Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 9, 2013 07:02 PM
While some strides were made in gender stereotypes in media this year, there’s still a long way to go.
A Time.com article, "How Far We Haven’t Come: All of the Terrible Ways the Media Treated Women in 2013 in One Video," marks how decades of progress in branding still fall far short of satisfactory:
When it comes to the portrayal and treatment of women in the media, we’ve come a long way since the Mad Men era... And yet, in 2013, it’s still not unusual to hear messages like "I’m not saying she deserved to be raped, but…" or "Women just aren’t as good at math as men" crop up on the web or on TV.
The Representation Project, focused on challenging gender stereotypes in media, created the supercut above to show how pervasive sexism persists. BuzzFeed’s list of “Casual Sexism In Advertising” includes Platinum Blonde Beer at #1, followed by Tampax, Jesus Jeans and Toyota. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 9, 2013 06:30 PM
General Motors is opening a new customer-service center in the heart of its engineering and product-development operations in suburban Detroit to underscore its commitment to making its customers experiences stand out from the industry’s typical subpar performance. In the process, it’s drawing lessons from iconic handholding brands ranging from Amazon to Apple to Nordstrom to Zappos.
GM’s call-center operation on the campus of its sprawling GM Technical Center will employ about 300 “advisors” and 35 managers by year’s end. The company also has doubled the number of its own and dealers’ employees, to about 50, that are being deployed at dealers to help explain the latest in-vehicle technology and infotainment features to customers.
Both measures are part of a broader attempt by the company to follow up on recently improved valuations of product quality and customer perceptions, and to turn that area into a relative strength for Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC instead of a traditional vulnerability. Dropping the ball in that area certainly has hurt cross-town rival Ford lately. Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 9, 2013 05:02 PM
Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy has made it clear that he isn’t a fan of same-sex marriage (or the LGBT community in general), but one thing he is apparently interested in is his restaurant selling healthy food.
The word from Nation’s Restaurant News is that the 46-year-old chain is “removing artificial dyes, high-fructose corn syrup and some preservatives from its menu in an ongoing effort to improve food quality” without bothering to promote the change with the belief that consumers wouldn’t notice.
While conventional wisdom would point to the changes happening because of the negative attention food blogger Vani Hari has brought the chain of 1,600 restaurants in the past two years on her blog, FoodBabe.com, Chick-fil-A claims that it has been making such changes for many years. Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 9, 2013 04:03 PM
“The corporate website is dead and 'press release PR' is on its way out,” proclaimed Coca-Cola last month, as they unleashed their story-driven new website, Coca-Cola Unbottled, that mirrors “a modern election campaign…Every day you have a choice of what to read and what to drink. Every day is election day, and our team will be here - working hard to get your vote.”
As content once again surfaces as king in the battle for audience and ad dollars in the digital cornucopia of Facebook, Google+, Twitter or Flipboard, brands are jockeying for position and advantage with increased social across the Internet landscape – and corporate websites are the new calling card.
Story + search + syndication is the latest Holy Grail as brands strive to deliver currency, entertainment and connection and the best websites are evolving to ersatz publishing models more akin to The New York Times, USA Today or the Huffington Post than traditional push, PR engines. Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 9, 2013 03:10 PM
It was an emblematic early scene of the Great Recession five years ago: the economic devastation wrought in northern Indiana, proud home of America's recreational-vehicle industry, where a major swoon in the business was slapping RV makers and stripping jobs because Americans didn't have the funds for fun anymore.
Fast forward (or at least as much as you can accelerate in a lumbering RV) to a much brighter scene that unfolded in Louisville last week, where the RV industry was showing off its wares for the annual show of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.
Brands such as Thor Industries and Winnebago were showing off their newest wheels as the business was celebrating the fact that RV sales are expected to improve by 11 percent this year over 2012, to more than 316,000 this year, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. This is the fifth consecutive year of recovering sales for the industry after the 2008 low. The trade group expects another 6 percent gain next year.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 9, 2013 02:06 PM
Hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert has made enough smart choices to become a billionaire, but one decision has surely been haunting him for some time now. When he decided to combine Kmart and Sears back in 2005 for $11 billion, there was no way he’d know that it would mean a continued downward spiral for his new company.
After all, Sears and Kmart were once retail titans. Now they are slowly being crushed by the likes of Walmart, Target, and online retailers of all stripes.
Sears, of course, has been doing all it can to survive. The company has tested localized personal shopping, taken its in-house brands – Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard – out of house, sold its Canadian real-estate holdings in October for $383 million, and even set up a whole section on its website using “undead” models to appeal to younger consumers. But nothing has turned it around.
Now Sears Holdings will follow through on an idea it floated back in October: spinning off clothing retailer Land’s End. According to the Chicago Tribune, the spinoff “will not raise cash for Sears but will allow Lampert to more efficiently chart a course for the two businesses, which compete for management time and capital within the Sears group.” Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 9, 2013 01:16 PM
Move over, Angry Birds and Candy Crush. QuizUp, the iPhone-based trivia game, is breaking all the records and is now the fastest-growing mobile game in history.
Just three weeks old, it has amassed 3.5 million registered users, the millionth one signing up just eight days after launch. (It took Draw Something, 2012's darling, nine days to achieve such a feat.) The average QuizUp player plays for 40 minutes a day, enticed by more than 200,000 trivia questions spread out over nearly 300 categories.
The fast, multi-player game, is free to download but in-app purchases that allow users to 'level-up faster’ can cost anywhere from $1.99 to $5.99. Through a sync-up with a user's email or Facebook account, the app finds a global opponent and users are off to the races—answering seven multiple-choice questions in just over a minute.
The game’s simplicity is key—its intuitive interface follows a pub quiz night format similar to "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?," making it simple to learn for all experience levels.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 9, 2013 12:04 PM
By now, it really doesn't matter if Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is any good or not, or even if it appeals only to true Will Ferrell aficionados. Several days ahead of its release, the movie already could qualify for its own new category in any Hollywood awards show: Most Outrageously Successful Advance Promotion for a Film.
Ferrell, in his signature Anchorman burgundy--and Burgundy--garb has been everywhere promotionally, sometimes with fellow cast members including Steve Carrell, in one of the most overwhelmingly memorable integrated-marketing pre-launch campaigns in movie history. Or certainly Ron Burgundy might put it that way.
All the stuff with the Dodge Durango and horses and dancers turned out to be only a tease. Since that campaign began a few weeks ago, Burgundy also has been seen shilling for everything from Riviera Imports' "Great Odin's Raven Special Reserve" to Ben & Jerry's very real new flavor, "Scotchy Scotch Scotch" (which, surely to his dismay, contains no real alcohol). Continue reading...