bc q&a

5 Questions: Leslie Gaines-Ross on the Price of Brand Incivility

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 30, 2014 02:44 PM

The fifth annual Civility in America study from Weber Shandwick finds that America has a decorum deficit—and there are implications for brands.

Millennials (born post-1980) and Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980) blame the Internet and social media for worsening attitudes and increasingly negative interactions, while Boomers (1945-65) and the Silent Generation (pre-1945) mostly blame politicians and politics. 

This year's study, conducted with Powell Tate and KRC Research, has flagged findings for brands pursuing engagement with millennials, seen by many marketers as the most influential and financially important segment that is empowered and poised to make good on their beliefs.

As the study reveals, millennials are the most likely to stop buying from a company that treats them uncivilly, and will advise others to do the same. Professional and college sports are losing fans, as 24% of millennials have stopped attending sporting events because of uncivil behavior on the field or in the crowd. 

brandchannel spoke with Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist at Weber Shandwick, about the report's insights into the opportunity for brands to engage millennials in a more civil, authentic manner. Continue reading...

chew on this

McDonald's Not Confirmin' Lovin' Beats Hatin' Tagline—or Any Super Bowl Ad

Posted by Dale Buss on October 29, 2014 03:57 PM

For Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, McDonald's is reportedly leaving its "I'm Lovin' It" tagline on the sidelines as it spotlights a new slogan with a similar ring but a very current vibe: "Lovin' Beats Hatin'," as the Wall Street Journal reported based on sources.

If the proverbial "people familar with the matter" are correct, the slogan is intended "to spread happiness in the face of internet hate" but won't replace its long-running slogan, its first global ad campaign (created by DDB), that launched in Sept. 2003. Long a target by activists, McDonald's U.S. is now in the midst of a transparency campaign ("Our food. Your questions.") that aims to debunk the notion that it uses pink slime and other such materials to make its products.

But haters are going to hate, and it only takes a quick glance at its Facebook page to see the kind of comments that keep its social media team responding 24/7—and which explain why McDonald's execs might feel it must address the "haters" on social media to the tune of $4.5 million (the reported cost of a 30-second spot in the 2015 Super Bowl) and put its tagline on the line in so doing.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

Huawei Announces First US Sports Team Sponsorship: The Washington Redskins

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 24, 2014 04:11 PM

Washington's NFL team, which bears an increasingly controversial moniker, has found itself a new friend—with deep pockets.

Huawei Enterprise USA, the American division of Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications and network equipment provider that is the third largest cell-phone manufacturer on the globe, has announced a multiyear sponsorship of the Washington Redskins.

The tech giant, which debuted at No. 94 as the first Chinese brand to make brandchannel owner Interbrand’s Best Global Brands report, is also now the “Official Technology Partner” of the team, according to a press release.Continue reading...

retail watch

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...

retail watch

Let Target Be Target: CMO Vows to Learn From Customers, Stay True to Brand

Posted by Dale Buss on October 20, 2014 02:44 PM

Target suffered its massive data breach almost a year ago, and you can bet the company is doing everything possible not to let a simliar incident spoil the just-dawning Christmas-shopping season, which is going to be challenging enough for retailers.

But there was something else that Target executives learned when the company was rocked by the cyberhack: Time had passed by their brand, not just their digital-security procedures. And in the "surrender or fight" season they experienced with that epiphany, the retailer's top marketer said, they believe they set in place the pieces for a brand renaissance.

Speaking at the ANA Masters of Marketing conference last week in Orlando, Target CMO Jeff Jones impressed the audience with his frank discussion about what the company learned about its brand in the midst (and wake) of the data breach.Continue reading...

retail watch

Walmart Plans to Shore Up Stores, E-Commerce—and Take Action on Wages

Posted by Dale Buss on October 17, 2014 01:01 PM

For Walmart and its relatively new CEO Doug McMillon, the future is about the challenge of managing the gaps. The gap between $15 an hour and $7.25 an hour in wages. The gap between Amazon's commanding presence in e-commerce and Walmart's footprint so far. And even the gap between the company's performance and McMillon's own expectations.

"There is no excuse for us not to be doing better," McMillon told investors this week at a meeting in Walmart's home state of Arkansas, as Walmart cut its forecast for sales growth in the current fiscal year to between 2 percent and 3 percent from a prevoius range of 3 percent to 5 percent.

In outlining his growth strategy to the investment community McMillon stated, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, "I really believe our future is bright. There are so many ideas percolating around."

One of them involves accelerating the company's investments in e-commerce. But many challenges keep surfacing as well.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Lego Breaks Shell Partnership, Pushed by Greenpeace Video Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 9, 2014 02:11 PM

Greenpeace has scored another major victory in its savvy social- and content-driven lobbying of brands.

Lego announced today it will not renew its marketing contract with Shell, ending a partnership that dates back to the 1960s.

The environmental activist group targeted the world’s largest toymaker with a petition and a brilliantly-executed campaign: a YouTube video of a pristine Arctic environment, constructed from 265 pounds of Lego bricks and characters, becoming slowly submerged in oil.

Titled "Everything is NOT Awesome" in reference to The Lego Movie's "Everything is Awesome" anthem, the video (which linked to a petition) has garnered nearly 6 million views to date.Continue reading...

brands under fire

NFL Meets on Domestic Violence as Sponsors Watch on the Sidelines [Updated]

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 8, 2014 11:02 AM

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with team owners on Wednesday to discuss (among other agenda items) how to repair the damage to the league's brand including possible changes to the personal-conduct policy for players. As a lead up, owners were schooled on domestic violence by a 40-minute presentation the league has put together to show all of its employees, the AP reports.

That presentation included a powerful video presentation by former player Joe Ehrmann, a defensive tackle for 10 pro seasons back in the ’70s and early ’80s and (as the head of the Coach For America Foundation) a persuasive speaker. "Men play a critical role in reducing domestic violence by being active in interventions," Deana Garner, the league's director of player engagement and education, said, according to the AP. "Step in. Speak out. Have thoughtful conversations." 

Under intense scrutiny by the public and sponsors alike, Goodell and the owners went into today's meeting knowing they're also under intense scrutiny by not only fans and the public court of opinion, but also sponsors.Continue reading...

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