Category Archives: Uncategorized

Will Amazon’s Holiday Pop Ups Up Its Profits?

Amazon UK House of Black Friday 2017 London

Via your classmate Antoine, who noticed this article on BrandChannel:

Amazon is ending the year by partnering with numerous brands. Calvin Klein made a deal with Amazon called the Calvin Klein Amazon Fashion retail experience, and the CK brand already has a partnership with the YouTube artist Lilly Singh, aka Superwoman. To give credibility to its offer, an online brand store has been created under the address, where only Calvin Klein products will be sold.

In a UK first, Amazon’s  “Home of Black Friday” pop-up opened last Tuesday, offering gift advice, prize giveaways and special celebrity guest appearances.

Another partnership, with automotive brand Acura, will create a documentary based on the journeys of motivated entrepreneurs conceptualizing products for the market.

Amazon’s partnerships are not only with for-profit organizations; the company is also working with World AIDS Day to host a co-branded with RED which features more than 150 different type of products such as fashion, cosmetics or kitchen goods with curated collections by celebrities such as Neil Patrick Harris and DJ Khaled. $10 of each product sold will go to Global Fund to bring medication and care services to those with HIV.

Lastly, an internal partnership:  taking advantage of its recent acquisition of Whole Foods Market: Amazon will open holiday pop-up shops inside Whole Foods locations, featuring Amazon’s high tech products such as Fire tablets and Amazon Echo smart devices.

All these opportunities will strongly reinforce the brand presence and yearly revenues for what is expected to be one of the best year for Amazon. As consumers, you certainly had e-mails from Amazon for Black Friday. Get ready, because it will not be the last time you will hear from the company. Are you ready to live every day with Amazon?


KFC in the PRC

kfc top

KFC’s Colonel Sanders has been resurrected by a number of actors in a number of campaigns in recent years. While North Americans try to keep up with “who” the Colonel really is, your classmate Caitlin has been thinking about the brand’s endurance in China.

This article talks about the success of the KFC in China and how it is the market leader and most popular in terms of American chains within the country. I found this article of particular interest to me as I was previously unaware of the success of KFC in China, due to its decline in North American culture. This article showcases many elements which prove how brands can transform their positioning to succeed in other markets. As we learned a critical element to successfully managing brands over time is innovation and being able to “keep the branded product- and its meaning- relevant.” KFC successfully innovated its brand to keep the service, menu and experience relevant to the Chinese market and its customers. A line that stood out to me in this article is “KFC went into China looking to change it and in the process, China changed the brand.” By catering the menu to Chinese culture and providing FEC payment options, KFC is a prime example of a brand that successfully achieved glocalization. They successfully maintained their brand and ensured they adapted to accommodate the needs and wants of the Chinese consumer. Additionally, based on the tech savvy culture, KFC also launched a promotion with a phone company, giving away a limited number of red phones branded with the KFC image and pre-loaded with K-dollars. Through these marketing efforts it is clear KFC understands the importance of making its brand known and continuously developing its brand equity. They adjust all operations to cater to the specific market and make the brand resonate with its consumers.

Can the Lazaridis MBA be its own leader?


Via your classmate Aaron:

If you’re reading this, you’re probably on the internet and using a web browser. Companies may place a JavaScript tag on their website and participate with online ad exchanges through their marketing agency. When you visit that website, a “cookie” is left in your browsing history and the products/services you viewed earlier may show up on another website or social media platform later reminding you about that brand. This process is known as retargeting and is designed to change a “window shopper” into a future “customer” by promoting an offer and an actionable next step to engage that customer with their brand.

Lazaridis MBA participates in ad exchange, however its effectiveness is questionable. As a current student enrolled in the MBA program over the last 3 years, I’ve been targeted by the Lazaridis MBA to “be a leader”, “earn [my] one year full-time MBA in Waterloo”, “earn [my] MBA with CPA, part-time,” or “attend an MBA Information Session.”

How effective are these ads promoting student enrollment when it’s being advertised to existing students?

Moreover, the websites participating on the same ad exchange platform vary from BlogTo, Best Buy, Business Insider, Expedia, and various gossip blogs. Can Lazaridis MBA be a leader in ensuring their ads are placed on websites consistent with their brand? How does purchasing a new TV relate to earning my MBA in Finance? Why if I’m reading about strange things seen on the TTC, I get an ad is encouraging me to earn a Full-Time MBA in Waterloo? Why would reading an article about human rights and the Russian government become a good time to enroll in a full time MBA program?

Brand misalignment is really apparent when two conflicting ad banners are not consistent with each other, for example in the image above, in which the Lazaridis MBA is asking me if I’m a leader, while a Google Ad is asking me if I’m living with a sociopath.

I would argue that Lazaridis MBA needs to revisit their marketing strategies and speak with their agency to confirm that their briefs, concepts, and branding are consistent across all retargeting efforts and to ensure they are getting their return on investment. Perhaps, when the contract is up for renewal, the Laurier MBA marketing team could revise their brief and have a tissue session, so the examples highlighted here don’t continue to happen and devalue the brand.

Curious on how retargeting works on your Facebook account? Check out Marketing Land link below.


What the !@*%!# Kraft Dinner?


via your classmate Sandeep:

I came across a Mother’s Day video by Kraft that opens with a mother with a house full of children. The mother turns out to be Dr. Melissa Mohr, an expert on swearing. She reveals that a recent study by Kraft Mac & Cheese found that 74% of mothers admit to swearing in front of their kids. Under the premise that she can help mothers deal with “less than perfect parenting situations,” Mohr expresses her frustrations with her kids by using creative language such as, “What the frog!” However, when she slips and utters something vulgar, she is “beeped” and an icon the shape of macaroni pasta appears in front of her mouth.

At a first glance, the video is pretty light and fun. However, when you look a little bit deeper, the brand management team is being pretty strategic in their approach. Some of the things I noticed were:

  1. The video right away caters to mothers; this is interesting because mothers are probably the typical people who purchase Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for their kids. This is a great tactic as it targets the shopper rather than the person actually consuming the product.
  2. The video makes reference to a recent study by Kraft Mac and Cheese. This is also very interesting as there is almost a quick subliminal message here. I did not hear it the first time I watched it, but it definitely stood out a second time. The ad could of done a better job on making this obvious, but I do not think it was much of a loss.
  3. The video uses macaroni throughout to cover up swear words. This is a good object to use, because it is exactly an image of the product they are promoting. However, because it is shaped like a smile, I first thought it was a banana. In addition to this, I first thought that the video did a poor job in bleeping the swear words, but then I realized this could also be strategic. If the ad did not push the envelope a bit, it would not catch my attention.
  4. The colours used in the home and the Mohr’s clothing are similar to the colour of the Kraft Mac and Cheese packaging. This definitely seems like it was planned.
  5. At the end of the video, a reference is made to being a good mom and when you can’t, there is always Kraft Mac and Cheese (the product is known as Kraft Dinner in Canada, but this was an American commercial). Once again, the branding team is catering to the buyer of the product. The last scene also shows a bunch of kids sitting at a table, which shows that Mac & Cheese can be a great meal when entertaining kids.
  6. Finally, the ad does a great job of showing the viewer the product at the end, linking the viewer to their website ( and then also showing some free ear buds.

Overall, I think the ad is fun, but is carefully put together. Would this make me buy the product? I am not sure, but I’m not the target of the communication.

What’s in A Name?


via your classmate Ruby:

Kylie Jenner has established a successful brand identity as a reality television personality, socialite, fashion designer and model. She has capitalized on her celebrity status through various business ventures including a clothing line called Kendall and Kylie and a successful cosmetics line called Kylie Cosmetics. Naturally, Kylie submitted a U.S. trademark application for her respective name in 2015, as she wanted to protect her name in relation to advertising, entertainment and personal appearances “by a celebrity, actress, and model.”

Unfortunately for Jenner, in February 2016, Australian pop star Kylie Minogue and her representative business, KBD, filed a notice of opposition to Jenner’s application. KBD argued that Minogue already owns trademark registrations for “Kylie Minogue Darling,” “Lucky – the Kylie Minogue musical,” and her full name, “Kylie Minogue.” She has also owned since 1996, which is to say, before Jenner was born. Kylie Jenner has filed an appeal to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Minogue has been active since 1988 and has established a prominent brand not only in pop culture but also through philanthropic and humanitarian efforts. She has been known as “Kylie” for the entirety of her career. Jenner, on the other hand, debuted in 2007 and her name has appeared in a variety of outlets and products. As it currently stands, ownership of a name is quite often a first-come-first-serve situation.

Kylie Jenner has established a strong brand identity which has been powerfully defined through various social media platforms. She was voted as one of 25 most influential teens of 2014, and in 2016 she was one of 10 most followed celebrities on Instagram and has a best-selling app on iTunes.  She has accumulated a large and loyal following which has enhanced her brand’s personality. Her followers, primarily millennials and teens, are exposed to her life and she promotes EVERYTHING on her social media platforms. If Kylie J. doesn’t win the appeal, will it affect the Kylie Jenner brand?

This Email, Well, Bombed.

Image result for adidas boston marathon

Via your classmate Adiela:

Adidas is running–to apologize after sending an insensitive email to finishers of the 2017 Boston Marathon. The subject line of the email read “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” Recipients of the email took to social media expressing their outrage at the insensitive subject line of the email which was intended to be a promotional email, encouraging runners to “share their race day experiences and shop official gear.”

Adidas subsequently apologized, stating that they were “incredibly sorry”, and that “the Boston Marathon is one of the most inspirational sporting events in the world. Every year we’re reminded of the hope and resiliency of the running community at this event.”

Although the company has acknowledged it was a poorly executed marketing email, I simply feel that an apology is not enough. In my opinion, this is likely to hurt the brand more than help it, as it displays a high level of insensitivity on the part of the brand and is directly offensive to the survivors of the Boston marathon bombings. The brand image in the eyes of loyal customers who hold this issue dear to their hearts will likely diminish. Adidas has to take a more active role in showing that they are truly sorry. To right their wrongs, they should come up with innovative ways to get directly involved with helping the current survivors and use the publicity from these efforts to redeem themselves in the eyes of the public and reverse their image from insensitive to community activist!


Zellers: Night of the Living Dead Brand

zellers queensway

via your classmate Vito:

One of the best known Canadian brands has come back from the dead to feast on the clearance merchandise of Hudsons Bay and Home Outfitters! Many people don’t know this, but there are two Zellers locations still chugging along in Canada. One in Nepean, ON – a suburb just south of Ottawa and one right in our backyard on the Queensway in Etobicoke, ON. They’ve been open since 2013, but you won’t find much advertising for these two stores. In fact, the stores aren’t listed on the HBC store locator and you won’t find any mention of them on the HBC corporate website. It’s almost as if they are run by some supernatural retail force.

What treasures are kept in these stores you might ask? Well, in the article linked below, Christina Avila bravely ventures to the Queensway location and admits she was surprised at what she found. Unlike the original Zellers stores of yesteryear, these stores sell a variety of clearance merchandise from large brands including Nine West, Ralph Lauren, Ivanka Trump (everyone’s favorite), Dooney & Bourke, Kensie, and BCBG MAXAZRIA.

Apparently these stores were quietly re-opened after HBC sold all locations to Target, which begs the question, why continue using the Zellers brand name? They could have reopened as ‘Designers4Less’, ‘Brand Clearance Warehouse’ or something along those lines and allowed the well-known name associated with Zeddy the bear and 3D club sandwiches to rest in peace.

I’d argue that the mass familiarity with the Zellers brand among Canadians, whether the connotation is positive or tainted, is what accounts for much of the patronage that these stores get. Why ditch a brand that is well known and try to build a new one from scratch? Maybe the negativity surrounding Zellers (if there is any) doesn’t outweigh the familiarity when it comes to getting feet in the door.

What do you think?