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For Sunday’s season opener for the WNBA, the Minnesota Lynx team unveiled a billboard on Sunday featuring their star forward and four-time WNBA champion Maya Moore. As seen above, Moore is shown with arms aloft in a pose like Michael Jordan’s wings poster from 1989, when he was with the Chicago Bulls. Sponsored by Nike’s Jordan brand, which also released a video to mark the occasion.
WINGS - YouTube
Jordan Brand signed Moore in 2011, when she was the No. 1 WNBA draft pick; she was also the first female athlete to sign an endorsement deal with the company. In 2015, Jordan Brand released Moore’s own personal shoe. The WNBA season starts on Sunday May 20, and the Lynx open their 2018 season against the Los Angeles Sparx.
Facebook’s Oculus VR unit is inviting the public to enter a new chapter in virtual reality at the official Oculus Go launch event in New York. From 12pm to 8pm on Friday, May 18, Oculus is hosting a one-day pop-up event where people are invited to stop by and try out its new Oculus Go headset in a concept space with filled with interactive installations.
Open Your Eyes | Oculus Go - YouTube
Using the “Open Your Eyes” tagline for Oculus Go used at Facebook’s recent F8 developers’ conference, some of Oculus Go’s VR experiences including walking with the dinosaurs in Jurassic World, catching up on Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale with a friend, sitting courtside at the NBA Playoffs and more.
Call it a throwback if you will, but Hot Wheels is as relevant today —a half-century after the brand rolled up to the starting line, with today its official birthday—as it was in 1968. In fact, Hot Wheels is getting hotter.
The Mattel-owned line of miniature cars remains the No. 1-selling toy in the world, with nearly 500 million units sold per year. So while the auto industry and many car enthusiasts bemoan the fact that automotive hobbying seems to be fading away with Generations Y and Z, it seems that millennials’ kids are still enthusiastic about pretending to go zoom-zoom with 1:64th-scale die-cast runabouts.
The keys to Hot Wheels’ continuing success include accurate renderings of the full-size nameplates they represent and minimal packaging that avoids telling kids what they should do with the cars. There are track sets, but mostly kids direct the narrative and control whether they put their Hot Wheels on the floor or a table, putting their faces down alongside them as they spin their wheels.
“Hot Wheels’ intuitive play pattern has contributed to its success,” stated Chris Down, SVP and global brand general manager, in a press release. “The brand has evolved from a simple toy into a true lifestyle brand that champions the challenger spirit through gaming, digital content, partnerships and live experiences spanning multiple generations and ages—this has allowed the brand to remain relevant to kids and adults and see record growth over the past three years.”
The Hot Wheels 50th anniversary celebration will include an array of products and partnerships that pay tribute to the brand’s iconic heritage from best-in-class partners that share its values and bring authenticity, credibility and expertise in their categories that resonate with fans.
With cars at the heart of the brand, Mattel is releasing some limited edition collections in honor of its half-century:
Hot Wheels 50th Originals Collection: Todaythe brand is releasing replicas of five Hot Wheels originals from the “Sweet 16” with legacy graphics, original packaging and original detailed Spectraflame paint, Redline wheels and a collectible button. Each car will include a code where one-winner in the United States will win a life-size 50th anniversary Hot Wheels Camaro.
Hot Wheels City: For the youngest Hot Wheels fan, the brand is introducing Hot Wheels City, a system of play that blends imaginative vehicle “push-around” play and classic “crash-and-bash” action.
Hot Wheels Augmoto: Using augmented reality and connected play, Hot Wheels Augmoto is a smart-device-controlled track-set that adds unprecedented control and gaming to a physical Hot Wheels racing experience.
Hot Wheels Rocket League: Hot Wheels has seen tremendous success in the gaming space, and in 2017, the brand partnered with Rocket League to put Hot Wheels vehicles in the world-renowned game that mixes driving with soccer. The Hot Wheels integration was so successful that the two-brands are releasing a physical version of the game as an RC arena set (Hot Wheels Rocket League RC Rivals Set) in holiday 2018 and additional in-game DLC later this year.
To mark the anniversary, a number of collector-worthy Hot Wheels items will be released.
The Hot Wheels Book by Assouline: This ultimate collectors’ book encapsulates Hot Wheels history through photography. It chronicles the origins and technical evolution of the toy, and where Hot Wheels brand is today. The book will be available in June 2018.
50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin: Australia is releasing a 50th anniversary commemorative coin. The coin will be nearly 100% silver and feature two Hot Wheels cars and the 50th anniversary logo. Only 5,000 of these coins will be released in 2018.
Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition Camaro: The first Hot Wheels toy created was a 1968 Custom Camaro, and to celebrate its anniversary, Hot Wheels partnered with General Motors to create a life-size version of the die-cast. The full-sized 50thAnniversary Hot Wheels Camaro includes exclusive Hot Wheels features like a Crush-Orange paint job, referencing iconic Hot Wheels orange track, unique interior and wheels, and commemorative Hot Wheels badging.
The Evolution of a Diecast: The Hot Wheels evolution video created in partnership with Race Service, will honor the more than five-decades of Hot Wheels die-cast design and performance, along with the toy’s influence on the auto industry and ties to pop-culture. The video below is the latest installment in Donut Media’s “Successful Evolution Series,” which highlights cars and brands that have revolutionized car culture.
Evolution of Hot Wheels - YouTube
Nico Rosberg: Hot Wheels will partner with 2016 Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg. As a brand ambassador, Rosberg will help amplify the brand’s purpose to ignite the challenger spirit and celebrate the Hot Wheels brand history and deep-rooted ties to racing.
Hot Wheels + Volcom: Two companies born in California, Hot Wheels and Volcom, combine forces to show that the creative spirit comes in all colors, shapes and sizes. Volcom, a brand known for supporting action sports, art and music are collaborating with Hot Wheels on an exclusive line of boys clothing that captures the challenger spirit. It is with this free-wheeling and youthful exuberance that this collection was created. The line will be sold at volcom.com and Nordstrom starting in October.
Hot Wheels Illest: Illest, the street wear brand, has partnered for the third-year with Hot Wheels and released exclusive merchandise sold at the Legends Tour Hot Wheels HQ kick-off event in April 2018 in El Segundo, CA.
Mattel is celebrating the brand’s 50th anniversary with a number of experiential promotions, a new marketing campaign and even the return of its Hot Wheels Race to Win exhibit beginning this weekend at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the world’s largest children’s museum.
Hot Wheels is launching its largest traveling car show in search of a custom car worthy of being made into its own die-cast toy, for instance, visiting 14 Walmart stores across the U.S.
Beto Carrero, the largest theme park in Latin America, will open an immersive Hot Wheels brand experience with a dedicated brand-themed area within the park. And a new Hot Wheels Challengers marketing campaign will include competitions such as karting to encourage kids to use “determination, grit and perseverance.”
Georgia-Pacific’s Dixie brand has introduced a line of rinse cup designs that incorporate augmented reality tooth-brushing games. The game, which is free from the Blippar mobile app, lasts two minutes—the standard minimum time recommended by the American Dental Association to keep brushing.
The strategy: Getting kids to brush their teeth can be a battle, but adding an educational—and entertaining—mobile game to the routine can help them understand the importance of regular oral care. Kids can fight off mouth-invading monsters or explore outer space to show how to keep their teeth clean and healthy.
More than 50% of U.S. children are affected by tooth decay before age five, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, which is why Dixie is encouraging kids not to “rush the brush.”
Dixie’s Everyday cups line now features designs that incorporate augmented reality technology into the daily brushing routine. With new interactive designs, game incentives and an appeal to tech-savvy households, Dixie is aiming to empower parents to foster fun and sustainable habits for their children’s oral hygiene.
Three new design series featuring kid-friendly themes are now available which feature a fun and educational augmented reality brushing game where kids can fend off mouth-invading monsters, explore outer space or enjoy riddles and brain teasers while keeping their teeth shiny and healthy.
New Dixie® Cup Designs – With Interactive Teeth Brushing Game - YouTube
You may want to have a tissue on standby for this—Mars Petcare UK is looking to alleviate loneliness among senior citizens with Pedigree Dog Dates, which brings the joy of dogs to the elderly. The British initiative is pairing lonely members of the elderly population with visiting canine companions in the recognition that loneliness is something that affects all areas of society.
It’s estimated that by 2050, one-quarter of the UK population will be over 65, with many people living in solitude. Already, up to one in four seniors now suffer some form of social isolation in the UK, where loneliness is approaching epidemic proportions.
According to the UK’s Campaign to End Loneliness, 1.2 million older people are “chronically” lonely in the United Kingdom, which can trigger a range of psychological issues including alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders and depression. A 2015 study revealed a lack of social connections is a comparable risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Following a pilot test in Melton Mowbray, Mars Petcare UK is now rolling out PEDIGREE Dog Dates across the UK, accepting applications by people over 65 and dog owners whose pets have a friendly disposition. The pet visitation matching service is an effort to alleviate the loneliness experienced by the 9 million people age 65 and older across the UK.
“‘PEDIGREE Dog Dates’ is based on significant research from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, showing that pets help older adults remain more physically and socially active,” stated Chris Rodi, Marketing Director at Mars Petcare UK, about the public affairs campaign.
Pedigree Dog Dates #pedigree#dogdates is such an amazing new initiative. They’ve created a dog-matching platform that matches older people with dogs and their owners in the same area and facilitate DOG DATES The first event has already happened in #MeltonMowbray this month! pic.twitter.com/YrArZWfAYu
“Seeing the positive impact on those who took part in the pilot scheme in Melton Mowbray, we knew we had to expand the ‘PEDIGREE Dog Dates’ program to more people. The number of elderly people currently suffering with chronic loneliness in the UK is staggering and we firmly believe this initiative can go a long way to reconnect people with their local communities.”
Find out more in the videos below:
Pedigree Dog Dates - YouTube
Someone's Got A Date - Pedigree Dog Dates - YouTube
As VP and Head of Global Brand Experiences and Partnerships at American Express, Deborah Curtis has a unique perspective on the experiential landscape—what it means today and how to create meaningful and memorable branded experiences to connect with customers and explore the future with new technologies such as augmented and mixed reality.
First Concert | American Express - YouTube
Her role helps bring the company’s new “Powerful Backing” #AmexLife global brand platform to life because as Curtis (right) says, “It’s much more than an ad campaign. It’s a guiding principle for how we behave as a company, how we treat our customers and colleagues, and how we relentlessly focus on every aspect of the customer experience, every day. The platform reminds us that we constantly need to push ourselves to be essential in our customers’ lives. Today, they are living more globally, and their work and personal lives are deeply intertwined. For us, this means we need to show up differently to meet our customers wherever they are—in life and in business—and enhance their experience all along the way.”
She shares more insights for brandchannel readers in a Q&A:
Could you give us some examples about how you’re evolving and elevating AMEX brand experiences?
American Express is a brand that has always been about building long-term, enduring relationships with our customers. They are at the heart of everything we do, so how we activate the brand is wholly focused on fostering and deepening those relationships, as well as driving value to both the Card Member’s life and the partner’s business. We always look for the “win-win-win.”
Recently, we were thrilled to partner with one of today’s most celebrated artists—Justin Timberlake—and provide Card Members both early ticket access to his tour as well as multiple access moments that deepened the relationship between Justin and his fans. We brought two Man of the Woods listening experiences to our Platinum Card Members in NYC before the release of the album. These events culminated in the ultimate listening party at the home of one of the most revered artists in music history—Prince’s Paisley Park in Minnesota.
Another great example is what we are doing with the NBA (American Express is official card of the NBA) and Fanatics, with the launch of the American Express Jersey Assurance program. We knew that NBA fans love to wear their hearts on their sleeves (literally) with player jerseys, but what happens when their favorite player gets traded? Often disappointment, sometimes frustration.
Now, with Amex Jersey Assurance, when a fan buys a jersey at the NBA store (run by Fanatics), if that player is traded within 90 days of purchase, the fan can trade it in for a new jersey. For those buying the jersey with an American Express Card, that offer extends for a year. It’s another way we can show Card Members—and all fans—that American Express has their back.
A post shared by Coachella (@coachella) on Apr 10, 2018 at 9:04am PDT
How did this come to life at Coachella this year — in-app, in-person and digitally?
At American Express, we know what the most culturally relevant and meaningful moments for our Card Members are, and Coachella is undoubtedly one of them. We also know that the expectations of our customers are high, and their experiential needs continue to evolve. For them, these moments are deeply personal, and they want them to feel connected and elevated like never before. At Coachella, we needed to exist squarely where Card Members experience the festival—at the intersection of their “mobile life” and “real life”—and do so in a seamless way to enrich, add value, and delight.
We looked at how we could continue to up our game through the next generation of our in-app Coachella integration. We provided a secure way for our customers to identify themselves as Card Members as they registered their wristband, and in doing so, their relationship with American Express (their Card) lived within the wristband and became an easy way to unlock a suite of benefits with a simple tap of their wrist.
These benefits were based on what we know are needs and desires of fans, including a new onsite Card Member Lounge—a lush and modern refuge to escape the desert heat and enjoy the festival in a fashion only American Express can provide. Other benefits included an Uber Priority Lane for your trip home, free embroidery, and—my personal favorite—a free ride on Coachella’s iconic Ferris wheel.
Get Ready For Coachella | American Express - YouTube
We have been using RFID technology across all of our festival partnerships up to this year’s Coachella, to connect the fan experience and provide a convenient and native way to unlock benefits and experiences. At Austin City Limits, we even connected this to payments so that it was if your Card was on your wrist, even at the point of sale. Like the experience at Coachella, it was one seamless journey for our Card Members—from an onsite offer, to the Card Member club and, in this case, to tap-and-pay at the register. American Express became the ultimate “wingman.”
When it comes to AR, we have been tapping into the power of the technology to connect storytelling with commerce. As part of our partnership with Justin Timberlake, we created an interactive, mixed-reality experience in the American Express Music app that brought users into the journey of the song, “Breeze off the Pond,” and provided Card Members with the opportunity to access exclusive merchandise through a virtual pop-up shop.
At Coachella, as part of our partnership, American Express also introduced an AR shopping experience through the app’s AR camera (Coachella Camera), where Card Members could buy two specially-designed T-shirts and then have them shipped to their homes, exclusively when using their Amex Card.
What partners and partnerships were you highlighting at Coachella?
Our biggest partnership is, frankly, the one with our Card Members. We put them at the center of everything we do. Then we focused on working hand-in-hand with authentic partners who enhance their experience, such as Uber. We lean quite heavily on the expertise of our partners at Goldenvoice and AEG, who know the needs of fans best and collaborate with us on how to meet those needs in ways that are additive, not disruptive.
How does the Amex Music app open new opportunities to engage customers?
We look at the Amex Music app not as a transactional experience, but rather as a dynamic portal to bring fresh stories and experiences by artists to fans, like the one we created with Justin Timberlake. We have used the app to do everything from live streaming to 360 interactive music video launches (the American Express Taylor Swift Blank Space Experience) to AR to shopping experiences, and a discovery tool for our presale program. We do not have a fixed definition of the opportunities it offers; it’s whatever we can dream up with artists.
Does adding more digital touchpoints give you valuable feedback to help make these experiences more personal, impactful and meaningful?
Absolutely. Let’s face it, we are all living our lives to a large extent through our devices. The richness of the data allows my team to make better choices for where we invest, what we offer, and rich insights into our customers’ needs so that we can back them in more meaningful ways. We use digital touchpoints to not only inform the experiences we create but also to connect these experiences for our customers to make them more personal, more meaningful, more joyful. Ironically, we look at what we do through our digital touchpoints in service of enhancing their “real life” experiences—because those are the moments that we crave and that we remember the most.
Beyond entertainment, how are you transforming your tentpole sports partnerships and experiences?
We think the same way about our sports experiences as we do entertainment. Our goal is to always get smarter and better—to take the best of what we learned from the last event or season forward to the next while being hyper-relevant for that fan base. We are excited for what is ahead this summer at this year’s U.S. Open Golf Championship in the Hamptons, as well as later with the U.S. Open Tennis Championship, where we will be celebrating our 25-year partnership. Talk about long, enduring relationships.
On the evening of May 17, A/D/O, MINI and Surface co-host the #NYCxDESIGN launch party for SPIRIT OF THE CITY, a site-specific installation by London-based United Visual Artists in The Courtyard at MINI’s A/D/O space in Brooklyn, New York.
A post shared by Esther Bahne (@estherbahne) on May 14, 2018 at 2:58pm PDT
Spirit of the City opens to the public on May 18 as a site-specific installation by London’s United Visual Artists (UVA) investigating the physical and emotional response people experience when navigating an urban environment, as MINI’s A/D/O head Esther Bahne shared on Instagram.
A post shared by Esther Bahne (@estherbahne) on May 14, 2018 at 3:00pm PDT
The installation is a modular system of revolving mirrored columns set on a grid configuration. Through the orchestrated rotation of these columns, dynamic compositions of movement, reflection, light and shadow constantly transform the space, articulating a seemingly organic behavour that is poetically linked to New York City’s dynamic activity.
A post shared by Esther Bahne (@estherbahne) on May 15, 2018 at 1:44pm PDT
The combined rotation of the columns is orchestrated to create different patterns of motion, expressing a number of moods that range from dormant to hectic—playful to chaotic. These patterns of movement unfold during a 24-hour cycle that has been pre-programmed to reflect the daily activity of New York, based on selected data that reveals levels of human activity in the city, such as energy demand patterns and traffic flow.
A post shared by A/D/O (@ado) on May 15, 2018 at 11:55am PDT
Challenging human perception, UVA aim to stir visitors towards a visceral reaction, as they move through the installation. Ultimately, the piece alludes to the mutual influence between people and the cities they live in.
The iconic Big Mac hamburger was introduced by McDonald’s in its Pittsburgh market in the U.S. in 1967 and across America in 1968, considered its official launch—which means it’s turning 50 this year. The signature sandwich’s half-century isn’t only being celebrated in its homeland but everywhere McDonald’s operates worldwide.
Macca’s Big Mac 50th Celebration – Brand – 60” - YouTube
As part of its 50th Big Mac celebration McDonald’s Australia is introducing a limited edition ‘Grand Big Mac’ of Australians’ favorite burger with bigger buns and bigger patties, as DDB Sydney celebrates in the retro ad above and with this spot:
Macca’s Big Mac 50th Celebration – Grand Big Mac – 15” - YouTube
As for how other markets are showing love to the Big Mac, Americans have been urged to “rediscover the love” with the Big Mac Trio campaign:
Rediscover the Love: Big Mac® Trio | McDonald's - YouTube
Canada brought bacon to its Mac Lovin’:
Big Mac x Bacon - YouTube
The British bow to the Big Mac’s 50th ran in the first quarter:
Leo Burnett London Celebrates 50 Years of the Big Mac in 'The First Time' TV Spot - YouTube
Portugal celebrated “50 anos” with these spots:
Big Mac 50 anos_30" - YouTube
Big Mac 50 anos - A Festa - YouTube
Pakistan held a vote for its promo:
Vote for Big Mac BLT - Big Mac Elections - YouTube
Belgium’s witty shout-out:
Big Mac - 50 Ans Inchangé - YouTube
Big Mac firar 50 år - YouTube
The Wall Street Journal‘s profile of the Big Mac’s Pittsburgh-based creator, McDonald’s franchisee Jim Delligatti, who died at 98 in 2016: