April 11 - 17, 2005

Branding Cultures Weekly Update

- The "Branding Cultures Lab" blog now has an RSS feed.
- The "MIT Advertising Lab" blog has got a face lift.
- From next Monday, this Update will be sent to a brandlab@mit.edu mail list. All of you are automatically subscribed.

--------- RECENT BLOG POSTS ---------

The Other Side of Consumerism
Robber Inspired by TV Commercial
Flickr Brandspotting
Disney, WB Develop Mobile Content for Toddlers
"Future of Advertising" Photoshop Contest
Debate Over Standards for In-Game Ads


The Oreo can be eaten in many ways.
Some people twist apart the cookie and eat the filling first, while others eat it without taking it apart. In the season finale of NBC's "American Dreams" Jack takes time out to show his son Will the way he likes to eat an Oreo, dunking it in milk.

Battleship on "Listen Up", CBS
Megan and Bernie play Battleship. Bernie, frustrated at losing, will do anything for a re-match.

Jeep on Late Show With David Letterman, CBS
Dave does an auto show quiz which includes Jeep.
Source: iTVX

  Get an industrial-grade
  summer intern.

--------- WATCHLIST ---------

Starbucks Says Cheese
Starbucks, the folks who hooked the country on designer coffee, is teaming up with New York celebrity chef Terrance Brennan to roll out a pricey new artisanal cheese box to 340 stores in the tristate area next Monday. The $5.95 offering is part of a larger lunch-menu overhaul that fits with the java giant's ongoing effort to diversify - and grab a bigger chunk of customers' wallets.

Starbucks To Use Renewable Energy
Starbucks has announced that it will be buying 5% of the electricity for US stores from renewable power sources. The power will be generated by 11 large-scale windmills, and it is estimated to cut emissions by two percent in its stores. The change will put the company into the current top 25 U.S. purchasers of renewable energy with companies like Whole Foods, Staples, Kinkos and BMW who all already purchase 10% of their energy needs from renewable sources. Treehugger Post...

Barbie's just not having a good year.
Toymaker Mattel Inc. said Friday that first-quarter earnings slumped nearly 28 percent from a year ago on nearly flat sales weighed down primarily by a 15 percent decline in global sales of its iconic fashion doll.

Next XBOX To Debut on MTV
Microsoft will take the wraps off its next-generation Xbox in a special on MTV on May 12th. Actor Elijah Wood will host the show.
Microsoft press release: A first for the video game industry
Plus: Microsoft and Pepsi planning big Xbox giveaway

Microsoft and Pepsi Planning  Massive XBOX 360 Giveaway
We can't divulge the source of this information (what else is new?), but we've learned that Microsoft is going to be teaming up with Pepsi for a major promotion this fall in which they'll be giving away over 9,000 Xbox 2/Xbox 360 consoles in the weeks ahead of the next-gen console's official release. The contest will use an under-the-cap registration method (much like Pepsi did before with those iTunes giveaways), and supposedly they'll be giving away one console every ten minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine weeks straight.

New bra may not lift Limited
Limited Brands Inc. may not be getting the lift it was hoping for from its recently launched Victoria's Secret IPEX bra, possibly hurting the retailer's spring sales, analysts said.

50 Years Later, McDonald's Influence Felt
The Golden Arches are everywhere - and it started 50 years ago Friday, when a milkshake machine salesman opened his first McDonald's in this Chicago suburb and began turning a small chain of hamburger stands into an empire that would include 30,000 restaurants, serve 50 million people a day, and become a symbol of the United States all over the world.

------- OTHER NEWS -------

Ad Skipping Losses To Hit $27 Billion
"Ad skipping and on demand viewing could cost the TV industry $27 billion in lost ad revenue over the next five years, according to new research released today by Accenture. The consultancy reports that 70% of ads are already being skipped by viewers with digital video recorders; that trend will only get worse as DVR penetration grows from the current 8% of homes with DVRs to a projected 40% by 2009."

Mainstream Media Meltdown
Here's a list of all the forms of major media and how they're trending.
* Music: sales last year were down 21% from their peak in 1999
* Television: network TV's audience share has fallen by a third since 1985
* Radio: listenership is at a 27-year low
* Newspapers: circulation peaked in 1987, and the decline is accelerating
* Magazines: total circulation peaked in 2000 and is now back to 1994 levels (but a few premier titles are bucking the trend!)
* Books: sales growth is lagging the economy as whole

The Best TV Ad Nike Could Buy
If you missed it (and live in a cave), Tiger Wood's dramatic chip shot during yesterday's Masters gave Nike a priceless plug. The ball rolled up to the edge of the cup, paused to make sure its Nike logo was framed perfectly on TV... and finally dropped into the hole. The clip has replayed hundreds of times on newscast across the country.

Y & R Struggles With Account Losses And Executive Defections
With the loss of the $150 million Jaguar account, top executive defections and recent IPO and takeover activity, times have been tough for Young & Rubicam and its CEO Ann Fudge. Business Week takes a look at the struggling agency.

Wal-Mart targets upscale customers
This spring, the world's largest retailer is trying to persuade customers such as McDowell to pick up clothes and home furnishings as well, offering trendier and better quality merchandise such as fluffier towels and stylish printed skirts.

Logos and Labels Seen Losing Consumer Appeal
A new study of fashion and apparel brand labels and logos demonstrates their power declines over aging market segments. Armani and Versace turned in the most powerful performances, making the Top 10 among the youngest and the oldest age groups and with both sexes (only Armani made it among the "middle-aged" 35-44 group), according to the first Brand Keys Fashion Index, which was conducted by New York City-based marketing research consultancy Brand Keys (www.brandkeys.com).

Compiled by Ilya.
Edited and signed off by Ilya

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