Posted by Dale Buss on February 1, 2013 02:35 PM
The deluge of early looks at Super Bowl ads, both entire spots and teasers, has helped brands generate lots of buzz online and elsewhere long before Sunday. And in terms of creating brand presence before the Big Game that didn't used to occur, it's hard to argue with that strategy.
But the tidal wave of sneak peeks and January reveals also has allowed early germination of inevitable controversies. Whether the publicity created by those whirlwinds has been good or bad for the brands and their overall Super Bowl branding efforts probably falls under the usual maxim of PR: "as long as you spell my name right."
GoDaddy.com has always bared everything in its Super Bowl ads, so there's no surprise in the controversy over one of its two ads released this week. It's an up-close and personal look at a brief make-out session between supermodel Bar Refaeli and actor Jesse Heiman — something about small business scoring.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 10, 2012 06:04 PM
Merck chairman and CEO Kenneth C. Frazier was honored in June with the “Good Scout” Award by Philadelphia’s Cradle of Liberty Boy Scout Council. Frazier grew up in North Philadelphia and credits scouting as instrumental in his life. Now Frazier, the first African American to head a major pharmaceutical company, is turning his back on the organization until it reverses its discriminatory policies.
Now Frazier and Merck, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, have joined the growing wave of corporate leaders taking a stand against discrimination towards gay scouts and leaders in the Boy Scouts of America.
As GLAAD notes of the corporate backlash to the Boy Scouts' anti-LGBT stance, Merck joins Intel and UPS with the following statement: “The BSA's policy of exclusion based on sexual orientation directly conflicts with the Merck Foundation’s giving guidelines. The Foundation re-evaluated funding for the BSA when the organization restated its policy that excludes members on the basis of sexual orientation. Merck Foundation has notified the BSA of this decision.”
Boy Scouts of America director of public relations, Deron Smith, provided the following statement to brandchannel: “Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to accomplish the common good. While not national sponsors, these companies have positively impacted America’s youth through support of Scouting in local communities. We respect their right to express their own opinions.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 3, 2012 02:02 PM
Although few would argue he doesn't have it coming to him, Donald Trump may be suffering from a bit of piling on these days.
Evidence? Well, there were reports in the New York Daily News (denied by The Donald) about intrafamily squabbles based on his children's embarrassment at some of his antics. In Canada, his Trump International Hotel and Tower is being increasingly surrounded by controversy.
But the biggest target on Trump is being painted these days by department-store shoppers, mostly women. Presumably largely because of Trump's licensing arrangement with Macy's, the retailer's approval rating with women over 18 has plunged dramatically in recent weeks in the YouGov Brand Index — now even falling below that of troubled rival JCPenney, whose problems seem to be operational rather than reputational.
Trump, eager to move on, went on Fox News Monday morning in a bid to clear his name, as he recounted on his Twitter feed today.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 22, 2012 10:01 AM
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn’t the only leader of a major city who is trying to get his constituents to be a little healthier. After all, the United States Conference of Mayors shelled out some bucks back in 2009 to produce an online guide to help its members fight childhood obesity.
But the fight isn’t limited to just America. The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is targeting the fast-food joints in his city to get a bit healthier. Johnson apparently isn’t happy with his legacy being only about that he was the guy who happened to be at the helm when the Olympics came to town.
Nope. Johnson is ready to follow in Bloomberg’s footsteps. Back in June, when Bloomberg announced that he wanted to limit the amount of soda New Yorkers could buy in one cup, Johnson wrote, "where New York leads, London is not far behind,” the Standard reports. Now he’s making his move. The Mayor’s London Food Board partnered with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health to create a Takeaways Toolkit in an attempt to help “fast food takeaways … make their food healthier,” according to Fresh Business Thinking.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 26, 2012 11:46 AM
It’s complicated, the whole issue of personal privacy in an era of social media transparency, and the fact that the first female astronaut, Sally Ride, who this week died at age 61 from pancreatic cancer, came out publically in her obituary, listing her partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy first, as a survivor, is stirring the pot of comment and prejudice.
"Could she have helped the cause? Maybe," says Fred Sainz, VP of communications for the Human Rights Campaign. "For her not to have shared an incredibly important aspect of her life — being in a committed long-term relationship with a woman — meant many Americans did not get to see a dimension of her life that would have helped them understand us (gay people) and our contributions to society.
Ride was open in her personal life, "She just didn't want to go public with it during her lifetime. And that's a big difference," said Sainz. "There's no question that Sally Ride could have been fired if she'd come out while she worked for NASA.”Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Abe Sauer on July 10, 2012 10:18 AM
The old saying goes that the Chinese word for "crisis" (危机) is composed of two characters representing both "danger" and "opportunity." Though fallacious, this old trope could not better describe the manner in which cosmetics brand Urban Decay turned a self-created crisis into a public relations windfall.
About a month ago, Urban Decay announced that it would be breaking into China's cosmetics market. And why not? In 2011, China's cosmetic sales hit 110 billion yuan ($17.8 billion), a increase of nearly 19 percent over 2010. According to a 2012 report by Li & Fung Research Centre, during one month in 2011, Urban Decay's competitors Estée Lauder and Clinique saw sales increase by almost 10 percent alone.
Looking at all that money, what Urban Decay lost sight of was its core mission, amongst other things, was all about refusing to test on animals. (China, meanwhile, required animal testing to certify Urban Decay's products.) No surprise, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) lambasted the brand's "Decaying Principles":Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Abe Sauer on May 22, 2012 02:56 PM
Moskatoloko! A word of advice to Four Loko-maker Phusion Projects: if you're trying to go upmarket with a new "drinks like muscat wine" beverage brand, don't use the term "malt-based" in the press release. Yes, it seems the maker of the infamous "blackout in a can" Four Loko brand (also a "premium flavored malt beverage") is hoping to turn over a new leaf with its new product, Moskato Life.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 20, 2012 12:01 PM
The folks at Lego thought they were throwing open a door to a wealth of new consumers when it introduced its Lego Friends line back in December. Since it’s being designed for and marketed to girls, the company figured it would be creating a whole new source of revenue and please any parents eager to bring their daughters into the world of Lego.
Instead, it got a whole lot more, with 50,000-plus people signing a petition against the new line. The uproar’s volume may have been turned down since then but Lego Friends still has its detractors, a fact that the toy-maker is aiming to turn around.
The first step comes today, when Lego execs are scheduled to meet with two young women who helped lead the petition and discuss possible improvements, a release from Change.org states. Bailey Shoemaker Richards and Stephanie Cole launched the campaign against Lego on the Change.org site. The two 20somethings are members of the “girl-fueled organization SPARK Movement,” according to a press release.Continue reading...