brands under fire

BlackBerry Faces the Music as Shareholders Await Promised Turnaround

Posted by Ben Berkon on July 10, 2013 12:46 PM

It's been quite a while since US phone users considered purchasing a BlackBerry device in favor of Apple’s iPhone or Google’s Android. 

In April 2012, when CEO Thorsten Heins took over Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM), the Canada-based BlackBerry manufacturer, he hoped the supposedly state-of-the-art BlackBerry 10 software (and re-invented touch screen and keyboard phones) would put RIM back on the map. He even enlisted Alicia Keys as Creative Director, following in the footsteps of other high-profile brand/celebrity collaborations. But the heavy investment in the company's future doesn't have much to show for itself yet. After a reported $84 million loss in June, the stock endured a 28 percent drop. New phone sales, in general, lagged.

At the company's annual shareholders meeting on Tuesday, Heins tried to downplay the elephant in the room.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Roxy Rides a Wave of Social Backlash Over Sexy Video Ad

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 8, 2013 05:40 PM

Sexy; provocative; engaging; sexploitation: Those are just a few of the terms used to describe Roxy's new video ad for its upcoming women's surf contest.

The iconic female surfing and sporting brand has attracted some unsightly attention from its Roxy Pro Biarritz 2013 Teaser video, which was posted to YouTube in late June. The video, which is an ad for the company's famed European competition, features a blonde woman who is half-naked for most of the ad, while the camera focuses on her lower half and never once shows her face—or much surfing. The video asks viewers to guess who the female athlete in the video is—assuming fans can identify pro female surfers by their backsides. 

Consumer backlash ensued, but Roxy, in another 'brands on social media' case study, was quick to defend the sexy ad.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Are Retailers Really Willing to Invest in Reform of Bangladesh Garment Industry?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 3, 2013 07:12 PM

Last week, the Obama administration revoked special trade status for Bangladesh in what is a growing tidal wave of international pressure for quicker and better implementation of garment factory safety standards following the Rana Plaza disaster that claimed more than 1,100 lives.

The turmoil over who is responsible for safety and inspection continues unabated, with countries, brands and governments often at odds over the best way forward.

“Inspecting Bangladesh’s garment factories is an acutely complicated task," notes The New York Times. “No government agency is certain of precisely how many such factories operate in Bangladesh, or where they are. Some inspectors are discovering that building plans filed with government agencies do not always match the actual buildings. Many factories built during the 1980s and 1990s have no architectural drawings at all.”Continue reading...

brands under fire

Lululemon Faces Shareholder Lawsuit as it Continues on Road to Recovery

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 3, 2013 04:13 PM

Lululemon has been hit with a lawsuit from a shareholder accusing the company, founder and Chairman Dennis "Chip" Wilson and departed CEO Christine Day of "defrauding shareholders by hiding defects in yoga pants whose sheerness led to a costly recall, and concealing talks that led to the sudden departure of its chief executive," Reuters reports.

Tuesday's lawsuit, which was filed by Houssam Alkhoury, who owns 7,500 shares, follows a previous lawsuit that was filed in May by the Hallandale Beach Police Officers and Firefighters' Personnel Retirement Fund, which claims Lululemon's compensation committee voted to "boost the maximum payout of the executive bonuses plan just before a $60 million recall of yoga pants," raising executive bonus plans as much as one-third when management knew of the imminent sheerness debacle.

The dust has yet to settle from the Canadian company's March recall, which pulled 17 percent of its black luon yoga pants from shelves after it was revealed that the garments were too sheer to wear. While shares have experienced double-digit drops since, the brand, at least on the stock market, has seemed to recover fairly well.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Facebook Pulls Ads from Controversial Pages in Ongoing Content War

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 1, 2013 03:51 PM

Facebook will pull ads from pages that contain violent or sexual content after months of contention with brands, users and privacy advocates. 

The social network announced it will start a manual review of pages containing sensitive content with a team of hundreds of employees in offices worldwide, as it attempts to find a balance between a users' freedom to post content and where a brands' ad appears.

“Beginning on Monday, we will implement a new review process for determining which Pages and Groups should feature ads alongside their content. This process will expand the scope of Pages and Groups that should be ad-restricted. By the end of the week, we will remove ads from all Pages and Groups that fall into this new, more expansive restricted list," the company said.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Monster Energy Sued Yet Again over Another Teen Death

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 26, 2013 12:48 PM

A California 19-year-old died early in the morning last July 1, suffering from cardiac arrest while engaged in sexual activity with his girlfriend, and his mother thinks it had everything to do with his habit of drinking a couple of Monster Energy drinks daily. The family has now filed a lawsuit against Monster Beverage, a turn of events that Monster has become all too familiar with lately. 

A suit was filed last year in Maryland after a 14-year-old died after drinking two 24-ounce cans of the drink. "Our allegations in the lawsuits are the same and that's the peoples deaths were caused by these energy drinks and more specifically the defendants failure to warn about the dangers," said Alexander Wheeler, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in both cases, according to Fox News

Wheeler isn’t the only lawyer who has filed suit against Monster. Attorney Dennis Herrera has also filed suit against the company “for marketing its energy drinks to children, saying the products pose severe health risks,” Fox News notes.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Kickstarter Latest Site to Face Backlash Over Harmful Content

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 26, 2013 11:58 AM

Facebook isn't the only one with content issues these days. Kickstarter has been forced to apologize and change its guidelines after a "misogynistic" seduction guide raised more than $16,000 on the crowdfunding platform. 

The campaign, which ran from May 29 through June 19, was for an upcoming book from Reddit user Ken Hoinsky, aka TofuTofu, titled "Above The Game: A Guide to Getting Awesome with Women." Hoinsky’s controversial advice included, “Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances." Rather troublesome, the guide, which some called "a guide on sexually assaulting women" raised over $16,000 from over 730 donors—much more than the campaign's stated funding goal of $2,000.

As excerpts were passed around social media, the pushback against the campaign reached a crescendo last week when a petition with over 50,000 signatures circulated called for Kickstarter to cancel the funding campaign. The site, however, hesitated to react, allowing the campaign to run its course, only later issuing an apology.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Google Battles Growing Privacy Issues in Europe

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 20, 2013 01:42 PM

Google's EU problems continue as the internet giant was told by France's National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties to change its privacy policy or face fines as it leads a Europe-wide push to get Google to clarify its intentions and methods of collecting user data.

Google has three months to make changes or risk a fine of up to 150,000 euros ($201,100) and a second of 300,000 euros if it still fails to comply with the French Data Protection Act.

Last year, Google consolidated 60 privacy policies into one covering YouTube, Gmail and Google+ with no opt-out choice for users. Already wary, National European data protection regulators gave Google until February to propose changes—which it did not—resulting in the latest edict.Continue reading...

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