Roadside Americana, Metropolitan Etiquette

For 30 years John Margolies has been documenting the diners, drive-ins and motor lodges that remain along our highways as box stores and strip malls slowly erase the quirk and character of consumerism. His book Roadside America collects nearly 400 photographs of this vanishing vision of over-the-top architecture, automotive freedom and the American dream.
The Metropolitan Etiquette Authority
Artist Jason Shelowitz has created a series of subtle posters that explain common courtesy to New York City subway riders. Using the format of MTA announcement signs, Shelowitz’s “Metropolitan Etiquette Authority” posters spell out the finer points of not being a rude public transportation passenger.
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Brands: Google ousts Coke, BK serves Starbucks, Coronation Street extensions

Google Ousts Coke as World’s Second-Most Valuable Brand
Google has become the world’s second-most valuable brand, just behind Wal-Mart, having ousted Coca-Cola from the No. 2 spot, according to analysts Brand Finance. Google jumped from No. 5 last year to No. 2 in this year’s Brand Finance evaluation.
Coca-Cola lost to Google, falling to the No. 3 spot, in part because the soft drink is not as powerful in developing countries as it used to be, writes Metro. “Coke is on a long term decline unless it can reinvent itself,” David Haigh, chief executive of Brand Finance, says.Wal-Mart has a brand value of $41.4 billion, followed by Google with $36.2 billion and Coca-Cola with $34.8 billion, writes MediaBuyerPlanner.

By September, Seattle’s Best coffee (owned by Starbucks) will be served at 7,250 Burger King restaurants in the US. (OK so not actually Starbucks, but I had a headline to think about. Well done for makimg it this far down the page). The 100% Arabica bean coffee will replace the current BK Joe offerings, and will range in price from $1 to $2.79 with the option to add vanilla, mocha flavors or whipped toppings. BK’s move recognizes the importance of coffee to restaurant menus of every kind, including fast food’s, particularly in light of McDonald’s McCafe concept. It also signals expansion of the Seattle’s Best brand as one part of Starbucks’ future growth strategy – in light of its advantageous mass appeal. Seattle’s Best also inked a deal this past September with Subway, serving its coffee at 9,000 Subway restaurants in the US and Canada.

Burger King To Partner With Starbucks’ (BKC, SBUX, MCD) (benzinga.com)
Burger King Revamps Coffee, Eyes Menu Rehab (abcnews.go.com)
Seattle’s Best Coffee Coming to Burger King (friendseat.com)
Burger King to team up with Seattle’s Best (money.cnn.com)
Starbucks’ Seattle’s Best Coffee brand partners with Burger King (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
Burger King to start offering Seattle’s Best Coffee drinks (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
Burger King revamps coffee, eyes menu rehab (sfgate.com)
New Burger King Menu Features Starbucks Coffee, More Breakfast Options (huffingtonpost.com)

Retailers will be stocking Cor onation Street-branded products to mark the 50th anniversary of the ITV soap. From next month, fans will be able to play a Nintendo Wii game featuring their favourite characters. They will also be able to tuck in to Corrie-branded food. Holland’s Pies is launching Betty’s Hot Pots, named after veteran barmaid character Betty Turpin‘s pies, which will be sold in supermarkets.
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Product Placement: Audi v Transporter, Mercedes v Slumdog

This morning began fairly inauspiciously, but as I loitered on the Subway platform, I noticed a rather badly art-directed ad for the latest Jason Statham vehicle “Transporter 3“. I was moved to chronicle said design deficit, and snapped a picture with my iPhone (well, its no good for calls, websurfing or emails after all). I do actually dimly recollect watching bits of Transporter 1 on a plane with the sound off, and thinking it resembled a long car ad. (And there was a part 2? Who knew!)

transporter3

I have no beef with product placement (quite the contrary), but only if it is done well … that is to say adds value to the production, and is seamless and intuitive. At the most basic level, sadly, I think the way Audi was integrated on to this billboard – and let’s be fair to these guys – looked shit. The car looks grafted on! I fear this may presage the way the car is featured in the film…

A lot of car manufacturers got “BMW Films” envy, and Audi seem to be one of them. I’ll withhold judgment – as I haven’t seen the film, but my initial reaction is that they failed to make the Audi integration seamless and intuitIve, which for me is the measure of success.

C-.

Conversely,  Mercedes had their cars removed from the new movie ‘Slumdog’. Evidently, “Slumdog” presented an entertainment marketing conundrum: Only a handful of companies have the global presence to benefit from the worldwide exposure that a motion picture generates, but they also have widely divergent customer tastes to meet — and often divergent business priorities.

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