retail

Toys"R"Us Backs Down on Breaking Bad Toy Line [Updated]

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 21, 2014 09:31 AM

Toys"R"Us is under fire for stocking a line of action figures based on the Emmy Award-winning TV series, Breaking Bad.

“After all, nothing quite says holiday shopping like a bendable, fully costumed figurine of Walter White—the murderous chemistry teacher turned crystal meth manufacturer—and Jesse Pinkman, his former student and current bag man,” TIME quipped.

“And you want accessories? We’ve got accessories—including a duffle bag stuffed with imaginary cash and a plastic bag of, yes, faux crystal meth for White.”

It all started with a Florida mom's Change.org petition, which gathered thousands of signatures.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Sea of Hurt: SeaWorld Stock Plunges as Blackfish, Activism Takes Its Toll UPDATE

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 14, 2014 04:27 PM

It's been a rough year for SeaWorld, the ocean-themed amusement park/zoo known for its sea animal performaces, especially its orcas.

But the very star of the park's programming is also responsible for its decline, as activists and consumers become increasingly outspoken about animal rights following the release of the documentary "Blackfish," which told the story of Tilikum, a giant SeaWorld orca that killed a trainer in 2010, the most recent of 3 deadly incidents with the same whale. 

Now, a year after the film aired on CNN to 21 million viewers, the effect is impossible to deny: SeaWorld's second-quarter revenue came in a $405 million, far below the expected $445 million, causing the brand's stock to plunge 33 percent and S&P to cut the company's credit rating

“Until today’s report we were willing to . . . take SeaWorld’s word that there was no discernible impact,” Tim Nollen, of investment firm Macquarie, told The Guardian. “This report was notably worse than previous reports.”

Company executives acknowledged that the decline was in part because of negative media attention and proposed legislation in California that calls for a federal study on the impact of captivity on large marine animals.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Southwest Caught in Tainted Water with SeaWorld Over Longtime Partnership

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 15, 2014 07:27 PM

Blackfish, shortlisted for an Academy Award Best Documentary nomination, chronicles the life of SeaWorld's largest killer whale, Tilikum, who killed his trainer, Dawn Brancheau, in February 2010, as well as two others in previous incidents. 

The controversial film includes behind the scenes footage of SeaWorld's orca shows, including shocking footage of the species' cruel treatment in captivity and the pressures of the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry to exploit the animals. 

SeaWorld called the film by Gabriela Cowperthwaite "shamefully dishonest, deliberately misleading, and scientifically inaccurate," as a surge of petitions and protests surfaced on social media.

But there's an unlikely brand caught in the crosshairs: Southwest Airlines.Continue reading...

Kraft Cuts Mac-and-Cheese Dyes, Putting It On Trend with 'Natural' in CPGs

Posted by Dale Buss on November 6, 2013 05:42 PM

Kraft's Macaroni & Cheese long ago was identified by critics as a paragon of junk food wrapped in the guise of a comfort food. Sure, it was the favorite, filling and inexpensive lunch of many Americans—but it was rife with fat, sodium and artificial dyes.

Well, now Kraft can feel a bit better about its iconic mac-and-cheese offerings for at least a couple of reasons, one of its own doing and the other an outside endorsement. And considering both of them, Kraft now is sitting closer to the edge of a new dynamic in the CPG business in which brands let "natural" products speak for themselves.

Turns out that Kraft Mac & Cheese, apple slices and Nestle bottled water, a combination offered by Arby's, was deemed the healthiest lunch for kids by researchers in an update of a Yale study of childhood obesity. There's some confusion, MarketingDaily said, about whether such a combination actually is offered at any Arby's. But in any event, Mac & Cheese came out looking pretty good. (The worst combination meal, meanwhile, was a McDouble with french fries and Hi-C Orange Lavaburst from McDonald's.)Continue reading...

social media

Facebook, Bowing to Consumer Pressure, Revises Mastectomy Photo Policy

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 14, 2013 01:48 PM

An online petition signed by more than 20,000 people has forced Facebook to recant its position on censoring photos of those who have undergone mastectomies.

Now, Facebook will allow most post-mastectomy photos, as many are a means of raising awareness for those suffering from breast cancer and the treatments and procedures associated with it. However, "photos with fully exposed breasts, particularly if they’re unaffected by surgery, do violate Facebook’s Terms. These policies are based on the same standards which apply to television and print media, and that govern sites with a significant number of young people," the company said.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Activists, Advertisers Get Attention as Facebook Reacts to Anti-Rape Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 28, 2013 06:50 PM

“Apparently it's funny to kick your girlfriend in the uterus if she won't make you a sandwich,” is one example of the content on Facebook being targeted by a joint campaign from Everyday Sexism, Women, Action & the Media (WAM!) and activist Soraya Chemaly to stop the promotion of "rape culture" on the social media site.

The campaign, which has garnered more than 57,000 tweets and over 4,900 emails, failed to get the response it wanted from Facebook, so instead, it has turned to pressuring brands whose ads appear alongside such content on the site. Supporters of the movement have been using the hashtag #FBrape to tweet at brands urging them to remove their ads from the site in protest. So far, those who have pulled ads from the site include Nationwide UK, eReader Utopia, Matt Miner Comics, House of Burlesque, Candypolis, Grow Your Own Theatre, Capturing Childhood, J Street, Nissan UK and WestHost.

“We thought about who it is they really care about,” Jaclyn Friedman, executive director of WAM told the International Business Times. "They clearly don’t care about their users, so we thought, ‘Well, maybe they care about their advertisers.’ We’re just trying to hold their toes to the fire until they pay attention."Continue reading...

web watch

Tumblr, Nike Lead Brand Winners in 2013 Webby Awards

Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 30, 2013 03:50 PM

Hailed as the "internet's highest honor" by the New York Times, the Webby Awards assess thousands of entries every year in an effort to recognize outstanding brands, initiatives, designs and individuals across the internet.

This year's awards garnered 11,000 entries from all 50 states and over 60 countries, with people in more than 200 countries voting online in the People's Voice awards.

The 2013 winners include special honors for music artist Frank Ocean, the Obama for America 2012 presidential campaign, and Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who spearheaded online activism in support of gay rights.

Brands taking home awards this year include Change.org, Google Maps and Glassdoor. brandchannel's parent company, Interbrand, was nominated in the Best Visual Design- Function category for its Best Global Brands 2012 website.

Here's how some other top brands made out this year:Continue reading...

brands under fire

Kraft Defends Mac ‘N Cheese Food Coloring to Cheesed Off Bloggers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 2, 2013 01:31 PM

For many parents, tiredly pouring the little pouch of mysterious dry ingredients that comes in your Kraft Macaroni & Cheese box into the pasta and watching the whole thing turn a scary orangish color is a rite of passage. There are some, though, who are alarmed (and awake) enough to try and put an end to it

Vani Hari mostly writes her Food Babe blog from North Carolina, but she recently traveled to Northfield, Illinois, to pay a visit to Kraft Foods HQ in Northfield, Illinois, on Monday and demand that the company stop putting yellow #5 and yellow #6 dyes in its food, as Hari noted in a blog post.

Kraft, of course, wasn’t backing down. "The safety and quality of our products is our highest priority and we take consumer concerns very seriously," a Kraft spokeswoman said in a statement, the Chicago Tribune reports. "We carefully follow the laws and regulations in the countries where our products are sold."Continue reading...

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