Posted by Dale Buss on October 22, 2014 06:03 PM
Problems with faulty airbags made by major supplier Takata have largely been overshadowed by the continuing flow of recalls this year from General Motors, Toyota and other automakers. But now, according to The Wall Street Journal, the seriousness of the safety flaws in these ubiquitous airbags is being underscored in important new ways: U.S. Federal prosecutors have begun an official investigation into the Japan-based supplier and its dangerously defective products.
For owners of up to 7.8 million Toyota, Honda Mazda, BMW, Nissan, GM, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Chrysler and Ford vehicles—essentially, the entire roster of brands in the American market—the NHTSA has issued a warning that they should "act immediately" to fix Takata's defective airbags, the New York Times reports.
Toyota is trying to take this directive one better by asking its Lexus dealers to disable Takata airbags in the models in question if they can't be replaced. And Bloomberg notes that GM plans to warn owners of 2003-2004 Pontiac Vibe hatchbacks who are in warm-weather areas not to allow front-seat passengers until the defective air bags are replaced. "We are treating this urgently," GM Spokesman Alan Adler said. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 22, 2014 05:01 PM
All sorts of brands related to cars—and some that aren't—have tried public service campaigns and branded content to highlight the dangers of driving, especially while intoxicated or distracted, to the teenaged motorists who are most vulnerable to fatal mistakes.
Now, Michelin has come up with "Beyond the Driving Test," a campaign for National Teen Driver Safety Week this week with the hashtag #safedrivers to make new and young drivers more aware of potential safety hazards that are less directly the result of negligence or distraction but which can be just as deadly.
To make that message resonate, the tire brand is harnessing some of the biggest teen influencers on YouTube to share clever videos that shed light on problems such as poorly maintained tires.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 22, 2014 03:42 PM
Car service provider Uber may be making moves into international markets, but so far, their path hasn't been the smoothest.
Drivers in Chicago, L.A. and London, among other cities, are gathering outside the company’s offices today protesting “Uber’s reduced fares, Uber’s tipping policy, the five-star rating system, and driver safety,” according to Business Insider. In New York, drivers will simply turn off their phones during the designated protest period so customers cannot access them.
“It's not just a small group of disgruntled or unprofessional drivers, as Uber would like to cast us,” Joseph De Wolf Sandoval, an Uber driver and the president of the California App-Based Drivers Association, one of the protest’s organizers, told Business Insider. “It's a nationwide feeling of general unhappiness and unease with policies and programs that are being promulgated by Uber without the drivers' input whatsoever.”
These kinds of challenges might be expected for an unorthodox company that is vying to enter a slew of new markets and provide innovative services in its preexisting arenas. Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 22, 2014 01:31 PM
Augmented reality (AR) is a burgeoning playground for brands as smart tech takes on the bridging of all things physical with virtual applications to engage consumers.
AR isn’t new, but the rise of wearable technology such as smart watches and glasses, along with GPS tracking, sensors and camera technology on mobile devices, has pushed it over the tipping point. Case in point: AR start-up Magic Leap just raised $542 million in a funding round led by Google and Qualcomm.
A major player in this sphere is Blippar, which harnesses AR and image-recognition technology for smartphones, tablets and wearables. Using the Blippar app, users hold their phones over blippable content to trigger a digital experience known as “blipping.”
Brands can render any content, logos, products, magazine advertisements, billboards instantly interactive from any mobile device. Jaguar, for example, this month launched a global campaign that integrated Conde Nast print ads for Google Glass wearers, starring British actor Nicholas Hoult. Primark just launched a holiday campaign in the U.K. using its technology.
“The marketing industry is increasingly shying away from impressions and warming up to true, meaningful interactions, as these are more valuable metrics,” Blippar GM USA, Lisa Hu tells brandchannel. “This is where Blippar can truly excel from the CMO's perspective.” Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 22, 2014 11:29 AM
Amazon, Google, and American consumers, take note: If you haven’t yet heard of Rakuten, you will soon.
The Japanese electronic commerce and Internet company is the world’s third-largest online marketplace behind Amazon and eBay. In its homeland, Rakuten Ichiba is the largest e-commerce site in the country, earning $4.9 billion in revenue last year to make it the Amazon and Alibaba of Japan.
Founded in 1997 by CEO Hiroshi Mikitani, the Tokyo-based Rakuten now has more than 10,000 employees worldwide and is ready to take on the big dog of e-commerce—Amazon—with the launch of its first website in the U.S. this week: Rakuten Fashion, which delivers the same level of tech savvy and device acumen that has helped the company grow exponentially over the years. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 22, 2014 09:14 AM
Lexus launches a virtual experience app.
Johnson & Johnson plans to begin testing Ebola vaccine in January, with 250K doses ready by May.
Yahoo's Marissa Mayer fires back at critics as company makes more money from search but still needs clearer strategy.
Microsoft officially lays Nokia name to rest and embraces Lumia for Windows phones.
Target unifies holiday strategy including free online shipping and promotes Taylor Swift's new album (below) as Walmart CMO also talks up holiday plans. Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on October 21, 2014 05:38 PM
In its earnings report on Tuesday, McDonald's turned in its biggest drop in quarterly profits in seven years, and CEO Don Thompson acknowledged the calamity and the dire need for change.
Arguably, McDonald's faced some significant short-term and extraneous factors in posting a worse-than-expected 30 percent drop in quarterly profit and 5-percent decline in revenues. In China, a meat-supplier scandal still ripples; in Europe, the economy is tanking again, and Russian authorities meddled with McDonald's operations there in the last quarter.
But McDonald's biggest problem is that many American and global consumers no longer perceive clear reasons for favoring McDonald's over any other place to eat. They don't believe the food provides a satisfactory combination of good enough, fast enough, inexpensive enough and nutritious enough for them to go to McDonald's anymore. The golden arches may have reached a seminal negative moment in its history.Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Dale Buss on October 21, 2014 04:59 PM
If only Coca-Cola could find a way to extend its "Share a Coke" program for a long time to come. Besides that short-term spark to soda sales, the company didn't have much good news to share—or optimism for the future—along with its quarterly earnings report today.
The beverage giant's revenue actually declined during the third quarter, to less than $12 billion. Its profit fell 14 percent as global soda volume remained flat, reflecting the long-term struggle faced by Coca-Cola and its soft-drink rivals in a pronounced lack of interest in their primary products by more and more health-conscious consumers.
CEO Muhtar Kent also noted that the company is struggling, along with other beverage and consumer packaged goods companies, with currency headwinds and deterioriating economic conditions not only in emerging markets but also in Europe. "This is placing strong pressure on the short-term performance of our business," he said on the company's earnings conference call. He also lowered short- and long-term financial expectations.
But Coca-Cola must keep paddling, so Kent announced a series of initiatives both of the belt-tightening and innovation variety designed to spur growth—somehow. Continue reading...