Posted by Dale Buss on May 1, 2013 06:12 PM
JCPenney's brand-resuscitation efforts continued today with a digital-era form of a classic corporate move: the mea culpa.
The company launched a virtual apology tour on Facebook, YouTube (watch below) and Twitter to get the message out to customers—those same customers that now-ousted CEO Ron Johnson in large part ignored for more than a year—that the brand is sorry and wants them to come back.
According to Bloomberg, the campaign was developed on Johnson's watch and implemented by Sergio Zyman, the former Coca-Cola marketing executive who will go down in history as the architect of the New Coke fiasco.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on May 1, 2013 05:39 PM
As the mobile payments market heats up with entries like MasterPass from MasterCard, mobile payment player Square continues to forge new ground.
Last November, Square, the brainchild of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, scored a coup by getting Starbucks to accept mobile payments in some 7,000 locations. Users of Square Wallet could also browse menu information and store hours, gain access to their transaction history and even explore nearby businesses. Now Square is adding new features to Square Register so it is all the more attractive to quick-service restaurants.
The move by Square is significant. For the most part, the brand's customer base is comprised of individual merchants, including taxi drivers, food truck owners and people who provide personal services. By adding features such as the ability to modify orders and customize kitchen tickets, Square is hoping to further penetrate the food business.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 1, 2013 04:47 PM
Ford has been waiting months to mount a more rigorous defense of its botched handling of the crucial launch of the Lincoln MKZ, and finally today's monthly sales numbers provided the company with the ammunition to do so: Sales of the radically restyled new version of MKZ more than doubled from the old version sold in April 2012 to more than 4,000 units.
It's impossible to say yet whether last month's performance represented the beginning of a long-term upswing in the nameplate's fortunes after the brand suffered quite a rough start as it tried to launch the new version, suffering from supply and quality problems. But it's a good start in getting away from the dismal position in which Ford found its launch reputation, and its rebirthed Lincoln brand, about a month ago. Ford's overall sales for the month rose by 18 percent over a year ago, part of a good total month for the US industry, while Lincoln's total sales rose by 21 percent.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 1, 2013 03:50 PM
For decades, the eponymous mascot of Chuck E. Cheese has appeared to the general public as an extremely sizeable mouse that’s eaten a little too much of the famed restaurant’s pizza. For a time, the guy even carried a cigar around with him. But in a world that has heard a steady drumbeat against child obesity, it hasn’t exactly looked good to have a mascot who looked like he could lose a few pounds.
On Tuesday, Chuck E. Cheese execs and shareholders at the CEC Entertainment’s annual meeting in Texas met a slimmed-down version of Mr. Cheese, whose transformation began last year when his illustrated form changed shape in advertising and signage to become a lot more rock star than his past version.
With the change came the disappearance of the man who was his longtime voice, Duncan Brannan, and the introduction of Jaret Reddick as the new voice of Cheese, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Reddick, of course, is the lead singer of pop-punk band Bowling for Soup, which has a few albums Cheese execs probably wouldn’t want their mascot singing on, such as “Drunk Enough to Dance” and “A Hangover You Don’t Deserve.”
Changing the mascot may be the simplest thing CEC does this year. The 36-year-old company announced in February that its profits fell 20.7 percent to $43.6 million in fiscal year 2012. That’s a little surprising for a brand that was just named the No. 1 kid-friendly restaurant by Technomic's Consumer Restaurants Brand Metrics, based on customer surveys over the last two years.Continue reading...
tech in the spotlight
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 1, 2013 02:53 PM
As with any device that ups the ante on usage and reach, added security risks and vulnerability come hand-in-hand—and in this case, fashion issues as well.
Google has been busy hyping Google Glass, as it unleashes the futuristic specs on developers and journalists to test drive. It released a tutorial video this week, demonstrating how the glasses work.
But as developers pour over the specs of the device, several security loopholes have been discovered, causing already existing security concerns to rise. Jay Freeman, iOS and Android developer discovered that an Android hacking technique could compromise the Glass headset, gaining complete control of its operating system and potentially allowing the installation of surveillance malware.
This “Explorer” version of Glass that developers received doesn’t have a PIN code or authentication protection, so when left on and unattended, the device is vulnerable to hacking. A USB cable could be attached to the headset and used to gain full "root" access to the device, which could allow surveillance programs to be installed. Such programs could upload a user's photos, video and audio to a remote server.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 1, 2013 01:46 PM
The days of the classic candy-and-chip vending machine have been gone for years now. These days, you can get cupcakes, slices of pizza, heads of lettuce, mashed potatoes and fresh-squeezed juice from the dang things.
You can’t blame any brand from getting in on the trend. After all, a vending machine provides a full-blown ad right at the point of purchase and is the ultimate grab-and-go service for customers. Chanel has gotten into the act with a new vending machine at one of London’s Selfridges department stores that shells out three shades of a new mascara, Le Volume de Chanel Mascara, until May 8, according to British Vogue.
Of course, you can't stuff this attitudinal machine with any old coins. Naturellement, there is a special Chanel-logo coin that consumers need to get first in order to make the purchase, Refinery29.com reports.Continue reading...
Posted by Ben Berkon on May 1, 2013 12:52 PM
Claiming Tim Tebow was a bad quarterback in 2012 is almost an unfair statement. The former Florida Gators standout only threw the ball eight times as a New York Jet—and to his credit, completed six of those passes. Surely fans, prospective front offices and even vocal ex-teammates would need a slightly larger sample size to evaluate the talent and future of a player.
Yet, there will not likely be any more chances for Tim Tebow to prove himself in the National Football League—at least not in the foreseeable future. The New York Jets released their fourth string QB after surprisingly drafting West Virginia star Geno Smith 39th overall, making Tebow an unrestricted free agent. Apparently, only the Omaha Beef indoor team has knocked on Tebow's door since. Heck, even the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League passed on him.
Tebow has become somewhat of an enigma in the professional sports circuit. While his performance on the field has been anything but exceptional, his sterling brand has remained remarkably strong. Very strong, in fact, according to Henry Schafer, the executive Vice President of The Q Scores, which rank athletes and celebrities based on their positive impressions in the public. This now-mainstream analytics measurement has helped Tebow land a variety of endorsements throughout the years, and may ultimately contribute to a stay in his popularity.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 1, 2013 11:33 AM
IBM’s A Boy And His Atom now holds the Guinness World Record for the World's Smallest Stop-Motion Film.
The film is a byproduct of IBM’s acumen in moving atoms, key to research in the fields of atomic memory and data storage at the core of their broad suite of products and services. The story is about a boy—who is 1/25,000,000 of an inch big—and his friendship with a wayward atom.Continue reading...