Brands Brief: VW Car Sales Increased in 2016, Despite Emissions Scandal

Top Stories

  • Volkswagen AG saw an increase in passenger car sales last year, despite the German automaker’s emissions-cheating scandal. (MarketWatch)
  • Turner Broadcasting System indicated that Conan O’Brien’s late-night TV talk show could become available primarily online. (Variety)
  • Anheuser Busch InBev and Keurig Green Mountain are partnering up to create an in-home alcoholic drink dispenser. (Reuters)

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Advertising and Marketing

VW brand car sales rise despite emissions scandal
Friedrich Geiger, MarketWatch

Sales of Volkswagen AG’s namesake car brand rose last year despite the emissions scandal, and a particularly strong increase in December prompted the German company on Monday to voice optimism for this year. The Volkswagen passenger car brand delivered 5.99 million vehicles to customers worldwide last year, 2.8 percent more than in 2015, helped by significant growth in China, the company said.

AB InBev and Keurig to develop alcoholic drinks dispenser for the home
Martinne Geller, Reuters

Brewer Anheuser Busch InBev (AB InBev) and coffee maker Keurig Green Mountain have teamed up to develop a countertop appliance that could dispense alcoholic drinks in the home. The companies on Friday announced a research and development joint venture that will focus on the North American market with the aim of developing a system that could work with beer, spirits, cocktails and mixers.

Mercedes to Add to Successful Compact-Model Lineup
David E. Zoia and Greg Kable, WardsAuto

Mercedes-Benz unveils a refreshed GLA model on the eve of the North American International Auto Show here, promising an even bigger push into the compact-vehicle sector over the next several years. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche gives much of the credit to Mercedes’ compact cars in the brand’s rise last year to become the No.1 premium-brand worldwide, with total light-vehicle sales topping 2 million units.

Neiman Marcus Scraps IPO, Withdrawing August 2015 Filing
Alex Barinka, Bloomberg News

Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group abandoned its plans to go public, the latest sign of department-store woes. Just days after Macy’s Inc. and Kohl’s Corp. both reported slow sales and cut their forecasts, Neiman Marcus said it’s “not in its best interests to proceed with the initial public offering” at this time, according to a filing Friday.

Inside Sears’ death spiral: How an iconic American brand has been driven to the edge of bankruptcy
Hayley Peterson, Business Insider

One morning in late 2015, on Sears’ vast Illinois campus, more than a dozen employees huddled in a videoconference room on a floor dubbed “B6.” There two mid-level employees were preparing a presentation for the CEO, Eddie Lampert, when their boss rushed in with some last-minute advice.

Hari Nef Is Part of L’Oreal’s Diverse New Ad Campaign
Lindsay Peoples, New York Magazine

Tonight during the Golden Globes, L’Oreal Paris is debuting new ads for its True Match campaign, and in keeping with the 33 shades the brand has to offer, the ads are full of diverse models and influencers. Veteran spokeswoman Blake Lively appears, but so do plenty of newcomers, including models like Hari Nef, Xiao Wen Ju, and Curve models Sabina Karlsson and Marquita Pring.

This body-positive athletic ad shows women with diverse bodies and people are loving it
Ashley Rey, Hello Giggles

Plus-size clothing brand Lane Bryant just released an athletic ad campaign that promotes body confidence, and we’re here for it! The retailer recently caught the world by storm with its #ThisBody campaign, featuring plus-sized entertainers donned in lingerie.

Media and Entertainment

Turner President on Conan O’Brien Show: It Might Go Primarily Digital
Todd Spangler, Variety

Conan O’Brien’s late-night show on TBS may evolve into a primarily digitally distributed show, Turner president David Levy said at the Variety Entertainment Summit at CES. The TV landscape is changing, and “Conan” could remain on television weeknights, or air on TV once a week with episodes going on digital platforms the rest of the week, Levy said.

Social Media and Technology

Low-income people are starting to like Amazon Prime too
Eugene Kim, Business Insider

Amazon Prime, the paid membership program that gives access to things like free shipping and online video, has been a smashing success, snagging an estimated ~50 million US households so far. But one of the biggest knocks on Prime has been its heavy concentration on high-income households.

CES 2017: Tech consumers value brand names, but they can be an illusion
Matt Day, The Seattle Times

Wares from RCA, formerly the Radio Corporation of America, have been at CES since the technology show was born 50 years ago. For much of that time, though, RCA technically hasn’t existed as an independent business.

Google’s new self-driving minivans will be hitting the road at the end of January 2017
Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge

Waymo, the self-driving car startup spun-off from Google late last year, will be deploying its fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans onto public roads for the first time later this month, the company announced at the North American International Auto Show today. The minivans will be hitting the roads in Mountain View, California and Phoenix, Arizona, where the company’s self-driving Lexus SUVs have already driven thousands of miles over the past few years.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Rumors: Company Might Have Limited Launch Of 5 Million Units In February
Rishabh Jain, International Business Times

Samsung, it seems, is not taking any risks with the Galaxy S8. The company is already on a good trajectory after a profitable third quarter.

PR and Communications

Fiat Chrysler ups the ante as automakers respond to Trump
Nick Carey et al., Reuters

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Sunday said it will invest $1 billion to modernize two plants in the U.S. Midwest and create 2,000 jobs, upping the ante as automakers respond to threats from President-elect Donald Trump to slap new taxes on imported vehicles. FCA’s announcement that it would retool factories in Ohio and Michigan to build new Jeep sport utility vehicles, including a pickup truck, and potentially move production of a Ram heavy-duty pickup truck to Michigan from Mexico, also highlighted the auto industry’s keen interest in getting relief from tough fuel economy rules enacted by the outgoing Obama administration.

Uber Extends an Olive Branch to Local Governments: Its Data
Mike Isaac, The New York Times

The ride-hailing company Uber and local governments often do not play well together. Uber pays little heed to regulation while city officials scramble to keep up with the company’s rapid deployment and surging popularity.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Highlights children’s magazine to publish image of same-sex couple for first time after controversy
Justin Wm. Moyer, The Washington Post

After accusations of homophobia late last year, the children’s magazine Highlights will include an illustration of a same-sex couple in an issue for the first time. The image, which will appear in the February issue of the magazine, shows two men loading a station wagon for a family trip in an item that invites readers to send letters.

IBM Unveils Rainbow Logo to Support LGBT Community
Michael Lambert, Out Magazine

IBM Corp. has released a new rainbow-colored logo in support of the LGBT community. The technology company unveiled Friday their traditional eight-bar logo, instead each bar the colors of the rainbow plus pink.  

Greater Fort Lauderdale launches world’s first travel marketing campaign to feature transgender models
Tatiana Rokou, TravelDailyNews

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau will launch a new global marketing and advertising campaign on January 9th featuring three transgender models, and will become the world’s first destination to use transgender models in mainstream destination advertising. Greater Fort Lauderdale’s campaign, which also features straight, gay and lesbian models, follows the destination’s long and storied history in LGBTQ marketing and is directed at a largely millennial and younger mind-set audience to showcase the destination’s image as an authentic, diverse and inclusive brand.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

Nokia 2017: Is The Giant Cellphone Brand Ready For Its Comeback?
JR O, iTech Post

During the latter part of 2016, we’ve been exposed to a number of Nokia related rumors. It was said that the company will once again come back to the smartphone market as it detaches itself from its non-competition agreement with Microsoft. To refresh your memory, Microsoft took over Nokia’s Lumia brand a few years ago.

Facebook Live wants to give people a voice, but it’s mostly noticed for violence
Abby Ohlheiser, The Washington Post

Over the past few months, Facebook has pushed an ad campaign that works to demystify its latest big feature: the ability to stream video, live. One recent ad reads: “Curious about going Live? You can’t go wrong!”

Jimmy Fallon’s 2017 Golden Globes Monologue Was Right On Brand
Karen Fratti, Romper

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — award season. Sunday’s 2017 Golden Globes were the perfect way to start the season off on the right foot.