Brand Mascots: An Endangered Species

The growing trend to ditch the brand mascots of yesteryear – costumed characters, furry animals and/or talking cartoon characters whose playful presence lends a spirit of fun and identity to a brand – has been gathering momentum in recent years. Changing an image is one thing. Erasing an entire brand’s populist/institutional memory is another. What gives?

What Makes U.S. Brands Patriotic?

Among established brands, what’s more American than apple pie and the Fourth of July? According to a new survey, Jeep was determined to be the most patriotic brand among 197 names across 35 categories. Is that something a car company can even be? Does patriotism even matter in a global economy? Who and what determines what makes U.S. brands patriotic?

Saving the Many Faces of Paula Deen

TV cooking personality Paula Deen recently found herself in a bit of hot water, after having admitting under oath to making racist remarks long ago. Her few flailing attempts at damage control indicate that Deen faces a difficult road back to public respectability -- if, indeed, that ever comes. The process looks to depend on how much Deen has actually revealed thus far and whether any unsavory surprises remain.

Authenticity Gap

Midwest PR and marketing agency FleishmanHillard decided to find out the difference between what consumers expect from companies and what they actually experience. The resulting study, entitled “Mind the Gap”, looked at 20 different industry categories in the U.S., Germany and China. Do consumers care if a company comes across as authentic and genuine? Does sincerity always carry the day?

Celebrities: Live Short and Prosper

Celebrities—with their flush bank accounts, trails of homes around the world and constant adoration, yet die sooner than the rest of us common folk.

Will Price Always Trump Brand, and Do Marketers Need to Care?

Are consumers chucking brand loyalty overboard in favor of getting the best deal possible on a product or service? Or are they simply responding to expanded product lines, increased promotional opportunities and economic realities – the same way people always have and always will? And does anyone need a marketing guru to explain it all?

Using Gamification to Engage Customers and Employees

Expanding on the premise that most activities – including shopping and work – aren't as stressful if they feel like fun, gamification has risen to prominence in the world of retail. Merchants as diverse as Nike, Whole Foods and New York-area drug store chain Duane Reade are taking a long, hard look at how online games and apps can help them improve the bottom line while keeping customers -- and employees – entertained. And, the retailers hope, loyal.

Plastic from a Plant?

Companies that use plastic in the packaging of their products have been experimenting with the use of a plant-based substance that seems to work just as well as its petroleum-based cousin. With corporate giants like Coca-Cola and Heinz using PlantBottle technology, is plant-based plastic the real thing? And just how recyclable is it?

Celebrities Get Creative with Charity Fundraising

Do new charity fundraising tactics by the likes of Madonna and Angelina Jolie signal a new trend in celebrity fundraising? Have people grown fatigued by merely writing checks or donating to a web site? Does giving them something tangible – whether a painting or pieces of jewelry – provide a necessary level of satisfaction? Or is it just a cheap trick to take a smudge or two off a celebrity’s checkered reputation?

Color It Marketable

It's not brand new information that colors easily stir up subconscious feelings, some troubling, others completely pleasant. Savvy retailers bank on this emotional correlation along the spectrum of Roy G. Biv to attract shoppers and encourage the opening of pockets and swiping of credit cards.