The Week in China: McDonald's Nightclub, Xi Jinping for Durex, Baijiu Woes and more

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 14, 2013 12:45 PM

China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.

This week: McDonald's owns the night... KFC woes... Middle-class spending... GM exports... Buick and Toyota recalls... Adidas fakes... GSK scandal... Volvo and Carrefour look West... Hollister brah... Givenchy... Dreamworks' Tibet Code... Durex gets spanked... and more.Continue reading...


Starbucks China Boosts Beans, But Home Brewing Could Save Local Coffee Growers

Posted by Abe Sauer on December 13, 2012 11:19 AM

China is devouring wine, and in turn China-based vineyards are popping up. Chinese consuemrs are also glugging down coffee, so it should follow that China's coffee bean business would be booming. And it was, until a few weeks ago when coffee prices cratered to a five-year low that might see farmers change crops. Starbucks to the rescue! Kind of. 

"We see our work in Yunnan as a tremendous opportunity to continue to elevate the high quality arabica coffee of Yunnan and invest in the local communities," a Starbucks spokesperson told brandchannel. A few days later, Starbucks announced the opening of the brand's first Asia-based Starbucks Farmer Support Center in China's southern coffee-growing Yunnan Province. Can the mermaid from Seattle lift the profile of China beans enough so that "Yunnan" could someday be found alongside Sumatra, Kenya, and Kona beans on its shelves?Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Bangladesh Factory Fire Highlights Brands' Supply Chain of Ethics

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 7, 2012 03:21 PM

As countries like Bangladesh move up the food chain from aid to trade, the global eco-system fueling the fire, literally and figuratively, is largely the retail fashion industry, feeding the western world’s insatiable appetite for fashion. 

The November 24th factory blaze that killed 112 garment workers in an illegal factory in Bangladesh showed the world, as Reuters puts it, that “pressure from big Western brands to produce huge volumes of apparel fast and at rock-bottom prices, [is making] Bangladeshi suppliers routinely sub-contract their orders.”

As the victims — many of them young women and mothers, all of them poor — are mourned and the Clean Clothes Campaign organizes vigils at C&A and beyond as part of a bigger shame campaign for brands whose labels were found in the ashes, what’s really on trial, as the New York Times points out in a scathing article today, is ethical sourcing and a severely out-of-balance equation claiming the lives of impoverished workers with no options.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Bangladesh Factory Fire Puts Ethical Sourcing, Factory Conditions in Spotlight

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 26, 2012 04:04 PM

In a fiery furnace of déjà vu, a garment-factory fire in Bangladesh on Saturday killed 112 people trapped inside the building, or jumping to their deaths in buildings where safety is ignored in a retail rush for products to export.

It was just over a century ago — March 25, 1911 — when the now infamous fire in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on New York's Washington Square left 146 workers dead because the owner had blocked exits and stairwells to keep employees from leaving or taking a break. The tragedy led to reforms and unionization for U.S. garment workers, but here we are a century later, and it's happening again in Bangladesh.

About this latest firetrap, which has sparked mass protests in Bangladesh, AP writes: “The fire alarm: Waved off by managers. An exit door: Locked. The fire extinguishers: Not working and apparently 'meant just to impress' inspectors and customers. 'Had there been at least one emergency exit through outside the factory, the casualties would have been much lower,' said Maj. Mohammad Mahbub, fire department operations director.

The factory is owned by Tazreen Fashions Ltd., a subsidiary of the Tuba Group, and has produced garments for Walmart, Carrefour, C&A and IKEA, since opening in 2009 and employing about 1,700 people. Walmart's connection to the factory is still "unclear," as Salon notes. A 2011 Walmart ethical sourcing audit gave Tuba Group a yellow rating and requested that it address unacceptable conditions at its factories.

Update: Walmart stated on Monday that the factory in question was indeed producing pieces for the retailer — but without its knowledge, due to a subcontractor arrangement. "Today, we have terminated the relationship with that supplier," America's biggest retailer said in a statement. "The fact that this occurred is extremely troubling to us, and we will continue to work across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh."Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Hostess, Ikea, GM and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 20, 2012 09:01 AM

In the News

Hostess Brands gets a stay of execution as company and union agrees to mediation today.

Ikea gets green light in India.

GM launches Springo sub-brand in China.

BMW shows off speed with tire-track promotion.

Best Buy posts loss as store sales drop.

Billabong Americas head considers buyout bid for company.

Campbell Soup builds giant Pinterest board out of classic green-bean casserole.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Google, HSBC, McDonald's and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 19, 2012 09:02 AM

In the News

Google turns in soft quarter as PR fail pummels stock.

HSBC hit by worldwide cyberattack.

McDonald's profit falls as U.S. growth slows.

Abbott study of kidney drug is halted.

Apple's iPad Mini poised to cannibalize sales.

Lance Armstrong endorsement implosion toll reaches $30 million.

BBC director general to testify on Jimmy Savile scandal, as new head of BBC Worldwide named.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: BP, Activision, Huawei and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 11, 2012 09:04 AM

In the News

Activision goes bigger with Skylanders line extension and marketing effort.

AIG pays $1.7 billion for ING Malaysia.

ANA conference poised to set attendance record.

Android robot is a hit with 3-D printers.

Audi and BMW starting to leave behind Mercedes-Benz in global premium-auto race.

BAE in play for U.S. buyers as report says EADS merger failed because of discord among participating European governments.

BP moves closer to overall settlement of Gulf spill as Louisiana blames company for perma-sheen.Continue reading...


From Emerging Markets to Emerging Technology, It's a Walmart World

Posted by Dale Buss on September 18, 2012 05:18 PM

From the swarming Indian metropolis of Mumbai to the windy streets of Chicago, a resurgent Walmart is flexing its muscles a bit more these days.

For a couple of years, during the Great Recession, Walmart was naturally preoccupied with its sagging sales and other troubles at home. But with U.S. same-store sales back in a solid growth mode now after Walmart executives about-faced and returned to their tried-and-true promotional and merchandising formula, the company has freed up cash flow to look at other potential growth areas.

One of the most beckoning is India. Some critics are still lashing the Indian government for its move last Friday finally to boost its economy by allowing greater foreign participation in retailing investment in the country, and other measures designed to kick-start an economy that is slowing even though India's population growth continues.Continue reading...

elsewhere on brandchannel

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
brandcameo2014 Product Placement Awards
Apple loses its crown to a new #1
Coca-ColaIt's the Journey That Matters:
Coca-Cola Opens Up With Story-Based Web Refresh
debateJoin the Debate
Is product placement a waste of money?
Arthur Chinski and Joshua Mizrahi
Model Behavior? Brands Beware
U.S. Legal Changes Impact Use of Brand Ambassadors
paperCorporate Citizenship in Canada
Fresh thinking from Interbrand
Sheryl Connelly
Sheryl Connelly

Meet Ford's Resident Futurist
Highlighting the Present—and Future—of Branding in Latin America and Iberia