Softbank

Meet Pepper, the Robot Who’s Coming to America as an In-Store Customer Service Rep

You know how exasperating it feels to call a company and get stuck in an automated voice program instead of being connected to a human being? Soon, you'll be able to experience that same level of irritation at malls across this great land, when Pepper the humanoid robot glides up beside you for a little digital customer service.Kidding, of course. Hopefully.

A Year After Leaving New York, Forbes Media’s CEO Settles Into His Jersey City Digs

After almost 100 years in Manhattan, pre-eminent business magazine Forbes packed its offices last year and hopped over the Hudson River to New Jersey. Now located in downtown Jersey City, […]

Sprint Zeroes In on an Agency for Broadcast Ads

Sprint is close to naming a new agency to create broadcast ads at a crucial time in the company's history.Deutsch L.A. is in advanced negotiations to handle the assignment, which is worth more than $20 million in annual revenue, according to sources. In media, Sprint spends about $450 million annually on broadcast ads.

How DramaFever Turned Subtitles Into a Multimillion Dollar Business

DramaFever knew it had a hit when it started its business of streaming international TV shows even though the majority of its audience didn't yet know about the Asian dramas that were set to take over their lives and screens.

Digital Media Site for Animal Lovers Raises $4.68 Million

The Dodo, a new digital media site with a focus on animals, has raised $4.68 million with backing from Discovery Digital. Initial investors SoftBank Capital, Greycroft Partners, RRE Ventures and Lerer Ventures were part of the round, as well.

Meet Japan’s Most Popular Ad Family

The father is a human in a dog's body (for reasons "you're too young to understand," he once barked at his daughter), the son is a black American, and their maid is an alien incarnation of Tommy Lee Jones. They are “The White Family,” a staple of telecom Softbank’s marketing, and they have become the most popular recurring commercial characters in Japan. The family is made up of a father (Otosan), a son (Kojiro), a mom (Masako) and a daughter (Aya). Telling you much more about their family dynamic would require me actually knowing Japanese, since few of the many YouTube clips from the campaign have been subtitled, though you can read a great profile on the Whites' commercial success in The Japan Times. Like me, you may have stumbled across their ads before and been too distracted by the craziness of their antics to actually recognize it as an ongoing campaign—one that has been tallied as the nation’s favorite for six years running. The sprawling series of more than 130 spots, credited with vaulting SoftBank from industry newcomer to one of Japan's top mobile providers, have even featured cameos from Quentin Tarantino, Tommy Lee Jones and a real Japanese astronaut filming his appearances in space. For my fellow uninitiated, I’ve compiled some of the more interesting clips from the campaign after the jump. Disclaimer: Seeing more of these ads doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll understand them any more. Hat tip to WTF Japan Seriously.   

Softbank Raises Sprint Nextel Bid

Softbank has raised its offer for Sprint Nextel to $21.6 billion, under growing pressure from rival Dish Network.

Ad Wreck

Blame Mary Meeker. Definitely blame Google. And most of all, perhaps, blame MySpace.

Criteo Nabs Nearly $40 Million Funding Round

Display retargeting company Criteo has been profitable since 2009, but that hasn’t kept it from raising extra cash on the side.

10 Great TV Spots Directed by Wes Anderson

2012 is shaping up to be a big year for Wes Anderson. His new movie, Moonrise Kingdom, will open the Cannes Film Festival next month. And in his spare time, the 42-year-old director has been busy with a fairly consistent hobby—shooting TV commercials through Moxie Pictures. Already this year he's directed two Hyundai ads and a global spot for Sony Mobile.