October 7, 2008
Reader's Digest Conducts Global Presidential Poll
According to the results of a first-ever global presidential poll conducted by Reader's Digest magazine and published in the November issue (on newsstands October 21), Barack Obama is the world's preferred choice for president of the United States by far.
(Reader's Digest magazine is published in 21 languages and reaches 70 million readers worldwide. It is part of The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., a global multi-brand media and marketing company headquartered in Pleasantville, New York, USA.)
The poll, part of the cover story "How the World Sees Us" by Reader's Digest Washington Bureau Chief Carl Cannon, asked 17,000 people in 17 countries, including the United States, whom they would like to see in the White House, and to weigh in on the global issues they most care about. They were also asked to characterize how America is perceived abroad.
"For the first time, Reader's Digest used its unique international footprint to provide a tapestry of global perspectives on several of the most important issues of our time, leading with the election of the next American president," said Peggy Northrop, U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Reader's Digest.
• Regarding the question of which candidate they would vote for if they could, respondents voted overwhelmingly for Obama in every country polled, with the exception of the United States, where Republican John McCain was preferred over Democrat Obama by a narrow margin.
• "It's Obama by a landslide -- except in the country in which he's actually running for president," said John Fredricks, Director of Polling for Reader's Digest. "What is most striking is the margin of his support."
In the Netherlands, Obama-mania surpassed 90 percent. In Germany, it was at 85 percent--numbers not usually seen in political polling. Similar results held true on all six continents that the magazine polled.
One of the questions was "When you think of the U.S. government, do you consider yourself pro-American, neutral or anti-American?" The poll also asked respondents to rank eight issues in importance: terrorism, the war in Iraq, the global economy, global poverty, human rights, the environment, international trade, and nuclear proliferation.
• Americans ranked the global economy as most important; terrorism, second; and the war in Iraq, third. Only the Russians were more concerned with terrorism than Americans.
• In seven nations (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Great Britain and Taiwan), the environment came out on top as a major concern.
• Respondents in Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Finland, Australia, and South Africa reported paying the most attention to the U.S. election. Respondents in Brazil, Poland, Russia, India, and Taiwan reported paying the least attention.
• While preference for the candidates is nearly equal in the U.S., support for Obama is significantly stronger in all other nations.
• In the U.S., McCain is seen as more qualified to address issues related to war and security, while Obama is the stronger candidate for humanitarian issues, such as poverty, the environment and human rights.
• Globally, the most important issues are the economy, poverty, and the environment.
• The election of Obama would be more likely to improve the image of the U.S.
• Most countries polled have a neutral opinion of the U.S. government. India is the most pro-American government (31%) while Spain, Netherlands, Indonesia and Canada have the highest percent (21%, 21%, 20%, 19%) of respondents who are anti-American government.
• The majority in India (73%), South Africa (65%), the Netherlands (55%) and France (52%) would be interested in moving to the U.S. while about 70% of respondents in Poland, Russia, Indonesia, and Australia expressed a lack of interest in moving to the U.S.
• South Africa is the only country where the election of McCain would have a slightly more positive impact on the image of the U.S.
Source: Reader's Digest
"Well, also, was it written by Theologians: a King rules by divine right. He carries in him an authority from God, or man will never give it him. Can I choose my own King? I can choose my own King Popinjay, and play what farce or tragedy I may with him: but he who is to be my Ruler, whose will is to be higher than my will, was chosen for me in Heaven."
- Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus
October 6, 2008
Louis Vuitton Spring Summer 2009 Fashion Show at Closing of Paris Fashion Week
Photo: Paris, October 5, 2008 - Marc Jacobs and the models. (© Louis Vuitton / Bertrand Rindoff Petrov et Mazen Saggar)
Photo: Paris, October 5, 2008 - Zoe Cassavetes, Sofia Coppola, Marc Jacobs, Lenny Kravitz. (© Louis Vuitton / Bertrand Rindoff Petrov et Mazen Saggar)
Photo: Paris, October 5, 2008 - Sebastien Tellier, Amandine de la Richardiere, Zoe Cassavetes, Sofia Coppola, Kerry Washington, Yves Carcelle, Cecile Cassel, Helene de Fougerolles, Dita Von Teese. (© Louis Vuitton / Bertrand Rindoff Petrov et Mazen Saggar)
Photo: Paris, October 5, 2008 - Amandine de la Richardiere, Zoe Cassavetes, Sofia Coppola, Bernard Arnault, Helene Arnault, Kerry Washington, Yves Carcelle, Cecile Cassel, Helene de Fougerolles, Dita Von Teese, Mario Testino, Peter Marino, model from the Spring Summer 2009 show. (© Louis Vuitton / Bertrand Rindoff Petrov et Mazen Saggar)
The house of Louis Vuitton, with Marc Jacobs as Artistic Director, closed fashion week in Paris October 5, 2008 with its Spring Summer 2009 collection in the historic "Cour Carree" of the Louvre.
Yves Carcelle, President of Louis Vuitton received the international press and many celebrities including Sofia Coppola, Lenny Kravitz, Kerry Washington, Zoe Cassavetes, Cecile Cassel, Sebastien Tellier, Eva Amurri, Helene de Fougerolles, and Dita von Teese.
Source: Louis Vuitton
October 3, 2008
Paris Motor Show 2008: AutoWeek Editors Announce Editors' Choice Award Winners
The Editors' Choice Awards recognize Best in Show, Best Concept, Most Significant and Most Fun.
The AutoWeek editorial staff today announced its Editors' Choice Award winners for the 2008 Paris Motor Show.
"The Paris Motor Show has renewed our faith in the auto industry and its future," said AutoWeek Editor and Associate Publisher Dutch Mandel. "Despite the dismal global economy and the state of the industry, we saw a surprising number of exciting vehicles, both foreign and domestic."
Following are the 2008 AutoWeek Editors' Choice Award winners for the Best of Paris:
• BEST IN SHOW: Lamborghini Estoque -- "While the design is somewhat contrived, the Estoque really has presence when you see it in person. This is the car people will clearly remember," said Mandel.
• Contenders for Best of Show -- Ferrari California, Saab 9-X Air and BMW 7-series
• MOST SIGNIFICANT: Honda Insight -- "This hybrid car will be cheaper than the Prius, have high fuel economy and seating for five. Honda has officially returned to the game they used to own."
• Contenders for Most Significant -- Audi A1 Sportback, Pininfarina Bollore, Mercedes Fascination and Volkswagen Golf
• BEST CONCEPT: Peugeot RC HyMotion4 -- "If the French automakers were to come to the U.S., this is the car Americans would want. Here is an electric sports car we can love."
• Contenders for Best Concept -- Honda Insight, Mercedes Fascination, Audi A1 Sportback and Saab 9-X Air
• MOST FUN: Audi S4 -- "The S4 is a rocket ship that is fun and fuel efficient. It satisfies on all fronts."
• Contenders for Most Fun -- Fiat 500 Abarth Essesse, Ferrari California, Volkswagen Golf GTI and Lexus IS250C
AutoWeek is America's only weekly automotive enthusiast magazine. For more than a decade, the editors of this weekly have been selecting winners in four categories (1) Best in Show, (2) Best Concept, (3) Most Significant and (4) Most Fun at auto shows in Detroit, Geneva, Paris, Frankfurt and Tokyo.
"At the world's top auto shows, AutoWeek has been selecting winners in four categories - Best in Show, Best Concept, Most Significant, and Most Fun. These categories cover all types of cars displayed there. Yet, taking note of the new circumstances in which the automobile industry finds itself today, AutoWeek editors could consider adding another category, such as - Most Handy or Best Handy."
"With U.S. automakers reporting their worst monthly sales results of the year and no signs of relief expected in 2009, we now believe that as many as 100,000 industry-related jobs may be at risk.
With a more than 2 million unit sales decline likely this year compared with 2007, followed by a prolonged slump expected next year, the downturn is placing unforeseen levels of stress on the industry, we expect many players do not have the cash, credit or means to see the cycle through.
The last three quarters have seen a sharp curtailment in leases, high commodity and energy costs, a tightening of credit and rising unemployment. Consumers are fatigued, and we see more of the same in 2009 based on our read of the underlying industry fundamentals.
Only a resurgence in consumer confidence, stable financial markets, a resumption in the free flow of capital and a revitalized construction/real estate market can mitigate the downside risk."
- Grant Thornton LLP Corporate Advisory and Restructuring Services
September 22, 2008
Columbia Records to Release Two New Career-Spanning Albums from Celine Dion
On Tuesday, October 28th, Columbia Records will release two special edition CDs featuring career-spanning repertoire from Celine Dion, one of the biggest selling female artist of all time.
"My Love...Essential Collection" is a single disc featuring 17 songs, consisting of Celine's biggest hits...songs such as the international chart-topper "All By Myself", "Where Does My Heart Beat Now", her landmark 1996 Olympic Ceremonies performance of "Power of the Dream, the brand-new never-released "There Comes A Time," and a live recoding of the lead track "My Love."
"My Love" is a semi-autobiographic song recently written for Celine by Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera, Dixie Chicks, Gwen Stefani) and has become a show-stopper every night during Celine's sold-out World Tour, which is currently in flight across North America. "My Love" impacts at radio on September 22nd.
The two-disc edition, entitled "My Love...Ultimate Essential Collection," is a 26 song set that has been further expanded to include rarities like "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman," "The Prayer" (a duet with Andrea Bocelli), "Tell Him" (a duet with Barbra Streisand), "I Knew I Loved You," "Dance With My Father", and "Pour que tu m'aimes encore" (the biggest song of Celine's French career).
Celine's "My Love..." anthologies cover virtually every single aspect of her extraordinary career, including fan favorites, a definitive assemblage of chart-topping international successes, as well as new and unreleased recordings culled from once-in-a-lifetime experiences that Celine has participated in over the years.
• Celine Dion - "My Love...Essential Collection" - single disc edition:
1. Where Does My Heart Beat Now
2. Beauty & The Beast (duet with Peabo Bryson)
3. If You Asked Me To
4. The Power Of Love
5. My Love (Live From The Taking Chances Tour)
6. Because You Loved Me (Theme From Up Close & Personal)
7. The Power Of The Dream (taken from opening ceremony of the 1996 Summer Olympics)
8. It's All Coming Back To Me Now
9. All By Myself
10. My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From Titanic)
11. I'm Your Angel (duet with R Kelly)
12. That's The Way It Is
13. A New Day Has Come
14. I'm Alive
15. I Drove All Night
16. Taking Chances
17. There Comes A Time (previously unreleased)
• Celine Dion - "My Love...Ultimate Essential Collection" - two disc edition:
1. Where Does My Heart Beat Now
2. Beauty & The Beast (duet with Peabo Bryson)
3. If You Asked Me To
4. Love Can Move Mountains
5. My Love (Live From The Taking Chances Tour)
6. The Power Of Love
7. Pour que tu m'aimes encore
8. (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman
9. Because You Loved Me (Theme From Up Close & Personal)
10. The Power Of The Dream (taken from opening ceremony 1996 Summer Olympics)
11. It's All Coming Back To Me Now
12. All By Myself
13. River Deep Mountain High
14. Tell Him (duet with Barbra Streisand)
15. My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From Titanic)
16. To Love You More
17. I'm Your Angel (duet with R Kelly)
18. The Prayer (duet with Andrea Bocelli)
19. That's The Way It Is
20. A New Day Has Come
21. I'm Alive
22. I Drove All Night
23. Taking Chances
24. There Comes A Time (previously unreleased)
25. Dance With My Father
26. I Knew I Loved You
According to Columbia Records, "Celine Dion is the biggest-selling Female Artist of All Time, with worldwide album sales of over 200 million. Her RIAA Diamond Award albums "Falling Into You" and "Let's Talk About Love" have each sold over 30 million worldwide. She has five Grammys -- Best Pop Vocal Performance ("Beauty and the Beast"); Album of the Year & Best Pop Album ("Falling Into You"); Record of the Year & Best Female Pop Vocal Performance ("My Heart Will Go On") and two Best Song Oscars ("Beauty and the Beast" & "My Heart Will Go On")."
Source: Columbia Records
September 15, 2008
Barack Obama, John McCain Outline China Views
Photo: John McCain, Barack Obama Outline China Views Through AmCham-China.
The American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham-China) today announced in Beijing that US presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama have outlined their views on what US-China relations would be like under their respective administrations in articles written exclusively for AmCham. The articles, to be published in the October issue of AmCham-China's monthly magazine, China Brief, are believed to represent the first time the two candidates have publicly offered substantive details about their proposed China policies.
AmCham-China is a Beijing-based, non-profit organization representing the interests of some 2,700 companies and individuals doing business throughout China.
The articles outline the candidates' positions on a range of critical China-related business and policy issues facing the next US administration including trade balances, currency, security and the environment, as well as their thoughts on US competitiveness in the world economy.
"The fact that senators McCain and Obama chose to share their insights first with AmCham members is a testament to the chamber's reach and standing as an advocate for positive US-China business relations," said AmCham-China Chairman James Zimmerman. "We are encouraged to see both candidates call for further business development and more US engagement -- rather than isolationism -- in the years ahead. As a non-profit, non-partisan organization, AmCham-China looks forward to continuing good relations with the next administration."
Among many topics addressed, both candidates lay out clear indications of their views on trade.
For example, in his article Senator Obama writes that he will "undertake more sustained and serious efforts to combat intellectual property piracy in China, and to address regulations that discriminate against foreign investments in major sectors and other unfair trading practices." In addition, the senator pledges to work with China's leaders "to establish a better system for both countries to monitor products produced for export and act when dangerous products are identified."
Meanwhile, Senator McCain stresses China's obligations in improving bilateral trade relations. China's "commitment to open markets must include enforcement of international trade rules, protecting intellectual property, lowering manufacturing tariffs," he writes. "The next administration should be clear about where China needs to make progress, hold it to its commitments through enforcement at the World Trade Organization, and enforce US trade and product safety laws."
Source: The American Chamber of Commerce in China
September 10, 2008
New 'iPod touch' from Apple
Photo: Apple's iPod touch for movies, music and games.
iPod touch with new features is being introduced by Apple.
New features include a thin contoured metal design, a 3.5-inch widescreen glass display, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi wireless networking, integrated volume control buttons, a built-in speaker for casual listening, a built-in accelerometer and other advanced sensors, and Apple's Multi-Touch(TM) user interface.
"iPod touch is the funnest iPod we've ever created," says Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Users can listen to millions of songs, watch thousands of Hollywood movies and now, thanks to the App Store, download and play hundreds of great games on their iPod touch."
Photo: Apple's App Store downloads thousands of games, movies and music.
"iPod touch works seamlessly with iTunes so you can import, manage, and then easily auto-sync your favorite content. With up to 36 hours of music playback or six hours of video playback on a single charge, the new iPod touch is the ultra-portable way to enjoy your favorite music, TV shows, movies and games on the go. The 32GB model holds up to 7,000 songs, 25,000 photos or 40 hours of video; the 16GB model holds up to 3,500 songs, 20,000 photos or 20 hours of video, and the 8GB model holds up to 1,750 songs, 10,000 photos and 10 hours of video," Apple explains.
Photo: Apple's new iPod lineup: the iPod touch for music, movies and games; the iPod classic; the iPod nano in nine colors; and iPod shuffle.
The new iPod touch is smaller and lighter than the original. With its rounded edges, flush display and curved, more compact design, the new iPod touch is more comfortable to hold and more portable.
August 29, 2008
Kodak Enhances Digital Experiences at Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Shares it with Fans, and Bows Out
Kodak was the Official Imaging Sponsor of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
In Beijing, Kodak's most advanced imaging technologies were employed to help create accreditation badges, provide onsite image-rich printing and publishing services, and support thousands of photojournalists capturing the action of the Olympic Games for news media worldwide.
The Kodak Image Center, a 22,000-square foot facility located in the Main Press Center, served the needs of more than 1,500 professional photographers and news agencies with traditional and digital photographic products and services. An estimated six million images were acquired and digitized. By digitizing all the images, the Kodak Image Center enabled photographers and photo editors to share these memorable moments with editors, producers and audiences worldwide.
Kodak printed Opening Ceremony photos and other image related items, and delivered imaging services throughout the games to the International Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Committee and several other National Olympic Committees, and many of the Olympic Games Sponsors.
Kodak systems also produced more than 1.2 million security badges and credentials required for the Olympic athletes, officials, volunteers and sponsors.
Kodak Picture of the Day: August 17, 2008. Men's Swimming. Photographer: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Michael Phelps of the United States celebrates victory in the Men's 100m Butterfly Final held at the National Aquatics Centre during Day 8 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 16, 2008 in Beijing, China. By winning gold in the Men's 100m Butterfly, Phelps tied Mark Spitz's record of winning seven gold medals in a single Olympic Games.
Kodak Picture of the Day: August 15, 2008. Men's Water Polo. Photographer: Adam Pretty/Getty Images. Milan Ticic of Montenegro fights for the ball against Greece during the men's preliminary round water polo match at the Olympic Sports Centre Yingdong Natatorium during Day 6 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 14, 2008 in Beijing, China.
Kodak Picture of the Day: August 11, 2008. Women's Gymnastics. Photographer: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images. Deng Linlin of China competes on the balance beam during qualification for the women's artistic gymnastics event held at the National Indoor Stadium during Day 2 of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games on August 10, 2008 in Beijing, China.
Kodak Picture of the Day: August 18, 2008. Fencing. Photographer: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images. Wang Jingzhi (right) of China and Aron Szilagyi of Hungary compete in the men's team sabre fencing semifinals at the Fencing Hall of National Convention Center on Day 9 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 17, 2008 in Beijing, China.
Photo: Kodak Photo Shop in Olympic Athletes' Village, Beijing.
Eastman Kodak has been offering fans an inside look at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games through a variety of interactive online features at kodak.com/go/olympics including Olympic Picture of the Day, a photo tour of Beijing and daily posts on Kodak's blogs.
"While many websites cover medal tallies and country standings, we turn our cameras 180 degrees to show national pride, fan support and local color along with great sports photography," said Thomas Hoehn, Director, Brand Communications and New Media. "We want to provide a sense of what it's like to be at the Games through pictures and personal stories direct from Beijing."
"The Olympic Games captivate people everywhere and enable the world's best athletes to showcase their talents," said Antonio M. Perez, Kodak Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Dating back to the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, Kodak has been there to help capture and preserve the history, while also supporting the athletes. We're proud to play that role again in Beijing."
"The Olympic Games have played a major role for Kodak historically, helping us to showcase our products, innovations and services," said Perez. "We are culminating a long, fruitful relationship with the Olympic Movement and look forward to a successful program at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games." Mr. Perez was speaking a few days before the games began on August 8, 2008.
Eastman Kodak Company is reevaluating its sponsorship policy. A few months ago, it had announced that it would end its Olympic sponsorship after the 2008 Beijing Games. "As we complete the transformation of Kodak, it makes sense for us to take a new direction," said Elizabeth Noonan, Kodak's director of brand management. "Digital technology changes everything, including the way we market our products and services," she said. "Our new business strategy requires us to reassess our marketing tactics as well, and adapt them to changing market conditions and evolving customer behavior."
Source: Eastman Kodak Company
(Kodak is a trademark of Eastman Kodak Company)
• The end of the Kodak sponsorship opens the category of film, photography and imaging to new companies. Fuji, Kodak's main competitor, was a sponsor for the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
• For advertisers, the Olympics is one of the splashiest events for reaching the widest possible audiences on a world stage. But when the Beijing Olympics closed on August 24, 2008, more than a century of "Kodak Moments" at the global sporting event also came to an end.
"Then in 1984 the Olympics came to Los Angeles. Olympic czar Peter Ueberroth believed that Kodak was the natural choice to be the exclusive film sponsor, but Kodak wouldn't bite. Even after Ueberroth visited Rochester to make his pitch, Kodak refused to pay just $1 million, far below the $4 million floor for sponsorships that Ueberroth had established. So he approached Fuji, which in those days was still barely known in the U.S. market. Ohnishi said yes on the spot and eventually committed around $7 million. No marketing investment ever brought better returns. Within months of becoming a sponsor, Fuji landed 50,000 new distribution outlets. "Salespeople said that accounts that didn't used to return their calls were suddenly calling them," says Tom Shay, head of corporate communications for Fuji USA and a 26-year Fuji veteran. "The Olympics completely changed the way people looked at us." ...
Finally, Kodak and Fuji have jumped into the digital camera business themselves. But they are in a mob of nearly two dozen camera, computer, and consumer electronics companies trying to get into the same space. One thing is sure: The companies that win in digital photography will need marketing and product smarts, technology and, not least, money. Fuji, it seems, has them all."
- FORTUNE Magazine, October 27, 1997
"Kodak photographic materials and equipment are sold worldwide and are are bought and used by consumers, photographers, photo studios, photo labs, cinema, television, and various businesses involving photography & imaging.
• Yet none of the America's top business commentators would feel comfortable answering the following simple question:
In your view, approximately how many photographic goods users in the world (or in the USA) appreciate or even know that Kodak was the exclusive Official Photography & Imaging Sponsor of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, and that the Kodak technology, products and services helped in staging the world's largest event ?" ©GlobalGiants.Com
[Also check the August 20, 2008 Relevant Post: Branding at the Olympics]
August 26, 2008
HarperCollins Publishers, Supermodel Carol Alt and Lord & Taylor join for NEXT YEAR'S MODEL Search
• Supermodel Carol Alt Pairs with Publisher HarperCollins and Lord & Taylor to Seek Fresh New Face to Launch Cover of her 2009 Novel.
Photo: Carol Alt Seeks America's Next 'Cover Girl'.
Along with supermodel Carol Alt (author of "This Year's Model") and Lord & Taylor, "Avon A" an imprint of HarperCollins is launching an interactive online contest to help discover the fresh new face who will grace the cover of Alt's 2009 novel. Headquartered in New York, HarperCollins is one of the largest English-language publishers in the world and is a subsidiary of News Corporation. The "NEXT YEAR'S MODEL" Search Online Sweepstakes contest is being launched on August 26, 2008 (i.e., today), the date "This Year's Model" goes on-sale. From August 26 to November 20, potential cover girls from 16 to 25 years of age can submit photos to the contest feature page at http://www.harpercollins.com/nextyearsmodel. Meanwhile, a distinguished panel of judges will select finalists, with new finalist pictures posting weekly at http://www.flickr.com/groups/nextyearsmodel/. On November 21, the judges, led by Alt, will announce the 4 top Next Year's Model entrants, launching all participants into an exciting fan-based voting contest at http://www.harpercollins.com/nextyearsmodel. On December 11, 2008, "NEXT YEAR'S MODEL" will be announced, and arrangements will be made for the winner and a guest to be flown to New York City. The grand prize winner will be awarded a professional photo shoot, a meet-and-greet with a top modeling agency, and a wardrobe prize from Lord & Taylor. "Avon A" intends to feature the winner on the cover of Alt's upcoming book, "Next Year's Model", in stores in 2009.
Alt, a savvy and innovative marketer whose creative skills were recently featured when she became a top-2 runner up on Celebrity Apprentice, created this contest as a way to help a young woman break into the competitive world of professional modeling. In her debut novel, "This Year's Model" (in-stores August 26), Alt introduces readers to the high-stakes world of modeling and gives valuable life lessons to all young women looking to break into the field. "(Modeling) is one of the only businesses where a woman makes more money than a man," says Alt, "and in which a young girl can achieve financial stability, meet great people, and travel the world -- all while becoming famous and securing her future." Widely regarded as one of the world's most recognizable faces after launching the supermodel industry, Alt believes that modeling can be a healthy and empowering career for a young woman -- and wanted to offer a hand in helping a new talent into the industry with the "NEXT YEAR'S MODEL" online search.
Source: Avon Books
August 24, 2008
PANASONIC enhances its Global Brand Value through Beijing 2008 Olympics
Photo: Beijing 2008 Olympics -- Panasonic LED ASTROVISION large display system at the National Stadium (Bird's Nest).
Photo: Beijing 2008 Olympics -- Panasonic LED ASTROVISION large display system at the National Stadium (Bird's Nest).
Japanese multinational brand PANASONIC (Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.) is the Official Worldwide Olympic Partner in the Video and Audio Equipment category. It provided the largest ever delivery of equipment at all 37 venues in Beijing. A total of 25 ASTROVISION large-screen display systems were installed in 18 venues. The large display system at Workers' Stadium, which can rotate 270 degrees, has been delivering live footage of the Games. A total of 284 RAMSA (Research for Advanced Music Sound and Acoustics) professional audio systems were installed at 41 venues.
Photo: Panasonic Olympic Exhibition at CHITEC 2008 (China Beijing International High-tech Expo).
Panasonic has been sharing the passion of the world's top athletes through the state-of-the-art audio and visual technology from the field and track into the living rooms of millions of people around the globe. The whole world has been watching the Beijing 2008 Olympics with all the action and excitement recorded and delivered entirely in high definition (HD) format, a first in the history of the Olympic Games.
Photo: Panasonic 2008 Olympics Advertisement for USA.
"Panasonic fully supports the ideals of the Olympic Movement, which strives to promote world peace through its various activities. Through state-of-the-art audio and visual technology, Panasonic brings the passion and performance of top athletes to homes around the world.
The sponsorship of one of the world's most celebrated sport events helps to enhance our brand value and provides us with tremendous opportunities to demonstrate the performance of our products on a global basis." - PANASONIC
August 22, 2008
Michelle Obama interview on TV One -- Sunday, August 24
TV One commentator Roland Martin's interview with Mrs. Obama to serve as prelude to TV One's live coverage of the Democratic convention beginning Monday, Aug. 25 at 8 PM ET USA
TV One, a new cable and satellite television network, programming primarily to African American adults has interviewed Michelle Obama who sits down with TV One commentator Roland Martin to discuss a wide range of topics that provide a personal glimpse of the presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate's spouse, her relationship with her husband and family, and what she thinks about the historic role into which they have stepped. The show (In Conversation ... The Michelle Obama Interview) will be broadcast on Sunday, August 24 from 8-9 PM ET USA on TV One.
According to TV One announcement, during this revealing interview, which repeats at 11 PM ET, Martin talks to Mrs. Obama about a host of topics, including her role in the campaign, how she deals with political attacks, the challenges of being away from their children on the campaign trail, how they find time for family and each other, her faith and their decision to leave Trinity Church, life in a fishbowl, how her upbringing shaped her values, and people's perceptions and misperceptions about her.
Mrs. Obama tells Martin that she spent much of her marriage trying to talk her husband out of politics, but she says her daughters are at the heart of the reason she decided to support his desire to pursue public office -- because she recognized that through politics he could make a better world for them.
She says that a spouse's role in the campaign is important because it gives a broader insight of who the candidate is.
"So much of who I am is where I grew up," Mrs. Obama says. She talks about growing up on the South Side of Chicago, her father as a shift worker who had MS and who believed in sacrificing for his family but never complained. She says both her parents taught her the importance of working hard and giving back.
She also believes voters can see themselves reflected in her and her husband's working and middle class family backgrounds. She says that black women, in particular, have not had their views and their lives reflected in the larger world, and she is delighted when she hears from black women that they see themselves reflected in her.
She tells Martin she and her husband learned how to sustain their relationship back in his state senate days, including carving out a regular date night. She says it's important for her daughters to see their parents' loving relationship, to see them holding hands, and that it helps them feel secure and loved.
While her own schedule is hectic, she recognizes that the average working family faces much more difficult struggles, with every woman she knows struggling to balance resources. She tells Martin that she passionately wants to give voice to the challenges of working families, especially military families, who struggle with housing, schools, and health matters, many of them barely getting by.
Mrs. Obama says that it's truly humbling to be part of the next step in history, and she clearly does recognize that they are part of a historic moment.
"You need to celebrate what [Sen. Obama] represents even if you don't vote for him," Mrs. Obama says.
The interview, conducted in Chicago on Aug. 20, is part of TV One's continuing series of hour-long interviews with major public figures of interest to African Americans. Over the past four years, TV One has featured hour-long interviews with Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, then- Secretary of State Colin Powell, then-National Security Adviser and current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and former Secretary of Education Roderick Paige.
"We are delighted to bring this interview with Mrs. Obama to our viewers as part of our public affairs programming during the Presidential election season," said TV One President and CEO Johnathan Rodgers. "We also hope to have an opportunity soon to offer our viewers an in-depth interview with Senator McCain," Rodgers added.
Source: TV One
August 21, 2008
PUMA Celebrates as 'Lightning' Bolt Strikes Twice With Historic Sprint Double for Jamaica
Sprint Sensation breaks 100m and 200m world records in Beijing.
Photo: Usain Bolt celebrates after his 200m win.
"PUMA's" Usain 'Lightning' Bolt of Jamaica made history Wednesday night in Beijing when he became the first man in history to break world records in the 100m and 200m at the same Games. Bolt again demolished the field with a winning time of 19.30 seconds, beating the previous time of 19.32 seconds set by Michael Johnson in Atlanta in 1996.
Bolt, who won 100m gold in a world record time of 9.69 seconds last Saturday, also became the first athlete since Carl Lewis in 1984 to win Olympic gold in both disciplines. According to PUMA, the Jamaican sprinter ran to victory in his personalized PUMA Theseus II golden spikes inscribed with his nickname and the night's event -- 'UGO 200m Beijing'.
Photo: PUMA Headquarters, Herzogenaurach, Germany.
The company explains that Bolt worked with PUMA to develop the optimum running shoe. Running both the 100m and 200m, he needed a versatile shoe that provided support for power, as well as firmness to hold his foot in place around the turn. Following this collaborative process, the complete Theseus II was born. Made from synthetic leather with an airmesh upper construction for maximum breathability, it enhances sprinting efficiency due to its stiffness of material. Bolt was wearing the Theseus II shoe when he broke both the 100m and 200m world records in Beijing, the company adds.
August 20, 2008
Branding at the Olympics
Photo: Cindy Crawford at the OMEGA Pavilion on the Olympic Green in Beijing on 14 August, 2008.
Photo: American pole-vault athlete Jennifer Stuczynski at adidas Brand Center in Beijing, China, August 11, 2008. At the center's Olympic Brand Launch Area, consumers can get close and personal with the special products, designs and technologies that adidas has developed for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Photo: Women's 200m Olympian Marshevet Hooker of the USA at adidas Brand Center in Beijing, China, August 15, 2008. The new adidas Brand Center showcases and highlights the breadth and depth of the adidas brand to the Chinese consumers as well as to all visitors of the Olympic Games.
As the Olympic Games unfold, the branding experts at Siegel+Gale are commenting on topics such as how the Olympics are affecting the "brand" of China, how companies are using the Olympics to further their brands, specific corporate ad campaigns, branding through sports events in general, and other strategic branding and positioning issues.
Following are some comments by Larry Vincent, Siegel+Gale's Group Director of Strategy in Los Angeles, and Julius Roberge, Siegel+Gale's Strategy Director in New York, most recently relocated from Shanghai:
Why Companies Align With the Olympics - Larry Vincent
• "Most companies align with the Olympics because they hope to borrow equity or transfer goodwill from that of the Olympics to their own brands."
• "Twenty years ago it was a slam dunk. McDonald's and Coca-Cola measured noticeable lifts in preference, favorability, and attitudes toward the brand during the co-brand window of the Games."
• "1984 was the turning point, however. The Los Angeles Games, in some ways, reinvented the sponsorship model (so much so that LA had a surplus of funds after the Games). It was so successful, that more brands wanted in."
• "Today, sponsors have changed quite a bit: there are more of them and the affiliation competes with branded partnerships in vastly more channels and platforms."
• "The Olympic equity is still strong (although research shows that it is the strongest when the Games are actually in progress), but it's harder to transfer or borrow the equity."
• "'False reporting' of 'unaided awareness' of Olympic sponsorships is on the rise (meaning, consumers attribute an Olympic sponsorship to the wrong company) and ambush tactics by other marketers are more prolific. In that context, you have to ask, 'What is the return on investment for a company that spends millions to sponsor the Games, and millions more to purchase the media that activates the sponsorship?'"
Photo: adidas Olympics advertising campaign: Together in 2008 - Impossible is Nothing.
• "It still works for some. We expect Adidas, Coca-Cola, and McDonald's will still do well. Part of that is the legacy. In Adidas' case, it's the innovative way they've gone to market."
"At the Beijing 2008 Olympics, American global giants are blindly following a crude and hazy sponsorship advertising policy. Consequently, their global brand equity enhancement is only a fraction of what they deserve for spending huge money on this pursuit.
While sponsoring the Beijing Games, their focus is on China. Excellent. But they, as well as America's top business commentators and writers, have put the rest of the world into oblivion. They seem to have no idea that without much further expenditure, these multinationals could have utilized this rare opportunity to firmly establish their brands throughout the world.
Localized print advertisements publicizing the company's privileged involvement in the 2008 Olympics, for example, would have won them universal goodwill and respect in all their target markets worldwide."
• "We do think the Olympics is a horrible place to debut new brands, however. There is too much clutter and competition."
• "It CAN be an effective place to reposition a brand, particularly if the brand is in the B2B space and the repositioning can occur onsite at the events. Many of the attendees of Olympic events are executives (just like the Super Bowl). UPS is using the Beijing Games as an interesting venue to debut some of their new international brand activity."
• "Intuitively, we should be seeing international companies getting more involved in the Games in the future. It can become the coming out event for large international companies who wish to elevate brand awareness on a global stage. But the challenge is that for many viewers, the brands will be so foreign they won't know who they are or what they do. It requires the brand to do a lot of seeding work before the Games begin, and very aggressive follow-up work once the brand has launched with the marks."
Photos: Shanghai, China.
The "China Brand" - Julius Roberge
• "Until China, never before has the market potential of the host country on its own been viewed as possibly worth the significant investment. Despite the degree of controversy before the Games began, the market opportunity seems irresistible."
• "The Olympics have a clear purpose for the "China" brand: to prove to the world that China is capable of hosting Games at a quality level that the Olympic brand, the athletes and spectators worldwide demand and expect."
• "The China brand today is often correlated with low quality (products), so the challenge is Herculean. With the world watching their every step, success in Beijing will send a strong new message about China as a world power. If it missteps, it will not soon have such visibility to transform a lagging image."
• "It's safe to assume Americans understand that Olympic sponsorship is not the same as supporting China's political policies. That said, given the ongoing buzz and interest in how China enters the world stage, how a brand behaves in and/or partners with China may draw more attention in the future from international media, thus elevating the potential for a negative effect on a brand's image. This may be more of a concern for B2B organizations that deal more closely with the Chinese government or in government monitored sectors."
Siegel+Gale is one of the world's premier strategic branding companies. The firm has worked with an array of leading organizations, including American Express, AARP, College Board, Cornell University, Dell, Duke University, Lexus, MBA.com, Merrill Lynch, Motorola, the National Basketball Association, 3M, Dow, and The Four Seasons Hotel Group, Sony, and Yahoo! Siegel+Gale has full-service offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Dubai and strategic partnerships around the world. Siegel+Gale is part of the Omnicom Group Inc., a leading global marketing and corporate communications company.
August 18, 2008
adidas brand shines at Beijing 2008 Olympics
Photo: "adidas by Stella McCartney" Spring / Summer 08 Golf
Headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, the adidas Group is one of the global leaders within the sporting goods industry and the adidas brand is one of the leading sports brands in the world. The brand attitude "Impossible is Nothing" drives all brand communication initiatives.
• As the Official Sportswear Partner of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, adidas has been outfitting more than 100,000 volunteers, technical officials and staff. adidas has also been providing products for more than 3,000 athletes, 214 federations and 16 National Olympic Committees. In total, adidas is providing more than 3 million pieces of products for the Olympic Games including 43 different athletic shoes for 27 out of 28 sports.
adidas will be the Official Sportswear Partner again for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
adidas's Beijing Olympics operation is an extraordinary piece of sponsorship advertising and is the elite launching pad from where it can successfully strike any country, region or sports market it wishes to target worldwide. ©GlobalGiants.Com
Photo: The adidas Brand Center in Beijing.
adidas has opened its largest adidas Brand Center worldwide in Beijing, China, the host city of the 2008 Olympic Games. This adidas Brand Center store is the biggest adidas store worldwide occupying four floors inside the new Sanlitun Village Shopping Center.
"The opening of the world's first adidas Brand Center is another milestone in securing market leadership in China, one of the world's most important markets for the adidas brand," said Erich Stamminger, President of the adidas brand. "The Beijing adidas Brand Center will serve as a role model for our concept stores in key metropolitan cities around the world."
One of the highlights of the new adidas Brand Center is miCoach Core Skills, an interactive zone where customers can utilize innovative adidas technologies that are normally only available in professional level sports facilities. Visitors to the store can test their skills in balance, speed and jump, compare their results to their sporting heroes and get personalized training recommendations based on scientific research, using a number of interactive devices.
The 'Urban' area on the top floor of the adidas Brand Center is a new creative space dedicated to exploring and showcasing exciting trends and ideas in art, music and culture. This area will play host to a series of events, including concerts, art exhibitions, and consumer forums and meetings.
At the center's Olympic Brand Launch Area, consumers can get close and personal with the special products, designs and technologies that adidas has developed for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
View the "Made for Beijing" Footwear from adidas:
August 14, 2008
eos Products of New York City Partner With Olympic Hurdler Lolo Jones
Photo: US Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones shaves with eos ultra moisturizing shave cream.
A new beauty products company, eos(TM) "the evolution of smooth", today announced an exclusive partnership with Olympic Hurdler Lolo Jones. Launched in May 2008, eos' ultra moisturizing shave cream hurdled into Lolo's Olympic beauty routine.
In support of Lolo's on and off-track feats, eos is donating a portion of their sales during the Olympics to a charity near and dear to the Olympic Medalist hopeful's heart: Embrace Iowa - 2008 Disaster Fund. As an Iowan native, Lolo feels strongly about giving back to her home state, and has already done so by donating her prize money from the Olympic Trials to Iowan victims who desperately needed help because of flooding and other endured hardships.
For every bottle of eos ultra moisturizing shave cream sold on Drugstore.com between August 8, 2008 and August 24, 2008, eos will donate $1 to Embrace Iowa. Additionally, if Lolo medals in the Olympics, eos will donate a multiple of her time - if Lolo wins the Gold, eos will donate $1,000 per second, if she wins the Silver, eos will donate $500 per second, or if she wins the Bronze, eos will donate $100 per second - to Embrace Iowa. Embrace Iowa receives contributions from individuals, business and organizations to benefit Iowans who have experienced significant hardships as a result of the storms and floods of 2008, as well as promotes private sector contributions from Iowans and seeks funds outside of Iowa.
"My legs can help me win the Olympics, but being able to use them to help those suffering in my home state means more to me than winning a medal," says Lolo, "eos helps keeps my legs in medal-shape, by leaving them smooth, moisturized and glowing."
According to the company, "eos ultra moisturizing shave cream delivers a closer shave and leaves skin smooth long after shaving. The rich cream formula features a unique blend of natural ingredients including aloe, oat and shea butter to soothe and soften the skin, so women can now shave wet or dry. Antioxidant vitamins C + E are added to help skin look radiant and healthy, and its non-foaming formula does not contain harsh detergents that can dry out the skin. eos is packaged in a sleek, ergonomic bottle made of soft-touch, recyclable plastic that won't leave a rust ring in the shower. eos is available in three fresh, modern fragrances - Pomegranate Raspberry, Island Blue and Vanilla Bliss."
Based in New York City, eos Products LLC is a new company that makes "innovative and stylish beauty products to meet the needs of the modern woman". The company's first product, eos ultra moisturizing shave cream, is available in select Target stores, Wegmans, and on drugstore.com. In Canada, eos is available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart.
Source: eos Products LLC
August 13, 2008
Advertising Agencies and their Clients are Watching the Olympians
Photo: Ad agencies are analyzing the Olympians.
Photo: Top U.S. Olympian Natalie Coughlin signing a multi-year endorsement deal with swimwear brand leader Speedo(R).
Brands and their advertising agencies are carefully watching the Olympic Games in Beijing to see which athletes are capturing the attention and hearts of consumers.
According to Scott Sanford, a senior client director for Dallas-based Davie Brown Talent, to be effective as a celebrity endorser, athletes need to be familiar to consumers, though familiarity alone doesn't guarantee influence.
"Being recognizable is just the start," said Sanford, whose agency created the Davie Brown Index (DBI) to quantify celebrities' ability to influence consumer behavior. "Are they likeable? Trustworthy? Influential? Do consumers find them to be aspirational? Do people sit up and pay attention when they come on TV? Awareness is a good first step, but there are other attributes that are more powerful when it comes to motivating consumers."
Photo: Panasonic and former Olympians: Al Oerter, four-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist and abstract artist, poses in front of the "Art of the Olympians" logo projected on the News Astrovision by Panasonic in New York's Times Square (Tuesday, November 28, 2006). Oerter, along with eight other athlete artists were in New York to help spotlight the "Art of the Olympians" traveling exhibit of sculpture, paintings, drawings, and photography by 14 Olympians representing 7 countries. Exhibit was shown at a variety of venues including the United Nations. Oerter won gold medals in the discus throw in '56, '60, '64, and '68. (Source: PANASONIC)
Photo: PowerBar signed an endorsement contract to be the exclusive energy bar sponsor to U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.
Sanford analyzed several U.S. Olympians who, based on their performances in Beijing to date, are likely to land endorsement deals after the 2008 Summer Games conclude:
• Michael Phelps (swimming): "He was an obvious choice even before the Games and he's lived up to the expectations thus far. Even before the Games began, he was among the best-known U.S. Olympians. From an endorsement perspective, what's not to like? For starters, he's a winner. In fact, he'll likely earn an unprecedented tenth Gold Medal today. The phrase 'golden boy' certainly applies here. Phelps is exactly what marketers are looking for in an Olympic athlete: Focused but still fun; authentic; hard-working; handsome. His reaction -- sans cap and goggles -- as teammate Jason Lesak made his way down the homestretch in Sunday's relay was priceless. It's an image we'll see for years to come."
• Natalie Coughlin (swimming): "Natalie's spent a lot of time on the medal stand, which has kept her in the spotlight. Off of it, her personality has really shone through. I think she's connected with many Americans. She handles herself wonderfully in press interviews. And her good looks don't hurt either from an endorsement perspective."
• Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin (gymnastics): "In terms of marketing potential, I'd say they're on equal footing right now. They have good energy and terrific smiles; good personalities. Nastia is the veteran; Shawn is newly dominant in the sport. They complement each other. With the U.S. team and China the clear favorites, there's a good storyline in place. Although they both have several sponsorship deals in place already, success tonight could push up their stock."
• Dara Torres (swimming): "Dara's been a major story because of her age. The 'Supermom' image makes her unique -- it sets her apart from all of the other great athletes at the Games and gives her a strong hook or identity. It's what's fueled the buzz around her, which is one reason she's known by about a quarter of U.S. consumers. Those who know her tend to find her likeable and trustworthy. Endorsers are drawn to that. A Gold in the 50 meters would enhance her marketability, but she's in good shape as it is."
• Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (beach volleyball): "As demonstrated by celebrity-athletes like Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods, and Michael Phelps, dominance -- when done right -- is extremely marketable. Misty and Kerri do it right. Their ability to work as a team is appealing to brands. Their sport is more fun than many of the more traditional Olympic sports, which appeals to a younger audience. They've also gotten a lot of TV time, so they're familiar to a lot of U.S. consumers. Of course, that's no accident. NBC has clearly recognized their appeal."
• Jason Lesak (swimming): "His remarkable come-from-behind performance on Monday morning may not win him a slew of endorsement deals, but I wouldn't be surprised if he picks up some because of it. At 32, his success ensures him of a post-Games career in some capacity whether it's as a broadcaster or motivational speaker."
• The U.S. Men's Gymnastics Team: "Collectively, I think they may have some marketability, especially if the U.S. women do well tonight. It would've helped their cause, collectively and individually, if they could've held on to the second position last night and won the Silver. Regardless, they did something in the team competition that no one would have believed possible as they overcame injuries to two key teammates, including former Gold medalist Paul Hamm. That's the kind of inspirational, against-all-odds, unscripted Olympic story that appeals to Americans and our values. It's also what makes the Games, and sports in general, appealing to brands. The 1980 Hockey Team, Mary Lou Retton, Kerri Strug -- these are the stories that really captivate an audience and provide a platform for creating instant and sustained marketability."
Sanford added that a number of other U.S. Olympians, including track, boxing, and wrestling athletes, could develop into strong endorsers over the next several days and into the medal rounds.
Source: Davie Brown Talent
August 10, 2008
Polo Ralph Lauren designed U.S. Olympic Team Parade Outfits for Beijing Opening Ceremony
As American athletes took to the stage during the commencement celebration in Beijing, the Polo Ralph Lauren 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Opening Ceremony Parade Outfits were unveiled to spectators around the world.
Inspired by the rich past of the Olympic Games, and in keeping with the time-honored tradition of this historic event, Polo Ralph Lauren brought an elegant and contemporary style to the U.S. Olympic Team.
According to the company, "Reflecting the brand's trademark sporty sophistication and refined sensibility, the Opening Ceremony uniforms evoke the heritage and legacy of the 1920's and 1930's. Featuring a polished and tailored silhouette, the ensemble is comprised of a crisp white cotton shirt and ivory cuffed pants, complemented by a timeless navy blue blazer in tropical wool, adorned with the iconic Polo Pony and the 2008 U.S. 'Look of the Team' logo. The chic outfits are accented by Americana-infused accessories with red, white and blue silk ties and scarves and classic canvas sneakers with red and blue lateral stripes, topped off with a white twill hat."
In addition to designing the Official Opening Ceremony Parade Outfits for the U.S. Olympic Team, Polo Ralph Lauren has also created their Closing Ceremony Parade Outfits and an assortment of Olympic Village Wear pieces to be provided to the U.S. Teams.
The Olympic Village Wear designs offer more casual sportswear looks with zip-up hooded sweatshirts, sleek track jackets and brightly colored cotton polo shirts all displaying the official U.S. Olympic Team logo and the classic Polo pony logo. Incorporating the theme of the Games' location, Chinese characters reading Beijing also decorate the apparel, while red, white and blue accents mark the pieces as quintessentially American.
The 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games are being celebrated from August 8 to August 24 with an estimated four billion viewers watching global-televised coverage, which is expected to be the largest audience ever to view the Olympic Games.
Source: Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation
August 8, 2008
United States Postal Service Issues Most Popular Stamp Series of All Time -- The Art of Disney: Imagination
Photo: U.S. Postage Stamp on 2008 Olympic Games
Photo: The United States Postal Service delivers 212 billion pieces of mail to over 144 million homes, businesses and Post Office boxes every year. It handles more than 44% of the world's mail volume--delivering more mail to more addresses and to a larger geographic area than any other postal administration in the world.
Although Elvis remains king as the single most popular stamp subject of all time with an estimated 124.1 million collected, Mickey Mouse and his friends rule as the most popular stamp series with 211.5 million collected. Originally scheduled to be introduced as three sets during a three-year period, the fifth and final debut for the Art of Disney series took place Aug. 7 in front of the Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland when the Postal Service dedicated the Art of Disney: Imagination stamps. The 42-cent first-class commemorative stamps went on sale nationwide that day.
"The Art of Disney stamps have connected many Americans with friendship, celebration, romance, magic and now imagination through the mail," said U.S. Postal Service Chief of Staff Mike Spates, who joined Mickey and his friends in dedicating the stamps. "It's easy to add an imaginative touch to cards and letters with these beautiful stamps. We want to thank the many Disney characters for helping the Postal Service commemorate Walt Disney throughout the years."
Spates said 125 million Art of Disney: Imagination stamps were printed and are available in sheets of 20 and include four stamp designs:
• Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie. Walt Disney once said that Mickey was "created for the purposes of laughter." From the moment Walt Disney first imagined him, Mickey has been a happy reminder that a little laughter goes a long way; it's hard to imagine the world without his familiar smile.
• Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and her helpers Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty. Everyone dreams of living "happily ever after," but not everyone has such enchanting helpers as Princess Aurora's tiny guardians, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. Despite their delightfully dithery ways, the good fairies protect the princess and help her find the true love she has always imagined.
• Pongo and one of his pups from 101 Dalmatians. Imagining a dog's emotional life requires a brilliant creative leap, but 101 Dalmatians gives us a unique dog's eye view of the world. In the loving bonds between Pongo and his pups, we see our own human ties brought to life -- spot on.
• Mowgli and Baloo from The Jungle Book. Who could imagine a jungle as jazzy as in The Jungle Book -- or a more free-wheeling, upbeat buddy than Baloo? His lighthearted relationship with Mowgli reminds us that friendship and laughter really are among the "bare necessities of life. "
Spates added the series has proven to be popular with both stamp collectors and Disney enthusiasts.
"After the success of the first two Art of Disney sets with 47.7 million Friendship stamps collected in 2004 and 52.8 million Celebration stamps in 2005, we sat down with the Disney team to explore the possibility of extending the series. We feel the Art of Disney: Imagination stamps will finish the series as a cherished collectible."
The Postal Service randomly surveys approximately 10,000 customers four times annually to gauge the number of stamps collected. Spates said 57.2 million Romance stamps were collected in 2006 and 53.8 million Magic stamps in 2007.
The Disney relationship with the U.S. Postal Service began in the summer of 1918 when Walt Disney sorted and delivered mail in the Chicago Post Office. Next, Mickey Mouse worked for the Post Office when he starred in the 1933 animated short "Mail Pilot." The achievements of Walt Disney were first recognized on a stamp in 1968. On the stamp, a parade of children, hand-in-hand, appear from a tiny castle to surround a portrait of Walt Disney. The children, representing many nations of the world, are garbed in national costumes.
Source: U.S. Postal Service
August 6, 2008
Haier's 'Making the World a Home' Experience Center Opens in Beijing Ahead of the Beijing Games
Haier, the world's fourth largest white goods manufacturer and the official white goods sponsor of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, today opens the Haier "Making the World a Home" Experience Center in Chaoyang Park, Beijing. The Experience Center will be open to the public for the duration of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where visitors will experience Haier's vision of the future of home appliances and its "U-Home" technology.
Photo: Haier's "Making the World a Home" Experience Center in Chaoyang Park, Beijing will be open to the public for the duration of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
The Experience Center, located at the south entrance of Chaoyang Park, Beijing, will allow visitors to experience 16 hours of a person's life in the future showcasing Haier's solutions to ease the life of the user from morning to evening. At home in the morning, while the consumer is exercising, his jogging machine will monitor his pulse rate or energy consumed. When leaving home, "U-Home" technology will automatically shut down lights to save energy and start the security system. In the office, Haier brings wireless interactive devices, making the office environment more clear and efficient. On the way home after work, the user can check the content of his refrigerator on his mobile phone and make a detour to the store accordingly. Finally, at home in the evening, the intelligent bed will recognize when the user has finished his day, and will shut down the lights, the television and close the curtains.
The bubble shaped building also serves as a giant screen where evening light shows will introduce Haier's history, Olympic sponsorship, and efforts for environmental protection. The entertainment area of the Experience Center will offer virtual sport games that will allow visitors to test Haier's technology while playing.
Haier's technology, named "U-Home" for "Ubiquitous Home", will accompany users in every step of their day-to-day life, keep them connected to the world when at home and to home when outside. Haier "U-Home" equipped home appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners or washing machines use the internet, mobile communication and fixed telephone networks to allow users to communicate with their home appliances anytime anywhere to control them and retrieve information remotely.
Photo: Haier service staff make a daily check on Haier washing machines installed in the Olympic Village laundry, Beijing China.
"Haier's Experience Center matches the excellence of Haier's products and services offered to athletes, journalists, visitors and staff in the Olympic venues. Haier has provided the Beijing Olympic Games with state of the art appliances in terms of energy efficiency and environmental protection. At the Experience Center, visitors from around the world will enjoy a taste of the future imagined by Haier," said Mr. WU Shouzhang, Vice President of the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC).
"The Olympic Spirit advocates mutual understanding, friendship, unity and the spirit of fair competition, and stands for harmonious, free, healthy and active lifestyles. By means of household appliances in line with the Olympic spirit, Haier 'Making the World a Home' Experience Center endows the visitor with a harmonious and joyful 16 hours life experience," said Haier Group SVP Mr. ZHOU Yunjie.
Founded in Qingdao, Shandong province, China, in 1984, Haier Group is the world's fourth largest white goods manufacturer. Haier is one of the best known Chinese brands in the world, with distribution in over 160 countries.
Source: Haier Group
Empire State Building Celebrates Countries Competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics
World-Famous Icon Displays Flags of the World With Its Iconic Tower Lights.
The Empire State Building (ESB) announced today that it will celebrate the countries competing in this year's Olympics by lighting each of the four sides of its famed tower -- north, south, east and west -- the colors of participating countries' flags each night throughout the summer games. This marks the first time ESB has split the tower's sides with four separate country's lights in its history.
For the 17 nights of the games, the monumental lightings will honor the top 66 countries participating in the Olympics, based on the number of athletes attending from each country.
"The Empire State Building is honoring the athletes that have trained and worked their entire lives to make it to this international stage of competition where unity, athleticism and sportsmanship are revered," said James Connors, General Manager for the Empire State Building. "We are proud that the Empire State Building can be a part of this international celebration and hope that its tower lights are another source of pride for the athletes and their countries taking part in the summer games."
For 17 straight nights, the ESB electricians will be working around the clock to change the 182 floodlights that will make the world-famous ESB tower glow in each country's colors. A typical color change takes six electricians, six hours; the country lightings will require a team of electricians, each dedicated to one side of the building -- north, south, east or west -- to change the lights. Each team will manually fit the colored plastic gels over the floodlights to create the appropriate color combination for that day's four countries being honored.
In the spirit of unity and teamwork, the ESB is also working with each country's Consulate to spread the news, and giving citizens from each respected country a chance to experience the national pride that goes along with having their national colors lit up prominently on the Empire State Building and in the New York City skyline.
Empire State Building Country Lighting Schedule:
• Colors are listed from bottom to top.
August 8, 2008 (Friday)
North: Red, White, Blue - France
West: Red, Blue, White - Great Britain
South: Red, Red, Green - Portugal
East: Green, White, Orange - India
August 9, 2008 (Saturday)
North: Red, White, Blue - Czech Republic
West: Red, Blue, White - Russia
South: Red, White, Green - Italy
East: Green, White, Green - Nigeria
August 10, 2008 (Sunday)
North: Red, White, Blue - Chinese Taipei
West: Red, Red, White - Poland
South: Red, White, Green - Mexico
East: Green, White, Red - Hungary
August 11, 2008 (Monday)
North: Blue, White, Red - Croatia
West: White, Red, White - Japan
South: Green, Yellow, Green - South Africa
East: Black, White, Red - Egypt
August 12, 2008 (Tuesday)
North: Blue, White, Red - Netherlands
West: Blue, Red, White - New Zealand
South: Green, Yellow, Blue - Brazil
East: Red, Yellow, Blue - Romania
August 13, 2008 (Wednesday)
North: Blue, White, Red - Cuba
West: Blue, Red, White - Slovenia
South: Yellow, Yellow, Blue - Ukraine
East: Red, Yellow, Red - Spain
August 14, 2008 (Thursday)
North: Red, White, Red - Denmark
West: Blue, Red, White - Australia
South: Blue, Yellow, Blue - Kazakhstan
East: Yellow, Red, Black - Germany
August 15, 2008 (Friday)
North: Red, White, Red - Austria
West: Red, Green, White - Belarus
South: Blue, Yellow, Blue - Sweden
East: White, Blue, Red - South Korea
August 16, 2008 (Saturday)
North: Red, White, Red - Canada
West: Red, Green, White - Bulgaria
South: Blue, White, Blue - Greece
East: White, Blue, Red - Serbia
[The final list will be available on August 9, 2008]
In 1976, colored lighting was first introduced in the Empire State Building as the tower was lit in red, white and blue to celebrate the American Bicentennial. The Empire State Building's tower lights are internationally recognized and are illuminated to commemorate holidays, events and causes that are of importance to New Yorkers, Americans and citizens of the world.
Soaring 1,454 feet above Midtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building is the "World's Most Famous Office Building." With new investments in infrastructure, public areas and amenities, the Empire State Building has attracted first-rate tenants in a diverse array of industries from around the world.
Source: Empire State Building
July 31, 2008
List of Top 10 Green Cars from Kelley Blue Book Website
Kelley Blue Book's Web site Kbb.com, which provides new and used vehicle information, today announced the launch of KBB Green, a new section designed to guide new-vehicle shoppers on environmental and fuel economy issues.
Kelley Blue Book's new Green section allows new-car shoppers to obtain information about alternative-fuel technologies, such as hydrogen cars, diesel cars, hybrid cars, natural gas cars, electric cars and flex fuel/ethanol vehicles, as well as fuel-sipping gasoline cars.
The editors of Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com have named their inaugural picks for the Top 10 Green Cars. With skyrocketing gas prices and growing environmental consciousness, Americans are seeking more fuel-efficient vehicles. While automakers are working to increase fuel efficiency, many economical standouts are already available in many categories to meet the needs of almost any new-car shopper.
In compiling the 2008 list of the Top 10 Green Cars, the kbb.com editors looked at more than just fuel economy and price. As would any new-car buyer, they also considered factors like comfort, performance, utility and technology. In addition to the three most fuel-friendly cars available today -- Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid and smart fortwo -- the list includes exceptionally efficient vehicles from a variety of categories, all the way up to a full-size SUV, like the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid. The Top 10 Green Cars list also includes a sampling of the variety of drivetrains and Green technologies currently available to American consumers.
"In today's rapidly changing economy and environment, KBB Green is a one-of-a-kind resource for anyone interested in learning more about hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. "Our list of the Top 10 Green Cars shows consumers that there are fuel-friendly vehicles available in almost every segment to accommodate a variety of lifestyles, so you don't have to sacrifice much, if anything, to go Green."
Listed below, in order of combined EPA-estimated fuel economy, are the kbb.com editors' choices for the 2008 Top 10 Green Cars:
TOP 10 GREEN CARS:
Vehicle --------- City MPG --- Highway MPG --- Combined MPG
2008 Toyota Prius -------------------- 48 --------- 45 --------- 46
2008 Honda Civic Hybrid ------------ 40 --------- 45 --------- 42
2008 smart fortwo ------------------- 33 --------- 41 --------- 36
2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid ---------- 35 --------- 33 --------- 34
2008 MINI Cooper -------------------- 28 --------- 37 --------- 32
2008 Ford Escape Hybrid ------------ 34 --------- 30 --------- 32
2008 Honda Fit ----------------------- 28 --------- 34 --------- 31
2008 Mercedes E320 BLUETEC ---- 23 --------- 32 --------- 26
2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid ---- 27 --------- 25 --------- 26
2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid ------ 21 --------- 22 --------- 21
Following are the Kbb.com Editorial Comments on the Top 10 Green Cars:
Of all the vehicles sold in the United States by all the major manufacturers, none is more fuel-efficient than the Toyota Prius. Not surprisingly, the green-car poster child also is the best-selling hybrid on the market. With exceptional average fuel economy of 46 mpg, seating for five and optional goodies like a rearview camera and navigation, the Prius remains the "it" car for everyone from green-leaning celebrities to commuters just looking to save some green at the pump.
Honda Civic Hybrid:
Although the Civic Hybrid plays second fiddle to the Toyota Prius -- and only the Toyota Prius -- in terms of fuel economy, many buyers prefer the Civic's more traditional sedan shape to the Prius' "flashier" ovoid styling. Whether it pencils out financially compared with a gas-only Civic depends on a number of factors, but a Civic Hybrid owner will buy and burn around 30 percent less gasoline than his or her voltage-deficient counterpart.
Instead of horsepower and handling, it might be more useful these days to measure a vehicle's "bang for the buck" in terms of its fuel economy. On that scale, the smart fortwo is without equal. The tiny two-seater delivers 41 highway miles per gallon for the low, low starting price of just above $12,000 (add about $2,000 for conveniences like a stereo, air conditioning and power windows). Starting around $17,000, the convertible version easily qualifies as the most fuel-efficient, lowest-priced drop top on the road today.
Nissan Altima Hybrid:
Using hybrid technology licensed from Toyota, the Nissan Altima Hybrid combines impressive fuel-economy with much of the same sporty character that has helped establish the Altima's reputation as one of the most fun-to-drive mid-size sedans. The advanced technology isn't confined to the engine bay, either, as the Altima Hybrid offers a slew of electronic comforts and digital conveniences like push-button start, navigation with traffic info and a rearview camera.
Cars that consume less fuel don't necessarily have to sacrifice style or driving excitement. Need proof? You won't find a more convincing argument than the lovable MINI Cooper. On the highway it can travel up to 37 miles on a single gallon. In the mountains, it demonstrates road-holding acumen on par with some much thirstier and more expensive performance cars. Offering one of the most distinctive designs on the road to boot, the MINI Cooper is a smart choice for cost-cutting, fun-seeking and fashion-conscious buyers alike.
Ford Escape Hybrid:
Rising gas prices have been particularly troublesome for drivers who've grown accustomed to the raised seating position and added interior flexibility of SUVs. With the Ford Escape Hybrid, those so inclined can have their cake and haul it, too. The Escape Hybrid sweetens the sensible balance of a compact crossover SUV with lower fuel costs and the amusement of quiet, all-electric operation in parking lots.
The littlest Honda isn't the most fuel-efficient car in its class - a distinction that belongs to the Toyota Yaris -- but it is the most versatile and most fun. An exceptionally flexible rear seat maximizes cargo- and people-hauling abilities, while an available Sport model offers a performance-tuned suspension and paddle shifters. Combined with a starting price of less than $15,000, the five-door Fit is a well-rounded economy car that's good at everything from long commutes to long weekends.
Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC:
"Mercedes diesel." Can't you just see, hear and smell it idling so obtrusively before you at the stoplight? Now, forget that ever happened and picture a smooth, quiet and clean E-Class diesel that returns 36-percent better combined fuel economy than its gasoline-swilling counterpart. Like many new diesels on the way, the E320 BLUETEC combines cleaner diesel fuel with new engine and emissions technologies to deliver all the punch and efficiency of a diesel powerplant, but without all the shake and soot.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid:
For families that demand the added capacity of three rows, the Highlander Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient option available. The gas-electric version of Toyota's mid-size crossover SUV combines available seating for seven, impressive average fuel economy of 26 mpg and proven reliability. The standard equipment list even includes four-wheel drive, so you can commune with nature with the added peace of mind that you're spewing less into the air.
Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid:
Owners of full-size SUVs are suffering more than most at the pump, and many are trading the excess capacity for smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. But what of the large, active families that really do need all the size and towing ability of a large SUV? Now there's a hybrid for them, too. The Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid can be equipped with seating for eight, four-wheel drive and can tow more than 8,000 pounds - all while seamlessly transitioning between gasoline and electric power and delivering 50-percent better city mileage than its gasoline-only counterpart.
• Since 1926, Kelley Blue Book has been providing vehicle buyers and sellers in America with the new and used vehicle information. The company's Web site KBB.Com displays new-car prices, car reviews and news, used-car blue book values, auto classifieds and car dealer locations.
Source: Kelley Blue Book