Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Chanel Experience

For the launch of the new Chanel perfume ‘Eau première,’ the premium brand decided to stage an event at a private Parisian apartment.

Chanel partnered with renowned set, window and interior designer Jean-Marc Gady - who had previously done similar work for brands like Louis Vuitton, Moet & Chandon, as well as Apple - to create an experiential event for guests, an event described by Cool Hunter as a "a 'scenography' tasked with bringing the new fragrance and the heritage of the brand to life."

The apartment was transformed into a set, which guests were encouraged to explore as the event played out. Scentvertising was employed throughout the event, filling the scents of the newly launched fragrance throughout the set. The evening ended with the unveiling of large format photographs of Chanel's iconic "faces" over the years, from Marilyn Monroe through to Nicole Kidman.

Looks like an amazing event, no doubt frequented by a host of VIP's.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Aston Martin's Still UK's Coolest Brand

Aston Martin has beaten Apple's iPhone to be crowned the coolest brand for 2008/09 in the annual UK Coolbrands survey, the carmaker's third title in as many years.

Helped by the renaissance of the James Bond franchise and the anticipated release of 'Quantum of Solace', Aston Martin remained the coolest, most stylish brand in the eyes of the Coolbrands council and over 2,500 voters.

Thousands of brands were shortlisted to a list of 1,100 for this year's survey before a Coolbrands council and 2,500 members of the public rated the brands on style, innovation, originality, authenticity and desirability.

The Coolbrands survey is also divided into series of sub-categories including media and online media.

Fashion magazine Vogue was named the coolest media brand for 2008/09, followed by Vanity Fair. YouTube, Google and Facebook make up the top three coolest online media brands.

Nervous Investors Turn To The Bottle

London's most famous wine merchant, Berry Bros. & Rudd, had one of the best weeks in its 310-year history.

At a time when global markets are tumbling, it seems as though investors are looking to put their money into safer forms of investment. For many, this translates to vintage wines.

BBR has sold around £60.5 million-worth of wine since April, it saw business surge by more than 20% over the same period last year.

It seems everyone selling bespoke wines are winning. Auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's (BID) also saw strong sales last week. Last week, Christie's sold £1.65 million worth of claret and Burgundy in just two days, with the 2000 vintage of Chateau Lafite-Roshchild fetching the equivalent of £910 a bottle.

London's Telegraph states: "Live-ex, a research company that runs a fine-wine index, estimates that prices of the best vintages have increased by 50% since the start of last year – in sharp contrast to the stock market, where prices have fallen by 15%."

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Complete Lamborghini Experience

Dal Toro, Lamborghini's 20,000-sq.-ft., $30 million megaplex showroom, which also incorporates a restaurant, boutique, nightclub and art gallery at the Palazzo Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas, has been completed and is now open for business.

Designed by renowned Italian architect Paolo Cortese, the 300-seat restaurant with its backdrop of supercars features black-and-white marble floors, wall-to-wall black leather paneling, silk fabrics, and glass-enclosed wine cellars with private dining tables.

The venue also boasts over $2 million worth of artwork including the Charging Bull - the same as the famous one on Wall Street, and identical to the Lamborghini logo - by renowned Italian artist, Arturo di Modica, as well as paintings by German contemporary artist Horst Kohlem.

There's also a club called the UltraLounge in the lower level, and the world's first Lamborghini fashion boutique carrying everything from polo shirts to iPod cases.

Via: Luxist

Doritos Challenges Consumers To Beat The Pros

Ever watched a terrible ad on TV or seen some other irrelevant advertising communications and wondered who came up with it? Ever thought that you could do better? Now Doritos USA is allowing you to do just that.

In truth, Doritos has been harnessing user-generated adverts for their yearly Super Bowl spots since 2007. The interesting bit is that for the 2009 initiative, added incentives for calls to entry has been included in the campaign.

In addition to airing one fan's self-made Doritos ad to a captive audience of millions, Doritos will give that talented winner $1 million if their :30 spot takes down "the big guys" and becomes the first-ever consumer-created commercial to claim the No. 1 ranking in USA TODAY's annual Ad Meter.

Five finalists will be selected and announced in January next year. The winner will be determined by fans' popular online vote. Each of the five finalists will receive a cash prize of US$25000, as well as a trip to the Super Bowl itself.

Via: Earth Times

Credit Card Phones Soon In US Stores

Visa has officially gone mobile, having announced a deal with Google and its new Android mobile operating platform to take advantage of new marketing technologies and pioneer mobile payment methods.

AdAge reports that with Android, users will be able to opt into a Visa system to sign up to for direct offers from marketers. Communications are sent directly to their phones, upon which the could click an "Offers" button on his or her phone to see what the latest deal might be. Then, through a "Locator" feature, which uses Google Maps, the customer can find exactly where the nearest retailer offering the deal is located.

In terms of credit card functions on your phone, Visa and partner Nokia said they will begin a trial to allow Visa payment services, including remote and contact-less payments, money transfers and alerts on the next-generation Nokia 6212 Classic, available in the US next month.

With more than 3.3 billion phones in global circulation - far more than Visa's current subscriber base of 1.6 billion cards - the potential for cellphones to take over as potential financial-transaction devices seems like a smart move.

Via: AdAge

Comic Storybook Boosts Asian Wine Sales

A Japanese anime comic series called “Kami no Shizuku” - which translates to “The Drops of God” is based on a wine enthusiast whose quest it is to find 12 of the best wines in the world.

PSFK describes the story as partly mystery but mainly a richly detailed and surreal wine review.

Reportedly, the comic series has sparked an overwhelming demand for wine in Asia, with mentions of specific wines becoming instant overnight sales phenomena. In some cases, the specific wines would literally triple in sales.

The comic is read by 500,000 Japanese each week and the sway it has over the wine market is spreading throughout Asia. Some wine importers say they have never seen such a powerful single influence on their business.

In Taiwan a single reference to a relatively obscure French brand led to dozens of cases of the wine being sold within a few days.

With the comic also being translated to Korean, the Telegraph says that sales of wine has increased from less than a third of the alcohol category market to around 70% of all alcohol sales.

Via: Telegraph, PSFK

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How Fuel Efficient Is the Prius, Really...?

The Prius has been hailed by many as a car designed with the best interests of our environment in mind. The halo effect as a result of this hybrid has done wonders for Toyota's green credentials worldwide, resulting in the Japanese manufacturer being ranked the most green conscious company in various surveys.

The popular British motoring show Top Gear, however, weren't convinced. "In the interest of science", they decided to pit the Prius against the latest generation M3 on a ten lap run around a racing track to see which car really is the more fuel efficient one.

The verified results came in with the Prius doing 17,2 miles per gallon, whilst the M3 managed 19,4 miles to a gallon... It's clearly not about what you drive, but how you drive it.

Start Your Engines.. With Your Phone

Nissan, Sharp Corporation and Japanese mobile communications company NTT DOCOMO, have co-developed the first car controls as a possible cellphone feature.

The innovative phone makes use of Nissan Intelligent Key System. Currently, the project is still work in progress and as a result, the phone can only lock and unlock the car and start and stop the engine.

The phone won't go on sale commercially until 2009, but will be demoed at the CEATEC exhibition in Japan later this month.

Via: Autoblog

Virgin Mobile Pops Up In Parktown

Virgin Mobile has opened up a pop-up retail outlet in Parktown. The store is housed in an old shipping container and has been decorated to appeal to the younger target market with a mix of vibrant music, free internet connectivity and coffee courtesy of Lulu.

Fashion items such as t-shirts and trainers are also on sale in the outlet, with the proceeds said to go towards charity. Virgin Mobile are also giving successful contract applicants a free pair of Converse trainers. Unfortunately the staff member was unable to provide any meaningful help in advising on the best or most suitable contract offerings, which was rather disappointing.

The store will continue operating from it's current location for the next two-and-a-half weeks, after which the store will move to Rosebank, Maponya Mall and eventually to Cape Town.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Could Google's Android End The iPhone Madness?

Google’s Android mobile operating system serves as no more than another platform for advertising, it would seem. By providing the platform free of charge to any phone manufacturer and wireless carrier, the search giant hopes that the platform will proliferate into the majority of new phones, which would open up a whole new channel for those connecting to the internet via their phones to make use of Google search and in turn, click on Google ads.

Jon Fortt at CNN Money has an interesting take on why the Android platform poses a serious threat to companies such as Microsoft and Apple, the latter of whom could previous do no wrong. Click here to read their analysis.

So far, the up-take of the platform from developers has been rather slow, but with Google's track record of continuous innovations and reliability, the likes of Apple and AT&T could well be getting a bit worried.

Ego For Bentley Laptop

Bentley, not content with merely building and selling some of the most exclusive and expensive cars in the world, have decided to try their hand at computers too.

The 'Ego for Bentley' laptop share some unique features with the Bentley cars, such as cases for the computer notebooks covered in fine Bentley leathers criss-crossed with hand stitching.

The laptops retail for around £10,000 and the company has decided that no more than 250 will be produced worldwide. It has also been said that the the laptop is supposedly "hand-built" just like the cars.However, both Engadget and Autoblog have reported that the new Bentley offering contains a sub-standard set of specs, which probably wouldn't appeal to the really rich computer geeks.

The Car For "Only The Brave"

Fashion house Diesel and car brand Fiat have created a new car, based on the Fiat 500.

The Diesel 500 was designed collaboratively by both brands with the intention of making the navigation of cluttered city street a lot easier, and doing it in-style. The Diesel branding is subtly incorporated across the exterior and interior of the car, and Diesel’s famous Mohican ‘Only The Brave’ logo can also be found on the 16” inch alloy wheels and chrome gear shift.

According to Trendhunter, "The Diesel 500 exudes attention to detail and includes many exclusive design modifications that bring attitude and style to the popular Fiat car. The driver and passenger are greeted with the ‘For Successful Living’ claim moulded into the door sill, the tachometer and dials have been redesigned to look similar to Diesel’’s distinctive watches, and even the stitching of the leather and fabric interior recalls details from Diesel’s denim jeans."

The car, priced from $15,000 - €$17,000 will be available in a range of engine configurations, and bronze and black colour options.

There is, however, a limited production run of 10 000, with orders initially made available online. Lucky brand-conscious owners can expect delivery before Christmas this year!

Portable Retail Space

High-end US clothing retailer Iisli has opened up what PSFK refers to as "something of a pre-fab store" in Manhattan.

The retail outpost, which has 1,000 square feet of retail space is designed to be taken apart and reconstructed easily in almost any space. The design also incorporates a self-contained lighting system, fitting rooms and clothing racks. Most interestingly, the shop is decorated with furniture from founders Sisi and Nelson Li’s own apartment.

Sisi Li, who is the line’s designer, says "For us, it’s like the modern way to do retail. This way, we can travel with the store and try out different neighborhoods. It’s like we are trying out the relationship before we marry."

In an era where relationships with consumers is of the utmost importance for brands, who can blame them for a little bit of polygamy?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Welcome To The 4th Screen

Trendhunter highlighted Nokia's recently launched new epic commercial highlighting how screens have changed the way we interact throughout the ages.

The movie screen had initially allowed for a socially interactive as people met and shared in the cinema. TV and computers, however, did the opposite and led to people withdrawing into their own worlds. Nokia alludes to their hope that cell phones, and the 4th screen will be able to bring the community spirit back again.

Collaboration Between Shoppers & Designers

Ponoko is a company that manufactures highly creative and bespoke products. The company initially began by selling unique items designed by aspirant designers. But realising that many consumers have great ideas for products and as another way of appealing to the target market, the company has introduced a clever new option, Ponoko ID.

Ponoko ID allows users to submit a request, including a description, reference material, as well as their ideal price and delivery deadline. The request is then sent to a selection of designers who can put forward a bid by emailing a brief proposal to the shopper.

After reviewing bids, the shopper can accept the one that best matches their Once the designer confirms the transaction, the request/bid becomes a binding agreement. The shopper makes payment to the designer (through Ponoko), and the designer creates the item. While this may seem an arduous process, it does create transparency for both groups. By allowing shoppers and designers to review each other's profiles, the transaction also feels far more personal for both parties.

David ten Have, Ponoko's CEO comments, "Ponoko ID is the world's first online service for getting unique products custom designed just for you, without the costs and hassles involved in finding a designer, manufacturer and materials."

Sounds like a win-win for both parties, and it's a novel way for aspirant designers to ply their trade in today's world.

Via: Springwise

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Right Words For Every Pitch

The New York Times highlights the finding of a study in the Journal of Consumer Research regarding what language advertisers should use in countries where English is predominantly spoken as a second language.

It appears that English should be used when advertising luxury goods, but hybrid of English and the local language should be used for household necessities communications.

Aradhna Krishna, an author of the study and a marketing professor at the University of Michigan, said the reactions were probably a result of students associating different languages with different aspects of their lives.

“English is the language which is global and cosmopolitan and upper class,” she said. “You associate your first language with family, with warmth, with belongingness.”

Read the full article by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Preview The First-Ever F1 Night Race In Singapore

The first ever F1 night race on a street circuit will take place in Singapore during the 2008 race season. With so many unknown quantities surrounding the race in terms of the track and the novelty involving a night race, Red Bull took the opportunity to dispel some of the mystery of the event for us with a beautifully produced spot which recreated part of the island nation’s pristine downtown area, with an added extra of a virtual high-speed test lap starring Mark Webber.

It's well worth a look and great 2 and a half minute long promotion for Red Bull. View the clip by clicking here.

Via: Notcot, Space Invaders

Virgin Atlantic Seats Worn Again

UK-based Anti-Apathy organisation promotes and supports people who take creative approaches to social and environmental issues. They have highlighted fashion, food, energy and water as their four themes to focus on this year.

Worn Again is such an eco-fashion initiative originating from Anti-Apathy. The organisation has teamed up with Virgin Atlantic to find a use for old aircraft seat covers and other materials. Spingwise reports that Anti-apathy is now working to help Virgin Atlantic meet its goal of halving the waste it sends to landfills by 50 percent by 2012.

The airline has already reduced the waste it produces in its offices and ground operations, and now Worn Again has produced 2,000 limited-edition bags using materials reclaimed from approximately 1,000 airplane seats during a renovation. The Worn Again Virgin line includes two handbags, a messenger bag and a toiletry case, priced ranging from GBP 25 to GBP 65. All are handmade in family-run and small-scale workshops in Portugal and come with a list of the "ingredients" and sources used.

By continuously innovating, eco-designers such as Worn Again are keeping current eco-consumers intersted, as well as appealing to the broader target market by injecting a cool factor into eco-consciousness.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Around The World By Solar Power

Louis Palmer embarked on an ambitious journey in July 2007 with the mission to put climate protection on top of everyones' minds. With the help of a crew of around 200 volunteers and various organisations, Palmer built a two-seater car powered entirely by solar power, resulting in a vehicle that emits zero harmful emissions.

Palmer wanted the car to travel around the world from West to East, with at least 50,000 km in total mileage, through 40 countries across 5 continents. All within a period of 18 months... The journey would start and finish in Europe.

The team set-off without a predetermined route but was rather set by the invitation they received along the way. They would also visit inventors, organisations, individuals and scientists, who are active in climate protection

So far, the Solar Taxi has traveled around 43000kms. There's also an in-depth site explaining the intricacies of the project as well as a blog update on their travels. Well worth checking out and shows what can be achieved if we put our minds to it.

Via: Solar Taxi, Elephant

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Apple's Continuous Innovations

Apple has introduced a whole lot of additions for their fourth generation iPod Nano, as well as improvements to the second generation iPod Touch and some new features incorporated across the new iPod range as well as iTunes.

The new Nano will be the Apple's thinnest iPod to date and features a sleek new design with a curved aluminium and glass enclosure, available in nine colours. Along with a refined interface and high resolution display, the device also has a built-in detector, which automatically flips the image on screen to fit the way the device is held, and automatically goes into Shuffle mode when lightly shaken -- dubbed "Shake to Shuffle". Also included is the Apple's "Genius" technology, which automatically creates playlists from songs in your music library that go together, as well as automatically going into 'Cover Flow' with just a turn of the wrist.

iTunes version 8 includes the Genius feature and for the first time offers television programmes in high definition for sale on the iTunes Store.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ambitious Plans For Manchester City

Manchester City, the 'other' football team in Manchester, was recently subject to a take-over bid from the Abu Dhabi United Group, who reached a deal to buy the club for around £200m last week and on the same day broke the British transfer record when they paid Real Madrid £32.5m for Brazilian footballer Robinho.

Proposing some ambitious plans, which have been outlined in an 83-page document called 'A New Model for Partnership in Football', reveals a strategy that would lead to a significant rebranding and tap into markets as wide-ranging as financial services, fashion, retail, transport, communications and the food industry, leveraging the worldwide popularity of the English Premier League.

The document boldly states that the club should aim "to be the Virgin of Asia and the world".

Some of the ideas include deals with Tata, the Indian car manufacturer, for 'Citycars' and China Mobile for City branded phone cards, a range of new energy drinks by Red Bull called 'City Powered', 'City Energy' and 'City 24/7'.

Others include food outlets under the name 'City Eating' and a range of credit cards dubbed 'Citycard'.

It is unclear whether any of the companies mentioned have been approached by the ruling Al-Nahyan family of Abu Dhabi and Dr Sulaiman al-Fahim, the prominent Middle East businessman fronting the takeover.

Via: BrandRepublic

Experience The Military, Without Potential Death

The US Army has a yearly recruitment target of 80000. Being an all-volunteer organisation and sending the recruited into life-threatening situations, the messaging for these recruitment drives needs to be of special relevance to entice the American youth to sign up.

AdAge reports on the US Army's recently opened Army Experience Centre in a Philadelphia shopping mall- complete with Humvee and helicopter simulators. The Centre's objective is to provide a rich geared to show young people today what the U.S. Army is like in a very rich, immersive, educational and factual environment for the youth, while at the same time, providing some form of entertainment.

They have also tapped into the strength of online gaming with the popular "America's Army" online game, which today has more than 9 million registered users. The US Army is further set for an updated version of the game due for release in 2009.

Military fashion will also shortly become available at retailers Sears Roebuck & Co. in October this year. The First Infantry Division apparel collection will feature Army-licensed insignias and will be manufactured for a wide range of ages, including sizes for boys.

These initiatives seem to be working. The US Army has beaten its recruitment target for three years in a row. With these latest initiatives, the US Army brand would surely be further entrenched in the youths' minds.

Monday, September 8, 2008

BMW's Transparent Speed

BMW’s latest Art Car exhibition, called Transparent Speed, is currently on show in Tokyo.

The artwork, designed by Japanese artist Jun Aoki features his interpretation on the visualization of speed.

Aoki wanted visitors to not only visualise movement, but physically feel movement, while at the same time seeing the artistic displays.

To accomplish this, the artist hung 10,000 clear plastic pipes of varying lengths from the ceiling providing a tangible presence for the air in the room. The end result bears a strong resemblance to the images produced by aerodynamicists while studying airflow.

Have a look at the Wallpaper for more information and some amazing visuals.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Luxury Retailers Set Sail

LVMH - Louis Vuitton - the world's leading luxury products group is set to expand into the yacht business.

The company is in talks to acquire the services of Royal van Lent, a Dutch designer and builder of luxury custom mega-yachts, currently sold under the Feadship brand. The company currently specialises in yachts over 50 meters which sell for an average of $44 million each.

The news comes just days after luxury group Hermes announced their joint venture with the Monaco-based yacht maker Wally on what will doubtlessly be a new line of sleek and modern luxury yachts with Hermes appointments.

Luxist comments: "Both of these announcements send a strong message that these brands believe the ultra high end of the luxury market is safe and sound in any economy."

Via: Reuters, Luxist

US Police Serve By Twittering

It amazes me how a seemingly simple tool like Twitter can be utilised in so many different, interesting and useful ways.

It seems the Arizona Police force in the town of Scottsdale are pioneering the use of the micro-blogging service to better serve the public. They are currently using Twitter to send out alerts on pertinent town information such as road closings, traffic problems, power outages and severe weather warnings.

PSFK says: "Although Twitter’s track record of periodically not working isn’t a good fit for disseminating critical information, more communities looking to get the word out may see Twitter as an easy to use broadcast system."

Perhaps if we applied our minds to some of the challenges we face in this country daily - ranging from traffic congestions to resource management - we can also pioneer creative ways to solve problems.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Coke Zero Zero 7

Coke Zero - which was recently launched locally, is poised to temporarily rebrand the product in the UK. Set for roll-out next month, limited-edition bottles, supported by a global ad campaign and on-pack promotions will use the 'Zero Zero 7' strapline to highlight the brand's involvement with the latest 007 film Quantum of Solace.

The deal is the first global marketing partnership for the cola, dubbed "Bloke Coke" in the UK, since its launch there back in 2006.

The campaign, created by Wieden & Kennedy, will be in keeping with the tone of the film, matching Daniel Craig's 'edgier' Bond to Coke Zero's male target audience.

Google Chrome - The New Web Browser

According to Trendhunter, Google announced their new open source browser, Google Chrome, which will launch in beta tomorrow in 100 countries.

“On the surface, we designed a browser window that is streamlined and simple,” Google says. “Like the classic Google homepage, Google Chrome is clean and fast. It gets out of your way and gets you where you want to go.”

Chrome will show you thumb nails on a start page and your nine most visited pages and will recommend pages.

The browser will use a Google search box, but because it is an open source platform, companies and independent developers will be able to devise new add-ons and tweaks. Will this be the next Firefox?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Some Mad Men Now Twitter

New York Times reports on a new Twitter trend for some of its users. It seems many are posing as characters in their favorite TV shows and updating their followers on their virtual movements.
Most notably, there is an unusually active group of people whose screen names are from the AMC television show “Mad Men,” and they have been posting updates in the characters’ voices.

For instance, the Twitter version of Don Draper, the creative director for a circa-1960s advertising agency, adheres rather closely to his television persona. “Heading into a meeting with @Roger_Sterling,” the user wrote on Wednesday, referring to Mr. Draper’s television boss.

Mr. Draper’s virtual self has nearly 2,000 followers on the Web site. There are also Twitter accounts in the names of Mr. Sterling and Peggy Olson, as well as other characters from the series.

It's unclear whether AMC approves of the use of their characters in such a manner, or whether this is in fact their latest marketing genius, but having fans actively involved in any manner can't be a bad thing for the brand, can it?