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brand news

In the News: Lance Armstrong, Nissan, Virgin and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 22, 2012 09:00 AM

In the News

Lance Armstrong is stripped of titles and banned from cycling for life by international body.

Nissan joins hybrid parade.

Virgin's four-star hotels are coming to NYC.

AIG CEO defends company's "free lunch" to New York mag.

American Idol sees ad rates fall.

Ancestry.com agrees to $1.6-billion takeover deal.

Apple creates buzz with plans for smaller iPad as school sales buoy its tablet lead.

BP sells entire Russian stake to Rosneft.

Banana Republic plans to bring back Mad Men collection.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Red Bull Stratos: Mission Accomplished

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 14, 2012 05:17 PM

As the Red Bull press release states, "Mission Accomplished."

About 7.3 milion people were watching Sunday as Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner reattempted and nailed the Red Bull Stratos extreme skyjump, freefalling more than 128,000 feet to Earth at 1,342.8 kilometers per hour. He broke the sound barrier but no bones, and garnered congratulatory tweets from NASA and fellow daredevil Richard Branson, and an amusing tribute from Nestle's KitKat. (Update: YouTube reported more than 8 million concurrent livestreams, smashing all previous records, resulting in about 12.6 million viewers including Discovery Channel.)

Red Bull summed up its record-breaking, and latest, extreme sports stunt:Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Usain Bolt Puts Fresh Charge In Nissan, and His Olympic-Sized Brand

Posted by Dale Buss on October 12, 2012 04:58 PM

After confirming his status as one of the world's best and most charismatic athletes at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, World's Fastest Man Usain Bolt is still on a roll — or shall we sway sprint — and more brands want to ride in his lightning-fast wake.

Nissan has re-upped with Bolt, staying in the stable of brands who have tied in with him before, during and since the Olympics, including Gatorade and Virgin Media. Nissan is developing a special "Bolt" version of its GT-R performance car.

The smiling sprinter signed a deal with Nissan to extend his role as brand ambassador for the 196-mph GT-R and to become honorary "Director of Excitement" for the company's ambitious global marketing drive, prompting a flurry of photos on the Nissan Motors Facebook page and video on its global YouTube channel.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

Red Bull Stratos: You'll Believe a Man, and Brand, Can Fly

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 9, 2012 11:06 AM

Can Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner break the sound barrier by falling from the edge of space? That is the question on everyone's mind as Baumgartner, backed by Red Bull, attempts to become the first human to break the sound barrier unaided by a vehicle.

In a huge leap (literally) for science and brand sponsorships, Red Bull is funding the historic attempt that will see Baumgartner jump out of a balloon above Roswell, New Mexico. He plans to the jump from a height of over 120,000 feet, and will be free-falling towards earth at an estimated 700mph, as soon as the high winds let him actually make the jump. Watch for updates on Twitter and live here. (Update: Today's mission was cancelled "due to strong winds" and has been rescheduled for Oct. 14.)

Like Baumgartner, the execs at Red Bull like to help folks break boundaries. Whether it is helping a few people rave into the wee hours, funding the creation of one of the most incredible Rube Goldberg-esque bits of tomfoolery ever, expanding its flavor menu or funding a daredevil's plunge nearly 23 miles to Earth, Red Bull seems game for, well, pretty much anything.Continue reading...

app watch

With D.C. Setback, No Smooth Hailing for Uber

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 20, 2012 05:24 PM

Uber, the San Francisco-based startup at the intersection of mobile, car transport and logistics, is disrupting the industry and causing wide-spread regulatory reverberations.

The app for U.S. urbanites to book a cab on iPhone or Android OS smartphones has emerged as an alternative to overcrowded public transit and an escalating dearth of regular taxis, but now finds itself in the crosshairs of local taxi and limousine commissions. The key issue, is Uber a limousine service or a cab service? Answer — a bit of both.

It's pitched as "Everyone's Private Driver. Request a swanky ride in a black car with just the tap of an app! We're changing the way people are getting around by offering a convenient, cashless, and stylish on demand car request service from your mobile phone." A clever marketing tie-in just saw the Uber app used by New Yorkers to hail vintage gangster cars in a "free on demand" (a double entendre for NYC cable VOD subscribers) promotion for the third season launch of Boardwalk Empire on HBO.

This week the app launched in Boston and last week in Dallas, making it available (in theory, if not in practice) in 15 cities in total: San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Diego, Denver, Atlanta, and beyond the U.S., London, Paris and Toronto. But it hasn't all been smooth hailing — D.C.'s taxi commission has just proposed new rules to shut down Uber.

Uber's execs thought they had recently passed muster in Washington, following a six-month battle in the District of Columbia to legalize sedans used by its car-service partners.Continue reading...

response mechanism

Tesco CEO Seeks Transparency Through Blogging, Not Twitter

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 19, 2012 03:20 PM

Tesco CEO Philip Clarke told the World Retail Congress in London today that the "tectonic plates are shifting" in retail and residual from financial woes in the euro zone is requiring companies to adopt new technologies or lose their competitive edge.

"We are in the first downturn of the digital age," Clarke stated, adding "consumption is weakening" in China, Thailand and South Korea, regions previously earmarked for growth but reeling from economic turmoil in Europe. "[These economies] are vulnerable to the crisis in the euro zone, as well as inflation caused by high commodity prices.

"Digital technology gives us the opportunity for a warmer, more meaningful conversation with our customers, local communities, our colleagues and the suppliers we work with.” That's why Clarke, who started as Tesco CEO in March 2011, has just launched a corporate blog, Talking Shop, in an effort to build trust and, as he puts it, "explain what we are thinking and how we see the world."

He's not much of a tweeter, though he likes writing bylined op-ed pieces (such as this week's FT column). So why blog?Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Top This Product Launch: Ardbeg Takes Whisky Into Space

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 6, 2012 05:11 PM

Space travel has long been a subject of fascination, so private-sector companies such as Virgin Galactic have sprung up to try and eventually put mere mortals up into the high frontier where Neil Armstrong made history. Now we've got something to toast the late Armstrong with.

Scottish whisky maker Ardbeg has turned out a limited-edition whisky, Ardbeg Galileo, to make some noise and hopefully a few sales from a curious experiment the company is involved in.

According to the BBC, Texas-based space research company NanoRacks asked Ardbeg to be involved in a two-year space experiment late last year. Soon after, vials filled with chemical compounds from Ardbeg’s distillery were shot up to the International Space Station on a Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan. The chemicals will undergo the experiment in near zero gravity while Ardbeg oversees the same experiment here on Earth.

Ardbeg, naturally, couldn't miss this galactic marketing opportunity. Its limited-edition Ardbeg Galileo, marketed to "astro-nuts," is described as a “12-year-old single malt whisky (from) a vatting of different styles of Ardbeg laid down in 1999,” the BBC notes. Talk about whisky-a-go-go.Continue reading...

campaigns

Experience Virgin America With VIPs in New Branding Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 6, 2012 09:46 AM

Richard Branson's Virgin America airline is doing it again, shaking up the status quo with its latest 'Originals' experience campaign featuring some of the airline's Elevate frequent flyers, and with more hailing from Silicon Valley than Hollywood.  

"For years, flying domestically had largely become a dismal, uninspired experience. When Virgin America launched, the idea that a domestic airline could reinvent that experience – through technology, design and entertainment – was still a pretty radical notion," stated Luanne Calvert, VP Marketing at Virgin America.Continue reading...

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