super bowl

Super Bowl Ad Watch: Brands Hear Objections, But Keep to Their Game Plans

Posted by Dale Buss on February 1, 2013 02:35 PM

The deluge of early looks at Super Bowl ads, both entire spots and teasers, has helped brands generate lots of buzz online and elsewhere long before Sunday. And in terms of creating brand presence before the Big Game that didn't used to occur, it's hard to argue with that strategy.

But the tidal wave of sneak peeks and January reveals also has allowed early germination of inevitable controversies. Whether the publicity created by those whirlwinds has been good or bad for the brands and their overall Super Bowl branding efforts probably falls under the usual maxim of PR: "as long as you spell my name right." has always bared everything in its Super Bowl ads, so there's no surprise in the controversy over one of its two ads released this week. It's an up-close and personal look at a brief make-out session between supermodel Bar Refaeli and actor Jesse Heiman — something about small business scoring.Continue reading...

response mechanism

Aptly Titled: Time and Again, Proves a Potent Force in Nudging Brands

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 31, 2013 03:36 PM

Nicer bras for masectomy survivors. Healthier ingredients in soft drinks. Halting gender stereotypes in toys.

All are among the causes and quests that have gained momentum — and in many cases, acquired success — through, which has quickly become a major force to be reckoned with among brands. While activist organizations such as Greenpeace lobby companies and others around a particular set of issues, is an open platform to agitate for action.

PepsiCo, for instance, recently announced the removal of brominated vegetable oil, which is used as a flame retardant, from its Gatorade drink after 16-year old Sarah Kavanagh’s petition garnered more than 200,000 digital signatures. (The company is continuing to use it in Mountain Dew.)

"When I went to to start my petition, I thought it might get a lot of support because no one wants to gulp down flame retardant, especially from a drink they associate with being healthy," Kavanagh said on The Dr. Oz Show. "With Gatorade being as big as they are, sometimes it was hard to know if we'd ever win.”Continue reading...

brand sustainability

Victoria's Secret Bans Toxic Chemicals, Joining Environmental Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 22, 2013 06:31 PM

Limited Brands, owner of Victoria’s Secret and La Senza, has committed to eliminate hazardous chemicals from its global supply chain in response to Greenpeace's Detox campaign. An investigation in 2012 by the environmental advocacy organization revealed a hormone-disrupting phthalate in underwear sold in Victoria’s Secret stores in the United States.

Phthalates and perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) are man-made chemicals that contain non-stick and water-repellent properties. The chemicals can affect the liver, disrupt hormones and alter growth.

"With Limited Brands being the 14th company to Detox since Greenpeace launched its campaign, the fashion industry is finally waking up to its responsibilities in the cycle of toxic water pollution," John Deans, Greenpeace USA Toxics Campaigner, told brandchannel. "Now it's time for brands like Calvin Klein, G Star Raw and The Gap to take their place alongside these Detox leaders."Continue reading...


Unilever Scrubs Up Sustainability Commitment with Plastic Microbean Ban

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 10, 2013 01:36 PM

“Plastics” may have been the career advice for The Graduate, but since the Sixties the mantra might be, "Plastic? Oh no! Banned" because the ever-expanding number of companies using them in products have come under fire for their impact on the environment.

The latest form of plastic to come under attack isn't about packaging, but the use of tiny pieces of plastic within products: the microbead, the tiny pellet found in personal care items produced by consumer packaged goods companies.

One CPG giant, Unilever, has now capitulated to environmental activists and agreed to stop using microbeads in its personal-care items, such as facial scrubs and toothpaste, following a social media protest involving Europe's Plastic Soup Foundation and its supporters.Continue reading...


Uniqlo Signs Greenpeace Detox Pledge

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 9, 2013 12:09 PM

Greenpeace has added Uniqlo to its list of global fashion brands and retailers signing its Detox pledge, making "a public commitment to eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout its entire global supply chain and products by 2020."

The commitment covers all Fast Retailing-owned brands — Uniqlo, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Princesse TamTam, GU and Theory — which together operate more than 2,000 stores. "Uniqlo recognises clean water as a critical global issue, and is proud to join Greenpeace in its campaign to eliminate hazardous chemical use," stated Yukihiro Nitta, Fast Retailing's executive in charge of social responsibility. The company also vowed to disclose discharge data from at least 80% of its global suppliers (including all their facilities) by the end of this year.  

As the environmental group blogged, the Uniqlo deal "comes just a month after Zara, Mango, Esprit and Levi's announced similar individual commitments, responding to waves of pressure from activists and consumers around the world. Competitors in the fashion world including GAP, G-Star Raw and Calvin Klein are looking increasingly out of touch now that 12 of the world's top high street fashion brands have committed to Detox." Other Detox signatories include Adidas, C&A, H&M, Nike, Puma and M&S.

chew on this

Fresh Food for Thought as Major GMO Foe Changes Thinking

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 4, 2013 03:06 PM

Public apologies by high-profile experts are rare, making this week's anti-GMO reversal — call it a GMea Culpa — by British environmentalist, author and Oxford University visiting research associate Mark Lynas particularly stunning.

Lynas spurred the anti-GMO movement in the mid-‘90s, continuing to argue as recently as 2008 that corporate greed was threatening Mother Earth and her inhabitants; but at this week's Oxford Farming Conference, he recanted his position in a very public way.

“I want to start with some apologies," he stated. "For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.”

“As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely. So I guess you’ll be wondering—what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it?"Continue reading...

what girls want

Hasbro Agrees to Easy-Bake Oven for Boys; Score One for Kid Activism

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 18, 2012 10:30 AM

What do girls want? For one big sister this holiday season, the right for her brother to have the same toys in a non-stereotypical design. Almost 45,000 signatures and a slew of international headlines later, McKenna Pope, the 13-year-old who started the online petition at to convince Hasbro to consider boys in their marketing and design scope for the Easy-Bake Oven, has scored a big win for gender equality.

McKenna and her family met with execs at Hasbro on Monday and came out all smiles. Execs at the Pawtucket, R.I., HQ of the toy manufacturer, as AP reports, were deighted to show her design prototypes for Easy-Bake ovens colored black, silver, or blue — ready for her brother and other boys eager to get Easy-Baking.

Pope’s quest had started when she wanted to get her four-year-old brother, Gavyn Boscio, an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. After all, he had shown a love for food prep by attempting to “cook on top of a lamp's light bulb” at their New Jersey home. Pope only found ovens in pink or purple and the boxes only featured girls in its marketing images.

So Pope went out and scored more than 40,000 signatures on a petition, the support of a slew of male celebrity chefs such as Bobby Flay, and a meeting with Hasbro, which now says it is going to unveil the new oven at the annual Toy Fair in New York this coming February. Consumers who are looking to purchase Easy-Bake ovens that aren’t pink and purple will be able to snag them next summer. Plus, the new ovens will come with a boy or two pictured on the box as well.Continue reading...


Greenpeace on Getting Levi's to Detox: "We're Not Your Grandfather's Greenpeace"

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 13, 2012 02:01 PM

Following in the wake of Zara's capitulation, Levi’s is now the 11th brand to bow to pressure from Greenpeace's global Detox campaign. The denim giant has committed to eliminate releases of all hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chains and products. Still being pressured: Calvin Klein, Gap, and Victoria’s Secret as part of the green campaigner's goal “to expose brands until the use - and abuse - of hazardous substances is totally eliminated.” 

The world’s largest denim brand, has agreed to eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout its entire supply chain and products by 2020. The commitment comes eight days after Greenpeace launched its “Toxic Threads: Under Wraps” report targeting global fashion brands releasing toxins in Mexico's rivers, resulting in a digital groundswell with more than 210,000 people calling on Levi’s to Detox, tens of thousands taking action on Facebook and Twitter, and over 700 people protesting outside Levi’s shop fronts in over 80 cities worldwide.

As part of its Zero Discharge Commitment, Levi’s (as outlined in a blog post) will start requiring 15 of its largest suppliers in China, Mexico and elsewhere in the Global South to disclose pollution data as early as June 2013, followed by compliance from 25 additional major suppliers by the end of 2013.Continue reading...

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