Tag Archives: celebrity endorsements

Naming a New Brand is Tricky!

How important is naming a new brand? It is absolutely critical – and also exceedingly difficult to accomplish. Marketers have to come up with a new name that represents the product’s value and attributes, AND be attractive to customers, AND it must not be taken by another company, AND is not too common a name, AND is not offensive to any population. Whew. No wonder so many companies use made-up words as brand names.

A recent case about the perils of naming a new brand was the ‘Kimono’ shapewear brand developed by celebrity icon Kim Kardashian West. Although the branding was rigorously researched, the ‘Kimono’ name was criticized globally as being offensive and profiting from a traditional clothing article that was a cultural symbol of Japanese heritage. The name had to go, along with the Kimono Web site, logo, labels, and more. More than two million garments will need to be relabeled so that no products are wasted.

The stakes are high for the new brand. The global women’s underwear industry is valued at approximately $83.3 billion and is still growing. It is also fragmented with new comers gaining market share at the expense of older more established brands. To her credit, Kardashian West listened to criticisms and has decided to change the name prior to releasing any product. (The new name has not yet been announced.)

What’s in a name? Everything!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students about their viewpoints on the Kimono name. Do they agree with the decision to change the name?
  2. Discuss competition: Who are the direct competitors for this product? Indirect competitors?
  3. For ‘Kimono’ put students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis.
    1. Strengths: What is the company good at?
    2. Weaknesses: What needs work?
    3. Opportunities: What is going on in the marketplace that is positive?
    4. Threats: What factors should the company be wary of?
  4. Put students into teams. Have each team develop a new name for the Kimono brand.
  5. Post the names on the board and vote on a winner.

Source: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Fast Company, other news sources

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Different Perspectives: Dream Crazy, Crazier, and Be the Best You

Consumers have many opinions about product advertising and branding, and they are not afraid to voice them. Opinions can depend on the times, trends, and moods of the population. In the U.S. today, the topics of social justice, harassment, and equality are very much top of mind for many consumers. Consequently, they may respond to advertisements in a different way today than they might have responded a few years ago.

One very timely topic that is addressed by Gillette is the harassment that started the #MeToo movement. A new ad from the company focuses on bullying and ‘toxic masculinity’ and asks consumers “Is this the best a man can get?” The ad was designed to inspire positive behavior, but has faced a backlash of negative reactions. Why?

Another company that is no stranger to controversy is Nike. A few months ago it released an advertisement narrated by Colin Kaepernick titled “Dream Crazy.” That advertisement focused on the power of social justice and dreams that drive people to achieve more. However it also generated a score of negative publicity initially for Nike. Why?

Finally, a new advertisement from Nike features Serena Williams narrating a “Dream Crazier” video focused on the achievements of women in sports, and reminding viewers that women are not crazy just because they want to achieve more than stereotypes have limited them to. This one is generating positive publicity. Why?

How can companies and brands tie into broader social messages? Should they?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the perspectives and attitudes of consumers. What are conditions or topics that impact perspectives and purchases? What are current events that influence behavior?
  2. Show the recent advertisements from Gillette: https://gillette.com/en-us/the-best-men-can-be
  3. Discuss the message of the ad. Should consumers view it negatively or positively?
  4. Next, show Nike’s ad titled “Dream Crazy” narrated by Colin Kaepernick: https://news.nike.com/featured_video/just-do-it-dream-crazy-film
  5. Discuss the message of the ad. Should consumers view it negatively or positively?
  6. Finally, show Nike’s newest advertisement narrated by Serena Williams about females in sports (“Dream Crazier”) from Nike: https://news.nike.com/featured_video/dream-crazier
  7. Discuss the message of the ad. Should consumers view it negatively or positively?
  8. Why do these ads generate such passionate responses?

Source: Ad Week, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, other news sources

 

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Uncle Drew – The Movie Hits the Big Screen

Branding knows no bounds. Well, at least it knows when it’s “in-bounds” in this case (on the basketball court)…

It’s here – the Uncle Drew movie has finally arrived and fans have been ecstatic! What began eight years ago as a series of short, online scripted videos by Pepsi MAX has now hit the big screen as a full movie starring NBA star Kyrie Irving as the elderly (but still talented) basketball player Uncle Drew.

The story focuses on how one of the characters drained his life savings to enter the Rucker Classic street ball tournament in Harlem, only to see his longtime rival take over his team. Desperate to win the tournament and regain his money, he stumbles upon “the man, the myth, the legend” – Uncle Drew! What ensues is a road trip to round up Uncle Drew’s old basketball squad and prove that the old guys still have what it takes to be winners on the court. With a supporting cast including great players such as Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson, and Lisa Leslie, the movie features quick moves and plenty of laughs.

The short films are still winners online. All quickly went viral and have remained fan favorites:

  • Part 1, May 2012, 52 million views. Pepsi MAX visits a New Jersey pick-up game where Uncle Drew first appears.
  • Part 2, October 2012, 13 million views. Uncle Drew is on a mission to get his old team back together in Los Angeles.
  • Part 3, October 2013, 22 million views. Uncle Drew visits an underground jazz club in Chicago to convince his old point guard to revisit the game.
  • Part 4, November 2015, 15 million views. Uncle Drew is in Miami settling old scores.

This is likely one of the largest brand promotion projects done by Pepsi. It’s a Pepsi-funded movie based on a character and concept featured in its soda commercials. Like Pepsi, other companies have been increasing their spending on branded content – films that look more like editorial content than advertising. Clever move – consumers accept the story more easily than accept advertising.

It’s all about the buckets, young blood.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. This is a great summer case study when students are restless and need some screen time.
  2. Discuss the benefits and expenses of branding. How did the original Uncle Drew accomplish this for Pepsi?
  3. Watch the movie trailer: https://youtu.be/Ept29ceiVfk
  4. If you have not seen the original viral videos, here they are:
    1. Part 1: https://youtu.be/8DnKOc6FISU
    2. Part 2: https://youtu.be/MLyvkBifQ3w
    3. Part 3: https://youtu.be/spDdO_ZB-lE
    4. Part 4: https://youtu.be/ZY6GAOPGuPs
    5. Interview with Drew: https://youtu.be/sW2sobJXI4s
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team discuss the pros and cons of this brand extension and movie. What should Pepsi, and other companies, do next?

Source: Brandchannel.com

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