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Branding

ALS Association Wants to Trademark ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’

ice bucket

Can you blame them, really?

Yet some attorneys call the move “shameful”, comparing it to last year’s attempt to trademark the phrase “Boston Strong” in the wake of the bombing that shook that city.

Everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Anna Wintour, a robot and a smartphone poured water over themselves for advocacy this summer. Pamela Anderson and several big fashion names even sparked some ethics debates by co-opting the meme for their own purposes.

But this move undermines the campaign.

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Abercrombie Drops Logo from Clothing, Deprives Bros Everywhere of Identities

abercrombie-and-fitch-clothes-for-womenThanks to changing tastes of the teen demographic and the landslide of bad press the company has received over the past year, the Abercrombie & Fitch brand no longer wields the same power it once did. With sales continuing to flounder, the clothing retailer has decided to abandon its time-honored tradition of plastering its name and logo on virtually every piece of attire it sells, effectively robbing rich frat boy types of their identities.

“In the spring season, we are looking to take the North American logo business to practically nothing,” Mark Jeffries, CEO of A&F told investors on a conference call.  And in a note to investors Thursday, Richard Jaffe, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, noted that “it’s taking time to win back customers.” But he believes that the merchandise changes are “gaining traction.”

While much of the brand’s weakening can likely be attributed to the recent Abercrombie-only-wants-pretty-and-cool-kids-wearing-their-clothes controversy, this branding shift is also about keeping up with the changing preferences of teens, who are more interested in standing out as individuals (while all wearing the same trendy top from H&M or Forever 21) than fitting in under a universally-recognized logo. Read more

Anything Named ISIS is Due for a Rebrand

isis bandUntil recently, the word “Isis” didn’t mean much to many people. At least not here in the US. Then we started to hear about the terror they inflicted as they took control of area after area across Iraq and Syria. Then, of course, there was the horrifying news of James Foley’s beheading. Now, the word “ISIS” elicits nothing but fear, disgust and anger.

So it’s unfortunate if you’re a brand with the name Isis.

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Samsung Receives Editorial Smackdown for ALS Newsjacking Stunt

Newsjacking and the ALS ice bucket challenge were two of the big topics on this little blog last week, and on Friday Samsung and its in-house creative/marketing teams in the UK managed to combine them both in this ad (which somehow earned the “alcoholic drinks” tag on our sister site Ads of the World).

You’ll have to forgive us for failing to notice most of the ALS posts appearing in our feeds recently; they all start to blend together pretty quickly unless you happen to know the people involved. But this little play for attention was noteworthy in that it inspired something we never see: an editorial wag of the finger via TechCrunch.

Three million views is a fair number for such a large brand, but we’re more interested in two particular critiques of this not-quite-real-time-marketing stunt.

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When It Comes to Shopping at Aeropostale, Teens Would Rather Not

AEROPOTALE2

Earlier this week, Aeropostale fired CEO Thomas Johnson and announced his replacement: former CEO Julian Geiger, who ran the chain from 1996 to 2010 before leaving to lead Crumbs Bake Shop from 2011 through 2013.

You might be scratching your head at this one: it was Geiger at the helm when the cupcake chain went bust this summer.

But perhaps that little SNAFU can be explained away by the Peter Principle. At least that’s what this PRNewser reads between the lines in Chairman Karin Hirtler-Garvey’s description of Geiger as “an ideal choice” and her reminder that “Julian was the leader of Aeropostale’s strategic direction during a period of significant growth.”

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Cinnabon Doesn’t Need Advertising; Good Marketing and Branding Are Enough

Cinnabon-Reaches-1000th-Bakery-Milestone

Today’s conventional wisdom would suggest that aggressively expanding a brand solely focused on a singular sugary baked good is folly. Cinnabon isn’t quite the ill-fated Crumbs, despite some similarities, and President Kat Cole has been aiming high:

  • “We’re building the world’s greatest brand,” she told Nation’s Restaurant News.
  • “Eventually it will end up in the bucket with brands like Oreo and Hershey,” she told Forbes.

Indeed 2013 was a busy (and profitable) year for Cinnabon; the chain added 110 new locations, bringing its total now up to nearly 1,200 and saw $1 billion in retail product sales from all divisions worldwide, including franchising, consumer package goods and food-service licensed products.

It also spent only $33,000 in advertising.

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Three Message Points That Whole Foods Should Use In Its New Marketing Campaign

whole foods signWhole Foods is tired of its “Whole Paycheck” moniker. Though I have no hard data, it seems as though the store has made some effort in recent months to offer products that are less expensive than the top-of-the-line organic/natural/free-range/chemical-free/etc. items that also line their shelves.

Still, the “Whole Paycheck” reputation persists.

With financial results coming up short — “Whole Foods’ stock was the second-worst performer in the S&P 500 after losing 30-some percent of its value since January,” according to Slate — the company has decided it’s now become a business imperative to shake this nickname. It’s launching its first-ever branding and marketing campaign this fall.

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Kellogg and Special K Hope to Gain Profits by Losing the Weight Loss Message

special-k-cerealsWe’re all accustomed to the Special K ads that traditionally hit the airwaves during the fall and winter, urging us to stave off seasonal weight gain by eating cereal instead of huge meals or sweets, with taglines like: “What will you gain when you lose?”

Well, it seems Kellogg is about to answer its own question, but from a marketing standpoint.

Kellogg Co. CEO John Bryant said during an earnings call last Thursday that reduced-calorie messaging no longer resonates with consumers, referencing weaknesses with other similar food categories like diet sodas and reduced-calorie frozen meals. “I think consumers are changing their views on weight management from ‘reduce calories’ to ‘nutritious foods’,” he said. Special K can “absolutely meet that criteria…It’s a very nutrient-dense food form. But we haven’t been communicating it that way. So we are increasing our communication more down that path as opposed to reduce calories.” Read more

Malaysia Airlines May Undergo a Name Change as Part of a Major Rebranding Effort

malaysia airAfter the disappearance of MH370 back in March and the attack on Flight 17 over the Ukraine 10 days ago that resulted in the deaths of 298 people, Malaysia Airlines is planning a rebrand that likely includes changing the company’s name.

The airline, which is majority-owned by the Malaysian government, is seeking outside investment, is rethinking its routes and is considering additional outsourcing options for both PR and financial reasons.

The airline is also pressing for an international body to monitor the skies.

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STUDY: How Many Brands Would You Call ‘Friends?’

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Is your favorite brand the kind that you might call…your best friend? How many brands would even qualify as casual acquaintances? And which ones do you come back to again and again like a well-worn pair of pants?

Yes, these are ridiculous questions–but they’re also very serious, because their answers go a long way toward determining where the average John or Jane spends his/her money. A new survey of more than 4,000 consumers worldwide by IBM-owned email marketing tech provider Silverpop addresses the very real idea that every business should personalize its service as much as possible.

As you probably know, a “best friend” brand is one that will regularly lead consumers to open and even actually read emails, therefore leading to more sales etc.

Some stats, then:

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