The World Branding Forum (WBF) is a registered global non-profit organisation which aims to advance standards in the branding industry for the good of the industry as well as consumers. The WBF publishes daily industry news on its blog. It is also the organiser of the World Branding Awards.
Anniversary marked by Hot Wheels with yearlong lineup of live experiences, new digital content, products, partnerships and commemorative items
Today, Hot Wheels, a global toy-selling brand with nearly 500 million units sold every year, celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Conceived in 1968 by an innovator, a rocket scientist and a car designer, Hot Wheels 1:64th scale die-cast cars were designed to look awesome and perform.
Five decades later, the brand has evolved from a simple, yet beloved, toy car with orange track system into a franchise that offers fans of all ages multi-channel play experiences.
“For 50 years Hot Wheels’ intuitive vehicle play-pattern has contributed to its success as the number-one selling toy in the world.
“Since its introduction in 1968, 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,” said Chris Down, Senior Vice President and Global Brand GM, Hot Wheels.
To celebrate this anniversary, Hot Wheels is introducing a year-long lineup of live experiences, new products and compelling content.
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 our values and bring authenticity, credibility and expertise in their categories that resonate with our fans.
The first toy created by the brand was a 1968 Custom Camaro, and to celebrate its anniversary, it partnered with General Motors to create a life-size version of the die-cast.
Available for purchase in 2018, the full-sized 50th Anniversary Hot Wheels Camaro includes exclusive features like a Crush-Orange paint job, referencing the brand’s iconic orange track, unique interior and wheels, and commemorative badging.
The evolution video seen above created in partnership with Race Service will honour 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.
This new video launched today is the latest instalment in Donut Media‘s successful evolution series which highlights cars and brands that have revolutionised car culture.
The brand 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 brand history and deep-rooted ties to racing.
Both born in California, the brand and Volcom combine forces to show that the creative spirit comes in all colours, shapes and sizes.
Volcom, a brand known for supporting action-sports, art and music are collaborating with the brand 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.
Long-term alliance involves Telepizza Group opening 1,300 new stores over the next 10 years across regions covered in alliance: Spain, Portugal, Latin America (excluding Brazil), the Caribbean and Switzerland
Pizza Hut, a division of Yum! Brands and global pizza restaurant company with nearly 17,000 restaurants in over 100 countries, and Telepizza Group, a non-US pizza delivery company worldwide with more than 1,600 stores in over 20 countries, unveiled a strategic deal and master franchise alliance to accelerate growth across Latin America (excluding Brazil), the Caribbean, Spain (including Andorra), Portugal and Switzerland.
The landmark deal doubles Pizza Hut’s footprint in the regions covered by the alliance, places Pizza Hut in the number one position in the category across Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of unit count, and confirms Pizza Hut’s position as one of the largest pizza restaurant companies in the world.
As a result of the alliance, the delivery company will become Pizza Hut’s largest master franchisee globally by unit count and a leading multi-country pizza operator worldwide.
“This ground-breaking deal is a major milestone in our journey to become the most loved, fastest growing pizza brand in the world, and Telepizza Group is the ideal partner with the capability, commitment and capital to accelerate Pizza Hut’s expansion into key high-growth regions like Latin America.
“Geographically, this long-term, strategic alliance with Telepizza Group will make Pizza Hut accessible to more consumers over time, helping fulfil our mission of making it easier to get a better quality pizza,” said Milind Pant, President, Pizza Hut International.
“Our alliance with Pizza Hut delivers on Telepizza Group’s strategic plan to transform pizza delivery with a management model grounded in improving the customer experience through best-in-class operations.
“The deal accelerates our global growth plan, nearly doubles the scale of our business and extends our international reach to 37 countries, which represent more than 500 million potential consumers.
“The aspirations and capabilities of Telepizza Group and Pizza Hut International are complementary, and we are confident this deal will drive significant value for customers, employees, franchisees and shareholders as it represents an ideal platform for future growth opportunities,” said Pablo Juantegui, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Telepizza Group.
“At Pizza Hut International, we are focusing all of our innovation, technology investments and franchise alliances on delivering the easiest, fastest and tastiest pizza experience wherever we operate.
“Telepizza Group is the ideal partner to help us deliver on this focus across Latin America (excluding Brazil), the Caribbean, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland, because of their incredible depth and capability in franchise operations and supply chain management. Leveraging the strong experience of our Pizza Hut franchisees, we expect this to accelerate the growth of Pizza Hut with a best-of-both approach,” said Enrique Ramirez, Global Chief Growth Officer, Pizza Hut.
UiPath partnership will enable business transformation through reduced integration overheads, rapid ROI, and elimination of manual processes
Publicis.Sapient, part of Publicis Groupe and an advanced digital transformation company, announced a new partnership with leading robotic process automation (RPA) providerUiPath.
With decades of mergers, acquisitions and IT investments, and siloed infrastructures, firms are struggling to evolve their operations to become more client-centric and react to rapidly changing market forces, driven by new technologies, enhanced client and consumer expectations.
Numerous challenges have emerged, including incomplete upstream data feeds and a lack of interoperability between core systems, leading to multiple workarounds and manual processes that increase cost and risk of error.
As a result, firms dedicate significant amounts of labour to perform repetitive, rule-based efforts, such as managing exceptions.
As multiple industries transition to a digital world, RPA will become an inherent part of any digital roadmap.
The agency’s consulting, technology and industry knowledge will enable these firms to transform their operations by implementing and deploying UiPath’s proven end-to-end, intelligent automation platform.
UiPath’s RPA platform automates those repetitive duties through a business-owned, IT-supported digital workforce that allows operations staff to be re-focused on more strategic and value-added tasks.
The agency’s methodology for RPA delivers market-leading results, including time to business value, transparency into KPI’s for business executives, security, manageability and architectural integration for CIO’s.
This helps each client fully realise the efficiency and cost benefits that highly scalable, robotic workforces automating manual process and workflows can deliver.
The collaboration has already seen successful implementations for processing and managing unstructured data for financial services and energy firms, including large integrated oil majors to midstream and fuel retailers.
The two firms have also delivered a logistics project using RPA to reduce the time taken to perform tasks and improve safety through regular, automated audits.
“RPA is becoming a major enterprise enabler in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of an organisation’s operations and service delivery, and as a foundation for digital transformation. We are excited to partner with UiPath to offer intelligent automation capabilities to our clients.
“Where the application of RPA becomes interesting is when it is combined with more advanced, cognitive artificial intelligence tools to deliver intelligent process automation. We are developing these tools to deliver processes with pre-programmed functions, offering the potential to make autonomous decisions using a sophisticated rules engine based on learning algorithms,” said Rashed Haq, Global Lead for AI, Data and Robotics, at Publicis.Sapient.
“We have seen RPA drive significant process improvements for organisations in the financial services, energy and commodities sectors. By taking on time-intensive tasks, like data entry, RPA empowers organisations to more effectively tackle operations – driving faster, better decisions that support their core missions.
“Through our partnership with the agency, we are positioned to help more organisations utilise RPA to digitally transform and operate in a more strategic, sophisticated way,” said Ashim Gupta, Chief Customer Success Officer, UiPath.
National Geographic asks people to take simple steps to reduce single-use plastic; hosts three-day takeover on social channels featuring Zooey Deschanel
As the amount of single-use plastic in the world’s oceans continues to grow, National Geographic is announcing a new, global commitment to tackle this pressing problem.
The brand launched Planet or Plastic?, a multiyear initiative aimed at raising awareness of this challenge and reducing the amount of single-use plastic that enters in the world’s oceans.
Doing so will not only benefit the thousands to potentially millions of marine animals that become entangled in, suffocated by, or ingest plastic each year, but will also contribute to the overall health of the planet’s marine ecosystems and all who rely upon them.
The initiative will leverage the power of its media portfolio around the world and the expertise of its explorers and scientists who are witnessing firsthand the devastating impacts of this crisis.
This organisation-wide effort will include a major research and scientific initiative, a consumer education and engagement campaign, updated internal corporate sustainability commitments, and innovative partnerships with like-minded corporations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from all over the world.
The launch is tied to the release of the June issue of National Geographic magazine, which takes an in-depth look at the role single-use plastics play in our society and the impact they are having on our environment.
Starting with this issue, the brand announced that it will begin wrapping the US, UK, and India subscriber editions of the magazine in paper instead of plastic, with the goal of wrapping all global editions in paper by the end of 2019.
The nonprofit National Geographic Society will embark on a journey to better document how plastic travels from source to sea and to fill critical knowledge gaps.
Starting with an initial expedition in 2019 to study the type and flow of plastic in a river system, National Geographic will provide science-based, actionable information to help local and national governments, NGOs, businesses and the public more effectively invest in and implement innovative solutions. The Society is also sourcing solutions to the challenge of plastic waste through an existing Reducing Marine Plastic Pollution Request for Proposal (RFP).
As a global social media brand, it will use the power and reach of its platforms to educate people about the impact of single-use plastic and to encourage them to take the pledge.
For the next three days, the brand will “pollute” its Instagram feed, @natgeo, with photos of the plastics crisis as well as animated Instagram stories to highlight the true impact of humanity’s pollution of the natural world.
@natgeo will also feature photos taken by photographer Randy Olson, who travelled around the world to document the plastics crisis and is featured in the June issue of the magazine.
On Thursday, 17 May, actress and singer Zooey Deschanel (“New Girl,” She & Him) curated National Geographic’s Instagram account, posting photos of the plastic crisis.
On Friday, 18 May, the brand’s photographers will be posting their own photos of the crisis. Also on Friday, Kathryn Kellogg, a writer and public speaker who lives a “zero-waste” lifestyle and focuses on the dangers of plastic pollution, will host a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) about small, actionable eco-friendly steps that people can take in their everyday lives.
Kellogg, who is featured in the June issue of National Geographic, has fit all of the trash that she has generated at home in the last two years into a 16-ounce jar.
Sky Media and National Geographic are joining forces in the fight to eradicate the destructive impact of plastic litter in the world’s oceans.
National Geographic has committed US$10 million/£7.4 million to support the activities of Sky Ocean Ventures, an initiative launched by Sky Media to seek out investment opportunities in businesses that can help solve the ocean plastic crisis.
Bringing to bear the brand’s scientific expertise, grants and media reach, the collaboration will identify and champion projects and groundbreaking technologies designed to reduce plastic waste and its impact on oceans.
It will also support a series of events with industry leaders, corporations, institutions and foundations, engaging them around the issue of marine plastic pollution.
Collectively, this new collaboration will create the largest global media campaign to date to reduce plastic litter in the ocean.
National Geographic will seek out and partner with a number of like-minded corporations and organisations that are committed to raising awareness about the enormity of the ocean plastic issue as well as to finding solutions.
For example, The North Face, who is partnering with the brand to introduce a limited Bottle Source Collection, will feature shirts made from recycled plastic bottles diverted from National Park waste streams.
Finally, the brand will be taking steps to reduce its own reliance on single-use plastics. Starting with the June issue and moving forward, those who subscribe to the US, UK, and India editions of National Geographic magazine will receive their issues wrapped in paper instead of plastic.
This change will save more than 2.5 million single-use plastic bags every month. By the end of 2019, all global editions will be wrapped in paper instead of plastic.
This is just one of many steps National Geographic is taking to reduce its own single-use plastic consumption.
Over the next month, National Geographic will initiate a third-party audit of its single-use plastic use and will develop a timeline and action plan to further minimise single-use plastics in the workplace.
“For 130 years, National Geographic has documented the stories of our planet, providing audiences around the world with a window into the earth’s breathtaking beauty as well as to the threats it faces.
“Each and every day, our explorers, researchers and photographers in the field witness firsthand the devastating impact of single-use plastic on our oceans, and the situation is becoming increasingly dire.
“Through the Planet or Plastic? initiative, we will share the stories of this growing crisis, work to address it through the latest science and research, and educate audiences around the world about how to eliminate single-use plastics and prevent them from making their way into our oceans,” said Gary E Knell, CEO of National Geographic Partners.
Digital marketing agency Pyxl simultaneously announces headquarters move to Nashville
Digital marketing agency, Pyxl, announced that Daniel Houghton, former CEO of Lonely Planet and 2017 Forbes 30 under 30 honoree, will join the company as CEO.
Houghton spent the last five years transforming the iconic, travel brand from traditional publisher to a well-balanced media company that saw sales of their traditional print guides grow whilst launching a digital media platform that engaged millions globally.
Houghton has a strong passion for helping businesses transform and be successful in the ever-evolving digital landscape, taking a proactive approach rather than reactive to challenges in the market.
“I was so fortunate to have a front-row seat in defining a digital strategy that helped transform a 40-year-old brand that needed new digital products and direction when I arrived.
“My passion for partnering with companies globally to transform those that have lagged behind and those that need an innovative new digital strategy is what fuelled my move to lead Pyxl,” said Daniel Houghton, CEO of Pyxl.
During Houghton’s time at Lonely Planet, he discovered that many companies fall behind in their digital strategy because they stick with what they know – traditional – and end up stalling because their competitors are evolving with market innovations.
Under his leadership, Lonely Planet became a global leader for travel guidebooks by adopting new technologies and a new mindset, realising that it is never too late, and that transformative digital strategies are available to anyone. This is one of the many offerings he is excited to provide to clients at the agency.
Pyxl was founded by high-tech and digital marketing entrepreneur, Brian Winter, in April 2008 when he purchased a small, marketing firm in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Since then, the three-time Inc 5000 company has experienced significant growth whilst expanding to Nashville and Scottsdale, Arizona, delivering digital marketing services to an impressive list of clients in high-tech, healthcare, education and retail.
“After 10 years of significant growth, it was time to expand our executive team and recruit a leader that will forge new partnerships, adopt new technologies and extend our digital capabilities for the continued growth of the company and the benefit of our clients.
“The opportunity to have Daniel lead our company is one of those serendipitous moments where you realise you have found the right person for your employees and your clients, and you cannot wait to see what unfolds over the next 10 years,” said Brian Winter, founder and Chairman of the Board of Pyxl.
As part of Houghton’s hiring, the agency announced that Nashville will be the company’s headquarters. The combination of Nashville’s growth over the past five years, an expanded talent pool and ease of travel to every major city in the United States, drove the decision to move.
According to Winter, the agency is constantly looking to expand the depth and breadth of their talent with deep interest in employees with diverse backgrounds and experiences to ensure they are developing and executing on the most impactful digital strategies for clients.
The CEO will be based in Nashville along with critical operations functions including HR, finance and marketing.
“There are big things happening in Nashville right now that position us for strategic growth opportunities. It is an exciting time to be here and have a tangible impact on the digital success of various companies we partner with.
“My vision is to create digital transformations for our clients that align with and exceed their business goals. Our success is measured by the results we get for our clients,” added Houghton.
Additionally, the agency intends to continue to invest in Knoxville and Scottsdale as critical hubs for design, development and communications talent. Its robust offering of integrated digital services includes strategy, brand and identity creation, design, media planning and management, and website and application development.
The Demi Lovato for Fabletics collection will feature elevated designs made to perform
Fabletics unveiled their continued collaboration with Demi Lovato with a fresh Summer 2018 collection.
Following the immense success of her last capsule collection that sold out in record time, the singer’s summer lineup offers a mix of performance and lifestyle looks that are sold as separates or fully styled outfits.
Demi’s new collection is inspired by her everyday life on her current Tell Me You Love Me world tour, and includes styles she can wear on the road to feel confident and ready to perform. The singer’s cool and edgy style is embodied throughout her latest collection, featuring fun, sexy silhouettes that blend high functionality with bold fashion statements.
With Fabletics’ mission to empower women by making a healthy, active lifestyle accessible to everyone regardless of size, shape, age or ability – the new Demi Lovato for Fabletics collection reinforces their shared commitment to inclusion, female empowerment, inclusivity and body positivity.
“I am so excited to continue working with Fabletics to launch a cool, new collection for Summer. I took inspiration from my tour and wanted to give my fans a collection of styles that make me feel confident.
“Whether you are on the road or at home in your everyday routine, these pieces are intended to brighten your mood and inspire everyone to have fun staying active,” said Demi Lovato.
Fabletics is a global active-lifestyle brand designed with every woman in mind. Co-founded by Kate Hudson in 2013, the brand combines fitness and fashion to make women feel confident at—and beyond—the gym, by offering premium quality activewear at an accessible price point.
First of 18 Gloria Jean’s Coffees outlets to open in the UK over 12 months and 190 outlets over ten years
Global food and beverage company, Retail Food Group, has signed a Master Franchise Agreement which will see 13 outlets from its Gloria Jean’s brand open in the United Kingdom in the next 12 months, and 190 outlets within 10 years.
The 20-year agreement has been signed with local businessman, Naweed Nasir, whose other successful business interests have included Green Valley Foods.
During 2018, new stores are planned and in development in the United Kingdom for the Gloria Jean’s brand which is an Australian speciality coffee house.
It joins other Retail Food Group brands C2U, Donut King and Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar which are also opening new outlets in the United Kingdom in 2018.
Retail Food Group Chief Executive International, Mr Mike Gilbert, said the announcement includes a lot of exciting firsts for the brand.
“The Agreement will not only enable RFG’s first Gloria Jean’s outlet to open in the United Kingdom, but it will also be our first outlet outside Australia to represent the ‘Gloria Jean’s of the future’ – a significant brand renovation where all elements of the brand have been rigorously reviewed and tested.
“We are excited to be launching the Gloria Jean’s Coffee rebrand into the UK market, as we believe it has a unique positioning and modern feel from the store design to the menu, that UK consumers will love.
“The United Kingdom is an important strategic market for Retail Food Group and a natural platform from which to plan further expansion into the European markets,” said Mr Gilbert.
Mr Gilbert said the United Kingdom’s first Gloria Jean’s future branded outlet will open in July in Glasgow.
“The United Kingdom has a growing speciality coffee market and Gloria Jean’s Coffees has an outstanding offering to meet that need.
It is an offering that is already successful in over 900 outlets in over 50 markets across Europe, North America, Middle East, Asia and the South Pacific,” he said.
Retail Food Group is an Australian multi-brand retail food franchisor with a network of more than 2,400 outlets across nine brand systems and over 80 territories.
Three creative spots by MTN DEW reveal what goes on inside Kevin Hart’s head with a cameo from WWE Hall of Fame Legend ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund
Mountain Dew has unveiled its “Give Your Head a MTN DEW KICKSTART” campaign, featuring actor and comedian, Kevin Hart.
This marks the first time DEW Nation will see Kevin, the face of the brand, in a DEW commercial, venturing inside his head – literally – as he drinks a MTN DEW KICKSTART.
As with everything Kevin does, fans should expect the unexpected in this series of 15-second spots, which play off what is going through his head whilst he is getting pumped up.
In “Wrestler,” WWE Hall of Fame Legend ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund interviews Kevin, who channels his convincing wrestling persona, and makes DEW Nation wonder if we will see the comedian in the ring one day.
In “Slap,” which debuted this past weekend during the NBA Playoffs, viewers got double the Kevin as he gets psyched before playing basketball.
Rounding out the three spots is “Chopper,” which features Kevin revving the engine to his newest set of wheels – a neon-green coloured motorcycle.
“People always wonder what goes on in my head and I do not blame them. There is a whole lot going on in there, folks, and now you finally get to see what pumps me up—spoiler, it is me.
“What is great about this partnership is that we get to have fun with it. Between bringing a fan courtside at a NBA Playoff game to filming these commercials, I am proud of the work we are doing and hope the fans will enjoy it, too,” said Kevin Hart.
The commercials are part of the year-long partnership between Kevin and MTN DEW KICKSTART that includes a 360-degree marketing campaign (TV, digital, social and experiential) and integration with Kevin’s Irresponsible Tour.
“These commercials perfectly capture the energy Kevin Hart is known for whilst depicting the refreshing boost fans can expect from the brand.
“You drink a MTN DEW KICKSTART and it is as if there is a little Kevin Hart inside your head pumping you up, fuelling your work ethic in pursuit of whatever it is you are chasing. We love the parallels between Kevin’s mentality and our brand, and the collaboration on real-time opportunities and larger campaigns like this have been second to none,” said Chauncey Hamlett, Senior Director of Marketing, Mountain Dew.
The partnership was announced at NBA All-Star 2018 with the ‘Closer Than Courtside’ campaign, which included a pop-up experience dubbed Courtside Studios and the launch of the #CourtSidekickContest. The winner of the contest recently joined Kevin courtside at an NBA Playoff game.
Webby Awards Recognise LIFE VR’s Achievements in Creating Innovative and Immersive Experiences from The Foundry
The Foundry at Meredith Corporation has been honoured with three awards at the 22nd Annual Webby Awards for its work in immersive content.
Holographic capture company, 8i, creates groundbreaking virtual reality experiences in partnership with the company’s LIFE VR.
“Buzz Aldrin: Cycling Pathways to Mars,” in which Buzz Aldrin takes viewers from his Apollo 11 landing site on the moon to Mars, is the Webby winner in the ‘Film & Video: VR: Branded Cinematic or Pre-Rendered’ category and also ‘The Webby People’s Voice Award winner in the Film & Video: VR: Branded Cinematic or Pre-Rendered’ category.
Sports Illustrated‘s co-production with Endemol Shine Beyond USA and LIFE VR, “Capturing Everest,” the first-ever surface-to-summit climb of Mt. Everest in VR, is the winner of The Webby People’s Voice Award in the Film & Video: 360-Video: Branded category.
“We are glad that The Webby Awards recognises LIFE VR’s unparalleled work in creating innovative and immersive experiences.
“This important industry honour is a testament to The Foundry’s commitment to providing relevant, cutting-edge content for our audiences and advertisers—and to partnering with the best in the business to make those ideas a reality,” said Chris Hercik, Chief Creative Officer of The Foundry at Meredith.
The company serves as Meredith’s creative content resource, harnessing the power of Meredith’s publishing know-how, editorial approach to storytelling and data capabilities to enable deeper connections with audiences that fuel growth for clients, no matter the format or platform.
US$54 Million/£40 Million Investment to Build the First in a New Generation of Acura Products
Acura celebrated the start of mass production of the all-new 2019 Acura RDX, the first in a new generation of products built around its Precision Crafted Performance brand direction.
The new RDX is a clean-sheet, top-to-bottom redesign of the brand‘s perennial top-selling five-passenger luxury SUV, brought to life through a new capital investment of US$54 million/£40 million in new technologies and processes at the East Liberty Auto Plant (ELP).
New technologies at the East Liberty Auto Plant include a new roller hemming process for the new RDX’s ultra-wide panoramic moonroof and the use of high-performance structural adhesives for enhanced body rigidity – both manufacturing firsts for a mass-produced model from the brand.
A new multi-layer paint system highlights the introduction of new exclusive premium exterior colour options.
“This new RDX defines the future of the brand, and our Ohio team did an incredible job preparing this first in a new generation of vehicles for our customers.
“Paired with a new Ohio-made 2.0-liter Turbo engine, an all-new platform and a host of new technologies, the 2019 RDX sets a new high bar for style, performance and sophistication in a compact luxury SUV,” said Jim Hefner, Plant Manager at the East Liberty Auto Plant.
The RDX is launching from a position of strength as the top-selling nameplate in the compact luxury SUV segment since its launch in 2006, with cumulative US sales of more than 375,000 units (through end of April 2018), all made in Ohio.
In addition to being manufactured in the US for the past 12 years and over three generations, the all-new 2019 model is the first RDX to be designed and developed in America.
Styling design of the RDX was conducted by the Acura Design Studio in Los Angeles, California, with development undertaken by the company’s North American R&D team, based in Raymond, Ohio.
The RDX has been completely reengineered on a new exclusive platform and showcases the next-generation Acura design direction.