LeBron James trains for a triathlon in a new Nike spot. The ad makes him into a Pied Piper to Miami kids and others. It starts in front of his mansion, where he gets on his bike and a bunch of kids take off after him. As he trains the crowd gets bigger and bigger. He sprints on the beach and does freestyle swimming in Biscayne Bay, pulls up to the American Airlines Arena, where his acolytes are kept out. Then off to a court for some pickup ball.
Based on Nokia's just-released interim report for the third quarter this year the company is finally starting to see success in the US. Thanks to a burgeoning range of Lumia devices and a big marketing push to go with them, the Finnish manufacturer saw net unit sales increase by 180% to 1.4 million units, up from just 0.3 million in the same quarter last year.
Ruby Tuesday Inc. chairman of the board Matthew Drapkin has resigned, effective immediately, the company said Monday. Company president and chief executive James J. "JJ" Buettgen will replace Drapkin. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ruby Tuesday said Stephen Sadove has been appointed lead director, effective immediately.
Reynolds American Inc., Lorillard Inc. and the Altria Group Inc. are pushing into the smokeless realm. R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. unveiled its Vuse digital vapor cigarette at a launch party in June. Lorillard is also seeing success with its blu eCigs, which it acquired in April last year. Altria's subsidiary Nu Mark is prepping plans to bring its new e-cigarette brand MarkTen out late this year.
Japanese brands are on top of the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability rankings again, with some European brands rising and Ford Motor Co. stuck near the bottom of the industry. Lexus, Toyota and Acura swept the top three spots in the 2013 rankings and Japanese brands took seven of the top 10 places. But Germany's Audi took fourth, Volvo jumped 13 places to No. 7 and GMC finished ninth.
Ryanair is cutting airport fees, offering a "grace" period on bookings and easing bag curbs as it tries to win back customers put off by its reputation for poor customer service. The improvements follow "extensive" customer feedback through a new "Tell MOL" page, in reference to Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary, on the airline's website and deal with some of customers' biggest gripes. It has also pledged to improve its website, mobile platform and social media presence and is now hiring its first marketing director as it seeks to improve perceptions of the brand.
Speaking at the Sanford Bernstein 2013 Strategic Decisions Conference in May, McDonald's Corp. CEO Don Thompson said McWraps are in 33 markets and are growing in popularity."We've increased our emphasis on innovating locally, sharing winning concepts with each other and then scaling those ideas across our system to create a brand that's relevant globally and also locally. [A] recent example of this is our premium McWraps, which originated actually in Poland and were recently introduced in the United States," he said.
Fashion is reaching into auto accessories and design elements to raise a brand's profile and make the vehicle more appealing to customers. Mandy Sarotte, Lear Corp. vice president of global trim operations for seating, who is also in charge of the company's growing team of designers said demand for more distinctive interiors and more durable seat covers is evident in all kinds of passenger cars from subcompact to more expensive luxury vehicles. Customers in every segment are looking for something distinctive, she said.
McDonald's is shaking Heinz ketchup out of its restaurants. The restaurateur this week confirmed that it has started the process of moving to other vendors, following the appointment of former Burger King Worldwide CEO Bernardo Hees to run Pittsburgh-based H.J. Heinz Co. Mr. Hees also serves as vice chairman of the board of Miami-based Burger King. "As a result of recent management changes at Heinz, we have decided to transition our business to other suppliers over time," according to a statement from Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's.
The Smith Brothers cough drop brand packaging features with a couple of bearded fisherman whose facial growth is the size of a bass. According to a press release issued by the Chicago-based Smith Brothers Co., its cough drops are gaining visibility because of the comparisons between the players and the guys on the box. And now the company is urging locals to rename Boston "Beardston" for the duration of the 2013 World Series.