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brand news

In the News: Groupon, MolsonCoors, Fisker and more

Posted by Dale Buss on April 3, 2012 09:01 AM

In the News

AFA Foods files for bankruptcy after pink-slime hit.

Apple faces UK inquiry on advertising, while stock price projections soar.

BSkyB sees resignation of James Murdoch as chairman.

Carl's Jr. and Hardee's ride the zeitgeist with Kate Upton, also in DirecTV spot.

Chrysler invests to boost quality.

Dropbox faces time to come through on hype.

ESPN reaches out to Hispanics with Spanish-language ad for SportsCenter.

Express Scripts and Medco win U.S. merger approval.Continue reading...

kidding around

April Fool's Brand Pranks: Google, YouTube, Virgin, Honda, Sony, Toshiba & more [Updated]

Posted by Shirley Brady on April 1, 2012 12:01 PM

In a bid to outdo last year's April Fool's Day jokes, a few April Foolin' Around branded fake gags today include:

• Richard Branson's next adventure, Virgin Volcanic, will take the intrepid billionaire to the center of the earth with Tom Hanks;

• in addition to really advanced search and Google TV Click, perennial prankster Google brings its self-driving car to NASCAR racing (above) and, below, announces Morse Code-based Gmail Tap (double your typing speed!) with LL Cool J, plus 8-bit Google Maps for the neglected Nintendo Entertainment System, and more:Continue reading...

health matters

Pink Slime Boycott Heats Up Everywhere But Frying Pan

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 26, 2012 05:12 PM

Frank Zappa once told his fans not to eat the yellow snow. Now a whole lot of folks are deciding not to eat another colorful item: pink slime.

It's a substance that many Americans (well, the few who watched) Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution last April would have seen in the series' premiere episode on ABC. That's when the British chef, accompanied by a bovine companion, demonstrated what goes into the 70% of America's ground beef that contains leftover cow parts (a.k.a. "pink slime"), meaning meat that has been treated with ammonia to banish bacteria such as e.coli and salmonella. It's also used to convert the fatty beef offcuts into a beef filler for burgers.

Ammonia-treated meat can be found in virtually all U.S. grocery stores, fast food restaurants, many national restaurant chains, and school cafeterias, but a backlash has been forming over fears that it is unsafe — and now the company that produces 'pink slime beef' has suspended operations at three of its four plants.Continue reading...

branding together

American Express Promotes Twitter Sync at SXSW with Jay-Z

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 8, 2012 11:15 AM

American Express announced an innovative social media integration with Twitter this week, enabling US cardmembers to turn customized Twitter hashtags into savings via sync.americanexpress.com. Promoted with the tagline “Sync. Tweet. Save.” the social marketing promotion is the most direct use of Twitter to date by a brand that creates a real utility for customers: couponless savings loaded directly to their synced cards and automatically delivered in a credit statement.

“With Twitter, we’ve really hit the trifecta. We have a great platform in Twitter,” said Ed Gilligan, Vice Chairman, American Express. “We know our cardmembers are engaged in Twitter. We’ve been working with them to think about how can we help them move from conversations to commerce. To turn a tweet into a transaction.”

Brands trying out Amex Sync include Best Buy, McDonald’s, Whole Foods Market, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Century 21, The Cheesecake Factory, Dell, FedEx Office, FTD, Gulf, H&M, Seamless.com, Sports Authority, Ticketmaster, Virgin America and Zappos. They'll be closely watching the analytics on this test, with the Amex Synch API offering also supplying reports to merchants about customer spending, online and offline.

And if they're in Austin for SXSW on March 12th, they can celebrate at a concert featuring Jay-Z.Continue reading...

brandcameo

What Would Dr. Seuss Have Made of The Lorax Movie's Marketing Partners?

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 5, 2012 11:55 AM

The catchphrase of The Lorax — "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better" — can mean a lot of different things depending on one's perspective when it comes to the marketing of Universal's record-breaking new #1 movie.

To purists, it means that unless consumers speak up, Hollywood's commercialization of Dr. Seuss, including signing a cross-promotional sponsorship deal with an automaker, the movie's environmental message is for naught. To Mazda, the brand that's ponying up for The Lorax tie-in, it means that unless some consumers care an awful lot, sales numbers are not going to get better.

But is the outrage about Mazda's Lorax partnership making "perfect" the enemy of "good" — and overlooking ?Continue reading...

brandcameo

The Lorax Cannot, Will Not, Truffula Tree-Certify Your Brand

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 29, 2012 03:31 PM

100 likes, 857 dislikes. That's the YouTube tally for the Mazda tie-in commercial for Dr. Seuss' The Lorax movie, based on the animated version of the kids' classic environmental-themed book that's hitting cinemas on March 2nd.

The comment "I'm absolutely disgusted with this! The REAL Lorax would never work with the Onceler. Mazda, stop using Dr. Seuss's material, it's only going to make your company look bad and downright stupid" has been voted up 28 times. Another irate comment, "Consider the movie and car both boycotted. WTF were you thinking?" is par for the course.

The shame of it? It all could have been avoided.Continue reading...

sip on this

Coconut Water Draws Battle Line in the Cola Wars

Posted by Dale Buss on February 14, 2012 11:54 AM

Many argue that Coca-Cola overpaid substantially for a better-for-you beverage line when it bought Glaceau, and its Vitaminwater brand, for $4 billion in 2007. Yet the share of the bottled-water market enjoyed by Vitaminwater and its siblling Smartwater brand continues to grow in a category that has flattened out.

Coke would probably settle for a similar outcome as it moves to exercise its option to acquire a majority stake in Zico, the no. 2 brand of coconut water in the United States by sales, after purchasing a minority holding in the start-up for less than $15 million in 2009. Coke won't disclose the price of the option, but it probably isn't $4 billion.

Coconut water is emerging as another important front in the "cola wars" between PepsiCo and Coke, because just as Coke is moving in on Zico, PepsiCo is rolling out nationwide distribution of the No. 3 brand, O.N.E., after taking a majority stake in the brand in 2010.

Vita Coco, the No. 1-selling U.S. coconut water brand, has attracted celebrity endorsements by Rihanna, Madonna and the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez. It's controlled by founder Michael Kirban and Verlinvest, a Belgian investment firm, and more than doubled its revenue last year to nearly $100 million. That figure indicates a continued acceleration in growth of coconut-water sales because near the middle of that high-growth year, for the 52 weeks ended September 3rd, sales for the entire coconut-water segment in the U.S. were about $110 million — more than double the year-earlier figure of $54 million — according to SPINS, which provides sales data on nutritional and better-for-you foods.Continue reading...

social marketing

#Pinning: Brands Get Pinteractive and Engaging on Pinterest

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 24, 2012 02:02 PM

Pinterest, the virtual pin board at the crossroads of social and style, covered here in December when the buzz was reaching fever pitch, has burgeoned into a marketplace for consumer brands, offering a visual and demonstrable platform for engagement.

A wide range of major brands are using Pinterest to engage fans through social curation and as an online focus group to see what clicks with consumers, including:Continue reading...

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