Tuesday 20 March 2018

Now the Disney force awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Jonathan Forrest from In the Company of Huskies

Michael Cullen

After creating record-breaking box office receipts for 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens', Disney has toppled toymaker Lego as the world's most powerful brand. Despite slowing sales, Apple is the leading brand in terms of value, up 14pc to $145.9bn. The emissions scandal has impacted on driving down Volkswagen's brand value, with VW taking a €12bn hit.

British agency Brand Finance says four of the world's 10 fastest-growing brands are Chinese. Disney derived its marketing strength from its magical cartoons and theme parks.

But the reason for its rise in the brand leadership stakes is the result of its more recent acquisitions in media and entertainment, not least ESPN, Pixar, The Muppets and Marvel.

But its most important purchase of all so far is Lucasfilm, owner of the Star Wars franchise.

Star Wars Episode VII 'The Force Awakens' has smashed box office records, becoming the fastest to take $1bn and enjoying the most successful opening weekend by grossing $529m.

Based on its total box office gross of nearly $2bn, it's Disney's most successful film ever. Then there's the merchandise. Star Wars toys have so far generated over $700m.

Brand Finance estimates the value of the Star Wars brand at $10bn, dwarfing the $4.05bn Disney paid for Lucasfilm in 2012. Though this may suggest Disney engineered a highly favourable deal, it has undoubtedly contributed to the growth of the Star Wars brand. Disney is exploiting the Star Wars phenomenon fast but sensitively - a difficult feat to pull off.

Disney styles itself as "the happiest place on Earth". It's a boast proving true for investors. Lego lost its number one spot and although it remains a powerful brand and retains its AAA+ rating, the Danish toy giant has been beset by controversies of late which could affect its wholesome image. Lego was fined by German regulators for trying to prevent retailers from discounting its products.

The company was also accused of colluding in censorship for trying to prevent dissident Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei from using Lego in his work.

Lego has since reversed its policy of restricting purchases to be used for political ends after widespread condemnation, even from Ai Wei Wei himself.

Apple comes out on top for brand value. The 14pc jump in value is thanks to the iPhone 6 and the more recently released iPhone6 S.

Revenue for the last quarter of 2015 was a record-breaking $51.5bn with $11.1bn in profits. Revenues for the year were $233.7bn.

The surge is partly responsible for recent disappointing sales growth - the most sluggish since iPhone's launch in 2007.

But with 74.8m handsets sold in the last quarter in a saturated market, assertions that Apple has gone rotten appear premature.

Apple Pay is starting to generate traction, possibly heralding the brand's long-awaited expansion into broader financial services, to say nothing of Apple's rumoured foray into the car industry.

* A radio ad for the Private Residential Tenancies Board - PRTB - caused a lot of fuss last week. Many people suspected the male voiceover used in the ad was an Irish actor doing an atrocious impersonation of someone from India - reminiscent of British actor Peter Sellers and his "Oh, my goodness gracious me!" sketch.

With so many barbs about the ad shared on social media, the man in question was asked on to Ryan Tubridy's radio show.

Samrat Paul, a native of Calcutta, told Tubs that he came to live in Ireland 15 years ago. He even ended up marrying a Galway girl. Paul was asked to voice the radio ad by Arthur Deeny, who heads up the PRTB team at ad agency Javelin.

When PRTB hired Javelin to spread the word among the new Irish communities about laws affecting tenants and landlords, they could not have suspected they would be turning a cricket loving IT consultant into a radio star. Paul and Deeny are pictured above at a cricket game.

* In the Company of Huskies has become the first Irish agency to be accepted into the Society of Digital Agencies, aka SoDa. The society represents the 'Champions League' of global digital so securing membership is a major endorsement not only of Huskies but the Irish industry. SoDA provides its members with access to insight and network connections.

Huskies boss Jonathan Forrest, pictured below, says it will promote Dublin as an international creative and tech hub.

The agency and its clients stand to gain from sourcing the latest strategic thinking from overseas. Huskies clients include Coca-Cola, Fáilte Ireland, Guinness Storehouse, Kerry Foods, Mars, Open University and St Vincent de Paul.


* The fumes from Aldi's superb 'Fuss' ad, pictured above, must have got to me last week. In writing about TV3's new series of The Restaurant filmed in Marco Pierre White's Courtyard Bar & Grill in Donnybrook, the wrong supermarket chain was mentioned as the show's sponsor. Of course, all credit should go to German discounter Aldi.

Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie: cullen@marketing.ie

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