Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 7, 2014 04:43 PM
Abercrombie & Fitch, besieged by a slump in sales and increased competition, is revamping its teenage sister brand Hollister to make it more suitable for the fast-fashion trend set by the likes of Zara, H&M and Forever 21.
Arthur Martinez, Abercrombie's new chairman, is looking for a new president with fast-fashion experience while working on streamlining its supply chain and shuttering between 60 and 70 US stores this year.
Once dominant in the teen market, A&F has lost its cool among younger shoppers who’ve lost interest in “clothes emblazoned with chains' logos and now see fashion as more disposable," according to the Wall Street Journal. A&F's PR scandal, stemming from unsightley comments from former chairman and CEO Mike Jeffries didn't help the struggling brand's image either. Abercrombie shares fell nearly a third last year and are still falling.Continue reading...
social media watch
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 25, 2014 02:53 PM
Working to keep its finger on the pulse of social media, Amtrak has fashioned a real-life initiative out of a virtual interaction.
The travel brand is working to develop an application process for "Amtrak Residencies," a program that was spurred by a comment in an interview with author Alexander Chee, who in December said that trains were his favorite place to write.
The idea was spun off on Twitter by writer Jessica Gross, who liked Chee's idea and on a whim asked Amtrak what would need to be done to make this actually happen. Amtrak replied, and the Amtrak Residency program took off.
Gross was the program's first resident, as she rode from New York City to Chicago and back on Amtrak's dime on the promise that she'd write about the experience—an all-new kind of branded content.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 20, 2014 07:19 PM
Yoga apparel retailer Lululemon has stepped it in again, and this time even they're calling their bluff.
Numerous consumers said they were contacted by Lululemon representatives by phone after trying to sell used Lululemon clothes on eBay, with the embattled retailer going as far as to shut out some of those customers from their Lululemon e-commerce accounts.
And for some reason, it's not surprising as the company has had one PR debacle after another in what has been a roller-coaster year for the Canadian brand. It all seemed to go downhill after Lululemon recalled thousands of pairs of its most popular yoga pants for being too sheer last spring. The incident, which is reportedly still causing issues for some customers, opened up the floodgates to poor consumer relations, from excluding and offending plus-size consumers, bashing unrelated philanthropy efforts, nonsensical window displays and continual gaffes from eccentric founder Chip Wilson.
Lululemon issued an apology for the threat after inquiries from the media once again shined an unfavorable light on the brand.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 4, 2014 07:17 PM
With the Super Bowl over, it's time for the US and the rest of the world to move on to the Winter Olympics, which are set to begin this Friday in Sochi, Russia. Amid the controversy over Russia's anti-gay laws, brands are doing their best to keep spirits high and tread carefully in what has become a very sensitive situation for sponsors, athletes and fans alike.
AT&T is the latest Team USA Olympic sponsor to debut its campaign, but it's doing so in a way that makes its views clear beyond cheering athletes. For the It's Our Time campaign (hashtag: #ItsOurTime) the telecom giant is rolling out an app, a website and video booths around the US to encourage fans to send "USA!" chants over to Sochi to show their support for their home team.
That's not the only messaging attached to the campaign. While it was Coca-Cola that recently took a stance by running the first ever Super Bowl ad featuring a gay couple, it's AT&T that's leading the way on the Olympic LGBT front by publicly speaking out in favor of equality and condemning homophobia, specifically Russia's ban on gay "propaganda."Continue reading...
social media watch
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 3, 2014 07:49 PM
Following last year's blackout, which Oreo won hands down in a real-time marketing play hard to replicate, brands this year did all the prep work they could ahead of the Super Bowl to best prepare for that fleeting moment of social opportunity. What they couldn't prepare for, though, was a boring game.
And so while brands over-touted their hashtags and engaged in banter with fans over their ads, there were bound to be missteps. This year's Super Bowl real-time battle was a "is this account hacked?" face-off between JCPenney and Budweiser.
In an attempt that left many wondering if JCPenney's Twitter account had been hacked (although our editor-in-chief called it), the struggling retailer seeded the stunt with a promotional tweet pushing its Team USA mittens—and then things got weird.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 31, 2014 01:40 PM
When a research study from Greenpeace turned up hazardous chemicals, or "Little Monsters" as they put it, in children's clothing and shoes from major brands including Disney, Burberry, Adidas, Gap and others, the environmental activists turned up the pressure by urging consumers lobby the brands to clean up their act as part of its bigger #Detox campaign.
This week, Greenpeace scored a victory when Burberry agreed to detox its clothing by Jan. 1, 2020. Initially, its corporate back up against the wall, Burberry balked at the group's allegation that a purple metallic shirt contained hazardous chemicals. The shirt in question, made in Tunisia and worn by Romeo Beckham (aka David & Victoria's son) in a June 2013 campaign, contained a high level of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), manmade chemicals used in detergents, which degrade to nonylphenols (NP), both toxic and hormonally disruptive.
"All Burberry products are safe and fully adhere to international environmental and safety standards," the luxury apparel brand responded in a statement. "We have an active programme dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of our supply chain, working in collaboration with our suppliers and NGOs. Greenpeace is aware of our work, which includes the commitment to eliminate from our supply chain the release of chemicals that have an environmental impact."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 24, 2014 11:04 AM
JetBlue may have had to cancel nearly 475 flights due to the snow and ice conditions in the Northeast earlier this week, but at least it wasn't pummeled by PR gaffes like after last year's Valentine's day tarmac incident.
Thankfully, JetBlue and a lot of other airlines have learned to communicate better with their guests, especially on social media—an improvement that can be seen on the bottom line, too. “Shares have tripled since March 2009, loving life alone in an airline sector that has recaptured the ardor of investors,” Bloomberg Businessweek notes.
“JetBlue has actually profited from the fact that fares are up and restructuring got majors out of markets like San Juan—or US Airways (essentially the rebranded America West) retrenching from Boston—where JetBlue can then swoop in and grab slots,” said Roger King, an industry analyst with CreditSights, according to Businessweek. “They still offer a better leisure experience than the others: TV, leather, more legroom.”
Indeed, JetBlue is ranked among the best low-cost airlines, but that doesn't mean it's immune to major problems like those caused by extreme winter weather this year.Continue reading...
social media watch
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 21, 2014 01:42 PM
Another monumental day, another brand fail.
Monday's marking of Martin Luther King Jr. Day presented an opportunity for global citizens to reflect on the life-changing actions of the civil rights hero, from reciting King's iconic "Dream" speech to paying respect to the thousands that fell—and continue to fall—to the heavy hand of inequality.
Highlighting the need for corporate-social responsibility, four brands—Chicken of the Sea, Chobani, Kmart and Cisco—tweeted the same King quote: "Life's most persistent and urgent questions is, what are you doing for others?"
But that may have been one of the only bright spots in a day filled with brand missteps. Much like the many innappropriate brand posts on the anniversary of Sept. 11, a few brands took the creative liberty of twisting the day's significance into a poorly-timed brand boost. Check out some of the brand posts below:Continue reading...