Posted by Abe Sauer on May 8, 2012 12:55 PM
Ferrari has had a rough ride in China lately.
In April, a the mysterious crash of a Ferrari in Beijing that killed its driver and injured two female passengers led to massive rumormongering after authorities censored all social media mentions about the brand (法拉利).
Then, just when Ferrari probably thought it had moved on to a better place, the brand is now taking flack for an incident in Nanjing that resulted in the desecration of the city's ancient wall.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Shirley Brady on May 2, 2012 08:27 PM
Popchips "culture czar" Ashton Kutcher, who owns a minority stake in the company, gets in makeup for a new ad campaign for the snack brand, creating four characters for a mock dating website ("World Wide Lovers") introductory video (watch below). The online, outdoor and social campaign is costing about $1.5 million, according to the New York Times.
It's a different kind of "minority" stake for Kutcher that's causing a stir: Donning "brownface" makeup to portray "Raj," a 39-year-old Bollywood producer, landed the actor and his partners at the brand in hot water today, with accusations of racism (including by an offended Anil Dash) roiling the social web — but the company is defending the move.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 3, 2012 11:04 AM
When JetBlue Airways captain Clayton Osbon started wigging out aboard Flight 191 to Las Vegas last week and saying a long list of odd, disturbing stuff that resulted in him being wrestled to the floor by passengers and the flight crew, nobody was really too concerned immediately about what it meant to the JetBlue brand. After all, there was the safety of a flight full of passengers, a crew, and a man who was having an unfortunate and unbelievable meltdown.
Now, while prosecutors are aiming to get Osbon (who's facing criminal charges) held without bail and his wife released a statement via the airline, the questions are popping up on just how Osbon ended up being approved to fly by the company and if JetBlue has procedures and training in place for such things.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 19, 2012 04:55 PM
When a major brand names a new product, there usually is a boatload of research that goes into it: Focus groups, consultants, that sort of thing. But Nike appears to have skipped a few steps (or somebody didn’t do their homework) because they managed to release a new shoe last week that enraged pretty much the whole country of Ireland.
Released in the lead-up to St. Patrick's Day, Nike's new Dunk Low sneaks are nicknamed “Black and Tan,” in honor of the great Guinness Stout and "half and half" Guinness mix concoctions. The shoes, accordingly, have black and tan in the design and the image of a Guiness-inspired pint glass on the shoe's insole.
Unfortunately for the shoe giant, as the Guardian points out, "Black and Tan" also evokes a less happy association for the Irish. It's the nickname for “the violent British paramilitary unit, the Royal Irish Constabulary reserve force, that conducted brutal reprisals during the early 1920s Irish Independence Wars, including the atrocities of Bloody Sunday.”Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on March 16, 2012 02:18 PM
Did Apple just get its biggest break ever in its ongoing PR crisis over its Chinese manufacturing partner Foxconn? It turns out that one the most vocal, most popular critics of Apple's China-side manufacturing arrangements manufactured details of his visits to those very factories.
A Marketplace look into the claims made by Mike Daisey—the former Mac fanboy turned Apple China labor critic and performer of the popular one-man monologue "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs"—reveals numerous inaccuracies between story and truth.
Daisey's detailed stories of meeting teenage and poisoned workers outside the Foxconn plants have been shared and traded around the globe. TechCrunch, HuffPo, HBO's Bill Maher, all retold Daisey's story as fact. As did we.Continue reading...
social media watch
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 13, 2012 10:08 AM
As you may have caught on Facebook lately, Huggies is in hot water with Dads.
The issue: the Kimberly-Clark diaper brand's male-targeted social marketing campaign featuring real dads and real babies, which aimed for the funny bone but landed in the solar plexus. "To prove that Huggies diapers and wipes can handle anything, we put them to the toughest test imaginable – Dads," intoned a female voice-over in the videos ("Dad Test" and "Easy Chair").
Befuddled dads may have seemed like a cute way to make their point, but it (inevitably) irked parents. Consider that dads are increasingly stay-at-home caregivers, one out of three according to the US Census, it was no surprise that many of them took umbrage and took to social media to be heard.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 28, 2012 11:55 AM
The world is not tiring of New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin. And why should it?
Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last month, you are likely aware that the 23-year-old Harvard grad, who happens to be the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent, surprisingly led the New York Knicks on a seven-game winning streak and has scored 17 0r more in nine out of the 11 games he’s started. His play has lifted the hopes of Knicks fans that their team can find some triumphs this season as well as in the playoffs.
With his success on the court has come a lot of off-the-court love and attention, of course, particularly from folks who’d like to stick his name on their products. Nike, not surprisingly, has stepped in to give him his own shoe deal. And now Ben & Jerry’s has released a limited-edition ice cream, according to the Boston Globe.
The new flavor, “Taste the Lin-Sanity,” is only being served at Ben & Jerry's Harvard Square "scoop shop" in Cambridge, Mass., which makes sense as Lin is an alum — although it would be a surefire hit in the NYC market, too. It was intended to be a fun tribute, although it proved uncool to a few who felt the ingredients were insulting. OK, racist.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on February 5, 2012 01:45 PM
The Super Bowl of women's health happened last week. The winner? The Democratic Party-aligned Planned Parenthood, provider of numerous women's (and men's!) health services, including, yes, abortions. The loser? The heretofore unassailable Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world's largest anti-breast cancer organization.
On Tuesday, January 31, the Komen organization rather quietly announced that due to new grant policies, it would cease funding to Planned Parenthood. By Wednesday, Feb. 1, the backlash was on. Even author Judy Blume was slamming Komen as it stood its ground and attempted to weather the storm. That night its website was hacked. By the morning of Thur. Feb 2, Planned Parenthood was reporting donations in excess of what Komen had cut off, Komen executives were quitting in protest and local chapters of the national organization were in outright rebellion. Then a tweet, at top, that showed just how desperate the billion-dollar brand was to stop the hemorrhaging.
It did not stop. It still has not really. And maybe it never will.Continue reading...