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brands under fire

Dirty Money: NFL's Image Problem Likely to Affect its Charitable Efforts

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 19, 2014 05:37 PM

Breast Cancer Awareness Month kicks off in October and it appears that at least one brand will be using it to punish the NFL for its role in an ongoing player misconduct controversy. 

P&G’s Crest brand has pulled out of A Crucial Catch, the league's breast cancer awareness initiative with the American Cancer Society, CBS Sports reports, in the wake of the domestic violence accusations and criticism of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The brand planned to have one player on each team acting as an ambassador and wearing a pink mouthguard while also engaging with fans on social media. While Crest's involvement with the campaign is no more, P&G says it still intends to donate the funds to cancer research on its own.

The decision came after the league was widely criticized for its handling of the suspension of Ray Rice for domestic violence, an incident that had a snowball effect on players and teams throughout the league. Radisson Hotels has suspended its sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings after Adrian Peterson was arrested for reckless child injury. This all happened, the Sacramento Bee notes, the same week the league released a report that “shows one of four players will develop neurological disease during his career.”Continue reading...

cause marketing

With No Trademark Protection, Ice Bucket Challenge is Open to All

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 2, 2014 05:12 PM

Bill Gates and Jennifer Lopez have done it. Martha Stewart and Donald Trump have, too. Your friends and neighbors have probably shown off their efforts on social media. Perhaps even you have done it.

“It,” of course, is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the viral awareness campaign that has raised over $100 million towards research for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The Challenge, which was briefly the focus of a US Patent and Trademark Office application that has since been pulled, is still going strong on social media channels around the globe, and in turn is inspiring other causes to attempt to adopt viral, "Challenge"-inspired campaigns.Continue reading...

viral buzz

It's On! How the Ice Bucket Challenge is Benefiting ALS—and Brands

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 15, 2014 04:57 PM

It’s an exclusive club and growing every day, but you might ask, what do New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Ethel Kennedy, Justin Timberlake and Martha Stewart all have in common?

They've all accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral social fundraiser for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, that is prompting a Who's Who of participants to dump buckets of ice water over their heads in the name of medical research. The social movement, which has benefited the US national ALS Association, asks participants to nominate three others or make a $100 donation to ALS within 24 hours of the nomination. And donating they are.

“If we look at donations Association-wide (which includes national and chapter revenue), our organization has received $9.5 million compared to $1.6 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 15)," an ALS Association spokesperson told brandchannel. “From July 29 to August 15, the national office of The ALS Association has received $6.7 million compared with $34,800 in donations during the same time period last year. These donations have come from existing donors and 184,812 new donors to The Association.”Continue reading...

doing good

Reinventing the Toilet, and Feeling Flush with Pride

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 23, 2014 10:28 AM

The forerunner to the modern flush system was patented in 1775 by London watchmaker Alexander Cummings, and ever since, designers and inventors have tried to create a better mousetrap for a basic human activity. But access to a flush toilet divides the globe. According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide, or two out of every five, don’t have such access.

The need is great (nearly 1.5 million children die each year from food and water tainted with fecal matter) and the category is ripe for innovation, which spurred the Gates Foundation to launch the Reinvent the Toilet challenge in 2011 as part of its commitment to water, sanitation and hygiene.

We recently profiled American Standard CEO Jay Gould, whose company has partnered with the Gates Foundation on Flush for Good, an initiative to improve sanitation and community health in emerging markets.

The Gates fund has helped other such innovations as the Loowatt waterless toilet invented by Virginia Gardiner has raised nearly £2m in funding in total. A biodegradable lining runs around the bowl that pushes waste into a cartridge that gets broken down by microorganisms into biogas and fertilizer. The technology this week had a successful debut at the Latitude Festival in the UK.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Yes to Giving: Target Aims to Donate $25 Million to School Kids in Need

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 9, 2014 02:02 PM

According to a 2013 study, US public school teachers spent about $3.2 billion on classroom supplies in the 2012-2013 school year, an estimated $1.6 billion from their own pockets, or about $500 a year per teacher. And that's not including what families provide to teachers so their kids are equipped to learn.

That's why Target is upping its corporate citizenship commitment with a variation on TOMS one-for-one model by partnering with Yoobi, a Target-exclusive brand of colorful school supplies and a tag line that promotes the partnership, “One for you, one for me.” Today, Target announced it's aiming to donate up to $25 millon in supplies this upcoming back-to-school as part of this education commitment.

Yoobi, a clever twist on "You Be," launched at Target.com and in-store on June 1 as part of its Made to Matter collection of pro-social brands. For any purchase from the colorful collection of folders, notebooks, pens, crayons, glue sticks and rulers, Target will contribute to classroom packs that contain 900 items, about enough for one K-3 class of 30 students per year. Continue reading...

brands with a cause

CSR-Building Opportunities Abound with the Changing Face of Philanthropy

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 8, 2014 10:39 AM

Philanthropy is being redefined with the rising tides of digital media, allowing the pursuit of greater CSR initiatives and creation of more conscious companies like Participant Media, created in 2004 by eBay co-founder Jeffrey S. Skoll, as an activist entertainment company that produces movies with a message.

Lincoln, and encouraging civic engagement and antifracking film, Promised Land, are two examples of Participant-backed films. To deduce the best way to reach audiences and motivate them to participate, Participant is collaborating with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Knight Foundation and the USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

To that end, the team has developed the Participant Index, similar to Nielsen TV ratings, that compiles raw audience numbers for issue-driven media and delivers an online survey for up to 350 viewers per project with questions about emotional response and level of engagement. 

On a scale of 100, for instance, The Square, a documentary on political upheaval in Egypt, scored 97 out of 100 for emotional involvement, but only an 87 for provoking action, for a combined average of 92. However, "Farmed and Dangerous," Chipotle’s web series about industrial agriculture, reached 99 on the action scale and 94 for emotion for an average of 97—thus interpreted as having higher impact than The Square.Continue reading...

diversity watch

Burger King Courts LGBT Community and Millennials With Proud Whopper

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 2, 2014 12:21 PM

Pride Month may have just come to a close, but Burger King is looking to make it last a bit longer with the showcasing of its Proud Whopper, a burger sold in a San Francisco location during last week’s Gay Pride festivities that is no different from other Whoppers but came encased in brightly-colored paper.

When the burger was unwrapped, the text inside read, “We are all the same inside.” The brand unveiled a video today about the burger (watch below) as the chain is working “to connect with customers, particularly with the younger individuals fast-food chains are known for courting,” the Associated Press reports.

"A burger has never made me cry before," a young woman says in BK's pride burger spot. Reaching consumers on a personal level was also the rationale behind the brand’s recent replacement of its longtime “Have It Your Way” slogan with “Be Your Way.”Continue reading...

brands with a cause

One Million Strong: At Warby Parker, CSR and the Bottom Line See Eye to Eye

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 25, 2014 04:38 PM

Warby Parker announced today that it has sold—and distributed—1 million pairs of glasses through its one-for-one model, a mode of conscious retail that has since spread like wildfire after startups like TOMS Shoes and Warby made it mainstream.  

But the brand's CSR-driven business strategy is only one part of its extraordinary success in the retail eyewear market that's dominated by large-scale, big name distributors. Warby instead redesigned the online retail experience to be a seamless bridge between in-store interaction and online convenience, allowing in-home try-ons free of charge and bargain prices for trendy frames. 

"It's sort of those moments that we find just win people over and generate good will, so that they're likely to tell their friends about us," co-founder Neil Blumenthal told Fast Company. "... Our business model is designed to make people happy. Whether it's selling a $500 product for $95 or having a human being answer the phone within six seconds when you call."Continue reading...

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