Posted by Dale Buss on November 18, 2013 04:57 PM
For decades, the "old" General Motors lived uncomfortably with the evident overlap between its Buick and Oldsmobile brands in the US market, a counterproductive overlap that encompassed product segments, dealers and, of course, many customers. But it took the company until just before the 2009 bailout to finally end the brand confusion by vanquishing Oldsmobile.
GM faces a similar conflict in Europe between the Chevrolet and Opel brands, and CEO Dan Akerson has said, "Something has to change" about the arrangement. What isn't clear at this point is exactly what will change. But the whole problem is pretty consequential for the company.
Opel is to GM in Europe what Chevrolet is to GM in the United States: the big, bellwether, crucial brand for the company in that market. That remains the case despite the woes of the European auto industry that have affected every company, brand and segment, and would seem to favor a further incursion by budget-priced Chevrolet. But Opel outsells Chevy five-to-one there despite GM's efforts to grab a significant foothold for Chevrolet over the last several years, including shared Opel and Chevy showrooms and some similar product lines.Continue reading...
games people play
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 18, 2013 04:07 PM
Sony scored a hit this weekend when its PlayStation 4 went on sale to the masses, selling over 1 million of the $399 consoles in the first 24 hours.
But with any major launch, Sony ran into a few problem. "A handful of people have reported issues with their PlayStation 4 systems," Sony said in a statement to IGN. "There have been several problems reported, which leads us to believe there isn't a singular problem that could impact a broader percentage of systems. The number of affected systems represents less than .4 percent of shipped units to date, which is within our expectations for a new product introduction."
The launch is significant for the brand, which hasn't had a new console since it unveiled its PlayStation 3 in 2006—an unprecedented seven-year gap in the tech world. That console only sold 197,000 units in the first month, but the debut of the PlayStation 4 holds much more weight. Sony reported a 25 percent loss in its second quarter due to “the poor performance of its movies and TV shows in the pictures division” and lowered its full-year profit outlook from $509 million to $305 million.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 18, 2013 02:52 PM
Lincoln continues to reinvent itself, but the brand retains some significant links to aspects of its past—one intentional, and one an accident of history.
Brand executives are optimistic that their new 2015 MKC small "crossover" utility vehicle will prove just the right boost to Lincoln's appeal, because it is entering the hottest segment in the US premium market these days. It's offering the boldest styling yet seen in any Lincoln SUV (which isn't saying much on its own) as well as the first application in any vehicle of a new EcoBoost 2.3-liter engine. MKC's reception is especially important because the first of the promised four new vehicles by the "new" Lincoln, the MKZ sedan, has taken a while to catch on.
Lincoln also is banking on a package of technology features and dealership hand-holding programs it is calling "Lincoln Experiences" to attract pampered American luxury buyers to the MKC. Lincoln Experiences includes Approach Detection, which responds to the arrival of the owner of the car and welcomes him or her with illuminated "mats" that light up the ground next to both front doors and soft lighting in the door-handle pockets.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 18, 2013 01:47 PM
Forbes Media is the latest victim of a dying print industry.
Perhaps best known for ranking wealthy individuals worldwide, Forbes is on the block for an estimated $400 million to $500 million in a sale being handled by Deutsche Bank. Former Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes, who serves as editor-in-chief told employees on Friday that they’d received numerous inquiries about a sale.
The venerable, 96-year-old brand, founded by financial newspaper columnist B.C. Forbes in 1917, has been confronted by declining ad sales and dwindling profits as print-based media brands struggle to transform content, platform and purpose in a world wired 24/7.
B.C. Forbes was succeeded by his son, Malcolm, who was known for his expensive tastes including hot air balloons, Faberge eggs, Victorian art, real-estate and a motorcycle collection—all of which was sold off along the way, including Forbes’ longtime headquarters, which was sold to New York University in 2010. Forbes began making changes to its privately-held structure in 2006 to augment its digital presence by selling a 45 percent stake to Elevation Partners, the private equity firm co-founded and backed by U2 frontman Bono and Roger McNamee for close to $240 million.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 18, 2013 12:41 PM
Starbucks still can’t find a way to stop a New Hampshire coffee company from selling Charbucks coffee products, even after more than a decade of legal wrangling. The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday “that Black Bear Micro Roastery may continue selling ‘Charbucks Blend,’ ‘Mister Charbucks,’ and ‘Mr. Charbucks’ coffee.”
Starbucks took Wolfe’s Borough Coffee to court 12 years ago, but Circuit Judge Raymond Lohier wrote Friday that Starbucks had not proved that consumers would be confused in the slightest by the “blurring of the brand,” Reuters reports.
To help prove its case early on, Starbucks surveyed 600 people who said their “number one association of the name ‘Charbucks’ in the minds of consumers is with the brand ‘Starbucks.’” The survey wasn’t used in court, though, because it was ruled to be “fundamentally flawed.” The results weren’t definitive, either. Only 4.4 percent said “Starbucks” or “coffee house” when asked what kind of establishment would sell a product labeled Charbucks. However, 39.5 percent thought of “Starbucks” or “coffee” when the word “Charbucks” was mentioned.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 18, 2013 11:12 AM
Gap has put its own spin on holiday cheer with this year's #MakeLove campaign featuring artists and activists who are making a difference in the world.
The retailer has received praise for featuring a diverse group of personalities in its print and digital adverts, from rapper Q-Tip to artist and civil rights icon Harry Belafonte, and music celebebrities including Tony Bennett, Kenna, Cyndi Lauper and Billy Porter. It has especially received attention for featuring the face of Indian-American designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia in all 866 Gap retail stores in the US, online and on social media, in which he wears a traditional Sikh turban.
Ahluwalia has become one of the most prominent Sikh celebrities in America through his House of Waris line and appearances in films such as Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic and Spike Lee’s Inside Man.
Consumers have reacted positively to the inclusive campaign on social media:Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 18, 2013 09:14 AM
Forbes explores sale of 96-year-old magazine.
GM recalls Chevrolet Malibu for two defects as it plans to end brand confusion between Chevy and Opel in Europe and expects to get a leg up with 4G push.
Sony sells more than 1 million PS4s in first 24 hours.
Lily Allen's fashion brand goes into liquidation.
Apple reportedly acquires PrimeSense for $345 million.
BMW pioneers use of carbon fiber in i3.
Bacardi focuses on its brand resilience in new campaign.
Bloomberg makes newsroom cuts.
Boeing gets $95 billion in orders for new jet from Middle Eastern airllines.
China Airlines of Taiwan joins low-cost aviation market.
Cracker Barrel is too confusing to appear in supermarket for now, judge rules.
Daimler sets to take stake in Beijing Auto.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 15, 2013 08:07 PM
Patagonia Toasts Itself with Organic Brew
Outdoor clothing company Patagonia is turning 40 and in perfect mid-life crisis fashion, it's adopting some new hobbies. The eco-friendly outfitter is actually brewing its own brand of beer.
Created in partnership with New Belgium Brewing, the limited-edition organic beer will be known as California Route Lager and only sold in 12-ounce cans, according to the Huffington Post. But the lager won’t be around for long. “This is just a promotional, one-time special collaboration," Patagonia spokesperson Jess Clayton told Bloomberg Businessweek. "Patagonia is not getting into the beer-business in a permanent way.”
The name comes “from the California route on Patagonia's Mount Fitz Roy, first climbed in 1968 by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and friends,” according to the company’s press release.
We'll drink to that!Continue reading...