2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

brand ambassadors

David Beckham's New Job: Save Chinese Football

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 4, 2013 03:37 PM

Soccer fans in China were recently dealt a nasty blow when news came out of just how rigged the system has been there. Close to 60 Chinese soccer officials, including two former heads of the Chinese Football Association and the nation’s most-respected referee were recently banned from the sport for anywhere from five years to life for fixing games.

In addition to the corruption scandal, Chinese football has also just lost two of its biggest stars—the Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba and France’s Nicolas Anelka—long before soccer fans in the country expected them to leave.

What’s the most-populated nation in the world to do? Hire the world’s most well-known soccer player under the age of 40 to help shift its image, of course. The 37-year-old David Beckham, who is now on the roster of Paris Saint-Germain Football Club in France’s Ligue 1, has signed on to be the brand ambassador for Chinese football, the BBC reports.Continue reading...

china

Li-Ning Has High Hopes for "Way of Wade" Campaign

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 4, 2013 01:13 PM

"It never hurts when people are talking about you relative to a guy whose every statement is picked up by a microphone."

That was the assessment of Brian Cupps, Brand Initiatives Director at Li-Ning, of the recent news that Dwayne Wade's new Li-Ning-inspired nickname "Way of Wade" (WoW) was called "corny" by MVP teammate LeBron James. "It's more tongue in cheek than anything," said Cupps. "It doesn't hurt."

Li-Ning's fledgling partnership with Wade has certainly not hurt either brand. Though hard numbers are yet to come, Cupps said anecdotally that "all of our indicators, be it social media or future sales, are up based on Wade." Cupps added, "Particularly in the US, where we had little to no real consumer following, we have a very strong pull right now and demand for our products because of Wade. Now we have to feed that demand."

Feeding the demand is going to be a huge challenge for Li-Ning for a number of reasons. For starters, it's a Chinese brand facing a mountain of existing consumer prejudice against China. Worse, negative China news outside of Li-Ning's control impacts this effort. Continue reading...

brand ambassadors

Lindsey Vonn Supports Sponsor Red Bull While in Rehab

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 20, 2013 10:29 AM

When Gold Medal skier Lindsey Vonn's uplifting Facebook post from rehab carried the Instagram/Twitter hashtag #givesyouwings, it was just the latest example of how injury has become another opportunity for athlete spokespeople to service their brands.

Vonn posted the positive message alongside a picture of herself working out her abs as she is recovering from knee surgery after a brutal injury. The picture included her Red Bull water bottle. (She later tweeted a graphic picture of her post-op knee).

Yes, Red Bull is a Lindsey Vonn sponsor, but the fact that the four-time World Cup champion might not strap on skis for another six to eight months isn't stopping her endorsement duties. In fact, as many brands are learning, there may be as much to gain from a sponsor's thrill of victory as there is from his or her agony of defeat.Continue reading...

mobile brands

BlackBerry Popularity Rises in Wake of BB10 Launch

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 15, 2013 02:37 PM

Since the rise of the iPhone and Samsung’s cooler-than-thou pursuit of Apple’s marketshare, BlackBerry has been the butt of plenty of jokes. Once the industry leader, BlackBerry suddenly had users who weren’t excited about showing off their mobile to their pals.

Lately though, things are looking up for BlackBerry Nation. A celebrity endorsement, the change in the company’s name from Research in Motion to BlackBerry and the unveiling of the BlackBerry 10 version of the phone last month has many of those who own BlackBerrys looking to upgrade.

The latest YouGov BrandIndex report finds 43 percent of BlackBerry owners surveyed planning to purchase a new phone in the next six months, up from 18 percent last year, and plan to stick with the brand. “This is the most popular the company and its products have been in the US since September 2011,” Agence France Presse notes.

BlackBerry execs can crow about such loyalty metrics with excitement a little, but only briefly. “A year ago, it looked like their customers were going to flee, but now [loyalty] has more than doubled,” Ted Marzilli, SVP and managing director of BrandIndex, tells Marketing Daily. “But what this [data] doesn’t say is if BlackBerry is attracting people from other brands.” The big question, Marzilli points out, is if this number can sustain itself or if it’s just a brief uptick.

Apple is still kicking BlackBerry’s butt with 85 percent of its smartphone buyers looking to upgrade within the brand in the next six months, YouGov notes. Slightly more than half of Samsung smartphone owners plan the same move.

Another metric that YouGov measures is brand perception and marketing buzz, asking survey participants if they’ve heard anything about the brand in the previous two weeks. Through its own scoring system, YouGov has had BlackBerry at near zero since December, but it has now gone up to seven. Samsung is at 16 and Apple is only one point higher. The latter has actually been falling on the list since its high of 38 in October when the iPhone 5 hit store shelves.

So, BlackBerry is pulling itself back up and getting back into the fight, right? It’s preparing to play the part of Rocky and take on the seemingly unstoppable machine of Ivan Drago (ad played by the iPhone). Well, it’s got a lot of work to do.Continue reading...

brand ambassadors

'Blade Runner' Sponsors Nike, BT Shocked, but Sticking with Oscar Pistorius, For Now

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 15, 2013 01:53 PM

Oscar Pistorius was a man once known for being the fastest double-leg amputee on the planet. Now that the so-called Blade Runner has been charged with murder for the shooting death of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp early Valentine’s Day morning, his sponsors, who pay out about $2 million to Pistorius annually, are moving just as quickly as Pistorius to figure out how to deal with the sudden PR nightmare.

Nike’s attachment to Pistorius was compounded by the fact that an ad featuring the Olympian used the tagline, “I’m the bullet in the chamber.” It was pulled from Pistorius’s website on Thursday, Ad Age reports. The victim's tweets before her murder also created a social media nightmare for anyone or any company attached to the paralympic athlete.

"Nike extends its deepest sympathy and condolences to all families concerned following this tragic incident," his sponsor said in a statement. "As it is a police matter, Nike will not comment further at this time." Two other sponsors, Oakley and BP Global, both used the word “shocked” in their statements on the issue. Thierry Mugler fragrances had nothing to say other than it was waiting to see what happens with the investigation.

British Telecom, better known as BT, also went the “appalled” route with its statement: "Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy. Given the ongoing legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further."Continue reading...

super bowl

Super Bowl Ad Watch: Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd Start Pitching

Posted by Dale Buss on January 31, 2013 12:02 PM

One of the dangers for brands in releasing Super Bowl ads and teasers early is that it allows the criticism to start early as well.

That's what various brands are facing even before kickoff of the Big Game, as Coca-Cola is the latest brand feeling the heat over its pre-Game teaser. Coke is getting criticized for its depiction of Arabs in its desert-set spot, above, while Volkswagen undergoes more examination of the Jamaican accents of the white characters in its "Get Happy" spot.

In other game-related brand developments leading into Sunday's big game, Samsung just released its Super Bowl ad teaser, "El Plato Supreme," featuring Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd pitching their ideas for Samsung's Big Game ad: "The Next Big Thing," a 2-minute spot directed by Jon Favreau, that will air during the 4th quarter of Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday. This is the second year Samsung Mobile has an ad running during the Super Bowl:Continue reading...

retail watch

One Year Into the Job, JCPenney CEO Struggling to Spark a Sales Turnaround

Posted by Dale Buss on January 25, 2013 01:16 PM

Many politicians, actors and sports stars have experienced an annus horribilis. But when it comes to corporate CEOs, few have ever had as bad a year as Ron Johnson of JCPenney.

It's been about a year since the former Apple retailing executive blew into Penney's headquarters in Dallas believing that he had a secret formula that would do even more than rescue the company from its threatened place in the nation's retailing industry. Eager to start a "retail revolution," Johnson sought to simplify the company's structure and re-program the American consumer's attitude toward store pricing, discounting and promotional tactics.

A year ago today, at a splashy two-day press event in New York, Johnson outlined his vision for transforming the 110-year-old department-store chain over four years through "Fair and Square" pricing as part of a rebranding and repositioning for the company. But it's not working.Continue reading...

brand ambassadors

Chevrolet Appears Ready to Find New Roads Without Tim Allen

Posted by Dale Buss on January 23, 2013 06:02 PM

If you're Tim Allen, you might be hoping that your return to television comedy in ABC's Last Man Standing continues to be well-received. Because there are more hints that your long-standing and respected gig as the mellifluous voiceover for Chevrolet's "Chevy Runs Deep" campaign has reached its end.

Chevy plans to break the first TV spots under its new "Find New Roads" tagline as early as Super Bowl Sunday, February 3, or even before. And while GM has stuck with its pledge made last spring not to place commercials during the actual Big Game itself, Chevrolet executives clearly are eager to begin to execute against the new brand positioning that is replacing the less-than-effective "Chevy Runs Deep."

"That hasn't been determined yet," Chris Perry, Chevy's CMO, told brandchannel at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The company said upon unveiling the new slogan recently that creative executions would begin occurring during the first quarter, and "Find New Roads" already is appearing in Chevrolet's exhibit at the Detroit show as well as on the web site for its new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray that was unveiled several days ago.Continue reading...

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