TIME technology

Google’s Former CEO: Amazon Is Biggest Rival

The South Summit - Spain Start-Up Convention, Madrid
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt speaks at the 'The South Summit'- Spain Start-Up convention at Las Ventas bullring in Madrid on Oct. 10, 2014. Geisler-Fotopress/DPA/Corbis

Eric Schmidt said there's competition brewing from unknown entrepreneurs, too

Google’s former CEO said Monday that the tech giant’s biggest rival is Amazon.

“Many people think our main competition is Bing or Yahoo. But, really, our biggest search competitor is Amazon,” Eric Schmidt, currently serving as Google’s executive chairman, told a crowd in Berlin. “They are obviously more focused on the commerce side of the equation, but, at their roots, they are answering users’ questions and searches, just as we are.”

Google is the most-visited site on the Internet, with 233 million unique visitors in August. According to the same ranking, 172 million visited Amazon, making it the sixth most visited.

But while Schmidt may see Amazon as Google’s biggest competitor right now, the CEO said that there’s competition brewing from unknown entrepreneurs.

“Someone, somewhere in a garage is gunning for us,” Schmidt said. “The next Google won’t do what Google does, just as Google didn’t do what AOL did. Inventions are always dynamic and the resulting upheavals should make us confident that the future won’t be static.”

TIME Advertising

DiGiorno Used a Hashtag About Domestic Violence to Sell Pizza

DiGiorno Pizzas are displayed at an Associated Supermarket i
DiGiorno Pizzas are displayed at an Associated Supermarket in New York Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Unintentionally, it says

Monday night provided the perfect example of why social media can be simultaneously inspiring and soul crushing.

Twitter lit up after the suspension of NFL player Ray Rice for beating his wife Janay, with thousands of women opening up about #WhyIStayed in violent relationships. Janay Rice has faced criticized for her decision to stay with her husband following the incident of domestic abuse.

But in an attempt to stay #social #media #relevant, DiGiorno’s Twitter account hijacked the trending hashtag to … sell frozen pizza.

Quickly realizing its error, DiGiorno deleted the tweet and explained that it actually hadn’t taken the extra ten seconds to click on the hashtag to see what exactly it was contributing to.

DiGiorno’s entire “brand” relies on snark and exploiting trending topics. But this instance was nothing like cracking jokes about #TheSoundofMusicLive.

And it has been apologizing to the many people it offended ever since:

Brands, please: look before you tweet.

(h/t: Mic)

TIME Companies

Here’s Why Abercrombie & Fitch Is Ditching Its Logos

The retailer's earnings are falling as logos become less fashionable in North America

Abercrombie & Fitch was “the brand of the moment” a decade and a half ago. Sales of its preppy clothes had jumped into the billions, teens had ranked it as the sixth coolest brand, and its newly launched surfer-lifestyle line, Hollister Co., was an instant sensation. But now, with stores like H&M and Zara turning white tees into fashionable pieces, Abercrombie wants to win back its base.

The retailer reported its 10th straight decline in quarterly sales on Thursday, with net sales decreasing by 6% to $891 million, according to an earnings conference call. Shares dropped as much as 8.5% after the announcement.

CEO Mike Jeffries said in the announcement that while Abercrombie’s clothes have made “great progress” in evolving their fashion component, the company is now rolling up its sleeves to reduce its use of logos.

“In the spring season we are looking to take the North American logo business to practically nothing,” Jeffries said on the call.

Higher pricing at Abercrombie stores have kept customers back, according to the Chicago Tribune, as stores like Forever 21 are selling jeans for less than $10 while similar items at Abercrombie can go for $75. Jeffries said that Abercrombie has been cutting costs, which is allowing it to achieve lower prices, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The shedding of logos on most Abercrombie clothing is the company’s latest rebranding effort as it regains its footing from a over decade of bad publicity. Abercrombie settled for $50 million in 2004 after being sued for discrimination against racial minorities. Last year, quotes made by Jeffries during a 2006 interview resurfaced; he had said the brand targeted “cool, good-looking people,” a statement that generated heavy, even viral backlash. (And earlier this year, researchers suggested that its crowded, cologne-filled stores may actually cause anxiety.)

What’s next for Abercrombie? While the company has said it plans to close 60 stores this year after leases expire, Jeffries is hoping that Abercrombie’s back-to-school clothing line and logo-free options will allow it to escape the climate of declining popularity and earnings that is also being faced by rivals like American Eagle and Aéropostale.

“We are confident that the evolution of our assortment will drive further improvements going forward,” Jeffries said in the announcement. “We remain highly focused on returning to top-line growth and driving long-term value for our shareholders.”

TIME Companies

Apple Wins Patent for Its Glass Cube Store Design

Apple Wins Patent on Glass Cube Store Design
A general view of the glass cube facade of the Fifth Avenue Apple store in front of the Plaza Hotel on February 9, 2012 in New York City. Ben Hider—Getty Images

The 14-year patent will protect the building's "ornamental design"

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved Apple’s application this week to patent its iconic glass cube design at its flagship Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan.

Filed in 2012, the 14-year patent sanctions the “ornamental design” of the 32-foot cube, which underwent a $6.7 million remodeling in 2011 to achieve a cleaner look with 15 glass panels instead of 90, according to Apple Insider. Apple had applied in 2010 to trademark the “distinctive design of the building” but that has not yet been approved.

The glass staircases inside Apple Stores were also patented last year, according to documents published by the USPTO. Apple previously won a patent in 2012 for the glass cylinder design of its flagship store in Shanghai.

The cube was designed by several people including former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, according to the patent application. Jobs had reportedly paid for the construction of the glass cube himself and owned the structure.

TIME

You Know Things Have Gone Too Far When a Samsung Galaxy Challenges an iPhone to the Ice Bucket Challenge

#Brands being #Brands

Some people are dumping buckets of ice water over their heads to raise awareness for ALS. Others are dumping buckets of ice water over their head to raise awareness for their social media profile. Samsung, for instance, dumped a bucket of ice water over a waterproof Galaxy S5 to bash Apple’s non-waterproof iPhone.

Brands, amiright? Always finding a way to latch onto the latest viral trend…

Chili’s had a more subtle approach to the challenge:

And Ronald McDonald had the most confused, failing to mention donations and nominating all “redheads”:

The Ice Bucket Challenge has raised more than $80 million for ALS research since July 29.

TIME Brands

Why It’s So Hard for Aunt Jemima to Ditch Her Unsavory Past

Aunt Jemima Racism
Bottles of Aunt Jemima syrup are displayed for sale at a grocery store in Connecticut in Aug. 2011. Bloomberg via Getty Images

A genuine brand history is nearly impossible to replicate, which makes parting with a controversial name incredibly tough for any business

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

Change doesn’t come easy. For popular brands even with controversial images, that seems to be especially true.

The most obvious example is the Washington Redskins football team, which has been embroiled in controversy recently for refusing to change its name despite claims that it is demeaning and prejudicial towards Native Americans.

A lawsuit filed in Chicago federal court last week pointed to another prominent instance of branded racism. The great grandsons of the woman who assumed the role of Aunt Jemima in 1935 accused several companies of benefiting from her likeness without paying for it.

In a class action lawsuit, D.W. Hunter and Larnell Evans claim that PepsiCo Inc. PEP 0.20% , its subsidiary Quaker Oats Co. (which sells Aunt Jemima syrup), and Pinnacle Foods (which makes Aunt Jemima frozen pancakes) schemed to deny that their great grandmother, Anna Short Harrington, had worked for Quaker Oats while refusing to pay her royalties for 60 years, as products bearing her image brought in millions of dollars in sales.

Quaker Oats declined to discuss the details of the lawsuit but said in a statement that the company believes it has no merit. Pinnacle PF 0.32% said that it has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation. (Hillshire Brands HSH 0.19% is also named as a defendant. The complaint characterizes the firm as Pinnacle’s merger partner, but that deal never went through. The company declined to comment.)

Beyond the eye-popping sum that the plaintiffs are seeking—$2 billion, plus punitive damages to be determined at trial—the lawsuit is notable for its chronicling of the alleged exploitation of Harrington and her fictitious character’s unsavory past.

For the rest of the story, go to Fortune.com.

MONEY Food & Drink

Sorry, Dude, You’ve Been Drinking the Wrong Beer for Years

Beer tasting
Daniel Grill—Getty Images

A blind taste test reveals that if you're loyal to a beer brand because of the taste, you just might be fooling yourself.

A new study from the American Association of Wine Economists explores the world of beer rather than wine, and the findings indicate that you could be buying a favorite brand of brew for no good reason whatsoever. While the experiments conducted were limited, the results show that when labels are removed from beer bottles, drinkers can’t tell different brands apart—sometimes even when one of those brands is the taster’s go-to drink of choice.

In the paper, the researchers first point to a classic 1964 study, in which a few hundred volunteer beer testers (probably wasn’t too hard to find folks willing to participate) were sent five different kinds of popular lager brands, each with noticeable taste differences according to the experts. But people who rated their preferred beer brands higher when the labels were on bottles “showed virtually no preferences for certain beers over others” when the labels were removed during tastings:

In the blind tasting condition, no beer was judged by its regular drinkers to be significantly better than the other samples. In fact, regular drinkers of two of the five beers scored other beers significantly higher than the brand that they stated was their favorite.

The new study takes a different, simpler path to judging the quality of beer drinkers’ taste buds. Researchers didn’t even bother with ratings data. Instead, the experiments consisted of blind taste tests with three European lagers—Czechvar (Czech Republic), Heineken (Netherlands), and Stella Artois (Belgium)—in order simply to find out if beer drinkers could tell them apart. The experiments involved a series of “triangle tests,” in which drinkers were given a trio of beers to taste, two of which were the same beer. Tasters were asked to name the “singleton” of the bunch, and generally speaking, they could not do so with any reliable degree of accuracy:

In two of three tastings, participants are no better than random at telling the lagers apart, and in the third tasting, they are only marginally better than random.

What these results tell researchers, then, is that beer drinkers who stick with a certain brand label may be buying the beer for just that reason—the label. As opposed to the taste and quality, which are the reasons that consumers would probably give for why they are brand loyalists.

As the researchers put it in the new study, “marketing and packaging cues may be generating brand loyalty and experiential differences between brands.” In other words, we buy not for taste but because of the beer’s image and reputation that’s been developed via advertising, logos, and other marketing efforts. Similar conclusions have been reached in studies about wine; one, for instance, found that wine drinkers will pay more for bottles with hard-to-pronounce names—because apparently we assume that a fancy name is a sign of better quality. We also buy beer, wine, and a wide range of other products due to force of habit, of course.

Drinkers who are loyal to a particular beer brand may hate to hear this—heck, so are consumers who are loyal to almost any product brand—but the research indicates we are heavily influenced by factors other than those we really should care about, such as quality and superior taste.

All that said, we must point out the study’s shortcomings. The beer tastings were very limited in scope. It’s not like tasters were asked to compare Bud Light and a hoppy craft IPA, and then failed to tell the difference. And just because some volunteers couldn’t differentiate between beers doesn’t mean that you, with your superior palate, would be just as clueless. You may very well buy your favorite beer brand because, to quote an old beer ad, it “tastes great.”

Just to be sure, though, it might be time to take the labels off and do some blind taste testing. Could make for a fun Saturday night.

TIME Companies

10 Brands That Will Disappear This Year

DirecTV satellite dishes are seen on an apartment roof in Los Angeles
DirecTV satellite dishes are seen on an apartment roof in Los Angeles, May 18, 2014. Jonathan Alcorn—Reuters

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This post is in partnership with 24/7 Wall Street. The article below was originally published on 247wallst.com.

Each year, 24/7 Wall St. identifies 10 American brands that we predict will disappear before the end of the next year. This year’s list reflects the fact that mergers and acquisitions are at unprecedented levels. While some of the companies on this list may disappear because they continue to be at the bottom of their industry due to weak products and management, many may disappear because they are doing so well.

Retail continues to be one of the sectors with several troubled companies that may have to be sold to survive. The 24/7 Wall St. list includes Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) and Aeropostale Inc. (NYSE: ARO). Both specialty retailers are in highly competitive spaces. While Lululemon is battling Gap’s aggressive move into the yoga pants space, Aeropostale’s teen line of branded clothes is losing out to low-cost, fashion-forward brands like Forever 21 and H&M.

The consolidation of the broadband industry may also cause some companies to disappear. Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) will likely be sold to Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA). DirecTV (NYSE: DTV) will likely be bought by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). These transactions are part of a much larger movement to become the exclusive providers of entertainment to American homes.

While telecom companies interested in increasing market share have the option to install a fiber network to take market share from cable, that comes at a great cost. Merger trends in the industry indicate it may be better to buy than to build. Comcast and AT&T certainly believe so. Having a larger market share could also allow these companies greater price leverage with content providers like Netflix and premium cable channels.

MORE: Ten States with the Slowest Growing Economies

Adoption of mobile and the massive size of some of Web 2.0 companies has also contributed to the list. Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) was well positioned when it was able to market Farmville to Facebook’s users. But it is doing poorly after failing to come up with another hit, moving slowly on mobile and losing its special relationship with the social networking giant.

While Shutterfly Inc. (NASDAQ: SFLY) makes a tidy profit selling photos for greeting cards and calendars, it is also up against free photo sharing services such as Instagram and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB). The photo printing site is currently looking for a buyer.

A number of the biggest food packaging companies are also in the market. Russell Stover is the third largest chocolate company in America. However, third place is miles behind the leaders, particularly Hershey Co. (NYSE: HSY). Stover’s management has decided to give up operating on its own and has put itself on the market.

Hillshire Brands Co. (NYSE: HSH) will also almost certainly be sold this year. It has already signed an agreement with Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN). But Tyson did not get the prize without an expensive fight with Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (NYSE: PPC), which gives a sense of the value of food companies to their rivals.

In 2012, we predicted that Research In Motion would disappear. Last year, the company changed its name to BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ: BBRY). The company is on the list again this year under the new name. The company continues to be in serious trouble after being wildly successful for many years.

Reviewing last year’s list, we have had some winners and some bad calls. We called Nook and Leap Wireless correctly. Last month, Barnes & Noble announced it would spin off its Nook e-reader as sales continue to plunge. Leap Wireless was acquired by AT&T late last year.

We have yet to be proven right — or wrong — about the balance of the list. Revenues for Martha Stewart Living and Road & Track magazines continue to be weak, but they also remain in the business. Sales of Mitsubishi and Volvo are among the lowest in the auto industry, but you can still buy their cars. Similarly, LivingSocial continues to offer deals, WNBA to sell tickets and Olympus to make cameras. While these calls haven’t proven right yet, we have until the end of the year.

After five years of making predictions, we are proud of our record. Out of the 49 companies that have made our list, 24 have disappeared. Given that these brands were chosen from a universe of thousands, we think it’s an impressive record.

We continue to use the same methodology in deciding which brands will disappear. The major criteria include:

  1. Declining sales and losses;
  2. Disclosures by the parent of the brand that it might go out of business;
  3. Rising costs that are unlikely to be recouped through higher prices;
  4. Companies that are sold;
  5. Companies that go into bankruptcy;
  6. Companies that have lost the great majority of their customers; and
  7. Operations with withering market share.

Each brand on the list suffers from one or more of these problems. Each of the 10 will be gone, based on our definitions, within 18 months.

This is 24/7 Wall St.’s 10 brands that will disappear in 2014:

1. Lululemon

It is not hard to identify when the fortunes of the women’s athletic apparel company changed. On March 18, 2013, Lululemon recalled a large portion of its yoga pants because they were too sheer and as a result too revealing. The problems did not end there and resulted in management changes, revenue drop offs and a collapse of its share price.

The fallout cost CEO Christine Day her job in June 2013. Founder and Chairman Chip Wilson announced that he would step down in December of last year. Wilson has since returned as the potential leader of a buyout to take the company private. Wilson believes he can find a private equity backer. He will likely be able to buy Lululemon at a discount price, at least based on what its shares traded for at their peak.

Lululemon’s last quarterly financial statement shows the extent of the company’s troubles. Revenue at the previously fast growing company was up only slightly to $385 million from $346 million in the same period a year ago. However, net income collapsed from $47 million to $19 million. The stock is down 50% from its peak set at the start of June 2013.

2. DirecTV

AT&T’s plan to buy satellite TV giant DirecTV is an example of a broadband carrier trying to extend its reach into American households. AT&T’s U-verse fiber to the home broadband and TV product has only been modestly successful. It has 5.7 million customers to DirecTV’s 38 million.

The $49 billion deal has to clear federal regulation. Some members of Congress have sharply questioned AT&T’s management about the consumer benefits. While the two companies argued their marriage will lower consumers’ costs, some consumer groups believe that prices will go up and the new company will be able to control access to popular programming like NFL games.

AT&T has reason to fight for the deal and make sure it closes. Its attempted bid to add wireless broadband capacity via a buyout of T-Mobile was blocked by the government. Beyond that, increasing customers by more than six times makes the business case for the deal even more compelling.

MORE: Countries that Spend the Most on Health Care

3. Hillshire Brands

Hillshire Brands, which markets Ball Park hot dogs and Jimmy Dean sausages, the top-selling products in their categories, has been on the radar of several food packagers. The company reached an agreement to buy Pinnacle Foods in May for $4.23 billion. But the agreement sparked interest in Hillshire and triggered a bidding war for the company among the largest food packagers in the country, Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride.

Hillshire accepted Tyson’s final offer of $8.5 billion including debt, a nearly $1 billion premium over Pilgrim’s offer and a 50% premium over its share price prior to the bidding war. To close the Tyson deal, Hillshire had to terminate the Pinnacle agreement. Tyson expects the Hillshire buyout to close before the end of its fiscal year, but that does not mean the fight is over. Pilgrim’s Pride may not go away and might still offer a higher bid.

4. Zynga

Zynga can be considered the single greatest social media failure among recent IPOs. The leading provider of games on Facebook has been unable to match the success of Farmville, its first hit. Facebook also ended its relationship with the gaming company in 2012, effectively limiting Zynga’s access to the social network’s 1 billion users and making it harder for the company to promote its games.

The company moved slowly into the mobile platform, and after it failed to create big hits of its own, it acquired popular titles such as Draw Something and Words With Friends. But new rivals like King Digital, maker of popular mobile game Candy Crush, continue to crowd the market. Similarly, traditional game companies like Electronic Arts have also begun to migrate their titles to mobile devices, challenging the social gaming company’s position.

The question is whether Zynga has enough demand for its products to support it as an independent public company. The company reported daily active users in the first quarter of 2014 were down nearly 50% to 28 million, compared to 52 million in the first quarter of 2013. Zynga lost $61 million in the first quarter of the year, against a profit of $4 million in the same period a year ago. Since early March, Zynga stock has dropped 45%, which while indicative of its troubles, also makes it a more attractive takeover target.

MORE: Ten States with the Most Student Debt

5. Alaska Air

Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE: ALK) is one of the few remaining independent airlines in the United States that is not owned by one of the four larger carriers. Even larger airlines have been acquired: Northwest was bought by Delta, Continental merged with United and U.S. Airways joined with American Airlines. The recent consolidations in the industry have been successful, leading to significant cost cuts. Alaska Air, with its profits and customer service reputation, is the last real prize left.

There has been speculation that Delta might buy Alaska Air for its West Coast routes. The rumors have pushed Alaska Air shares higher.

Alaska Air is particularly strong in the busiest West Coast markets, especially in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Seattle. It has also begun to challenge carriers in East Coast markets, including several cities in Florida. Revenue and net income have risen steadily over the past five years. And Alaska Air often ranks highest in customer satisfaction among traditional carriers.

For the rest of the list, go to 24/7Wall St.

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TIME marketing

These Are the 10 Oldest Logos in the World

AB InBev Ends Beer Blockade
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Even before global marketing campaigns, television commercials, and social media, a company’s logo has been important. Over time, as businesses and consumers have changed, most major companies have also changed their logos dramatically. Still, some logos have had incredible staying power and have lasted for decades or even hundreds of years.

The world’s oldest logos have all retained some core visual element, although several have been noticeably altered. Stella Artois, for example, is recognized by several details of its icon. The horn and the star resting above the label are the features continually represented in the brand’s history.

Click here to see the oldest company logos in the world

Not surprisingly, the original intent behind a company’s icon may be mysterious to many consumers. In some cases, this is due to the logo predating the company’s current operations. Global energy conglomerate Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE: RDS-A) was originally a shipping company, transporting kerosene to India and returning with seashells to sell in Euro. The company selected a shell image as a result.

Paint company Sherwin-Williams (NYSE: SHW), on the other hand, chose to symbolize its business with an image of a bucket of paint poured over a drawing of the Earth, a somewhat more explicit representation.

Many companies use their longevity as a selling point to consumers in advertising and on corporate websites. Companies also emphasize that they remain connected to their founding principles, with key management often related to the brand’s inventor or the company’s founder. Twinings Tea and Peugeot, for example, still employ descendants of their original founders.

While many of these companies operate internationally, all are recognizable to American consumers. Some are industry leaders — Sherwin-Williams, Levi’s, and Heinz, for example, dominate U.S. markets. Peugeot, on the other hand, failed in the U.S. Many Americans, however, recognize the brand as virtually ubiquitous in Europe.

Based on a review of the world’s oldest companies, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 oldest corporate logos still in use today. In order to be considered, the logo had to currently have an international presence. The logo also could not have been meaningfully changed.

1. Stella Artois
> Logo first used: 1366
> Company founded: 1366
> Parent company revenue: $43.2 billion
> Industry: Beverage

stella logo3The origins of Stella Artois can be traced to 1366 when the Den Hoorn brewery was established in Leuven, Belgium. Local brewer Sebastian Artois bought the brewery in 1708 and renamed it after himself. The word Stella, meaning “star” in Latin, was not added to the name until the company released its first seasonal beer, the Christmas Star, in 1926. However, despite numerous shifts in management over hundreds of years, the original horn logo has not changed. The same horn that once beckoned travellers in Belgium is still prominently featured in the current Stella Artois brand. Today, Anheuser-Busch-Inbev distributes Stella Artois in more than 80 countries. According to Plato Logic Limited, a beer market data company, Stella Artois is the best-selling Belgian beer in the world.

ALSO READ: Ten Cars Americans Don’t Want to Buy

2. Twinings Tea
> Logo first used: 1887
> Company founded: 1706
> Parent company revenue: $22.6 billion
> Industry: Beverage
twinings logoTwinings Tea has used the same logo — capitalized font beneath a lion crest — continuously for 227 years, making it the world’s oldest unaltered logo in continuous use, according to the company website. Perhaps even more remarkable, the company has occupied the same location on London’s Strand since its founding by Thomas Twining in 1706. Tea consumption was not always essential to everyday British life. Coffee, gin, and beer dominated English breakfast drink preferences in the early 18th century. By the turn of the century, however, tea had become extremely popular. After 10 generations, family-owned Twinings is now a globally recognized company, distributing its tea to more than 100 countries worldwide.

3. Bass Ale
> Logo first used: 1876
> Company founded: 1777
> Parent company revenue: $43.2 billion
> Industry: Beverage

bass-logoBass Ale has used the red triangle logo since 1876, when the logo became the first registered trademark ever issued by the British government. Its simple design may have helped Bass become one of England’s leading beer producers by 1890. The logo became so popular that Edouard Manet featured it in his 1882 work “A Bar at the Folies Bergere” and James Joyce explicitly mentioned it in his novel “Ulysses.”Bass Ale is even mentioned in connection with the sinking of the Titanic, as it was carrying 12,000 bottles of Bass in its hold when it sank. According Anheuser-Busch-InBev, Bass ale was even fought over by Napoleon.

4. Shell Oil
> Logo first used: 1904
> Company founded: 1833
> Parent company revenue: $451.2 billion
> Industry: Energy

shell logoIn 1891, Marcus Samuel and Company began shipping kerosene from London to India and bringing back seashells for sale in the European markets. Initially, the seashell business was so popular that it accounted for most of the company’s profits. Samuel incorporated the name “Shell” in 1897 and designated a mussel shell as its logo. In 1904, a scallop shell became the official logo. In 1907, Shell merged with the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, retaining the logo that remains synonymous with the oil conglomerate. In 1915, Shell opened its first service station in California, introducing the red and yellow color scheme still in use. Today, Shell is one of the world’s largest energy companies, with a market value of nearly $260 billion.

5. Levi Strauss & Co.
> Logo first used: 1886
> Company founded: 1837
> Parent company revenue: $4.7 billion
> Industry: Clothing

levis logoLevi’s logo featuring two horses is perhaps just as durable as the denim it is printed on. Levi’s first used the logo in 1886 as a way to grow its market share before its patent on the jean-making process expired. In fact, the logo became so widespread that, according to Levi Strauss & Co., early customers would often ask for “those pants with two horses.” In fact, the brand used the name “The Two Horse Brand’ until 1928, when Levi Strauss officially trademarked the Levi’s name. Levi’s employed roughly 16,000 employees worldwide as of last year. Its product line now includes jeans, casual and dress pants, and jackets.

See the rest of the list at 24/7 Wall St.

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TIME marketing

Why McDonald’s Is Loving the Creepy New Mascot Everybody’s Bashing

McDonald’s doesn’t seem to mind that the masses have taken to Twitter to bash the new mascot, Happy, as creepy, even terrifying. The social media reaction probably makes McDonald’s, well, pretty happy.

The introduction of Happy as McDonald’s new “Happy Meal brand ambassador” was widely mocked in a dizzying number of one-liners on Twitter. “It’s the meal that eats you,” one much-re-Tweeted message read. The character, basically a Happy Meal come to life, with bug eyes, wiry arms and legs, and human-like teeth and tongue, was deemed to be the stuff of nightmares. By extension, so was the whole Happy campaign, the consensus seemed to declare.

From the get-go, though, McDonald’s didn’t seem to mind the criticism. In fact, the company relished the attention, responding with Happy Tweets of its own. One featured a handful of Happys at “Happy Headquarters” in front of a laptop, reading the social media comments. “Terrifying. Nightmarish. Cute?” the caption reads. “Someone things we’re CUTE!”

McDonald’s knows how this game is played, releasing a statement in response to the haters explaining, “Social media is a great place to have a conversation and express an opinion, but not all comments reflect the broader view.”

Some marketing pros agree. To many consumers out there, McDonald’s is not merely a brand, but “a piñata,” Steve Connelly, of the Boston ad agency Connelly Partners said via e-mail. There are plenty of people who will “keep bashing the hell out of them every chance you get because they stand for evil and making the nation fat. Sometimes I think if McDonald’s came up with a cure for cancer they would get bashed for it.”

As for the new character Happy, well, first of all, he (she? it?) isn’t really new. The mascot was introduced in France in 2009, has been featured in tons of TV commercials abroad, where, presumably, children aren’t awake all night out of fear of being eaten by a Happy Meal.

“It’s a box with a smiley face on it…geez,” said Connelly. As for the legions taking shots at McDonald’s and Happy? “People have too much time on their hands.”

Most importantly, as the BurgerBusiness blog first pointed out, McDonald’s appears to be having the last laugh, because “Happy” has been a huge hit in terms of drawing attention in the U.S. According to the research firm Kontera, the introduction of Happy hiked McDonald’s overall online/social media impressions by 67% from May 17-18 to May 19-20, and an impressive 25% of the content over May19-20 was related to Happy. Another 11% had to do with Happy Meals.

McDonald’s would probably prefer glowing praise to mockery, but it’ll take the latter over apathy and being ignored in the chaotic, noisy news marketplace any day. “Every time someone trolls the new mascot,” USA Today explained, referring to Kontera’s data, “they’re basically giving McDonald’s free advertising.”

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