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brands under fire

As Death Toll Rises in Bangladesh Factory Collapse, Brands Face Scrutiny Over Ethics (Updated)

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...

brands under fire

Sadly, Hyundai Not the First Auto Brand to Depict Suicide Attempt in an Ad (Updated)

Posted by Dale Buss on April 25, 2013 07:01 PM

The recent, cartoonish prospective print ads by Ford's agency in India—depicting Silvio Berlusconi and Paris Hilton as heartless kidnappers—turned out to be mere child's play in the modern universe of tin-eared automotive marketing. Hyundai has just set the bar at a new low with an online ad in Europe for its iX35 fuel-cell car, which depicts a suicide attempt in the car—which eventually fails because of the vehicles clean emissions.

The spot by Innocean, Hyundai's agency of record because it is owned by Hyundai, shows a man sitting in the driver's seat of a Hyundai in his garage, having made all the necessary preparations for offing himself by breathing in carbon monoxide. But, despite the foreboding music, it doesn't work. The commercial shows a tube—run into the passenger compartment from the exhaust pipe—emitting what looks like smoke but turns out to be vapor, as the car runs on "100-percent water emissions," a tagline informs the viewer. The guy is out of luck.

Hyundai today pulled the ad (which was posted last week) from YouTube, but it has gone wildly viral and enraged the brand's fans and non-fans the world over. "Hyundai understands the video has caused offense," Hyundai Europe said in a statement (update: scroll down for additional statements). "We apologize unreservedly. The video has been taken down and will not be used in any of our advertising or marketing."Continue reading...

brands under fire

US Musicians Go After Marvel Over Film Score Outsourcing

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 24, 2013 12:42 PM

Marvel Entertainment may have brought a lot of joy to a lot of folks over the years with the creation of such characters as Spider-Man, Captain America and the Hulk, among tons of others, but one group isn’t exactly feeling the love these days: American musicians.

The unhappiness stems from the fact that Marvel, which is owned by Disney, has been using European musicians that come cheaper than their American counterparts to score its many successful films in recent years, the Los Angeles Times reports

The American Federation of Musicians is drawing attention to their discontent with protests at Marvel Entertainment’s L.A. locations as well as nearby stops where the newest installment of Captain America is currently being shot and outside the El Capitan Theatre, which will host the world premiere of Iron Man 3 Wednesday.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Big Tobacco's Label Appeal is Denied as NYC Tries to Change Legal Smoking Age

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 23, 2013 02:50 PM

Cigarette warning labels haven’t changed a bit in the last 30 years, despite lots of data being unearthed in that time on the dangers of smoking and plenty of efforts by the government and consumer groups to have those labels changed. The main reason no change has occurred is because of the undying efforts of Big Tobacco’s legal departments. 

Those departments took a hit Monday when the Supreme Court rejected Big Tobacco’s efforts to challenge a 2009 federal law “that requires graphic warning labels on cigarettes and expanded marketing restrictions on tobacco products,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

This doesn’t mean that smokers will soon be carrying around cigarette packs with gruesome images such as a sewn-up cadaver, a crying woman who apparently has lung cancer, smoke coming out of a man’s trachea, and other such unpleasant sights. It will take time to get new images approved and they will likely go through their own legal challenges along the way. Plus, last August, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit “ruled that the proposed labels violated the tobacco industry's free-speech rights under the First Amendment,” the Journal reminds. The Obama Administration later said “it wouldn't mount a further legal defense of the labels, leaving the agency to consider new proposals."Continue reading...

brands under fire

Lululemon Chief Product Officer is Out as it Tries to Repair Sheer Pants Damage

Posted by Barry Silverstein on April 4, 2013 01:46 PM

The self-inflicted brand damage continues at Lululemon as the company has announced the departure of its chief product officer, Sheree Waterson, effective April 15. Waterson had been with the company since 2008.

Lululemon called the change part of a "reorganization of our product organization," but it is widely believed that Waterson's exit is directly related to the company's recent yoga pants recall.

Last month, as brandchannel reported, Lululemon was forced to recall its black Luon pants because the bottoms were too sheer, revealing areas of the body and causing potential embarrassment. Lululemon pulled the product from stores—effecting about 17 percent of its retail products—and its website and offered customers a full refund. The problem was not only a blow to an exceedingly popular lifestyle brand, it could also cost Lululemon around $60 million, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. In fact, analysts expected the company's earnings and stock price to take a big hit.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Kraft Defends Mac ‘N Cheese Food Coloring to Cheesed Off Bloggers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 2, 2013 01:31 PM

For many parents, tiredly pouring the little pouch of mysterious dry ingredients that comes in your Kraft Macaroni & Cheese box into the pasta and watching the whole thing turn a scary orangish color is a rite of passage. There are some, though, who are alarmed (and awake) enough to try and put an end to it

Vani Hari mostly writes her Food Babe blog from North Carolina, but she recently traveled to Northfield, Illinois, to pay a visit to Kraft Foods HQ in Northfield, Illinois, on Monday and demand that the company stop putting yellow #5 and yellow #6 dyes in its food, as Hari noted in a blog post.

Kraft, of course, wasn’t backing down. "The safety and quality of our products is our highest priority and we take consumer concerns very seriously," a Kraft spokeswoman said in a statement, the Chicago Tribune reports. "We carefully follow the laws and regulations in the countries where our products are sold."Continue reading...

brands under fire

Louis Vuitton Promotes "Prostitution Chic" in Controversial Short Film

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 27, 2013 06:12 PM

Sex sells, right? Well, Louis Vuitton apparently thinks so as its clothing is the star of a new (NSFW) short film that features a few of its top models acting the parts of prostitutes in the dark streets of Paris.

A naked woman in the backseat of a car, a half-dressed woman swaying down an alley, a woman undressing in front of a car’s headlights and a slew of come-hither looks fill up the new film that was produced by the U.K.'s Love Magazine and directed by James Lima.

Watch the NSFW video after the jump.Continue reading...

brands under fire

FDA Goes Back to the Drawing Board on Tobacco Labels

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 26, 2013 04:17 PM

Cigarette buyers in Uruguay, Thailand, Australia and about 35 other countries and jurisdictions all have to deal with nasty images on the packs that remind them of just how unhealthy smoking can be. But the FDA, despite years of trying, can’t seem to get the same thing done in the United States. 

Last week, the agency abandoned its long battle to put such images on packs as it faced an April 5 deadline of whether to appeal a court ruling that favored Big Tobacco. Don’t think the plan is totally dead, though. The FDA will “undertake research to support a new rulemaking consistent with the Tobacco Control Act," MedicalDaily.com reports.Continue reading...

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