When controversial recording artist Kanye West tweeted that McDonald's was his favorite restaurant, Burger King UK quickly issued its three-word response: “explains a lot.” To date, the tweet has been shared more that 270,000 times and been “liked” by a record-breaking 1 million Twitter users. Soco Nunez, head of brand at Burger King, said the company has been working closely with its new agency, Coolr, to rethink its approach to social.
For the first time since becoming an NBA sponsor in 1998, Anheuser-Busch InBev is allowed to use active athletes in commercials, versus what had been the norm of featuring only retired players and coaches in alcohol marketing. "Deck The Shelves With NBA Elves: Drink Water
" shows the players dressed in elf versions of their respective NBA team and encourages viewers to drink water between rounds of alcohol. Support includes digital and social media. The NFL still prohibits showing active players in alcohol marketing. Budweiser is expected to roll out marketing with active MLB players this coming season.
Amazon has grown so large that its "many subsidiaries are difficult to track," notes this Wired post, whose authors helpfully present "our exhaustive map of the Kingdom of Amazon." Whew. "Few other companies can claim leadership in sectors as disparate as videogame streaming, online fabric sales, and facial recognition" -- among many others.
"Tesla added Larry Ellison, executive chairman and founder of the software giant Oracle, and a senior executive at Walgreens Boots Alliance to its board of directors, fulfilling a key provision of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission," according to the New York Times. The SEC had brought a securities fraud lawsuit against the company and chief executive Elon Musk.
Williams-Sonoma sued Amazon, alleging the retail giant's “Rivet” furniture line features products that are “strikingly similar” to Williams-Sonoma’s West Elm brand,"The lawsuit marks a new chapter in the ongoing tension between the world’s largest online retailer and major brands that have to decide how to interact with a retailer that can be their partner and competitor," according to Fortune
"As the Dow posted its biggest daily point gain ever, JCPenney's stock fell below $1 for the first time since it started trading in 1929," begins this CNN post, which reads almost like an obit. "The 110-year old company hasn't been profitable since 2010 and its prospects are bleak," it continues.
Thousands of Europeans trying to use their new Amazon Alexa-connected devices for the first time had a rude Christmas Day introduction. For a while, the smart speakers couldn't handle the load.
"The most high-profile brand reinvention experiment in 21st-century American fashion came to a crashing halt" last week when Calvin Klein announced it was parting ways with its chief creative officer, Raf Simons, writes the New York Times. "What went wrong between then and now will be the subject of study for branding experts and fashion executives for years to come."
"A downturn in China’s car market has wrong-footed some of the world’s biggest auto makers, saddling them with factories they no longer need and that are costly to retool," according to the Wall Street Journal. Among those companies that "have especially mistimed recent expansions": Ford, Peugeot and Hyundai.
From the New York Times comes reports of a "cocoa confection catastrophe": Hershey's has been selling bags of Kisses with their tips missing -- instead "topped with an unsightly jagged edge" -- and bakers around the country, used to decorating their cookies with a perfect-looking Kiss, are complaining. The company says it is investigating the problem.