Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 26, 2013 01:41 PM
For those that still prefer to buy their books in print-form, retailer Books-A-Million has debuted a new way for consumers to get their paperback fix: a book vending machine.
Dubbed the Espresso Book Machine (though it doesn't serve up any caffeinated drinks), it can print out any of nearly seven million titles between 5”x5” and 8”x10” and ranging from 50 to 600 pages. One unique feature, though, is the self-publishing options. Consumers and aspiring writers can upload their digital reams of short stories, novels, family histories and images to the machine that can be arranged and printed on the spot.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 26, 2013 12:37 PM
One year after the Tazreen factory fire in Bangladesh killed 112 workers, and seven months after the Rana Plaza factory collapse claimed over 1,200 lives, H&M, the world's second-largest clothing retailer, has announced a plan to ensure that workers making its clothing are paid a living wage.
The move is a first from the divided groups of European and North American retailers that have since been put in the spotlight following the factory disasters. While the separate groups—the mostly-European Accord on Fire and Building Safety and the North American-based Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety—have made some progress on ensuring factory safety and workers' rights in Bangladesh, the issue of compensation is still being debated among government and corporate officials.
Within five years, the Swedish fast fashion giant said 750 of its most important suppliers, covering 60 percent of its goods, should be paying a fair living wage to 850,000 textile workers.
"Textile workers should be able to live on their wage," Helena Helmersson, Global Head of Sustainability at H&M, told the Wall Street Journal. "Wage revisions from the government are taking too long."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 26, 2013 11:35 AM
The blurring of boundaries between Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday may not matter much for long. Discount-hawking consumers, changing brand practices, the inexorable expansion of e-tailing and other factors are changing the whole notion of Black Friday, probably for good.
For sure the days of sacrosanctness for Black Friday and even for Cyber Monday are gone. There will be dwindling stampedes as the doors of Walmart or Macy's or some other chain finally open on the day after Thanksgiving. In part that's because many chains this year are making the jump to open on Thanksgiving night, devaluing the tradition of Black Friday probably forever.
Plus the discounts that retailers used to hold back until Black Friday now are being offered before that once-fateful day, as stubborn consumers, caught in a slow-growth economy since 2008, demand more and earlier promotional activity before they'll part with their hard-earned holiday purse.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 26, 2013 09:22 AM
Just launched: Interbrand IQ - BRIC and Beyond
Coach moves into 'lifestyle' territory with opening of new flagship store in New York.
H&M aims to pay living wage for garment workers.
23andMe ordered to "discontinue marketing" DNA tests by FDA.
Anschutz Entertainment ousts CEO of concert promoter AEG Live.
Books-A-Million unveils book publishing on demand.
Chivas Regal runs first-ever branded web-video series.
Diageo set to sell most of Whyte & Mackay brand.
El Al launches low-cost airline 'Up.'
Godiva meets Chinese flavor demands.
Google tightens security to prevent government data snooping.
Hyundai's 2015 Genesis aims to burnish brand.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 25, 2013 07:47 PM
Kmart has attracted enormous attention and generated lots of pithy remarks with its latest pun-ny TV ad, "Show Your Joe," which features six underwear-clad men ringing hand bells and "tolling" the stuff under their shorts to music as well, in no uncertain terms. But are the ads really giving Kmart a bigger share of holiday spending, or even selling more of the Joe Boxer briefs featured in the ad?
As Kmart struggles—even more than most other US retailers—with stagnant sales and fading brand equity, the temptation to push the envelope in its advertising even further was just too great for the Sears-owned brand and its agency, DraftFCB. Over the last several months, Kmart managed to create lots of buzz with earlier tongue-in-cheek commercial treatments titled "Ship My Pants" (say it out loud) and "Big Gas Savings" (likewise).
But "Show Your Joe" leaves nothing to enunciation or imagination. Wearing tuxedo jackets on top and only Joe Boxer briefs on the bottom, the guys swivel their hips ringing out "Jingle Bells" while things violently sway back and forth under their shorts. No surprise that the ad had received more than 13.5 million hits on YouTube as of Nov. 25.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 25, 2013 07:16 PM
Nearly 80 million people have been figuring out just what that song is that's playing on the radio or in the store with help from audio-recognition app Shazam, which has suddenly become a big player in the advertising business, according to the New York Times.
The app was boosted to prominence earlier this year when a third of the ads in the Super Bowl used Shazam as part of its second-screen strategy. Now, the company has announced a partnership with media-services agency Mindshare that will help tie it to more big-name brands and allow those brands to do more with audio.
“We spend a lot of time with Google optimizing keywords for search, and a lot of time with Instagram and Pinterest talking about what brands should be doing with imagery, but not a lot of time on sound,” Norm Johnston, Mindshare’s chief digital officer, told the Times. “That can be everything from the music you have playing in a TV spot to the sound of the actual product. It’s the sonic territory that the brand would like to own.”Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 25, 2013 06:42 PM
As if the oft ephemeral and inscrutable behaviors on the web aren’t enough, granular analysis of Twitter’s ecosystem reveals that much of that behavior is bogus.
Italian security researchers Andrea Stroppa and Carlo De Micheli reportedly found 20 million fake Twitter accounts for sale this summer, according to the Wall Street Journal, amounting to nearly 9 percent of Twitter's monthly users.
"The Italian researchers also found software for sale that allows spammers to create unlimited fake accounts. The researchers decoded robot-programming software to reveal how easy it is for spammers to control the convincing fakes," the paper noted.
Adding insult to injury, celebrities world-wide have reportedly been hiring professionals to create fake Twitter accounts to follow their own accounts in order to boost popularity. Jim Vidmar admitted to managing 10,000 such robotic accounts for close to 50 clients who pay him to make them appear popular and influential.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 25, 2013 05:58 PM
Americans replace 130 million mobile phones annually, and not even 10 percent of those get recycled. Even those consumers that try to hold out from snapping up new technology immediately find themselves practically begging their phones to fall apart so they can make the upgrade in good conscience.
Google-owned Motorola is aiming to help the problem with its modular smartphone project, Project Ara. The company has just signed a deal with a South Carolina 3D printing company to create a modular phone production platform that can be scaled for mass distribution. The pieces only need to be snapped into a a frame if and when an upgrade is needed.
The modular smartphones will allow consumers to decide what elements are most important to them. If it is the camera, for example, a higher-quality camera module can be bought and snapped into place. If it is a different kind of display, the consumer will have access to that as well. Information Week calls it “Lego-style customization.” Such a phone, of course, would mean that smartphone sales in general could go down and less phones would be wasted.Continue reading...