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corporate citizenship

Under Pressure from Activists, Facebook Vows to Filter Firearms Posts

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 6, 2014 11:53 AM

In the aftermath of a revealing investigation and an outcry from Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the nationwide Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America group to stiffen its policies around weapons sales and postings, Facebook and Instagram have announced that they will take down posts from gun sellers and traders that do not block the posts from those under 18. 

Calling the action “a series of new educational and enforcement efforts for people discussing the private sale of regulated items,” the social behemoth outlined four commitments to address the growing problem:Continue reading...

brands under fire

Facebook Comes Under Fire for Lax Gun Policies

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 3, 2014 10:14 AM

It takes just 15 minutes to buy illegal weapons on Facebook, according to a report from VentureBeat. The investigation uncovered "dozens of pages on Facebook where guns are for sale, including semi-automatic weapons, handguns, and silencers."

Listed under Facebook pages like "Guns for Sale," "I Love Guns," "Guns, Ammo & Blades"—all of which have thousands of "likes," users can purchase various weapons and accessories with no ID or paperwork needed. “While the transactions don’t actually happen on Facebook, the social network is a remarkably easy way to find shady people willing to sell you a weapon—no questions asked,” VentureBeat notes. “The illegal transactions then take place in diners, dark parking lots, and isolated country roads—away from the prying eyes of the feds and local police.” 

Now, a Change.org petition is circulating asking Facebook and Instagram to "get out of the gun business." With nearly 93,000 signatures, the petition is backed by Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the group co-founded by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.Continue reading...

brands under fire

NBC Pulls Further Away from Gun Relations Following Hunting Show Fallout

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 8, 2013 01:52 PM

NBC Sports has found itself on the wrong end of a heavy load of negative criticism since Sept. 22 when the host of its NRA-sponsored Under Wild Skies program, Tony Makris, shot and killed an elephant on the program. It didn’t help, Variety notes, that Makris, an NRA strategist, “compared his critics to Hitler.”

The show was eventually cancelled and now NBC Sports has announced that it won’t be sponsoring a Las Vegas hunting and outdoor trade show in January—an event that bills itself as the world’s largest gun-related trade show—in a move that the network claims is unrelated to September’s incident.Continue reading...

media and politics

Bloomberg, NRA Face Off in Gun Debate

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 26, 2013 02:21 PM

In the aftermath of the massacre of 20 young schoolchildren and six school staffers last December in Connecticut, the word was that this shooting spree was somehow going to be different from all the rest—different from Virginia Tech and Aurora, Colo., and Columbine and Luby’s Cafeteria back in ’91 and, well, all the rest that keep on happening far too regularly. This time, America was going to look at itself in the mirror and change.

So far, though, the Sandy Hook shootings haven’t caused much change. The “national conversation” has dragged on and senators will finally introduce new gun legislation soon. This will be the “first time in years” Congress takes a look at “significant gun control legislation,” NBC reports. But the inaction and relative toothlessness of the legislation has kicked New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg into gear.Continue reading...

ad watch

Comcast Shoots Down Gun Ads Across Networks

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 28, 2013 03:24 PM

Comcast Corp., the proud new owners of NBCUniversal for a whopping price tag of $16.7 billion, brings in more than $55 billion in revenue annually, but most of those dollars that came from gun advertising will now disappear. 

As American politicians and cultural warriors wrestle with what to do about the ubiquity of gun violence, Comcast—the largest cable provider in the country—has announced that it won’t be taking ads for guns on any of its television, cable, Internet, radio and voice services across the country anymore, OutdoorLife.com reports. The change is reflective of a similar policy that had been in place at NBCUniversal, which prohibited advertisements for weapons or fireworks. 

The change has led for some to predict the loss of billions of dollars in revenue for the weapons industry, according to Outdoor Life. 

Tom Wright, who owns the Williams Gun Sight Michigan, was aggravated by the news but told the local ABC affiliate that it wasn’t going to put a stop to his business. "We've been in this community for many years and we have enjoyed promoting our products in this community and will continue to do that with Comcast or without them."

Of course, that means finding other channels that will take his ads. Time Warner Cable, the nation’s second-largest cable provider, won’t take ads for semiautomatic weapons but does still accept gun ads, according to MSN. Fox and ESPN also won’t accept advertisements for guns, AdWeek reports. Continue reading...

brand strategy

James Bond's Favorite Gun Brand Goes Solo

Posted by Abe Sauer on January 11, 2013 10:44 AM

The brand that's arguably "the most important James Bond product placement of all time" has a new website. But more than that, iconic firearm maker Walther  has a whole new brand challenge as it begins a marketing life free from its former import partner, Smith and Wesson, after the latter called Walther a "shrinking piece of business," with revenues dropping from $44 million in 2010 to $32 million two years later.

But the 130-year-old brand best known for arming James Bond will continue its manufacturing partnerships with S&W. It's a deal that may make brand differentiation a problem in a marketplace that, while booming, is full of extremely discerning, picky consumers.Continue reading...


From Mexico Bribery to Sandy Hook Gun Debate, Walmart's Bad Week Continues

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 18, 2012 12:07 PM

Executives at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in Bentonville, Arkansas, were already having a bad week, with its holiday-heightened labor dispute on the current cover of Bloomberg Businessweek and brisk business making Bushmaster rifles the #1 assault rifle in America criticized in the wake of the Newtown, CT, school massacre. Still, at least the Mexico bribery scandal that besmirched its corporate reputation earlier this year, when a New York Times investigation was published, was dying down. Until Tuesday night.

That's when the New York Times' follow-up to its April expose was published online, with the headline, "How Wal-Mart Used Payoffs in Mexico." After examining thousands of documents and talking to local officials and Walmart's own executives, the latest chapter in the NYT expose concludes, "An examination by The New York Times found Wal-Mart de Mexico to be an aggressive and creative corrupter, offering payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited."

The story is featured on the New York Times homepage today, smack in the middle of the gun debate raging among its readers, editors, writers and the population at large — a debate in which Walmart's brand is also involved as America's largest seller of guns, and the Sandy Hook rifle, in particular.Continue reading...

what girls want

Hasbro Agrees to Easy-Bake Oven for Boys; Score One for Kid Activism

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 18, 2012 10:30 AM

What do girls want? For one big sister this holiday season, the right for her brother to have the same toys in a non-stereotypical design. Almost 45,000 signatures and a slew of international headlines later, McKenna Pope, the 13-year-old who started the online petition at Change.org to convince Hasbro to consider boys in their marketing and design scope for the Easy-Bake Oven, has scored a big win for gender equality.

McKenna and her family met with execs at Hasbro on Monday and came out all smiles. Execs at the Pawtucket, R.I., HQ of the toy manufacturer, as AP reports, were deighted to show her design prototypes for Easy-Bake ovens colored black, silver, or blue — ready for her brother and other boys eager to get Easy-Baking.

Pope’s quest had started when she wanted to get her four-year-old brother, Gavyn Boscio, an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. After all, he had shown a love for food prep by attempting to “cook on top of a lamp's light bulb” at their New Jersey home. Pope only found ovens in pink or purple and the boxes only featured girls in its marketing images.

So Pope went out and scored more than 40,000 signatures on a Change.org petition, the support of a slew of male celebrity chefs such as Bobby Flay, and a meeting with Hasbro, which now says it is going to unveil the new oven at the annual Toy Fair in New York this coming February. Consumers who are looking to purchase Easy-Bake ovens that aren’t pink and purple will be able to snag them next summer. Plus, the new ovens will come with a boy or two pictured on the box as well.Continue reading...

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