Friday, 31 October 2014

Microsoft Fitness

Microsoft has unveiled its first wearable device that can track a user's sleep and exercise as well as connect to a health service on smartphones. The Microsoft Band will retail for $199 (£125) on the company's online store. The device can operate for two days on a single charge and has 10 sensors that can track heart rate, calories, stress and even a person's sun exposure.
Wearable Tech

Merry Crisp-Mas

Tyrrells are preparing for Christmas with a festive limited edition which uses both red and white potatoes set to be released in early November. The use of different varieties of potatoes is what has been giving Tyrrells a unique selling point amongst some of the competition. They have also re-released their Queens Diamond Jubilee variety which uses varieties of red, white and blue potatoes.

SuperWarm

Superdry have become the latest company to warn shareholders about a hit on profits due to the unusually warm autumn. Profit forecasts have been dropped by around £10m as the warm weather has lead to uncertainty around the performance of the autumn/winter range which is a significant part of the Superdry product mix and can account for between 70-80% of the groups full year profits. M&S, Next & Debenhams have already announced how profits were going to be hit with Next expecting a drop of around £25m. 

Very Happy Halloween

Sales of Halloween products are expected to reach £240m this year, driven in part by the millennial generation's enthusiasm for the festivities. The UK’s younger generation is emulating American-style. Halloween celebrations with 58 percent of 16-24 year-olds and 55 per cent of 25-34 year olds spending on related products and services in 2013, according to Mintel. The UK food and drink sector has not been slow to make its mark on the season with the number of food and drink products launched with a mention of Halloween growing by 263% between 2009 and 2013. Brands have been also having fun on social media. Check out what pranks Samsung have been playing.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Hidden Brand Messages

You probably already know the story behind the famous FedEx logo and its clever use of negative space. But of course, it's hardly the only logo with a "hidden message."

Protein Popcorn

Sports nutrition brand The Protein Works is launching what it says is the world's first protein popcorn. It comes in 100g tubs in two flavours: sweet & salty and marbled chocolate. The product contains 21.7g of protein per 100g, which compares to around 5-10g in most popcorns. The product took social media by storm showing the current passion for unique and healthy snacks.

No More Nokia

Microsoft is ditching the Nokia brand name from new smartphones, less than a year after acquiring the Finnish firm's mobile devices division. New Nokia Lumia phones will instead by known as Microsoft Lumia, the company said. The parts of Nokia that were not bought by Microsoft will continue to use the name. The mobile operation was bought by Microsoft in April in a deal worth $7.2bn (£4.6bn). Since then, Microsoft has quietly shifted away from the Nokia brand.
Nokia No More

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Do Us A Flavour

Pulled Pork in a Sticky BBQ Sauce has been unveiled as the winning flavour of the Walkers ‘Do Us A Flavour’ campaign. Out of a total of 1.2 million entries it was Paul Rothwells idea which came out on top who took home the prize of £1 million.

Breaking Very Bad

A mum has campaigned to get the action figure pulled from Toys R Us, saying they are "unsuitable to be sold alongside Barbie dolls". The action figure which comes with a bag of money and some signature blue crystals has gathered 3,000 signatures on a petition to get the toy removed from stores.

Ranger Rover China

For the first time in its history, the iconic Land Rover brand is no longer exclusively 'Made in Britain' but now 'Made in China' too. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has opened its first factory in China and production of a Chinese-made Range Rover Evoque will begin within a few months. Since the Range Rover Evoque was launched, one in five of the cars have been sold to Chinese customers. This move represents an expansion that will allow more Chinese vehicles to be brought to more Chinese customers - which is now JLR's largest market.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Trendy Offices

The British Council for Offices (BCO) has handed out awards for the "best and most innovative" workplaces in the UK. Why might having an innovative workplace help bring about the best in your staff? 

Will.i.am Puls Smartwatch

Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am has unveiled a new smartwatch-style device called Puls. It is voice controlled with a Siri-like feature, and connects to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for social networking, and includes typical smartphone features such as calls and email. It took a team of 35 engineers more than 2 years to create. The finished product has 16BG of storage and 1GB of RAM. There are also a standard model which comes in four colours, with two high-end models in gold, and gold with diamonds. The device will go on sale in the run-up to Christmas but no price has been revealed yet.

EasyFood Store

EasyFoodstore is the easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou's latest venture – an ultra-budget grocer for people struggling to put food on the table. Outside, an orange sign announces his big idea: “No expensive brands, just food honestly priced.” He is about to open up a focus group trial store in Croydon where he pledges a 50p average price that features basic non-branded products. He tried before to open up a budget cinema which was not a success, so what will make this venture work?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Sugar Puffs Rebrand

honey monster
Sugar Puffs have been reformulated with less sugar as recent sales have been plummeting due to customers concerns over the sugar levels. The new branding of Honey Monster Puffs will contain less sugar and 20% more honey and a brand new packet which will contain transparent nutritional information about the contents. The Honey Monster will be back as part of a £30m advertising campaign which aims to re-position the brand as a healthy cereal.

Barbie Back on the Shelf

Group hug. Barbie sales have been sliding for nearly three years.
Sales of the iconic dolls have been declining for nearly three years, and Mattel’s other dolls, such as Monster High and American Girl, have failed to make up for Barbie’s fading charm. Sales of Fisher-Price pre-school toys fell 16%.Barbie made her debut in 1959 but has fallen out of favour, with girls increasingly opting for electronic toys such as tablets and watches and dolls based on Walt Disney’s animated film Frozen. In 2009, Barbie held more than a quarter of the market share in the US dolls and accessories market, but that proportion tumbled to 19.6% in 2013. Mattel, which this year was deposed by Denmark’s Lego Group as the world’s largest toy maker by sales.

Richest 1% Own Half of Global Wealth

A model on a luxury yacht at a boat show in the port of Dalian.
The richest 1% of the world’s population are getting wealthier, owning more than 48% of global wealth, according to a report published on Tuesday which warned growing inequality could be a trigger for recession. China now has more people in the top 10% of global wealth holders than any other country except for the US and Japan, having moved into third place in the rankings by overtaking France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

10 Years of The Apprentice

It’s that time of the year again when a group of self-deluded, arrogant individuals do everything they can to undermine each other whilst trying to prove to Lord Sugar that they are worthy of his £250,000 investment. Yes, The Apprentice is back for its tenth year with 20 candidates trying to show they have the best business skills in the country.

First for Customer Experience

Nunwood recently conducted their fifth annual customer experience survey with 7,500 customers asked their experiences with over 250 brands and to explain the rationale behind their scores. It was a bank that came out this years number 1. However which other brands came in the top twenty & what do you think customers were looking for?

My Burger

McDonald’s UK has introduced five new crowd-sourced burgers to its menu to celebrate the winners of its My Burger competition. Each week, beginning 15 October, a new burger is added to the menu, starting with ‘The Big Uno’, created by Tammy Rose from Sittingbourne and including beef, cheese, bacon, red onion, lettuce, ketchup and mayo. Extensive advertising campaign will support all the burgers with the other winners being The Sweet Chilli Fiesta, The Ultimate Supreme, The McPizza Pepperoni Burger and The Big Spicy Bacon.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Fancy A Snog?

This cheeky frozen yoghurt store has been recently growing from strength to strength. The idea was founded by two entreprenuers who spotted the trend for frozen yoghurt in New York and brought the idea to London. Now with 10 stores open in the UK and franchises beginning to pop up around the world they aim to become the 'Ben & Jerrys of the Frozen Yogurt World'. With fans such as Harry Styles and the Duchess of Cambridge they are now looking at working with Unilever to take a version of their product to supermarket shelves. 

Cupcake Vending Machine

Sprinkles ATM launched in Beverly Hills in 2012, and since then the company have expanded across the States with 5 more vending machines, including Las Vegas, Beverly Hills, Chicago & now New York. The sweet treats cost $3.50 and you can choose your flavour on the ATM’s touch screen, with the machine’s having the ability to disperse over a 1,000 cupcakes a day. The idea came from the founder when she was pregnant and had a craving at night time for something sweet.

Seasonal Crisps

Kettle Chips has announced that it will be introducing three seasonal flavours to its range of hand cooked chips in time for the key Christmas sales period. Kettle Chips Cheshire Cheese, Red Wine & Cranberry will be launched as the winter seasonal edition and will replace the summer flavour of Lime & Black Pepper. In addition, in response to consumer demand, two classic seasonings, Stilton & Port and Salsa & Mesquite, will be re-released for a limited period. All the new products are perfect for festive parties or for simply sharing with friends and family this winter.
Seasonal Crisps

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Everything Is Not Awesome

Lego has ditched a long-standing partnership with Shell, after a Greenpeace video used its toys to illustrate an Arctic oil spill. The decision comes after the slick parody video by the pressure group went viral online and gained 5 million views. Lego products are currently sold at Shell petrol stations in more than two dozen countries, in a deal estimated at £68m. Lego were not happy about their toys being used as part of Greenpeace's dispute with Shell but acted after over 1 million complaints were made.

Fantastic Fashion


Young entrepreneur Alice Blackie’s eye for fashion has set her on the road to making millions as her business Pink Boutique has this year achieved a turnover of £1 millionShe has combined her expertise in fashion journalism and love of fashion, to fill a gap in the market by creating an online one-stop clothes store for girls who love to party. Having started life with just a box of clothes in her house, the success of Alice’s business is reflected in her recent move to a huge warehouse space in Gateshead. 

Anti-Theft Backpack

High Spirit Bags LTD is a travel accessories company based in London. They create backpacks that prevent loss or theft, particularly during travels and in busy areas. The company was founded by two brothers who spotted the potential for a backpack with a unique zipping design that is placed on the back of the bag rather than the front. The bags currently retail for £85.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Samsung Profits on Hold

Electronics giant Samsung has forecast a profit plunge of almost 60% in the last quarter but promised it would soon release a new range of smartphones with "innovative designs". Its phone sector has come under pressure because of increased advertising spend and lower retail pricing, squeezing margins for the firm. Expected profits are around 20% (£24.9bn) down from 2013. Shares in Samsung are currently at a two year low.

Lidl Bit More Banter

Lidl have poked fun at Morrsions who recently stated they were going to start matching Lidl's prices. This is a very clever bit of reactive advertising to what Morrsions are set to launch but Morrisons were not bothered and even thanked Lidl for taking out the advert to help advertise for them.

Wakie Wakie

Billed as a "social alarm clock", the Wakie app connects you with a global network of strangers, who each have one minute to wake you up. The app also adds a dating twist by trying to match you with someone of the opposite gender. With 1.5 million people already using the Russian version of the service, the international update is now vying for a place on our bedside tables.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

E-Mail Curfew

The advent of smartphones has allowed us to be plugged in and able to read work emails around the clock. But research suggests that this is adding an extra five hours to the average office worker’s day. That is why Germany is considering bringing in new laws that will make it illegal to email colleagues after 6pm. The research found a relationship between workers having constant access to their emails and poor mental health. France have recently passed legislation by where you must turn off your work smartphone by 6pm.

Pocket +

To help customers avoid that scenerio, Dutch telecom company KPN offered iPhone 6 Plus owners a chance to “supersize” their pockets. With the help of a mobile tailor, they hit Apple Stores where people were queuing up to get their hands on the phone. Once there, they offered pocket alteration services to the people in line so that their new phones will fit perfectly in their pockets. Isn’t this an ingenious idea? Check out the video clip below.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Cool Juice

Innocent have unveiled two cold-pressed juices this week made with a  range of fruit and vegetable juices. Easy Greens, a blend of celery, cucumbers, spinach and ginger and Skip to the Beet, an "earthy tasting" juice made from beetroot, carrot, lemon and ginger. They are being rolled out in Starbucks priced at £2.99 for 330ml. Cold pressing is an innovative technique which means the fruit and veg keep all their nutritional values. Tasty idea or a health kick too far?

Lidl Bit of Banter

Lidl have responded to Sainsbury's infamous 50p challenge with their very own poster which tries to encourage customers to save as many 50ps as possible. This rubs further salt into the wound of Sainsbury's who embarrassingly had to try and explain their poster this week. However discounters Lidl and Aldi will have to keep on their toes as Morrisons announced this week they will begin their very own price match scheme which will also match prices of the discounters.

World's Best Airline Experience

The customer service must be at its very finest here at Singapore Airlines who in 2008 introduced the most luxurious class of flying that is commercially available - Suites Class. They really do go beyond with flat beds by offering enclosed private cabins with sliding doors that cocoon you in your own little lap of luxury. All this plus lots more will cost you up to £11,200 for a round trip from Singapore to New York. Click the link for more pics!

Sainsburys Want You Spending More

Sainsbury’s were mocked for ‘Fifty Pence Challenge’ to boost profits. A motivational poster designed for “staff areas” that inadvertently appeared in the window of one of Sainsbury’s east London stores has gone viral on social media. It is unclear how staff are supposed to encourage shoppers to spend an extra 50p on each trip to the supermarket, but Twitter users have some suggestions. One said: “Double swipe a 50p item at the checkout maybe?"


Netflix to Release Film

The video streaming site Netflix will release its first feature-length film next year after striking a deal with the Weinstein Company.The sequel to Ang Lee's Oscar-winning martial arts drama Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will be shown on Netflix and in Imax cinemas in August. Netflix has over 50 million subscribers, in more than 40 countries.
Netflix FIlm

Music Video Advert

Universal ink deal which integrates adverts into existing music videos. Working alongside tech company Mirriad, music videos could soon include product placements which adjust depending on your location and demographic.