2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

brand take over

Comcast, Time Warner Cable Merger Could Spell Big Problems for Netflix, Consumers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 13, 2014 12:07 PM

Following a failed takeover bid by Charter Communications, Comcast announced it would acquire Time Warner Cable in an all-stock deal for $45.2 billion. If the merger is approved by regulators, Comcast will return to its top spot as the largest cable operator in the world. 

The merger, which could send waves through various television networks, national sports markets, TV technology and streaming companies is already a cause for concern among consumers and other pay TV companies, including satellite television networks, as well as AT&T, Verizon and Google, all of whom have made inroads into the cable and internet-providing business. 

At about $159 per share, Comcast stands to adopt Time Warner Cable's 11 million pay TV customers, highly concentrated in Manhattan and Los Angeles, where it owns two sports networks and has lucrative deals with local sports teams. As part of the deal though, Comcast said it will divest about 3 million of TWC's customers to appease regulators. 

As far as Comcast is concered, gaining regulatory approval from the federal government, including the FCC, shouldn't be too hard since Comcast and TWC aren't actually direct competitors (as far as carved-up cable provider boundaries go). The approval would follow Comcast's nearly $17 billion buyout of NBCUniversal from GE last year.Continue reading...

social media

"Confusing" Twitter Vows to Improve User Experience to Spur Growth

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 6, 2014 03:47 PM

In its first ever quarterly earnings report post-IPO, Twitter yesterday announced revenue of $243 million from October to December, up 116 percent from last year and ahead of analyst estimates of $218 million. 

But the microblogger’s stock plunged more than 17 percent in after-hours trading as concerns about the company’s slowing growth rate coalesced. Twitter added only 9 million monthly active users in Q4—the smallest growth since Q4 2010, while timeline views dropped from 159 billion to 148 billion.

Despite reasonable revenue growth, if the micro-blogger can’t entice, keep and grow its user base, strong advertising programs won’t save it. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo faced the issues head on, admitting that he knows Twitter’s user experience is far from ideal.

"I thought it was refreshing that [Costolo] was speaking candidly like that," Gartner analyst Brian Blau told CNET. “I don't think [Costolo] tiptoed around the issue. He seemed to be articulate about the issue, and at the same time, he seemed to be confident."Continue reading...

executive decision

Google Ad Chief Takes Over YouTube with Focus on Lucrative Partnerships

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 5, 2014 08:41 PM

In a changing of the guard at YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, SVP of advertising for Google and its 16th employee is replacing Salar Kamangar, Google’s ninth employee, as the head of YouTube. 

“Wojcicki had been interested in running her own thing, sources said, and she had also been a recruitment target for a venture capital or perhaps a CEO role," Re/code notes.  

While never officially disclosed, YouTube reportedly generated $5.6 billion in ad revenue last year, attracting more than a billion visitors a month with more than 40 percent coming via mobile and tablets, according to eMarketer. 

Wojcicki, who housed Google in its earliest days in her Menlo Park, Calif., garage, is the sister of Anne Wojcicki, the (estranged) wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin and founder of genetics company 23AndMe

“The decision to put Wojcicki in charge of YouTube shows how important the Internet’s No. 1 video site has become to Google, and how critical it is to the company’s future growth," Variety said.Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Netflix Embraces More Debt to Spread Its Wings Abroad

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 5, 2014 06:27 PM

During the first half of the Super Bowl this past Sunday, Netflix saw an expected drop in usage. The decrease was as much as 20 percent, Variety reports. But once Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers had done their thing at halftime and the Seahawks added on a quick seven points to start the second half, plenty of Americans ditched the game and headed back to Netflix.

The video-streaming company is hoping that it can be the distraction of choice around the globe. It has announced that it plans to raise $400 million to expand internationally. Most of the investment will be focused on its European expansion, but it will also reserve funds for investments, acquisitions and more original content that the company is becoming increasingly known for.

Last year, Netflix made news for winning its first Emmy with House of Cards while also collecting an Oscar nomination for its documentary, The Square. House of Cards will debut its second season on Valentine’s Day and has already been signed on for a third to be produced, according to the New York Times. Netflix has also seen plenty of critic and fan love for its newest series, Orange is the New Black. As a result, its fourth-quarter numbers were better than expected and added 2.3 million new domestic subscribers, bringing the total number to 33.4 million domestically.Continue reading...

brand roadmaps

Facebook at 10: Smart, But Still Not Doing Its Legal Due Diligence

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 4, 2014 06:04 PM

What better way to celebrate a birthday than with a cease and desist letter?

Facebook, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary today, is taking the time to look back on its past but also make some important moves for its future. The decade-old social media site, which may or may not be losing some of its luster with the younger crowd, served up millions of personalized "look back" videos that captured some of users' most-liked statuses, photos and life events over the course of their time on the network. 

With over 1 billion users across the world and a $150 billion valuation, it's safe to say that Mark Zuckerberg, when he was just a Harvard sophmore trying to connect his classmates, didn't expect "the Facebook" to turn into a fraction of what it is today.Continue reading...

The Big Game

Pepsi Hypes Halftime with Videos, Promos from New York to Nebraska

Posted by Dale Buss on January 31, 2014 03:57 PM

So far, so good in the whole "master-brand" strategy that Pepsi said it's emphasizing in its marketing and advertising surrounding Sunday's Super Bowl. On Friday, the brand released a number of videos with the unified purpose of "hyping" its halftime show featuring Bruno Mars.

The videos included the 30-second lead-in that Pepsi plans to run before the show, and a clever pastiche that utilizes the New York skyline and sites including MetLife Stadium, where the game is being played, in a mashup with music and musicians.

There also are videos demonstrating other ways that Pepsi has permeated its corporate backyard with excitement for the halftime show, including one that uses a "vending machine" that startles would-be consumers by sending out everything from marching bands to break-dancing "referees."Continue reading...

social media watch

After One Year, Vine Stays On Short and Sweet Path to Success

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 24, 2014 06:43 PM

In one year, video social hybrid Vine has amassed over 40 million users on its time-constricted app. As it turns out, six seconds is just enough time to deliver a marketing 1-2 punch for the many brands that have since flocked to the app for campaigns

"We knew from the start that the videos needed to be brief," said founder Colin Kroll, "for creative reasons, technical reasons, and attention reasons. Over two months, we tested variations of the size, from 10 seconds down to five seconds, and we went for six because it just feels right."

Finding an equally abbreviated partner in Twitter, Vine took off as a new means of communication on social media. A community of early Viner’s quickly surfaced sharing a new language of insider memes, jokes, non-sequiturs and quick cuts.Continue reading...


After 10 Years of Dove's 'Real Beauty', Others Are Starting to Catch On

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 23, 2014 01:07 PM

10 years ago, Dove launched its Campaign for Real Beauty—a global effort that set out to spread positivity among women, young and old, and alter the public perception of beauty.

Spun out of a photography exhibit in Toronto, the campaign, which officially launched in 2004, has grown from billboards and print ads to TV commercials and short films all in the pursuit of redefining how consumers view beauty. And while the core of any campaign—to grow sales—remains a significant motivator for the brand, in a decade it seems that Dove has in fact made an impact on women and men alike, both in the industry and outside of it. 

In a survey funded by Unilever, Harvard psychologist Nancy Etcoff found that in relation to the campaign, more women today define beauty by other standards than just physical appearance, according to Ad Age. "62 percent of women in the US feel they are responsible for influencing their own definition of beauty, nearly triple from the 23 percent ten years ago," Dove said in a press release

The campaign's various efforts have earned Dove and its agencies a handful of awards, including top honors at Cannes Lions in 2007 for its first "viral" video, "Evolution," and again in 2013 for "Sketches," which became the most-watched video ad of all time. Sales have gone from $2.5 billion in 2004 to $4 billion today as Dove hitched its product development to the campaign, transforming from a bar-soap brand to a comprehensive personal care line.

By casting average-sized women as models, challenging stereotypes through its "check-box" ads and consistently advocating for more positive body language and behavior, Dove has helped inspire a greater awareness of misogynistic advertising.Continue reading...

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