Brands Brief: Trump Takes Aim at Toyota

Top Stories

  • President-elect Donald Trump tweeted more about automakers, this time criticizing Toyota Motor Corp.’s plan to manufacture cars in Mexico to sell in the United States. (The Hill)
  • Cash-strapped Sears Holdings sold its Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker for at least $775 million. (The New York Times)
  • Samsung Electronics Co. projected that profits in the last three months of 2016 will be the highest in three years, even after the recall of its Galaxy Note 7. (The Wall Street Journal)

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Advertising and Marketing

Sears Agrees to Sell Craftsman Brand in a Bid to Raise Cash
Michael J. de la Merced, The New York Times

At a tough time for Sears Holdings, the beleaguered retailer has collected some much-needed cash — by selling one of its most beloved brands. The company said on Thursday that it had sold its Craftsman line of tools to Stanley Black & Decker for at least $775 million, part of an effort to raise cash as it continues to grapple with troubles in its business.

J.C. Penney Is Selling Its Headquarters for $353 Million
Phil Wahba, Fortune

J.C. Penney has found a new way to chip away at its enormous debt load: selling its sprawling Plano, Texas campus for $353 million. The retailer said on Tuesday it had sold its headquarters near Dallas along with 45 acres around it to Dreien Opportunity Partners but would lease back 65% of that space for its home office.

SeaWorld Entertainment names new chief marketing officer
Caitlin Dineen, Orlando Sentinel

SeaWorld Entertainment announced changes in leadership Wednesday, including the promotion of Jim Dean to the president of SeaWorld’s Orlando parks and the hiring of a new top marketing executive. Dean, whose roots with the company extending back to its Anheuser-Busch days, will replace 42-year company veteran Donnie Mills on Jan. 16.

Equinox Gym’s moving ad campaign features a model with mastectomy scars
Olivia Harvey, Hello Giggles

We knew 2017 was going to bring great things, and this thing is great. CommitToSomething is Equinox Gym’s new ad campaign that features a model baring her double mastectomy scars.

Tropicana wooing millennials with new OJ campaign
James A. Jones Jr., Bradenton Herald

Tropicana is seeking to tap into the nation’s largest demographic group, millennials, with a new marketing campaign for its orange juice. “Tropicana has always been about helping people get the best start to their morning, so partnering with A Plus is an exciting way for us to fuel a culture and community of positivity,” Tropicana general manager Björn Bernemann said in a press release.

Hearts and green thumbs: Lowe’s Marci Grebstein gets emotional
Shareen Pathak, Digiday

When Marci Grebstein was growing up in Randolph, Massachusetts, her father had very specific rules about lawn care: 15 minutes of weeding, every evening, before dinner. “We had to do it,” says Grebstein, 53, now the chief marketing officer at Lowe’s, which is the biggest seller of lawn care products in the U.S.

Media and Entertainment

Gary Vaynerchuk Acquires Women’s Publisher PureWow
Steven Perlberg, The Wall Street Journal

Over the past few years, media companies ranging from BuzzFeed to Vice to the New York Times have expanded their in-house units that act like advertising agencies and work with big marketers. Increasingly, agencies are counteracting and creating editorial properties of their own, reaching new audiences across social media platforms.

A+E Networks Launches In-House Ad Agency The Bridge
Denise Petski, Deadline

A+E Networks is launching The Bridge, a full-service creative-led ad agency with Lance Still, SVP Branded Content, set as Managing Director. Still will take on The Bridge responsibilities in addition to her SVP duties, and continue to report to Peter Olsen, EVP Ad Sales, A+E Networks.

Social Media and Technology

Snapchat showed investors false user statistics, ex-employee alleges in lawsuit
Paresh Dave, Los Angeles Times

A former Snapchat employee alleged in a lawsuit that the company misrepresented its financial state while recruiting him and then pressured him to spill secrets about his time at Facebook. Anthony Pompliano worked in Snapchat’s business operations department for three weeks before his firing in September 2015.

Amazon to Open First Manhattan Bookstore
Keiko Morris, The Wall Street Journal

Online retailing giant Inc. plans to open its first New York City bookstore in Manhattan’s Time Warner Center, the company said late Wednesday. The 4,000-square-foot store is slated to open in the spring in the Shops at Columbus Circle on the edge of Central Park.

360-degree live video is allowing the fashion industry to diversify social content
Bethany Biron, Glossy

As social platforms continue to launch live video, several are upping the ante by integrating 360-degree viewing capability — and Twitter is the latest to follow suit. Last week, Twitter announced plans to offer 360-degree live video in collaboration with the video streaming app Periscope — so far, it has only been rolled out to select partners.

PR and Communications

Trump takes aim at Toyota over Mexico plans
Ben Kamisar, The Hill

President-elect Donald Trump is directing his Twitter ire at Toyota for its decision to ramp up production in Mexico. “Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax,” Trump tweeted Thursday afternoon.

How Samsung Weathered the Galaxy Note 7 Recall
Timothy W. Martin and Eun-Young Jeong, The Wall Street Journal

A strong earnings forecast from Samsung Electronics Co. on Friday offered a fresh reminder of the company’s central place in the global technology supply chain. Even with the recall of its premium Galaxy Note 7 smartphone in early October last year that cost it at least $5 billion, Samsung projected profits for the last three months of 2016 that would be the highest in more than three years.

Samsung Has Biggest CES Buzz (Not All Of It Good)
Larissa Faw, MediaPost

Samsung is the brand most associated with this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), according to report by Amobee that tracks over 600,000 sites on mobile, video, Web and social media. Some 38 percent of all CES 2017 digital content engagement between December 3, 2016 and January 3, 2017 mentions Samsung thanks to its lineup of new products, including a four-in-one laundry system, a robot vacuum cleaner with Alexa voice controls, Windows 10 tablets, and QLED 4K HDR TV.

Coke Sued Over Ads Touting ‘Balance’ in Soda Consumption
Maria Dinzeo, Courthouse News Service

Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association engage in false, deceptive, Big Tobacco-like tactics to discredit the harmful effects of sugar-sweetened beverages, the health nonprofit Praxis Project claims in a federal lawsuit. “Although defendants have publicly pledged allegiance to objective scientific criteria, they have instead represented falsely that sugar-sweetened beverages are not scientifically linked to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and have waged an aggressive campaign of disinformation about the health consequences of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages,” Praxis says in its complaint, filed Wednesday.

Mark Zuckerberg shares Facebook’s secrets with all his employees, and almost none of it leaks
Kurt Wagner, Recode

On a Friday afternoon in July 2015, Mark Zuckerberg stood in front of a couple hundred employees at Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, a video camera there to record his words for thousands of other employees around the globe. Zuckerberg, usually calm and a natural introvert, was uncharacteristically angry.

20 kinds of cat food recalled including 9Lives, EverPet, Special Kitty
WFLA staff,

The J.M. Smucker Company announced a voluntary recall of certain kinds of 9Lives, EverPet and Special Kitty canned cat food on Wednesday due to possible low levels of thiamine. The issue was discovered during a review of production records at a manufacturing facility.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Nestlé looks for ways to boost stale growth as consumers snub unhealthy food
The Economist

Large food companies have long been among the world’s most solid, with reassuringly consistent returns even in hard times. None would seem steadier than Nestlé, based in the Swiss town of Vevey, on a lake near snowy peaks.

Maybelline Appoints First Male Brand Ambassador
Stephanie Chan, The Hollywood Reporter

Maybelline is taking a page out of CoverGirl’s playbook and enlisting its first-ever male brand ambassador. The makeup brand has tapped YouTube talent Manny Gutierrez, who’s known as Manny MUA on the video-sharing website, to advertise its Volum’ Express: the Colossal Big Shot Mascara.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

The Competitive Threat in Retail Isn’t Just Other Retailers
Andria Cheng, eMarketer

At the new Lou & Grey apparel store in New York’s Flatiron District, a truck is at times spotted nearby serving anything from free pretzels to hot chocolate. If you should post a picture of your freebie and tag Lou & Grey’s Instagram account, you get a discount when shopping in the store.

Vivint Smart Home Finds 735% Sales Lift Through Native Ads
Laurie Sullivan, MediaPost

Native ads will become an alternative in 2017 for brands looking to stand out from others. One smart-home company got a head start in 2016, when it ran a Yahoo Native Gemini ad campaign combined with data in the beginning of the year.

Chrysler tries – and fails – to define a generation with Portal concept
Lorraine Sommerfeld, Driving

Every car manufacturer can tell you exactly who is buying their cars. Their gender, their age, their income and their lifestyle.

Report: Parents like the Internet of Things
Barry Levine, MarTech Today

Parenting website BabyCenter today released a new report that found the Internet of Things (IoT) has at least one consumer fan club: parents. The study, “The Internet of Things Empowers Parents,” says that 70 percent of parents in the US now own an IoT device, 37 percent who own one want to buy another, and more than a third believe these gadgets make them better parents.

5 Important Things To Check Before You Start Your Facebook Ad Campaign
Nathaniel Cheung, Business 2 Community

Creating a Facebook Ad campaign to generate more leads, customers and sales? Advertisers spend over $16 billion a year promoting products and services on Facebook.

Inbound Marketing Tips and Tricks for 2017
Mike Templeman, Business 2 Community

Developing the perfect inbound marketing strategy for 2017 can be difficult. While most business owners are focusing on boosting their search engine visibility or writing plenty of blog posts, there are still several other opportunities available.