeacon and user-generated content and curation.

Sey, a 15-year veteran with Levi's who was promoted to global CMO a year ago, spoke with brandchannel Editor-in-Chief Shirley Brady about the vision and tactics informing the Live in Levi's platform and the challenge of channeling and elevating passion in such an iconic brand. As Sey commented, "If Levi’s isn’t an icon, I’m not sure what is!"Continue reading...

what's in a name

Is Your Brand FUCT? Lessons Learned from Scandalous and Disparaging Names

Posted by Courtney Cantor on August 13, 2014 12:33 PM

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has shot down a registration by the streetwear brand FUCT for the term "FUCT" for "athletic apparel," finding that the word is the phonetic equivalent (past tense) of that oh-so popular curse word sometimes called "the F-word" in polite company.

US Trademark Law prevents the registration of any trademark that "consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute," but what's "immoral, deceptive, or scandalous" is open to interpretation, of course.

The famed clothing brand French Connection faced no hardships in the US when registering for FCUK because it was an "acronym" for the brand's "French Connection UK" moniker, even though FUCT's trademark filing argued that it's a coined word and an acronym for "Friends U Can't Trust."

It is not uncommon for a company to push the boundaries of decency in its pursuit of a provocative brand name or logo, as FUCT founder Erik Brunetti (who last year published a book with Rizzoli about the brand's evolution as an in-your-face icon of skateboarding, graffiti and street culture) has stated was his intention. After all, as the popularity of TMZ and the Kardashians have shown us, the public is often captivated by a little bit of scandal.Continue reading...

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

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...

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