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brand ambassadors

Are CEOs Effective Front Men (or Women)?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 20, 2012 06:05 PM

Is the head of a company or brand the most effective spokesperson? Not every CEO, after all, can be Richard Branson or "Papa John" Schnatter.

Ace Metrix’s latest white paper, “CEOs in Advertisements: What Happens When the Boss Steps into the Spotlight?” reveals that the CEO doesn't need to have a cult of personality and be a household name to help put a positive face on the brand.Continue reading...

brand inspiration

Spanx Founder Sara Blakely: The Youngest Self-Made Rebel Billionaire

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 9, 2012 01:02 PM

You may remember Sara Blakely as a contestant on Rebel Billionaire, Richard Branson's 2005 reality competition series on Fox. Now she can claim the title as a rebel billionaire, and just like Branson, she's a self-made branding phenom with a flair for promotion — and she owes it all to Spanx.

Call it shapewear, support wear, body shapers, slimming intimates, "hosiery crack" — Spanx has conquered the worlds of retail, fashion and business school case studies, first by helping firm up women's wobbly bits and then, of course, men's. That's right: move over, mantyhose — Blakely got there first, one of many sparks of inspiration and innovation that have propelled her to become the first self-made female billionaire on Forbes' annual billionaire ranking.

“At 41 she’s the youngest woman to join this year’s World’s Billionaires list without help from a husband or an inheritance. She is part of a tiny, elite club of American women worth ten figures on their own, including Oprah Winfrey and Meg Whitman,” writes Forbes in a cover story on their March 26th billionaires ranking annual issue, which is now on newsstands. “Today Spanx is to slimming undergarments what Kleenex is to tissues: a brand that stands for the category.”Continue reading...

brand extensions

Virgin Mobile Taps Young Richard Branson for Self-Mocking US Pitch

Posted by Barry Silverstein on March 7, 2012 12:04 PM

If nothing else, it has to be a lot of fun being associated with businesses owned by Virgin. Behind them all, whether it's Virgin Bingo or Virgin Hotels or another of the myriad Virgin-branded businesses, you can always bank (literally) on the sometimes loony but always shrewd iconic entrepreneur, Richard Branson, Virgin's brander-in-chief. Don't think of them as brand extensions so much as Branson extensions — reflections of the Virgin founder's personality, passions and interests.

You can pretty much depend on Branson's trademark wit and showmanship in the promotion of a Virgin brand. The latest campaign from Virgin Mobile USA is testament to that, going so far as to depict what it must have been like "growing up Branson."Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: iPad HD, Limbaugh, Netflix and more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 7, 2012 09:03 AM

In the News

Amazon's original programming plans draws speculation.

Apple prepares for iPad (HD?) reveal frenzy today while new device also could be boon for Verizon Wireless; and company receives key patent for iWallet.

Arby's uses holistic approach to social media to boost Klout score.

Bank of America is bullish on girl power.

Bentley's 'ugly' SUV the talk of the Geneva Motor Show.

Boeing forms alliance with Chinese jet maker.

Carbonite sees stock price drop after withdrawing advertising from Rush Limbaugh, as radio host sees 30+ advertisers leave, including Netflix.

Chevron faces criticism after gas-rig fire off Nigeria.

Cosmopolitan reaches 100K paid digital subscriptions.Continue reading...

ad watch

Does Virgin Bingo's New Ad Push Branson's Elastic Brand Too Far?

Posted by Barry Silverstein on January 25, 2012 01:57 PM

There really seems to be no end to the far-flung Virgin brand empire. Richard Branson, the entrepreneurial and brash personification of the brand, is always pushing his way into new and often unrelated business ventures. Just weeks ago, Virgin Money took over Northern Rock's 75 bank branches in the UK, acquiring four million customers in the bargain.

It isn't Virgin's only foray into the world of money; in fact, you might say its Virgin Games division revolves around cash (or is a license to print money). The business unit includes Virgin Casino, Virgin Mobile Casino, Virgin Poker, and Virgin Bingo, which offers cash prizes worth thousands of pounds in progressive jackpots. And it's Virgin Bingo's latest ad campaign that may have a Brit or two raising an eyebrow — and asking how far the elastic brand that is Virgin can stretch.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Amazon, Volt, Harley-Davidson & more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 24, 2012 09:02 AM

In the News

AMR reassures employees on pensions.

Amazon builds Fire tablet on Android without Google apps.

Anheuser-Busch president steps down.

Apple aims to shore up financial results.

Callaway tries to lure young golfers with Justin Timberlake involvement.

Chesapeake Energy pulls back on gas drilling amid glut.

Conde Nast may be cooking up another "shelter" magazine.

GM deals with Volt mini-mutiny as some Chevy dealers spurn allocations of the car.Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Usain Bolt Spoofs Richard Branson, as World's Fastest Man Promotes UK's Fastest Broadband

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 13, 2012 11:51 AM

Why is Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt pretending to be the Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson?

In a new cross-platform campaign, the world's fastest man has been tweaking Branson (and his beard) in a series of spots that popped up on YouTube via a Twitter hashtag #IAmRBranson, which Branson rebutted (after Bolt's avatar took over his Twitter feed) with tweets that he is indeed the real Branson.Continue reading...

follow the money

Banking For the Very First Time? Branson's Virgin Money Takes Over Northern Rock

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 11, 2012 05:07 PM

Sir Richard Branson is indeed taking over the world. And now he may be taking over your money.

The billionaire Brit and founder of all things Virgin on earth — including Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Records, Virgin Mobile — and beyond, with Virgin Galactic aiming to talk regular folks into space — is this week pushing Virgin Money, the Virgin-branded bank that's taking over Northern Rock's 75 branches in the U.K. and 21,000 staff members for £747million ($948.3 million), according to the Mirror.

After the Northern Rock acquisition was announced, Virgin moved to add an annual £60 ($78) fee on every account, but then changed course and decided to offer it as an option, the Mail reports. As a sweetener, the bank will likely “offer perks such as discounts on Virgin flights or gym memberships,” the paper notes.Continue reading...

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