branding and advertising in sport

Quiet, Please: How the Tradition of Wimbledon Plays Out In Brand Sponsorship

By Vanessa Horwell / Jul 18, 2017

In the 1989 sports-movie classic “Field of Dreams,” Kevin Costner builds a baseball diamond in an Iowa cornfield and magically meets the “Shoeless Joe” Jackson and the rest of the 1919 Chicago White Sox – better known as the Black Sox for fixing the World Series. The scandal symbolized the loss of innocence in sports …

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Airline Disruption

More Turbulence for Airlines: How One Flight Ignited a Consumer Revolt

By Vanessa Horwell / Jul 17, 2017

Even though technology continues to revolutionize every aspect of our personal and commercial lives, some things are still unavoidable: death, taxes and crappy air travel.  Airline disruption? That’s unavoidable, too. Earlier this year, United Airlines faced a public relations disaster after airport police, at the carrier’s request, violently removed a passenger from an overbooked flight. The …

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Fake News

Fake News, PR & Pitching Real Stories: Protecting Clients in the ‘Post-Truth’ Era

By Vanessa Horwell / Jun 20, 2017

The rise of Donald Trump and the troubling dynamics of our rapidly changing political environment have added several new phrases to the national discourse: “Fake news” is one of them, “alternative facts” another. The latest unfortunate addition to the repertoire (this one coined by alt-right media activist Jack Posobiec) is “reality journalism”… which of course …

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Big Banks and Fintech do Battle Over Personal Financial Data

By Vanessa Horwell / Jun 2, 2017

In our ‘Internet of Things’ era, consumers and online businesses engage in a continuous, invisible exchange of data every day. As any privacy-minded Internet user understands, however, the complexities of that exchange are nearly impossible to navigate – even on a one-to-one basis, with a trusted brand – since companies’ data collection and usage policies …

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What’s Next for Women in Tech? (And Why Are We Still Having this Conversation?)

By Vanessa Horwell / May 26, 2017

If you still think there’s no such thing as bad publicity (ask our president), a quick review of Silicon Valley’s “woman problem” should set you straight. For as long as I can remember, the Bay Area has been ground zero for a wealth of systemic issues related to women’s experiences in the technology sector. The …

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The Sharing Economy, Hotel Industry Disruption and the Changing Travel Landscape

By Vanessa Horwell / May 19, 2017

Since Airbnb’s debut in 2008, the home-sharing startup has gone from nuisance to nemesis for the hotel industry. For nearly a decade, hospitality executives largely dismissed the impact Airbnb would – or rather, could – have on their businesses. As recently as 2014, two industry leaders played down the threat (or perceived lack thereof) posed …

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Mobile payments and mobile commerce

Are Mobile Payments & Mobile Commerce Finally Tying the Knot?

By Vanessa Horwell / May 10, 2017

Over the past few years, we have seen a steady growth of mobile payments across all industries. In a study last November, 93% of consumers surveyed by Deloitte reported using their smartphones for “shopping.” By that measure, shopping is the number two activity (second only to work) for which consumers use their mobile devices. Today, …

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Empathy Marketing

Injecting Empathy into Marketing: Profoundly Optimistic, or Profoundly Cynical?

By Vanessa Horwell / Apr 18, 2017

Advertising Age recently published an opinion piece positing that empathy is “picking up steam” and likely to become an official marketing buzzword for 2017. Like many themes I’m seeing this year, empathy (in the context of advertising and marketing) is both a visceral reaction to our collective political anxieties and a fallback for brands when …

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Crisis PR, and the Loyalty Numbers Game

By Vanessa Horwell / Apr 6, 2017

There is a number – 72 – that I can’t get out of my mind. It’s the percent of airline loyalty programs ‑ 72% – that claim to have been victims of fraud. I’ve used this number before, most recently in an article in which I shared a few thoughts about loyalty program fraud. The …

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Too Sexy For My Leggings… and Other PR Fails

By Vanessa Horwell / Mar 31, 2017

Most progressives will agree that we’ve been treated to a cornucopia of PR gaffes on an almost weekly basis during the last 18 months. It could be longer -‑ I’ve become immune to “that” noise, so it was with somewhat sick delight that I started following United Airlines’ recent PR cluster when a gate agent …

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Fighting Airline Loyalty Fraud: The Constantly Moving Target

By Vanessa Horwell / Mar 27, 2017

The monetary value of loyalty programs continues its global ascent. In the U.S. alone, the current stored value of loyalty currency stands at approximately $50 billion, by some estimates. That’s an impressive number. Here’s another: Nearly three-fourths (72%) of all airline loyalty programs have been hacked or defrauded in some way, according to a survey …

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Convenience Stores Face a New Loyalty Test: Will They Pass or Fail?

By Vanessa Horwell / Mar 17, 2017

In the old days, you would drive your car into a convenience store forecourt and, while filling your tank at the gas pump, stroll inside for a soft drink, a slightly stale sandwich and maybe a pack of cigarettes. Once your gas tank was full, you’d pull out a wad of cash or a credit …

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