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Categories: Brands In Motion

Airline Fees Run Amok--Paging Congress

Posted by: David Kiley on September 19

Congress is so tied up with health care reform that it has no time to take a new and overdue hard look at the airline industry and its total abuse...

P&G Goes Viral With Tampax Videos

Posted by: David Kiley on June 16

Call me old fashioned but I think some products should just be advertised pretty much for their features and attributes. I really don’t think an agency should get overly zen...

EX GM Exec Says the Automaker Has Toxic Marketing Culture

Posted by: David Kiley on June 15

Mike Jackson, the former head of corporate advertising at GM, tells it like it is at GM in a column he penned for Automotive News. I could have blogged in...

GM's Coming Out Ad: Chapter 1

Posted by: David Kiley on June 02

General Motors, reeling from months of bad press culminating in Monday's Chapter 11 filing, launched a 60 second ad that seeks to put consumers at ease and open a new...

Some Advertising Fallout and Benefits at GM To Come

Posted by: David Kiley on June 01

No question that General Motors has an issue going forward as it works to emerge from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Vice chairman Bob Lutz, who will retire at the end of...

Ford Image Goes Way Up For Not Taking Taxpayer Money

Posted by: David Kiley on May 01

Results of a national study measuring the current perception of the Ford Motor Company, conducted by Aloft Group, Inc., a brand consulting and communication firm, show that consumer perception of...

Gatorade Sales Plummet

Posted by: Burth Helm on April 24

Does this look like Gatorade to you? Gatorade’s volume sales fell by 13.7% in the first quarter, according to a Beverage Digest report out today , and some blame...

More Piling on Arnell's Tropicana Fiasco.

Posted by: David Kiley on March 18

Of course, I have already blogged about how much I delight in the failures of Peter Arnell of The Arnell Group. His latest fiasco was the redesign of Tropicana's...

Does Brand Strength Lead to Better Returns?

Posted by: Burth Helm on March 02

On a day when the Dow Jones closed down more than 4%, this study sparked my interest: Jennifer Openshaw, the founder of an investment advice website called WeSeed, took a...

Do Americans Prefer McDonald’s or Starbucks?

Posted by: Burth Helm on February 18

Over on boss-man John Byrne’s twitter feed, there’s a link to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center about Starbucks and McDonald’s. When asked, "Just for fun: Would you...

Starbucks Cuts More Stores and Workers Amidst Recession and Lower Earnings

Posted by: David Kiley on January 28

By David Kiley and Burt Helm Starbucks said Wednesday that it will close another 300 stores and cut nearly 7,000 workers as it continues to stagger from overexpansion and...

Goldman Sachs Hiring Marketing Chief

Posted by: Burth Helm on January 08

Goldman Sachs is searching for a new global head of brand marketing. Does this mean a Goldman Sachs ad campaign isn't too far behind? According to a job description I...

A Detroit "Orderly Bankruptcy" Would Require Monumental Marketing Effort To Work

Posted by: David Kiley on December 18

Public relations done well is as much a key ingredient to marketing and brand management as advertising. And often, it is a greater, more important ingredient than the ad plan....

GM's Mounting Brand Muddle--Sayonara Chrysler?

Posted by: David Kiley on October 29

General Motors desired acquisition of Chrysler will muddle GM’s brand portfolio even more. And I didn’t think that was possible. GM right now has Cadillac, Saab, Buick, Pontiac, GMC...

Seinfeld/Gates Ads Not "Pulled"

Posted by: David Kiley on September 22

The word spread late last week while I was away that Microsoft “pulled” TV ads featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates. Based on talking to Microsoft officials when the campaign...

Red Cross Logo Played Part in Colombian Hostage Rescue

Posted by: David Kiley on July 17

It turns out that a logo helped save 15 people in Colombia held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe admitted Wednesday that...

Men Making Asses of Themselves With Prep-H

Posted by: David Kiley on July 14

Preparation H apparently is one of those products being used for purposes its marketers did not intend. Men, and some women, are using it on their torsos and arms to...

InBev Playing Hardball with Budweiser: Fire The Board

Posted by: David Kiley on July 07

Belgian Brewer InBev is out to force Anheuser-Busch to fire its board of directors. Has this tactic ever worked? No. But it is a good way to draw shareholder...

Starbuck's No Longer Can Afford To Be The Neighborhood Coffee Shop

Posted by: David Kiley on July 04

Starbucks is still on the run. It has announced closing some 600 under-performing stores, which results in the layoff of around 12,000 employees. There is a cover story in the...

Memo to American Airlines: You Need a PR Transfusion

Posted by: David Kiley on May 27

There is much hub-bub over American Airlines’ $15 fee for a checked bag, and the PR fallout with consumers. PR fallout? That would presume that the airlines had any credibility...

Big Celebrity, Great Headline, and Hey, Even a Local Angle

Posted by: Burth Helm on May 06

The front page of today's New York Post shows that a brand that completely understands its customers can knock the ball out of the park almost effortlessly. The brand I'm...

Starbucks "Everyday": Can We Afford That?

Posted by: David Kiley on April 08

Starbucks “Everyday Coffee” offering is an effort to Dunkinize the brand a bit. Is that a good idea? To water down the brand, if not the coffee, is risky. The...

Absolut Sale Jacks Likely Price of Stoli

Posted by: David Kiley on April 02

Pernod Ricard's purchase of Absolut means it will divest itself of its distribution rights of Stolichnaya. Meantime, Fortune Brands, which has the U.S. marketing rights to Absolut through 2012,...

Starbuck's Strength--Distribution

Posted by: David Kiley on March 24

I totally agree with my blogmate, Burt, about people not caring so much about the interaction with the barrista. Starbucks fundamental problems are two-fold: that some hard-to-measure number of people...

Is It Me? Or is JC Penney/Lauren's American Living God Awful

Posted by: David Kiley on February 19

J.C. Penney Co Inc. is undertaking the biggest merchandise launch in the department store's 105-year history. The massive collection, developed by Polo Ralph Lauren Corp's Global Brand Concepts exclusively...

Two Super Bowl Ads I Should Have Graded Better

Posted by: David Kiley on February 05

http://www.etrade.comPerhaps it was because I was so caught up in the glory of the Giants' fabulous win against the Patriots that two of the Supoer Bowl ads I thought were...

Under Armour Super Bowl Ad Reaches For the Sneaker Wall

Posted by: David Kiley on January 31

Under Armour is running its first-ever Super Bowl ad this Sunday for its first ever sneaker. We have seen the ad that will be veiwed on Sunday. There was some...

Audi Makes Viewers An Offer They Can't Refuse for Super Bowl

Posted by: David Kiley on January 18

Audi is going to run a sixty-second ad during the Super Bowl featuring the much ballyhooed R8 super sports car. Audi’s return to the Super Bowl was preceded by...

Saturn is Lynchpin To GM's Green Imaging

Posted by: David Kiley on December 11

Sure, the company is putting its technical and PR resources behind the Chevy Volt concept. The Volt, for those on Mars, is the plug-in gas-electric car GM debuted at...

Facebook Marketing. It Can Be a Good Thing.

Posted by: David Kiley on November 02

There will be a lot of debate in coming weeks and months about how, etc use the information we are giving them to the benefit of marketers. They...

GM's Hummer Conundrum

Posted by: David Kiley on October 29

A new campaign for Hummer could be internally themed, "lipstick on a pig." Three new-model TV spots, plus print and online work from independent agency Modernista, Boston, looks to...

Subaru To Move $150 Million Account to Carmichael-Lynch

Posted by: David Kiley on October 16

Subaru of America is expected to move its ad account to Carmichael-Lynch in the next 24 hours from DDB. I'm thinking back to a blog post in this space dated...

Chevron Ad Has Lots To Compete Against

Posted by: David Kiley on September 28

The theme of the new Chevron two-and-a-half minute TV ad (which can be viewed here) that will break this weekend on CBS's 60 Minutes is “The Power of Human...

SpongeBob Meets John Mackey Squarepants

Posted by: David Kiley on August 29

Whole Foods, aka “Whole Paycheck,” has been a success for a variety of reasons. The emphasis on organic foods. A terrific produce section. A convenient and well-chosen wine section. The...

Sorry, Wal-Mart. The kids would rather talk labor politics than home decor.

Posted by: Burth Helm on August 20

Wal-Mart has already had trouble building its own social-networking site , The Hub. Now it has inadvertently made itself the subject of debate with a sponsored page on Facebook. My...

J&J and Red Cross--Children...Children.

Posted by: David Kiley on August 10

It couldn't have been easy for Johnson & Johnson to decide to sue the American Red Cross for trademark infringement. The two entities have used the same familiar logo...

Big Surprise - Kids like McDonald's for more than just the food

Posted by: Burth Helm on August 09

I found this pretty amusing: LOS ANGELES ( -- A new study, certain to fire up the already heated debate over kids' marketing, finds that kids aged 3 to 5,...

New Saturn Ad Line Pushes "American" Button

Posted by: David Kiley on May 17

Saturn this week launches its first big campaign under new ad agency Deutsch/LA under the tagline “Rethink American.” It’s the fourth tagline/slogan creative strategy in five years. The last...

Are Mini's Hammer & Coop gay?

Posted by: Burth Helm on April 13

I laughed when I read this New York Times story today about "gay" cars. The whole notion is pretty silly, but I was amused because it reminded me of a...

VW and Subaru Read This Blog

Posted by: David Kiley on April 13

Last week, I typed that the scuttlebutt at the New York Auto Show was that VW was looking to move its ad account from Crispin Porter + Bogusky to DDB....

Saturn Found Its Voice In A Hurry on Oscar Night

Posted by: David Kiley on February 26

I have been complaining for months, if not years, that General Motors' Saturn brand was groping for a clear voice in its advertising. Last month, the GM division fired...

Brand Marketers should watch Colbert

Posted by: Burth Helm on February 15

This man is brilliant at amusing and engaging his fans in ways that are new, surprising, and yet totally in keeping with his persona. The latest: a Colbert brand of...

Chrysler "Whoops" Ads Part of Important New Genre

Posted by: David Kiley on December 05

There are the ads on Chysler's official website, and then there are the versions on And the "director's cuts" on are better and more engaging. Chrysler...

Chrysler "Whoops" Ads Part of Important New Genre

Posted by: David Kiley on December 05

There are the ads on Chysler's official website, and then there are the versions on And the "director's cuts" on are better and more engaging. Chrysler...

Walmart About to Feel AFA Wrath

Posted by: David Kiley on August 29

News that mega retailer Walmart has hired an ad agency specializing in gay media is, according to sources of mine, sending the American Family Association into overdrive over how...

Flight Attendants: Glamorous Jobs?

Posted by: David Kiley on August 15

I was struck by this sentence in a New York Times story about flight attendants today. "Flight attendants, whose profession was once considered glamorous, may have one of the toughest...

Wal-Mart and Al Gore...Perfect Together

Posted by: David Kiley on July 13

Wal-mart's announcement this week that it is developing a new store prototype that's designed to be 30 percent more efficient than today's stores, and 50% more efficient longer term, is...

Ford To Change Ad Track...Again

Posted by: David Kiley on April 24

Automotive News reports today that Ford is about to ditch its uninspiring "Built For The Road Ahead" slogan in favor of "Bold Moves." The online version of the weekly...

"Drivers Wanted" Dead. But Jetta Drivers Aren't.

Posted by: David Kiley on April 17

You can pretty much take this to the bank. Though VW executives have been hedging, Volkswagen's ten year-old "Drivers wanted" tagline is dead. The new GTI work from new ad...

Vanzura Shaking Things Up At Cadillac

Posted by: David Kiley on March 03

It didn't take Liz Vanzura long to leave her mark on Cadillac. Just a month after taking over as global marketing director at Cadillac, she sent about half the...

Can Tesco Succeed Where Marks and Sparks Fizzled?

Posted by: David Kiley on February 21

Businessweek this week has a story on how British retailer Tesco has plans to invade California and perhaps other markets in the U.S. It's a dicey proposition for a...

Lincoln's Maddening Name Game Will Cost It

Posted by: David Kiley on February 13

First, I apologize for being away from the blog for a week. The &^%$#@ VPN connection fro my laptop was fertitzed, and it made updates impossible. I was at...

Ford Affirms Gay Publication Support. No Victory For AFA

Posted by: David Kiley on December 14

Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday afternoon said it will run ads in gay publications, reversing a decision last week to pull advertising of its Jaguar and Land Rover luxury...

GM States Its Case. But Better Marketing and Backing The Right Horses Could Help.

Posted by: David Kiley on December 05

In Today’s Wall Street Journal, General Motors chairman and CEO G. Richard Wagoner Jr. pleads his case for why GM is losing so much money. He makes many relevant...

Trump Brand Should File Charges of Parental Abuse

Posted by: David Kiley on December 01

Donald Trump's name will now be used to push vodka. Drinks Americas Holdings Ltd., which markets other "celebrity" beverages, is the instigator. "Trump: The World's Finest Super Premium Vodka"...

BMW Narrows To Two Agencies

Posted by: David Kiley on November 04

BMW's Agency Search Down To Two Finalists BMW of North America announced today that it has narrowed its selection to two finalists as it continues its search for a new...

GM Can't Make Sense of Subaru. Maybe Toyota Can.

Posted by: David Kiley on October 05

When GM bought a minority stake in Fuji Heavy Industries a few years ago, it was to glom onto the great all-wheel-drive technology that the company puts into its Subaru...

Reebok and Adidas Merger Looks Good. But Will It Be Good?

Posted by: David Kiley on August 03

On paper, the acquisition of Reebok by Adidas looks great, and totally logical. But we know that mergers don't get executed on paper. They get executed in real life...

Iacocca as Returned Pitchman: Part Two

Posted by: David Kiley on July 08

Chrysler sealed its deal with former chairman Lee Iacocca to appear in ads hawking Chrysler new discounting program that is meant to compete with General Motors "employee discount" promotion that...

Exclusive: Relaunch of McKids--It's Not About Selling Toys and Clothes.

Posted by: David Kiley on June 15

Contributed by senior correspondent Michael Arndt: Oh, how easy it would be to harrumph about Ronald McDonald. According to the government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every...

Mass Customization Maybe Offers Too Many Choices

Posted by: David Kiley on June 08

Procter & Gamble's decision to kill its mass customization experiment, Reflect, a highly touted pilot in mass customization of beauty productsn caught my attention because of one , I thought,...

NutriSystem is a Brand Truly Made Over

Posted by: David Kiley on June 08

Anyone remember NutriSystem stores from the late 1980s and 1990s? Depressing places, they were. Making appointments with people who seemed as if they could just as easily been selling Avon...


News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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