Lego climbs the Superbrand ranks, Amazon works on its accents for Alexa voice assistant & Unilever brews up campaign for premium Pure Leaf brand

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…a selection of news stories from the marketing and media industries this week…

Lego climbs the ranks of the Consumer Superbrands, coming in second place behind BA

The 22nd annual Consumer Superbrands listing has been compiled, revealing that Lego has climbed up the ranks for the third year running to come second only to British Airways; a brand that has retained the number one slot for four consecutive years.

Compiled using a poll of 2,500 UK consumers who voted on over 1,500 leading brands, the listing asks the public questions regarding brands in relation to their perceived quality, reliability and distinction – the three factors inherent in a Superbrand.

Toymaker Lego’s success could be attributed to its recent purpose to pursue further partnership opportunities beyond its theme parks, Hollywood movies, television shows, books and video games.

The brand’s latest film, The Lego Batman Movie is estimated to have so far grossed $229 worldwide, piggybacking off the enormous success of the brand’s first blockbuster movie, The Lego Movie, which grossed $257m back in 2014.

Last month the company unveiled a social network for children, Lego Life, for kids to upload their Lego designs. The Instagram-style network has all the features of a social app – a newsfeed, profiles and the ability to like and comment – but with strict safety features for children under the age of 13.

British Airways kept its crown as leader of the list, despite the challenges associated with charging for meals on short haul flights and recent industrial action.

Four new entries appeared in the top 20. Cadbury and Boots re-entered the lead group, while British retailers John Lewis and Marks & Spencer moved up the list, however no social media networks made an appearance, possibly as certain platforms have been accused of spreading fake news. Google and Amazon ranked at number 18 and 19 respectively and Cancer Research UK became the first charity brand to enter the top 20.

Amazon works on its accents for Alexa voice assistant

Amazon is said to have been working on new software since summer 2015, to distinguish between different accents for its Alexa voice assistant, potentially enabling it to differentiate between different voices.

There is as yet no word on how close the firm is to achieving a successful result or releasing a commercial product, however it’s understood that the feature, being referenced internally as ‘Voice ID’ is being designed to allow certain commands to be restricted to particular users; allowing only the primary account holder to make purchases for example.

Such an ability would also negate instances of wayward systems inappropriately acting upon commands picked up erroneously from nearby television sets, something which has become a recurring issue for voice activated gadgets.

Current generation versions of Alexa do allow multiple user profiles to be registered but these require use of a PIN registration system for purchases, something Amazon is keen to streamline.

Britain’s tea market set to hot up with launch of Unilever’s premium Pure Leaf brand

The launch of a premium Pure Leaf brand by Unilever is to be released, luring consumers with the promise of ethically-sourced leaves that are traditionally picked, rolled, dried and crafted.

Announcing the new product with a £2m marketing campaign, Unilever will offer shoppers the chance to pick up both loose and bagged variants of the new brew which comes in a variety of flavours blended using a variety of herbs and fruit pieces.

Nisha Singadia, brand manager for Pure Leaf at Unilever UK commented: “We know that Britain is a nation of tea lovers and there is a growing trend for speciality and herbal teas. We are aiming to capitalise on this opportunity with the launch of Pure Leaf. The delicious new range has been expertly crafted to deliver a genuine tea-drinking experience so consumers can enjoy the taste of pure tea.

“With 10 delicious flavours available, there’s a flavour to suit a range of tastes – from your classic English Breakfast to our signature Black Tea with Vanilla flavour which combines black assam leaves with Madagasacan vanilla and bright marigold petals.”

To announce the arrival of the hot beverage range Unilever will mount a PR, digital and sampling push to convince shoppers to take the plunge.

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