Best Global Green Brands 2014

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...

social marketing

Know When to Speak: Real-Time Brand Voice Lessons from Chobani

Posted by Jeremy Shapero on June 5, 2014 04:43 PM

Chobani, in just six short years, established and rose to the top of the Greek yogurt category in North America. One of the strengths of the brand is its compelling and consistent tone of voice. Josh Dean, VP of brand communications, spoke about the brand’s voice at the recent Social Media Forum in New York. Where much of the discussion on brand voice revolves around what is being said and how it is being said, Dean’s talk raised an equally important but often overlooked factor to establishing brand voice—knowing when to speak.

To illustrate the importance of choosing authentic, on-brand moments to speak, Dean related an anecdote from his experience. As an official sponsor of the US Olympic team, Chobani prepared a shipment of yogurt to be delivered to the athletes in Sochi during the Winter Olympics this past February. The Russian government blocked the shipment as an outgrowth of years of importation disputes with the US over dairy products.

The ban caught fire in the media, both traditional and social, with everyone from Senator Charles Schumer to comedian Stephen Colbert weighing in on the controversy. Across social media, Chobani’s dedicated fans were particularly vocal, and a #FreeChobani hashtag took hold on Twitter. The coverage and conversation ultimately resulted in over 380 million overall impressions. However, one voice was notably missing from the conversation—Chobani.Continue reading...

campaigns

Vodafone Has the Last Word in 'First' Campaign to Save Ancient Language

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 20, 2014 07:10 PM

Telecom companies survive when people talk to one another. Vodafone went the extra mile in its effort to encourage communication in one particular part of the world: a village in Mexico where the last two speakers of a dying language, Ayapaneco, live.

The problem, as the UK's Campaign Live reports, was that the last two speakers, both men in their 70s, hadn't spoken to each other in years due to a rift about the language itself. Their silence and fallout would mean the end of Ayapaneco and another piece of Mexican history lost; but Vodafone wouldn't let that happen. 

The brand and local villagers teamed up to build a school in town and dispatched Stanford University linguistic anthropologist Professor James A. Fox to speak with the men and fill them in on their cultural responsibility to pass on the language. The entire effort was documented in a short film as part of the Vodafone Firsts campaign across 10 markets.Continue reading...

chew on this

After 40 Years, Burger King Embraces You—Whoever You Are—With New Slogan

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 19, 2014 07:09 PM

YouTube was created in 2005. A year later, Time magazine named "You" it's iconic "Person of the Year." In a way, Burger King was almost two generations ahead of both when, in 1974, it launched its slogan "Have It Your Way." Alas, nobody ever recognizes an innovator in its own time, especially in a population of increasing narcissism. So, Burger King has announced it is scrapping "Have It Your Way" in exchange for "Be Your Way."

Ironically enough, what feels more new-age 1974 than the slogan "Be Your Way?" 

Through the years, the slogan has changed but always maintained its core message about what "you," the consumer wants. Particularly strong was "Your Way Right Away"; less so, "When you have it your way, it just tastes better."

When a brand changes one of its deeply identifying characteristics after decades, it invites harsh criticism. Sometimes that criticism is warranted. (We're looking at you, Gap.) But also, that criticism is often so much get-off-our-lawn bellyaching by critics who miss the convenience of the simple UHF/VHF dials.Continue reading...

ready for takeoff

Spirit Airlines: No Longer Content to be the Honey Badger of Brands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 7, 2014 03:17 PM

Spirit Airlines may be a discount airline but it has received plenty of press in recent years for all of the fees (or as Spirit likes to call it, "optional services") it has charged customers, such as a fee for printing a boarding pass at the airport, or cost-cutting that shoehorns a dozen extra seats than competitors within the same size plane.

That kind of move has "won" the brand such accolades as being the only U.S. carrier on the World's Worst Airlines and the worst-performing U.S. airline. It has been recognized for hiring the "rudest flight attendants" and being the "most complained about" airline. It has inspired such venom that customers have formed Boycott Spirit Airlines and Spirit Airlines Sucks groups, not to mention the requisite nod by The Onion.

Yet none of that seemed to bother its leadership team. Being the honey badger of brands for just not giving a damn was a badge of dishonor that Spirit wore proudly—or at least wore—until now.Continue reading...

e-commerce

Alibaba IPO: Open Sesame, Open Brand

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 7, 2014 10:24 AM

E-commerce juggernaut Alibaba Group, the largest e-commerce company in China and arguably the largest in the world, filed Monday for a $1 billion IPO that is expected to be the largest tech IPO ever, and make Alibaba the second-biggest internet company in the world after Google.

Dubbed "the hottest thing" in tech right now by former Apple CEO John Sculley, Alibaba is expected to go public with a market cap of around $165 billion, while some analysts think it may top $200 billion.

Now the trick will be to build trust in its brand beyond China—no mean feat for the company whose IPO triggered 1,000 "explainers" today by Western media outlets.Continue reading...

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