brands under fire
Posted by Alicia Ciccone on June 18, 2013 11:36 AM
Late last week, Vice magazine promoted a new pictorial spread from its Fiction issue. The problem? The photos depicted a handful of famous suicides by legendary female writers with appalling attention to detail, right down to the hosiery that hung Taiwanese author Sanmao.
The youth culture publication is well-known for its edgy content and no-holds-barred attitude—a reputation that has repeatedly made headlines and garnered unfavorable reactions from readers and critics, even as it partners with the likes of CNN and HBO.
While the brand has successfully turned itself into a more respectable news source over the years, partnering with brands and producing documentaries like its much talked about Basketball Diplomacy stunt that brought Dennis Rodman and the Harlem Globetrotters to North Korea to wrap its first season on HBO, Vice still gets its kicks from content like the "Last Words" spread, which, after much protest, was pulled from its website on Tuesday and replaced with a statement from the editorial staff:Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 13, 2013 05:49 PM
Still reeling from last month's controversy over CEO Mike Jeffries' ill-advised comments, Abercrombie & Fitch is trying to right the ship by supporting a rather ironic cause.
The brand announced that it would be providing college scholarships through the National Society of High School Scholars Foundation to teens that have succeeded academically while dealing with bullying or being a figure in the anti-bullying effort, according to a press release. The renewable scholarships will be given out starting in 2014 by an advisory committee including Dr. Joel Haber, an anti-bullying and cyber-bullying expert and advisor to the 2012 documentary, Bully.
"We've listened to the conversations and heard the message and, as a company, look forward to increasing our commitment to anti-bullying efforts," Jeffries stated in the release. "We are fully committed to fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion—one in which no young person should ever feel intimidated, especially at school, whether for the clothes they wear, or because someone perceives them as different."Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Dale Buss on May 20, 2013 01:39 PM
Hyundai is reportedly close to settling 38 federal lawsuits filed after it overstated the fuel economy of its cars. Such a turning point might suggest a grand statement by the brand seeking to sweep that nasty episode behind Hyundai for good with a hearty mea culpa.
But just as Hyundai marketing stewards have done from the beginning of this shameful interlude that began in November, they're making sure they communicate primarily with the offended parties—Hyundai owners—instead of with the general public. Hyundai simply continues to carry out the remedy it came up with last fall of an apology to those owners, changing of internal procedures about estimating mileage, and a reimbursement to its customers consisting of debit cards for gasoline purchases to help make up for the mileage they "lost," around $88 for each year they've owned the vehicle with overstated mileage.
"We're focusing on the owners," Steve Shannon, CMO of Hyundai of America, told brandchannel. "We think we're doing the right thing. Every day a certain number of [reimbursement chits] come in and we send them a debit card, and the owners tend to be very pleased with the fairness of the settlement."Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 13, 2013 06:39 PM
The rescue efforts in Savar, Bangladesh have officially been turned over to recovery as the death toll surpasses 1,100 in what has become the worst accident in the history of the garment industry. But 20 days later, it seems that progress and change is beginning to emerge from the rubble of a decrepit industry.
The Bangladeshi government has agreed to let garment workers form trade unions without the permission of factory owners—a breakthrough in workers' rights in a de-regulated country, where garment factories were shut down this week following worker unrest over wages and conditions.
The proposed safety plan, backed by a coalition of labor groups, calls for independent inspections of factories and a legally binding fire and building safety plan requiring retailers to help pay for improvements to factory safety and is an amendment to the 2006 Labor Act lifting restrictions on forming trade unions in most industries.
The pact also calls for changes regarding severance payments, welfare fund payments, management practices and payment and banking standards. In what could be a game-changing announcement, Swedish retailer H&M announced Monday that it will sign the binding agreement.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 13, 2013 10:55 AM
Reports broke late last week alleging that Bloomberg reporters were using the Bloomberg terminal to track (some might say stalk) employees at its financial services clients such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, all the way up to high-profile individuals such as Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner — even, apparently, the new company's namesake founder, Michael Bloomberg.
Following a company-wide email on Friday and a Buzzfeed report that this ability was disclosed by a Bloomberg TV reporter two years ago, Bloomberg L.P. CEO Dan Doctoroff acknowledged in a story published by the Wall Street Journal on Sunday that the a firewall should have prevented its journalists from accessing such user data long "earlier":Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 3, 2013 06:20 PM
After the March announcement of a potential shortage in its supply of black Luon pants due to a failure to meet technical specifications—a.k.a., the sheerness issue—the eccentric Vancouver-based lifestyle brand and highly successful global retailer is still repenting.
In a report published Friday, Wedbush analyst Betty Chen downgraded the rating on Lululemon from Outperform to Neutral. Following a survery of 300 Lulu customers, the analyst found that management has not properly addressed the consumer perception of "quality erosion," that the brand may be losing ground to other yoga apparel companies and that only 10 percent of respondents plan to restock once the Luon pants are back in stores.
We could have called that one. After complaints started to flood in that customers were unknowingly baring their derrieres, Lululemon pulled the designs in question from store shelves and pointed a finger at production managers in overseas factories. Brand loyalists flooded social media pages with complaints and questions, but the brand maintained an oddly cool demeanor, simply directing infuriated customers to the brand's Guest Education Center.
The nightmare didn't end their though, as reports flooded in about store clerks demanding customers to try on the pants and "bend over" before granting refunds and exchanges. Indeed, the trajectory of events since March takes a page from the brand playbook of what not to do after a major product incident.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 1, 2013 06:12 PM
JCPenney's brand-resuscitation efforts continued today with a digital-era form of a classic corporate move: the mea culpa.
The company launched a virtual apology tour on Facebook, YouTube (watch below) and Twitter to get the message out to customers—those same customers that now-ousted CEO Ron Johnson in large part ignored for more than a year—that the brand is sorry and wants them to come back.
According to Bloomberg, the campaign was developed on Johnson's watch and implemented by Sergio Zyman, the former Coca-Cola marketing executive who will go down in history as the architect of the New Coke fiasco.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 26, 2013 05:33 PM
The death toll in the latest Bangladesh garment industry disaster has risen to more than 300 as rescue crews continue to pull survivors from the rubble of Rana Plaza and search for an estimated 500 workers still missing, with more than 2,500 already rescued.
In the aftermath of the garment factory collapse in Dhaka, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for those responsible to turn themselves in. It is believed that the building owner and factory owners are in hiding after ignoring warnings from police and industry officials to forbid workers to enter the building after cracks were discovered on Tuesday. The building collapsed on Wednesday.
"Whoever might be the culprits, and if even they belong to our party, they won't go scot-free," the impoverished nation's Prime Minister warned. (Update: The factory owners were arrested on Friday night, when the death toll had risen to 336.)
The disaster shines a light, yet again, on global apparel companies that outsource manufacturing to Bangladesh, a practice that has ballooned into an $18 billion industry as clothing companies continue to adandon manufacturing in China, where inflation and rising wages are pushing up costs. The upshot: Bangladesh and its questionable garment industry is now the world's second-biggest garment manufacturing center.Continue reading...