brand makeovers

Chuck E. Cheese Slims Down Mascot to Help Grow Bottom Line

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 1, 2013 03:50 PM

For decades, the eponymous mascot of Chuck E. Cheese has appeared to the general public as an extremely sizeable mouse that’s eaten a little too much of the famed restaurant’s pizza. For a time, the guy even carried a cigar around with him. But in a world that has heard a steady drumbeat against child obesity, it hasn’t exactly looked good to have a mascot who looked like he could lose a few pounds.

On Tuesday, Chuck E. Cheese execs and shareholders at the CEC Entertainment’s annual meeting in Texas met a slimmed-down version of Mr. Cheese, whose transformation began last year when his illustrated form changed shape in advertising and signage to become a lot more rock star than his past version.

With the change came the disappearance of the man who was his longtime voice, Duncan Brannan, and the introduction of Jaret Reddick as the new voice of Cheese, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Reddick, of course, is the lead singer of pop-punk band Bowling for Soup, which has a few albums Cheese execs probably wouldn’t want their mascot singing on, such as “Drunk Enough to Dance” and “A Hangover You Don’t Deserve.”

Changing the mascot may be the simplest thing CEC does this year. The 36-year-old company announced in February that its profits fell 20.7 percent to $43.6 million in fiscal year 2012. That’s a little surprising for a brand that was just named the No. 1 kid-friendly restaurant by Technomic's Consumer Restaurants Brand Metrics, based on customer surveys over the last two years.Continue reading...

digital moves

McDonald's UK Tests Interactive Happy Meal Digital Play Zones

Posted by Dale Buss on December 6, 2012 03:18 PM

McDonald's U.K. seems relentless in its efforts to appeal to kids and their parents.

Lately, the chain's initiatives in that direction have included a healthier revamping of its Happy Meal for the London 2012 Summer Olympics and the rolling out of a carbonated juice drink for kids. Now, McDonald's in the British Isles is experimenting with interactive gesture-recognition technology to select stores (with high traffic from families) for a Happy Meal Digital Play zone.

The interactive installation combines a Wii-like experience with digital signage. Kids trigger games featuring McDonald's characters and other beloved characters (such as Bugs Bunny and Tweety Bird) to play games and get moving.Continue reading...

mobile marketing

Mobile Monday: New Campaigns by Swarovski and More

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 21, 2012 04:33 PM

QR codes and augmented reality are hot commodities for mobile marketing, bridging the digital and analog worlds, pushing the edges, out-of-the-box, smart, crazy and fun. A few new mobile promotions that caught our attention:

Austrian crystal purveyor Swarovski is bringing the bling to Facebook with an app that delivers the digital Warholian promise of “15 amazing seconds of fame” by inviting users to submit personal dance videos modeling sunglasses for a chance to win one of 15 pairs of Swarovski Amazing sunglasses.

Bloomingdale’s new Big Brown Bag app (click here for Android) is a play on the store's "Big Brown Bag" bags, letting users create and manage wedding registries and Loyallist rewards points and pay their bill, find discounts and promotions and scan products in-store to view promotions and find other locations. “The launch of our mobile application for iPhone and Android is part of our commitment to enhancing our customer’s omnichannel shopping experience,” said Anne Bridges, SVP site merchandising, Internet productions and planning, to Mobile Commerce Daily. "We’re now inviting couples to use their phones – instead of a gun – to scan items to add to their registry."Continue reading...

tech innovation

Oakley Aims to Give Google Glasses Some Competition

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 20, 2012 09:57 AM

Headphone lines are running into every ear and the world is constantly staring into its smartphones, seemingly hoping to be sucked into a virtual mobile world. It does not seem that anyone wants to go without their data at any second of their lives. After all, it could be crucial to know the so-called “Nasty Factor” of a pitch as it happens in the fifth inning of a game in April or to see a celebrity Twitter spat unfold in real time.

The good folks at Google and Oakley want to help you, the teeming data-driven masses, see just what is shaking at all times. Google’s “Project Glass,” which quickly became nicknamed Google Glasses, got some publicity recently when it emerged that the company was developing specs that would allow for data to be projected onto the lenses. Now Bloomberg is reporting that Oakley — also making some noise as an official sponsor of the London 2012 Summer Games — has been working on a similar product since 1997.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Into the Looking Glass: Google Envisions a Day Made of Project Glass

Posted by Shirley Brady on April 4, 2012 11:33 AM

Remember all the buzz about Google Googles, using pictures to search the web? The company today unveiled an Augmented Reality spin of the concept out of its R&D lab: Project Glass, which embeds the web in a modern-day spin on x-ray specs. It's purely spec-ulative, but gives a fascinating view of how Google envisions the future. So get ready for voice-controlled instant notifications in your field of vision.

Google described the AR glasses as: "We believe technology should work for you — to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don't. A team within our Google[x] group started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment. Follow along with us at http://g.co/projectglass as we share some of our ideas and stories. We'd love to hear yours, too. What would you like to see from Project Glass?"Continue reading...

mobile marketing

American Express Gets Festive with Talking Tags

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 21, 2011 11:31 AM

Augmented Reality is hot among brand marketers, and American Express was inspired to test a seasonal spin on AR.

AmEx card holders in Australia were sent a Talking Tag to include with gifts for prank-playing partners, naughty friends, nice siblings, and wolf-crying colleagues. The tags direct recipients to an augmented reality experience customized just for them.Continue reading...

Nike Wants Holiday Shoppers to Get Their Kicks Via AR

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 14, 2011 11:02 AM

Just in time for last-minute holiday shopping, Nike has teamed up with augmented reality specialists GoldRun, Akoo (an out of home TV network) and U.S. running apparel retailer Finish Line for an AR-based treasure hunt and sweepstakes. The contest's prize package is sure to please sneakerheads and runners alike: Nike’s Air Max Flash Pack, a collection of 15 shoe designs and colors.

Shoppers in 106 malls with Finish Line stores can download the free GoldRun app, find a virtual Nike shoe, snap a picture of the shoe in front of a Finish Line store and have a chance to win one of the 15 pairs of Nike shoes awarded daily.

“By sharing branded photos and earning rewards (such as winning a new pair of Nikes or getting a discount on a product), the consumer is incentivized and the brand wins, because they're seeing engagement in the mobile and social space while driving awareness and revenue,” GoldRun Founder and CEO Vivian Rosenthal told brandchannel.Continue reading...

retail

Tesco Pushes Retail Innovation With Augmented Reality

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 22, 2011 03:50 PM

As retailers worldwide grapple with economics that are making sales flat, some like Tesco are turning to technology as an answer, specifically AR (augmented reality) and QR codes.

Consumers can use computer terminals in seven UK Tesco stores to scan a product code or Tesco Direct catalogue. Powered by AR firm Kishino, the test program, as shown in the video below, lets users view 3D images of more than 40 products from the electronics and entertainment sections both in-store or online and choose to buy in-store or have a product delivered to their home.

The technology requires a browser plugin and a “marker” like a Tesco catalog or club card as users position catalogues in front of their webcam to view the 3D product images. A television set can be virtually expanded to real size, front and back views, shoppers can watch film trailers and kids can play with ‘virtual Pirates of the Caribbean Legos’ on sale in the supermarket.

The strategy is designed to help integrate AR into the everyday shopping experience, reducing use of in-store shelf space to stock products as well as the number of returns, as customers have more information at their fingertips before purchase. It’s also a way, of course, to sell more merchandise.Continue reading...

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