Posted by Abe Sauer on February 21, 2014 12:26 PM
China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.
This week: House of Cards in China… Ai Weiwei's vase… Heineken… Hengda soccer's sponsorship windfall… Xiaomi… medical tourism and South Korea... WeChat mobile payments… 3M… Disneylands... gold fever... China loves olive oil... Sam's Club… Uniqlo and H&M… Airbus... GM... Furia... KFC's soy milk problem... and more.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 10, 2014 04:46 PM
Following in the steps of luxury brand Burberry, British retail giant Primark is the latest major brand to bow to Greenpeace's demands to go toxin-free, agreeing to eliminate hazardous chemicals in its products and across its production eco-system by 2020.
The High Street discount retailer is the 20th company to commit to detoxing its garments as a result of Greenpeace's global Detox campaign, and most recently, its "Little Monsters" report that found levels of toxins in childrens' product from global retail brands including Adidas, Gap, and American Apparel. Other brands, including Levi's, Zara, Mango and H&M have already commited to Greenpeace's five-step detox program.
“Primark’s commitment shows that it refuses to be left behind as toxic-free clothing becomes a fashion trend in the industry,” said Ilze Smit, Detox Campaigner at Greenpeace International in a press release. “From budget retailers like Primark, to luxury houses like Burberry, brands are helping put an end to this toxic nightmare. Laggards like adidas and Disney need to act now to stop these hazardous little monsters once and for all.”Continue reading...
The Big Game
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 2, 2014 05:47 PM
All rules are off this year as advertisers rush to preview their Super bowl ads and prime the social media engine before Sunday’s big game. And the majority of the advertisers have been seeding buzz with hashtag marketing on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and as teaser taglines in their video spots released before the game.
From Pepsi's #Halftime pre-Game campaign to Coca–Cola's #AmericaIsBeautiful, from GoDaddy's #ItsGoTime to H&M's contest asking if fans want David Beckham #covered or #uncovered during the brand's GameDay spot (a rhetorical question, surely), if you see a brand's 2014 Super Bowl messaging, it will inevitably include a hashtag. Whether consumers could identify the brands just based on the hashtags is another matter.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 31, 2014 01:40 PM
When a research study from Greenpeace turned up hazardous chemicals, or "Little Monsters" as they put it, in children's clothing and shoes from major brands including Disney, Burberry, Adidas, Gap and others, the environmental activists turned up the pressure by urging consumers lobby the brands to clean up their act as part of its bigger #Detox campaign.
This week, Greenpeace scored a victory when Burberry agreed to detox its clothing by Jan. 1, 2020. Initially, its corporate back up against the wall, Burberry balked at the group's allegation that a purple metallic shirt contained hazardous chemicals. The shirt in question, made in Tunisia and worn by Romeo Beckham (aka David & Victoria's son) in a June 2013 campaign, contained a high level of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), manmade chemicals used in detergents, which degrade to nonylphenols (NP), both toxic and hormonally disruptive.
"All Burberry products are safe and fully adhere to international environmental and safety standards," the luxury apparel brand responded in a statement. "We have an active programme dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of our supply chain, working in collaboration with our suppliers and NGOs. Greenpeace is aware of our work, which includes the commitment to eliminate from our supply chain the release of chemicals that have an environmental impact."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 28, 2014 02:44 PM
The San Francisco Department of the Environment and I:CO, a solutions provider for clothing, shoes and other textile reuse, are joining forces with Levi Strauss & Co. on an ambitious Textile Reuse and Recycling Initiative.
The initiative, Progress With Less, asks consumers to donate old clothing via special containers stationed inside three Levi's stores, part of a bigger plan to make San Francisco a zero-waste city. I:CO transforms the unusable clothing into industrial products ranging from cleaning cloth, paper and insulation to carpet underlay, surface covering and textile fibers.
“At Levi Strauss & Co., we work to ensure sustainability is woven into the fabric of everything we do—from how our clothing is made to how we care for the planet," the brand said in a blog post. “It’s even woven into our San Francisco headquarters, which is insulated with more than 25,500 pairs of recycled jeans—a novel reuse initiative that we’re working to roll out to other local organizations.”
The effort echoes a similar campaign from H&M, which too partnered with I:CO to collect brand and non-brand clothing in exchange for a store credit.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 24, 2014 01:42 PM
Come Super Bowl Sunday, H&M will be presenting fans with a lot of choices. The retailer unveiled earlier this month that its ad starring David Beckham will be a shoppable one: fans with select Samsung smart TVs will be able to shop items in the ad in real-time using their remote.
And now H&M has announced another feature that any consumer can get in on, smart TV or not, that may be a bit more titillating.
H&M is asking consumers to vote online for how the ad should end by using hashtags #covered or #uncovered via an H&M site that will debut Monday, according to Ad Age. Fans may get to decide if Beckham ends up in his skivvies—or nothing at all.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 21, 2014 06:46 PM
It was only a matter of time until the life-threatening issues surrounding worker safety and the garment industry spread to Cambodia, where just a few months ago a factory disaster claimed several lives.
The residual effects of recent tragedies in Bangladesh, the second-largest garment manufacturer behind China that saw over 100 killed in a 2012 factory fire and over 1,200 workers perish in the Rana Plaza collapse, have spread to other global economies, igniting protests over safety and fair wages.
Protests erupted in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Dec. 24 after the Ministry of Labor set the garment sector’s 2014 minimum wage at $95 per month, rather than the $160 unions wanted. When security forces opened fire Jan. 3 on a group of demonstrators, four people were killed, 37 injured, and another 23 detained in a prison for four hours.
Now, 30 global brands and several unions have joined the fight, signing a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking the Cambodian government to “address the rights of 23 people detained since deadly garment worker demonstrations on January 2 and 3 and the violation of citizens’ freedom of association," according to the Phnom Penh Post. Government officials said they acted in the public's interest and to protect the workers.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 20, 2014 02:38 PM
Adidas, Gap, Disney and Burberry are rebutting claims made by Greenpeace that chemical levels in their children's apparel products exceeded legal limits.
The major brands have questioned the scientific basis of the report, called "A Little Story About the Monsters In Your Closet," which was published by Greenpeace East Asia after the environmental group reportedly purchased and tested dozens of articles of kids' clothing from major brands. According to the group's claims, some of the apparel contained higher chemical levels than those found in adult clothing, citing a high risk since young children often chew on their clothes.
According to the South China Morning Post, Gap refuted the group's claims, saying the chemical levels were barely detectable. "For example, the allowable amount of phthalates for childcare articles and toys is 0.1 percent and the maximum concentration of phthalates they found in Gap clothing was 0.004 percent of the garment," the company said. Adidas said the report was "selective" and the company will seek third-party verification.Continue reading...