auto motive

Luxury Autos Grapple Over EVs, International Expansion and Laser Beams

Posted by Dale Buss on June 24, 2014 11:29 AM

Recall madness has been obscuring most of the other news out of the auto industry these days, but there’s plenty of scrambling that has nothing to do with safety campaigns and investigations. At the top is the still-intensifying competition among BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz for the global lead in premium-vehicle sales.

Audi has just thrown the latest punch with news that it has drawn up blueprints for a range of high-performance electric cars, according to Reuters. The brand had sidelined EV-development efforts a couple of years ago in the face of slackening prospects but recently has stepped up such efforts again in the wake of the sales success of Tesla and accelerating EV moves by BMW, the news service said.

One of the new blueprints Audi has drawn up is for an electric version of a new Q8 SUV that would pit the vehicle against Tesla’s upcoming Model X crossover, Reuters said. Audi also has improved the once-limited range of its first EV, the R8 e-tron, which now is slated for a 2015 release in Europe, according to Digital Trends.Continue reading...

campaigns

Vodafone Has the Last Word in 'First' Campaign to Save Ancient Language

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 20, 2014 07:10 PM

Telecom companies survive when people talk to one another. Vodafone went the extra mile in its effort to encourage communication in one particular part of the world: a village in Mexico where the last two speakers of a dying language, Ayapaneco, live.

The problem, as the UK's Campaign Live reports, was that the last two speakers, both men in their 70s, hadn't spoken to each other in years due to a rift about the language itself. Their silence and fallout would mean the end of Ayapaneco and another piece of Mexican history lost; but Vodafone wouldn't let that happen. 

The brand and local villagers teamed up to build a school in town and dispatched Stanford University linguistic anthropologist Professor James A. Fox to speak with the men and fill them in on their cultural responsibility to pass on the language. The entire effort was documented in a short film as part of the Vodafone Firsts campaign across 10 markets.Continue reading...

sip on this

India, China Beckon PepsiCo and Coca-Cola For Major New Investments

Posted by Dale Buss on November 11, 2013 03:23 PM

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have been doubling down on emerging markets, despite feeling tremendous pressure to grow their business in developed regions such as the United States and Europe. And PepsiCo just made a massive US$5.5-billion commitment to expand its operations and sales in Mexico over the next seven years.

CEO Indra Nooyi announced that PepsiCo and its partners plan to double their current production capacity in India, to ramp up distribution infrastructure especially in rural markets, to boost its collaborative program with Indian farmers, and to continue to expand the range of foods and beverages in its current India portfolio of eight brands.

"India is a country with huge potential and it remains an attractive, high-priority market for PepsiCo," Nooyi said in a statement. "We believe we've only scratched the surface of the long-term growth opportunities." In a press conference in New Delhi on Monday, Nooyi also couldn't resist a playful dig at her biggest competitor, telling reporters that the Pepsi brand is "more youthful" than rival Coca-Cola.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Intel Aims to Spread Digital Literacy to African Women

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on October 2, 2013 07:27 PM

Intel is turning research into action with its "She Will Connect" initiative—a program born out of the company's "Women and the Web" report that showed the gender gap between men and women in developing countries concerning digital literacy. 

The program aims to reach five million women in Africa beginning this year, with the help of local and global governments and NGOs, according to MarketingDaily's MediaPost. 

The task will be tackled two ways: with a mobile gaming app that will teach digital literacy skills, and with a partnership with World Pulse, which will help create a peer network for the platform's digital training software.Continue reading...

auto motive

Audi Embraces Western Hemisphere as Global Race with BMW Heats Up

Posted by Dale Buss on May 10, 2013 10:31 AM

Audi is feeling its oats as a brand, with steadily growing ambitions that now encompass expansion in South America in addition to North America, as Volkswagen's luxury brand attempts to beat out BMW for worldwide premium-segment leadership.

China has been Audi's strongest foreign market for a while. But with luxury-brand competition growing there and European luxury buyers strapped by the continent's recessionary economy, Audi executives have been casting their vision increasingly to the Western Hemisphere for growth. They already have managed to score impressive gains in the US market in terms of sales and brand prestige—but only in America does Audi significantly trail BMW, and Mercedes-Benz for that matter, in actual unit volumes.

Aiming to change that, Audi executives joined local and federal officials in Mexico over the weekend in laying the foundation stone for a $1.3 billion plant that will begin turning out a new version of the Audi Q5, its best-selling crossover, in mid-2016.Continue reading...

multicultural marketing

Lucha Libre Coming to America

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 14, 2013 06:27 PM

A large swath of Americans have loved grappling of one sort or another for decades, whether it was the pro-wrestling version with Gorgeous George, Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and the Undertaker or the UFC version that’s gotten hot in recent years. 

There will soon be a new game in town—at least it will be new for Americans. For Latin Americans, Lucha Libre has been around for nearly a century. Now the sport, showcased to the U.S. public by the 2006 Jack Black film Nacho Libre and a kids' cartoon called ¡Mucha Lucha! that ran from 2002-2005, is planning to make its mark on U.S. culture and shed its cult status as a fringe sport.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: AA/US Airways, AB InBev, Heinz to Buffett, Time Inc. and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 14, 2013 08:45 AM

In the News

American Airlines and US Airways to create the world's biggest airline with $11 billion union.

AB InBev will sell Corona unit to salvage Modelo takeover, as Pernod Ricard is open to Jose Cuervo talks.

H.J. Heinz Company enters agreement to be acquired by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

Time Warner rumored to eye Time Inc. split and talking to Meredith about buying magazine brands.

Adidas unveils new global brand strategy with Boost product push.

American Express and Yahoo accused of stealing travel service idea.

Angry Birds parent Rovio slings into advertising.

Apple promises to fix iOS Exchange bug, fights activist shareholder Einhorn.

Barclays agrees to stop speculating on food prices.

Barnes & Noble warns of lower 2012 sales and Nook concerns.

Boeing looks at interim 787 fixes.

BT sticks by Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius (charged with murdering his girlfriend), for now.Continue reading...

brand battle

AB InBev Wins a Big Round in Euro 'Bud' Dispute, But Modelo Merger in Question

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 22, 2013 02:29 PM

For more than a century, there’s been a bar fight going on between the world’s biggest brewer, AB InBev (and all its predecessors) and Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar NP. Both claim they should have the rights to the name “Bud” in Europe. 

The most recent winner is AB InBev after the EU General Court in Luxembourg “rejected Budvar’s appeal of AB InBev’s right to the EU trademark because the Czech company presented insufficient proof of the existing use of the name in some European countries,” Bloomberg reports.

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV claims to have been using the Bud name since 1876. Budvar did not exist until 19 years later. AB InBev put in an application for the trademark in July 1996 and, according to the court, Budvar couldn’t show that it had used the term across Europe before then.Continue reading...

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