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brand trainwrecks

Lululemon Tried to Ban Customers from Reselling Clothes, Because That's Going to Go Over Well

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 20, 2014 07:19 PM

Yoga apparel retailer Lululemon has stepped it in again, and this time even they're calling their bluff. 

Numerous consumers said they were contacted by Lululemon representatives by phone after trying to sell used Lululemon clothes on eBay, with the embattled retailer going as far as to shut out some of those customers from their Lululemon e-commerce accounts. 

And for some reason, it's not surprising as the company has had one PR debacle after another in what has been a roller-coaster year for the Canadian brand. It all seemed to go downhill after Lululemon recalled thousands of pairs of its most popular yoga pants for being too sheer last spring. The incident, which is reportedly still causing issues for some customers, opened up the floodgates to poor consumer relations, from excluding and offending plus-size consumers, bashing unrelated philanthropy efforts, nonsensical window displays and continual gaffes from eccentric founder Chip Wilson

Lululemon issued an apology for the threat after inquiries from the media once again shined an unfavorable light on the brand.Continue reading...

viral buzz

The Death of Flappy Bird Spawns Outrageous Auctions, Clones of Viral Hit

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 14, 2014 10:33 AM

Hundreds of thousands of mobile gamers have spent the last few weeks staring at their screens trying to maneuver a flapping bird through various obstacles. It turns out that their obsession with the free game “Flappy Bird” is what ended up killing the viral hit. 

Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen gifted his game to the world but decided earlier this week that it had to come down based on its addictive qualities. “I just wanted to create a game that people could enjoy for a few minutes,” he told the Wall Street Journal. And so on Sunday, the free app was pulled from the App Store and Android market to the dismay of late bloomers hoping to get a few plays out of the simplistic video game. 

But just because Flappy Bird isn't available for download anymore doesn't mean there's no way to access it. In the days since it was pulled from the market, tablets and smartphones containing Flappy Bird have appeared for sale on Amazon and eBay—for a pretty price, of course. An iPad Mini with Flappy Bird was going for more than $10,000 while and iPhone 5S with the app was priced at over $1,000. 

eBay, though, was not amused, as the sale of such mobile devices is against its policy. Mobile devices can only be sold on the site once they are reset to factory settings—aka no Flappy Bird.Continue reading...

now hear this

Minneapolis' Iconic 400 Bar Will Live to Rock Another Day at Mall of America

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 12, 2014 10:47 AM

Hank Williams Sonoma. Cinnabon Iver. Bananarama republic. For a brief period last week many on Twitter wondered what the nationally trending hashtag #400BarAtTheMall was all about.

The hashtag's "400 Bar" is the iconic Minneapolis bar and music venue that closed its doors at the end of 2012. And "The Mall" is the same city's iconic-in-a-different-way Mall of America.

Coming later this year, the 400 Bar, as first reported in the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal, will relocate to the nearby Mall of America as a 25,000-square-foot concert venue, museum and restaurant. The announcement marrying the antiseptic Mall of America with one of Minneapolis' most historic, gritty music venues may have caused confusion for many who remember the old 400 Bar at the bohemian corner of Cedar Ave. and South 4th.Continue reading...


US E-Commerce Sites Prepare for Impact as China's Alibaba Launches "11 Main"

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 11, 2014 05:41 PM

Alibaba is coming to America, launching a new e-commerce site through two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Vendio and Auctiva.

Called 11 Main, the potential Amazon killer is a “shopping destination where hand-picked shop owners connect with customers in a stylish and professionally merchandised marketplace.” Featured items include personal tech devices, jewelry and fashion goods.

Alibaba is the largest e-commerce operator in China and transacts through wildly popular Chinese sites Taobao and TMall, but reaching beyond its national borders has been a challenge. Vendio and Auctiva were acquired by Alibaba in 2010 and are established e-tail experts having helped many companies sell their products on Amazon and eBay.

11 Main will ideally go head-to-head with Amazon and eBay's new e-commerce concept, "The Plaza."Continue reading...


Walmart Goes Head to Head with Amazon for E-Commerce Dominance

Posted by Barry Silverstein on January 30, 2014 04:54 PM

The world's largest retailer has a few tricks up its sleeve that it hopes will catapult it ahead of arch-rival Amazon in the hotly contested e-commerce space.

In Denver, Co., Walmart To Go, the retailer's on-demand shopping service, allows shoppers to order just about any merchandise they want online, including groceries, and have it delivered to their homes, just like Amazon. But now, Walmart To Go not only includes home delivery of grocery items—it also has a pick-up option. That means Denver consumers can order their groceries online, park in a designated space near their closest store, and pick up their groceries without ever stepping into the store.

Walmart has tested home delivery of groceries in San Francisco and San Jose, Calif. since 2011, while Amazon has been testing "Amazon Fresh," a grocery home delivery service, in select cities with plans for more in 2014.

With in-store pick-up, Walmart is allowing consumers to exercise more options. "It's all about choice," Ravi Jariwala, Director of Public Relations at Walmart, told TechCrunch. "At this point, we're really trying to assess what our customers are gravitating toward, and the good news is that I don't think this is an either/or [situation]."Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: McDonald's, Rovio, Goodyear and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 23, 2014 09:22 AM

In the News

McDonald's brings in outsider as new CMO and ends "challenging year" with flat quarterly earnings, as it comes under tax scrutiny in France.

Rovio wants to be a bigger brand than Coca-Cola.

Goodyear and workers end fight in France.

AOL buys firm that personalizes web searches.

Arby's promotes variety with new ad strategy and calls new Smokehouse Brisket sandwich its most successful new product.

Boeing adds workers to boost Dreamliner production.

Kenny Chesney sues over unauthorized merchandise. 

Chili's introduces Fresh Mex menu.

Coach reports weak North American sales.

Darden defends Red Lobster spinoff plan amid investor resistance.Continue reading...


Taking a Cue from China, eBay Will Reportedly Open Online Brand Mall

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 20, 2014 10:46 AM

eBay is reportedly boosting its e-commerce reputation by going from resale hotspot to direct-to-consumer trusted e-tailer. According to a report from Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter, eBay is planning on opening "The Plaza," an online mall that will allow major brands to sell their goods directly to consumers. 

Schachter said brands can now sell through eBay "'without having to worry about weakening their brand' by placements alongside second-hand goods,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

eBay’s pivot to direct-to-consumer sales dramatically expands its retail hub in an offensive move against Amazon and Chinese e-commerce powerhouses, including Alibaba’s Tmall, which has 70,000 digital storefronts from brands including Apple, Nike and Gap, Alibaba-owned Taobao and Tencent.

While the e-commerce site has yet to confirm the reports, eBay spokesman Ryan Moore told CNET, "EBay partners with brands, designers and retailers—and sellers of all sizes—to help them grow their business. As such, we are always exploring new, innovative ways to help them market directly to eBay's global audience and connect them to the things they need and love.”Continue reading...

brand partners

FSU Basks in National Championship Glory with Coke

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 9, 2014 10:45 AM

Florida State fans have been celebrating since the university’s football team secured the national championship on Monday and found a thrilling way to cap off an undefeated season, coming from behind to finish off the Auburn Tigers 34-31 with a two-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds to go.

Not to lose celebratory steam, Coca-Cola has unveiled its limited-edition Coke and Coke Zero 12 oz. cans that feature FSU’s logo and acknowledgement that the team is tops in the nation. There aren’t too many of these cans headed to Alabama, surely.Continue reading...

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