2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

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...

sporting brands

Adidas Hopes to Spring Ahead with Latest Shoe Innovation

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 27, 2013 06:09 PM

There are plenty of folks who don’t think you need anything special on your feet to be a good runner. There are some—like Ethiopian Abebe Bikila, who won the 1960 Rome Olympics marathon barefoot—who don’t think you need anything at all to be the best in the race.

Adidas (and Nike, for that matter) aren’t in that group, of course, and keep upping the design ante to show runners the world over how much better they can be wearing their innoative products.

Now adidas, fresh off the heels of launching the Boost running shoe earlier this year with the help of Britney Spears, is debuting another running shoe, the Springblade—a model billed as its priciest, and most advanced, to date.Continue reading...

executive decision

Men’s Wearhouse Drops Founder and Pitchman George Zimmer in Questionable Move

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 20, 2013 02:39 PM

Men's Wearhouse founder George Zimmer may have been able to guarantee the way you'd look in his suits, but that same comfort didn't extend to his own job. In fact, Men’s Wearhouse tossed the 64-year-old Zimmer out the door Wednesday after he spent 40 years building the brand, starting with the first location that he opened with his college roommates.

No reason was given for the ouster but analysts suggested to The New York Times “that the conflict might be over the company’s efforts to appeal to younger customers, who could have been hampered by Mr. Zimmer’s continued presence in ads.” A person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Zimmer, who still owns about 3.5 percent of the company’s shares, and his handpicked CEO, Doug Ewert, have had “repeated clashes” about buying back shares and selling off apparel chain K&G.Continue reading...

doing good

Patagonia Ups Environmental Commitment with $20 Million Venture Fund

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 14, 2013 11:41 AM

Patagonia, a trailblazer in high-end outdoor apparel and environmental advocacy, is stepping up its corporate responsibility commitment to sustainability with $20 Million and Change, a venture capital fund to invest in startups with innovative solutions involving food, water, energy or waste.

“We believe in our company’s long-term vision around the environment and areas we want to make change in,” said Rose Marcario, CEO of the newly created holding company Patagonia Works. “We know there are great entrepreneurs out there with really great ideas and resources and they could be the next Patagonia.”

Already in the business of providing grants, Patagonia is hoping to nurture the next movement leader, Marcario said. "I do think business is an untapped well for change."

The company has just reorganized into a new umbrella holding company, Patagonia Works, through which it's earmarking the initial $20 million for investment in early-stage small businesses, ranging from $500,000 to $5 million. The plan has only one prerequisite—that a company must already have $1 million in revenue or capitalization.Continue reading...

brands under fire

H&M, Primark Sign Bangladesh Safety Agreement; Gap Says It's Next [Update]

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 13, 2013 06:39 PM

The rescue efforts in Savar, Bangladesh have officially been turned over to recovery as the death toll surpasses 1,100 in what has become the worst accident in the history of the garment industry. But 20 days later, it seems that progress and change is beginning to emerge from the rubble of a decrepit industry. 

The Bangladeshi government has agreed to let garment workers form trade unions without the permission of factory owners—a breakthrough in workers' rights in a de-regulated country, where garment factories were shut down this week following worker unrest over wages and conditions.

The proposed  safety plan, backed by a coalition of labor groups, calls for independent inspections of factories and a legally binding fire and building safety plan requiring retailers to help pay for improvements to factory safety and is an amendment to the 2006 Labor Act lifting restrictions on forming trade unions in most industries.

The pact also calls for changes regarding severance payments, welfare fund payments, management practices and payment and banking standards. In what could be a game-changing announcement, Swedish retailer H&M announced Monday that it will sign the binding agreement.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Gucci Loses 7 Trademarks to Guess in Latest Legal Ruling

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 6, 2013 06:33 PM

Gucci and Guess have been tussling over trademarks for years, but the Italian fashion house took a hit from its American counterpart on its own turf last week.

The Court of Milan turned out an 83-page ruling that “rejected all claims” that Gucci had filed against Guess, according to a press release. Not only that, “the Italian Court has ordered the cancellation of certain of Gucci’s diamond pattern, G logo, and ‘Flora’ pattern trademarks” along with its “rights in a ‘Square G’ logo.” 

This is a big blow to Gucci, which had received “minimal monetary damages and narrow injunctions on a handful of logos” in a similar case against Guess in New York that was decided last year. That “minimal” amount added up to $4.66 million, though Gucci had hoped to make a $120 million payday. This time, Guess scored a victory that allows it to use its famed Quattro G logo pattern without worry of infringing on any trademarks.Continue reading...

brand trainwrecks

Lululemon Still on the Road to Repentance

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 3, 2013 06:20 PM

After the March announcement of a potential shortage in its supply of black Luon pants due to a failure to meet technical specifications—a.k.a., the sheerness issue—the eccentric Vancouver-based lifestyle brand and highly successful global retailer is still repenting.

In a report published Friday, Wedbush analyst Betty Chen downgraded the rating on Lululemon from Outperform to Neutral. Following a survery of 300 Lulu customers, the analyst found that management has not properly addressed the consumer perception of "quality erosion," that the brand may be losing ground to other yoga apparel companies and that only 10 percent of respondents plan to restock once the Luon pants are back in stores. 

We could have called that one. After complaints started to flood in that customers were unknowingly baring their derrieres, Lululemon pulled the designs in question from store shelves and pointed a finger at production managers in overseas factories. Brand loyalists flooded social media pages with complaints and questions, but the brand maintained an oddly cool demeanor, simply directing infuriated customers to the brand's Guest Education Center.

The nightmare didn't end their though, as reports flooded in about store clerks demanding customers to try on the pants and "bend over" before granting refunds and exchanges. Indeed, the trajectory of events since March takes a page from the brand playbook of what not to do after a major product incident.Continue reading...

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...

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