2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

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For Sprint, Charity Begins at Home

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 2, 2011 10:12 AM

Plenty of people overextend themselves financially to afford such things as cell phones, but if you live in Kansas City, you might be able to get yourself a cell phone even if you don’t have enough cash to actually afford one.

Sprint Nextel, which is based in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, is providing free phones and minutes for some low-income families, according to the Kansas City Star. The company’s newest pre-paid brand, Assurance Wireless, launched this week as a subsidiary of Sprint Nextel that Virgin Mobile USA, Inc. operates. Assurance offers lifeline telephone service, meaning it offers free phones and 250 free minutes to qualifying households, and uses the Sprint national wireless network in the U.S.

Paying customers subsidize the free phones and minutes, just as they have for years with land lines. The Universal Service Fund and federal Lifeline Assistance program that you may find on your phone bill are ways that those with more cash have helped get phone service to the poor, particularly in rural areas, the Star notes.

Now Sprint Nextel is using that money to help subsidize the free phones and minutes it is handing out to those who qualify.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Amazon, Pfizer, Tea Party and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 30, 2011 08:55 AM

In the News

ABC dismisses rumors of Pan Am's demise.

Amazon continues being coy about Kindle sales.

Apple's Siri can handle Viagra but not abortions.

AT&T disturbed by FCC report.

Audi finds success with youthful marketing.

BBC web redesign goes live in the UK.

Carlsberg acquires Vietnamese brewer.

Google and Facebook ordered to de-index counterfeit domains.

Jack Daniel's holiday campaign celebrates brand's Lynchburg, Tenn. roots.

Janet Jackson teams up with Blackglama to design luxury fur line.

Microsoft Office is reportedly coming to the iPad as Windows tablet hopes fade.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Saab, Samsung, Virgin Galactic and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 28, 2011 08:45 AM

In the News

Saab signs deal to be purchased by Chinese firms.

Samsung overtakes Apple as top smartphone seller.

Virgin Galactic space tourism could begin in 2013.

Chrysler becomes profit-maker.

Disney strikes TV deal in Russia.

Jack in the Box and Jamba Juice are testing Google Wallet.

J.Crew president Jenna Lyons' personal life makes headlines.

Netflix reportedly takes up one-third of web bandwidth.

New York City's first casino opens today.

Nokia launches first Windows phone ad, in Europe.

Obama administration announces desert solar energy zones.

P&G's Wrigley brand is 100 years old this month as company finds consumers largely are accepting price hikes.

Samuel L. Jackson becomes top-grossing movie star of all time.

Under Armour hits the basketball court.

Weather Channel relaunches iPad app ahead of international expansion.

Whirlpool to cut more than 5,000 jobs.

& NYT ponders if the era of cheap Chinese imports to US is ending.

checking in

Virgin Hotels Chooses Chicago for US Launch

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 25, 2011 12:31 PM

Virgin Group’s Virgin Hotels brand was announced only slightly more than a year old but it now has the location of its first U.S. hotel all locked up and it’s going to be in downtown Chicago, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Virgin has just bought the 83-year-old, 27-story Art Deco Old Dearborn Bank Building in Chicago, an official landmark, and now will convert it into a 250-room hotel with restaurants, lounges, and meeting space, the site reports.

The plan, according to the Journal, is to open three to five such places in the U.S. in the next five years. This one is expected to open in the fall of 2013, but others that have not yet been announced may open sooner, WSJ notes. Cities that have been scouted by Virgin include New York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, and Washington, D.C.

Of course, with the tough economy, hotels aren’t exactly thriving right now but Virgin isn’t worried. “Virgin takes a long-term view,” said Anthony Marino, chief of Virgin Hotels, to the Journal.

"We’re not necessarily here to time the markets perfectly. What we’ve learned is that if you focus on our customer and get the product right, you’ll have the staying power to endure the cycles. At the end of the day, you’ll come out OK."

As for why it chose to rehab a classic property in the Windy city for its US launch? "Chicago is a top destination for pleasure and business, with all the qualities we look for in Virgin Hotels locations: It's economically vibrant, culturally exciting and a sports and entertainment hub," commented Raul Leal, president and COO of Virgin Hotels, to the Chicago Tribune.

brand news

In the News: CEO Shuffle, Apple's Core, Mattel Eyes HIT

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 18, 2011 08:45 AM

Air France replaces CEO, Mercedes-Benz USA CEO is ousted in Daimler exec shuffle, and Olympus shares plunge as its CEO is fired.

Apple sells 4 million iPhone 4S units in first weekend, as Samsung sues to block the device in Japan and Australia and HTC loses Apple patent case in US. Steve Jobs' Silicon Valley memorial service reportedly filled with humor and music, as company prepares to honor late co-founder and report earnings on Tuesday. Starbucks and Apple are also partnering in the UK on free music downloads.

Mattel eyes UK's HIT Entertainment, home to Thomas the Tank Engine and other kids' properties.

Bank of America posts $6.2 billion quarterly profit, while Goldman Sachs reports $428 million loss.

BlackBerry customers receive free apps and tech support to make amends for outages.Continue reading...


Virgin Goes Low-Carb, as Branson Announces Biofuels Breakthrough

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 11, 2011 11:29 AM

Sir Richard Branson today announced that Virgin Atlantic is developing (in partnership with LanzaTech) a low-carbon aviation biofuel within three years. He describes Virgin's latest sustainability investment as a vital "building block" for cleaner aviation:Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: NBA, Madonna, Walmart China & more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 11, 2011 09:01 AM

In the News

Apple seeks Qualcomm patent documents to shore up Samsung legal defense, as Apple sets date for employee celebration of Steve Jobs' life.

BMW expands luxury-car sales lead globally.

Cinemark chain threatens not to show Tower Heist over Universal's video-on-demand window.

Cosi battle with shareholder escalates.

Diageo nods to Brazil's growing might with new Johnnie Walker campaign.

Dollar Thrifty takes itself off the market.

General Mills says its can cut only so much sugar out of cereals.Continue reading...


Real Steel's Over-the-Top Product Placements (and the FOX/NFL Bot Tie-In We Already Have)

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 10, 2011 01:55 PM

This week's number one film Robot Rocky Real Steel is a litmus test for which generation one belongs to.

In one generational corner are those who joke that the film as a live adaptation of the old board game Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. In the opposite corner are those who jest that Real Steel is just a boxing movie about the NFL on FOX robot mascot, Cleatus.

But when it comes to the latter, one wonders why FOX's gridiron cyborg wasn't even involved in the film's promotion despite having done similar robot movie tie-ins in the past.Continue reading...

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