Posted by Barry Silverstein on April 11, 2012 01:03 PM
In bygone days, kids gathered around in small groups to trade baseball cards of much-beloved star players. But today's kids are playing baseball video games on smartphones -- a fact of digital life that hasn't escaped Topps, the top manufacturer of baseball cards. To mark the beginning of baseball's 2012 season, Topps is venturing into the digital world in hopes of reinventing its legacy brand.
While the company began making bubble gum in 1938, Topps' claim to fame was the introduction of baseball cards in 1952. These wondrous little pieces of cardboard carried color photos of players on the front and thumbnail bios on the back. Packs of cards, which included a stick of bubble gum until 1992, became cherished possessions. Eventually, as baseball fans grew up, they recognized the value of the cards, particularly rare ones, as collectibles. Now "trophy cards," some with original autographs, have become hot items with adult collectors.
But what about those kids of today? In an effort to entice Gen Z, Topps has brought two baseball apps to the iPhone/iPad market, Topps Pennant ($2.99) and Topps Bunt (free). Android versions are also planned. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 5, 2012 10:58 AM
Nissan was Datsun in the United States and other western markets before it was Nissan. And now Nissan is bringing back the Datsun brand for emerging markets such as India and Russia. But don't count on seeing Datsun anywhere else.
In the latest gambit by a global automaker to revive a "heritage" brand for purposes never imagined during the marque's first go-round, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn plans to revive the Datsun name to sell inexpensive cars tailored for fast-growing new markets beginning in 2014, according to Nikkei. Nissan plans to sell Daon vehicles priced around 50,000 yen ($6,200) first in India, Indonesia and Russia.
Dusting off Datsun, a move rumored for a while, would increase marques now in Nissan-Renault's portfolio including Dacia, Renault-Samsung and a stake in Rusia's AvtoVAZ. In fact, Dacia alreay is a budget brand managed by Renault and based in Romania, and the new Datsuns could end up being re-badged Dacias for sale in other markets.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 13, 2012 03:58 PM
Nearly two decades ago, Coca-Cola bought a lime drink in India called Citra from Ramesh Chauhan but then discontinued it and pushed its own Sprite instead. Now, the soda maker is testing out how Citra sells in some Indian cities and is planning a national rollout, according to the Economic Times.
The Economic Times hears that the drink “will be priced about 20% cheaper than existing lime-lemon drinks” such as Coke’s own Sprite and Limca as well as local soft drink brands owned by PepsiCo, Mountain Dew and 7Up. That will help Coke “target a wider audience and take on smaller brands” in the world’s second-most-populated country.
Industry observers are a little surprised by Coke’s plan, since Sprite is already India’s second-most-popular soda behind a drink even Roger Ebert would love, Thums Up, which is now manufactured by Coke. Sprite also leads the field in the “lime-lemon drinks segment, which is the fastest-growing soft drink category in India's 13,000-crore fizzy drinks market,” the paper notes.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2012 03:03 PM
Naming a new car after a venerable nameplate from its heyday is hardly a new ploy for the Dodge brand. Dodge did it with new muscle cars such as the Challenger a few years ago.
But today marked the first time that a Chrysler Group brand has gone back to the future for a nameplate since it has been controlled by Fiat. Dodge unveiled the 2013 Dodge Dart at the North American International Auto Show this morning, a new vehicle that should prove to be the most credible entry by the company in the compact-car segment since — well, since the heyday of the original Dodge Dart.
Accompanied by puslating techno music and lights in the predictable meme of auto-show unveilings, Reid Bigland, president and CEO of Dodge, said that the brand "wanted to create a world-class compact car" because Dodge wasn't "competing" in this segment with its Caliber model, introduced in 2006. "And we approached this segment with a clean slate — no baggage."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 21, 2011 10:01 AM
The Smithsonian Institute is 165 years old and isn’t hurting for visitors: 30 million people come calling annually.
Even so, the organization's executive team was dismayed to learn that that “its recognition had dropped to 77 percent for 18-to-24-year-olds, and that 25 percent of respondents think that the Smithsonian is ‘elitist,’” the Washington Post reports. Too many people were thinking of the place as America’s attic, and a confusing one at that. As its Twitter bio reads, "We're not a museum. We're 19 of them! Plus 9 research centers & the National Zoo."
Time for a brand refresh. The Smithsonian set aside $1 million to come up with a branding campaign that G. Wayne Clough, the Secretary of the Smithsonian, hopes will show that the Institute's diverse programming and educational activities represents a “conversation, not a lecture,” the Post notes.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 7, 2011 01:31 PM
If a Jaguar growls in the automotive jungle, will anyone notice? That's the challenge faced by the venerable ultra-luxury brand as it attempts to become globally relevant again after a few years "away" — and as its competitors largely have stepped up their games.
India's Tata industrial conglomerate picked up Jaguar and Land Rover in 2008 as Ford was disassembling its stable of European luxury brands, and Tata automotive executives have gradualy been restoring some of the luster to the two fabled marques since then. The combined Land Rover Jaguar North American sales rose by 17 percent in November over a year earlier, and were up by 10 percent year to date. Jaguar finally began national advertising in TV in the U.S. last spring.
But a new campaign that kicked off last week, created by Jaguar's new global ad agency of record, Los Angeles-based Spark44, represents Jaguar's most robust attempt yet at returning forcefully to the American luxury-market conversation. Over the last three years, high-end competition from Mercedes-Benz, Audi and others has grown, while shaky global finances have kept even the best-heeled car shoppers a bit off balance.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 27, 2011 12:03 PM
Since Activision announced its decided to stop making the Guitar Hero video game back in February and laid off hundreds of workers, did you think the fake-guitar video-game industry is dying?
After all, according to Wired, sales of Guitar Hero declined from 1.5 million just for the first month of Guitar Hero III back in 2007, to 86,000 for Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock for the entire year of 2010. Plus, licensing popular tunes costs a major chunk of change as well.
Those kinds of numbers led to Rock Band creator Harmonix being sold earlier this year by the now defunct MTV Games of Viacom to return to its roots as an independent studio.
But now, rocking on, Rock Band III will be reissued for folks who didn’t get it the first time around and need a Rock Band fix for the holidays, but the bigger news is that a new version will come out in 2012 and it will be “fundamentally reinterpreted,” according to an interview company execs gave to GiantBomb.com.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on October 18, 2011 01:34 PM
Motorola Mobility today unveiled its biggest news since being sold to Google in August — the return of the RAZR, which launched in 2004 and became (as CNN notes) "the best-selling cell phone brand of all time — until the iPhone came along" in 2007.
Unveiled at a press event with Verizon Wireless, the $299 (with a two-year contract) Droid RAZR smartphone will be offered exclusively by Verizon starting in early November.Continue reading...