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...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 13, 2011 03:14 PM
Two larger-than-life women, Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O’Donnell... one network, OWN, reaching 80 million homes... and a divided jury on the prospects for success.
“Oprah's second act appears to be confirming the old adage that there are no second acts in American life,” wrote businessinsider.com
Winfrey's newest show for the network, "Oprah's Lifeclass," which the former queen of talk has been heavily promoting, drew just 330,000 people on its first night, while the debut of "The Rosie Show" with solo guest Russell Brand drew 497,000 viewers.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 13, 2011 01:25 PM
Keith Haring was called “the Michelangelo of the New York City subway,” after five years of adorning train cars with his earliest signature chalk drawings alternately regarded as graffiti or pop art.
His bold, vivid lines and colors came to symbolize his enduring themes of life and unity. Fulfilling Haring’s desire to make his work widely accessible, his two original Pop Shop boutiques — one on Lafayette Street in New York’s Soho neighborhood, founded in 1986 (back when Soho was the hub of NYC's art world) and another in Tokyo — sold volumes of his designs and memorabilia including floor-to-ceiling murals.
While the Keith Haring Foundation maintains an online Pop Shop, for a limited time only, a retail Pop Shop is back with a special encore installation at Pace Prints opening October 13.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 29, 2011 01:01 PM
When 17-year-old Miss Nebraska, Teresa Scanlan, took on the crown of Miss America this past January, she became the youngest Miss America in the pageant’s 90-year history. She likely had absolutely no idea as the show’s host, The Bachelor’s Chris Harrison, began to sing, “There She Is, Miss America,” that things would be changing a great deal during her reign.
The Associated Press reports that “the Miss America organization is partnering with two companies, Infinity Lifestyle Brands and Hilco Consumer Capital, for licensing, sponsorship and brand creation” to create branding and revenue opportunities around the franchise. A new entity has been created entitled Miss America Properties, which will "create a licensing-driven platform focused on partnerships with leading American companies, including fashion, media, lifestyle products, and events."
"Developing Miss America into a license-based brand concept is a natural and powerful opportunity, and we are in discussions with a variety of strategic brands and sponsorship partners that are interested in influencing this transformational process from the onset," stated Cory M. Baker, Managing Director of Brand Strategy and Development, Infinity Lifestyle Brands, in a press release. "The real beauty behind this brand is its applicability and relevance in the marketplace across all product categories," added Jeffrey Branman, Managing Partner, Hilco Consumer Capital.
The beauty pageant business has been tottering on its high heels ever since TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras hit the air, so we'll be fascinated to see how the “Queen of Femininity,” as the song calls her, will evolve. Scanlan, meanwhile, continue spreading goodwill via local appearances and speeches until the next Miss America is crowned at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on Jan. 14.
Posted by Shirley Brady on September 14, 2011 03:52 PM
Coming to Japan in December: Sony's just-unveiled Android-powered mobile entertainment player, which is being brought to market with a familiar brand name.
The Walkman Z series, a rival to the iPod touch (looks like a smartphone but doesn't feature call functionality), will be available exclusively in Japan starting December 10th, a week before the PlayStation Vita launches in the market.
Sony's Walkman line is still a decent seller in Japan, where it introduced the Walkman X, a video player, in 2007, but the company wants to re-energize the iconic brand, which also graces Sony Ericsson's Android-powered smartphone.
The Walkman device that started it all, Sony's groundbreaking (for the time) cassette tape player, was retired last October. As Interbrand's Jennifer Bassett commented at the time, "the Walkman was the key link in setting course the trend towards customization and our increasingly mobile culture. And let's not forget the device's contribution to building 'Brand Japan' at the time – fostering its reputation for creating quality, compact electronics."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 30, 2011 01:02 PM
When the forever-pajamaed Hugh Hefner opened the first Playboy Club in Chicago in 1960, it caused quite a stir -- like pretty much everything else the potent magazine publisher did at the time. The place featured young women in the classic Playboy Bunny costumes serving food and cocktails while live entertainment played. It was high-class “entertainment for men.”
Times changed and Playboy closed its club in Chicago back in 1988. It wasn’t alone. All the Clubs across the globe closed by 1998, with the final holdout in Lansing, Michigan. However, the financially struggling company that was recently privatized with Hefner’s big bucks started licensing out the brand in 2006. The Club can now be found in such places as London, Macau, and The Palms casino in Las Vegas.
Now add another Club to the mix: According to the Chicago Tribune, Tom Morgan, general counsel for Boston-based Tremont Realty Capital, has gathered a few Chicago investors and is looking to open a new Club in the Windy City in 2012.Continue reading...