Best Global Green Brands 2014

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It's No Secret: JCPenney Says 'We're Sorry' and 'Come Back' with Social Media Blitz

Posted by Dale Buss on May 1, 2013 06:12 PM

JCPenney's brand-resuscitation efforts continued today with a digital-era form of a classic corporate move: the mea culpa.

The company launched a virtual apology tour on Facebook, YouTube (watch below) and Twitter to get the message out to customers—those same customers that now-ousted CEO Ron Johnson in large part ignored for more than a year—that the brand is sorry and wants them to come back.

According to Bloomberg, the campaign was developed on Johnson's watch and implemented by Sergio Zyman, the former Coca-Cola marketing executive who will go down in history as the architect of the New Coke fiasco.Continue reading...

brand strategy

JCPenney's Outlook Gets Boost from Soros as it Continues to Roll Out New Products

Posted by Dale Buss on April 29, 2013 01:45 PM

Is JCPenney doing a dead-cat bounce, or is there real life remaining in the venerable retail brand in the post-Ron Johnson era?

George Soros is betting the latter. The famous (or infamous) investor has taken a 7.9 percent stake in JCPenney, a development that immediately sent the stock up by nearly 7 percent late last week. Soros's stake is still less than half that of hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman, who recruited Johnson as JCPenney CEO, and then helped sack him earlier this month. But at least, arguably, Soros is buying low.

Goldman Sachs has placed a bet as well on the possibility that new JCPenney CEO Myron Ullman (who also was CEO before Johnson's tenure of little more than a year) will be able to restore JCPenney if not to greatness, at least to long-term viability. The financier gave the company a five-year, $1.75 billion loan secured by JCPenney's real estate across middle America.Continue reading...


Will China's War on Fixie Bikes Slam Brakes on Growing Hipster Culture?

Posted by Abe Sauer on April 2, 2013 01:03 PM

Beijing's ban on fixed gear bicycles or "fixies" was dismissed on local English language blogs as an April Fool's gag. But then China's state-run media carried another report that Fujian, a southeast province outside of Shanghai, had also banned fixies. It followed numerous late March anti-fixie stories in the Chinese press.

China's brewing war on fixies, the ubiquitous accessory of US hipster culture and an increasingly popular creative outlet for free expression for China's similarly hip youth, is very real. And further actions like those in Fujian and Beijing could turn out to be a blow to a market that is just beginning to blossom.

"If the 'fixie' has no brakes, it cannot be ridden on the road and the police will punish riders according to the law," read the March 26 declaration from the Beijing Morning Post. The Post had noted that in Fujian's Zhangzhou city, a 13 year-old girl riding a fixie without brakes was recently killed in a traffic accident.Continue reading...

red carpet

2013 Oscars: Brands Seek Star Power With Tim Burton, Jennifer Aniston, Naomi Watts and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 25, 2013 10:02 AM

As promised, a slew of new ad campaigns made their red carpet debut during the Oscars telecast Sunday night on ABC and in local markets. Below, check out new campaigns for Samsung Mobile (starring director Tim Burton and a unicorn), Kristen Chenoweth for Royal Caribbean, Jennifer Aniston for Aveeno, Naomi Watts for Pantene and more. Then tell us which (if any) you think deserve best in show—and which marketers should have saved a million dollars or so.Continue reading...


Greenpeace Challenges Fashion Industry to Become Environmental Leaders

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 7, 2013 06:46 PM

As many high-end brands show off their latest designs at New York Fashion Week, Greenpeace has a big message for the fashion world at large: It's time to clean up your act.

The latest from Greenpeace’s global Detox campaign is its “Fashion Duel,” with Italian actress Valeria Golino leading the charge for the industry to make environmental stewardship a priority in their operations.

The "duel" sets out to rate 15 Italian and French high-end luxury brands on three areas of the global supply chain — leather, pulp and paper and toxic water pollution — and highlights their differences in policy on toxic water pollution and deforestation.Continue reading...

retail watch

One Year Into the Job, JCPenney CEO Struggling to Spark a Sales Turnaround

Posted by Dale Buss on January 25, 2013 01:16 PM

Many politicians, actors and sports stars have experienced an annus horribilis. But when it comes to corporate CEOs, few have ever had as bad a year as Ron Johnson of JCPenney.

It's been about a year since the former Apple retailing executive blew into Penney's headquarters in Dallas believing that he had a secret formula that would do even more than rescue the company from its threatened place in the nation's retailing industry. Eager to start a "retail revolution," Johnson sought to simplify the company's structure and re-program the American consumer's attitude toward store pricing, discounting and promotional tactics.

A year ago today, at a splashy two-day press event in New York, Johnson outlined his vision for transforming the 110-year-old department-store chain over four years through "Fair and Square" pricing as part of a rebranding and repositioning for the company. But it's not working.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Levi's, VW Brands Help Nike Win US Supreme Court Trademark Ruling

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 9, 2013 06:02 PM

Nike’s Air Force 1 just celebrated 30 years, hitting stores way back in 1982 as the first basketball shoe to use its Nike Air technology. It’s been a huge success for the brand, and has become a collector’s item for sneakerheads. Its recent appearance in front of the Supreme Court, normally a place where sneakers don't dare to tread, may only increase its appeal to collectors.

The trouble began back in 2009 when a small shoemaker, Already LLC, which makes Yums sneakers was sued by Nike for infringing on its Air Force 1 trademark with the design of its Soulja Boy shoes.

The Yums brand owner responded countersued before Nike “issued a covenant not to sue, promising not to raise any trademark or unfair competition claims against Already or any affiliated entity based on Already’s existing footwear designs, or any future Already designs,” World Trademark Review reports. “Nike then moved to dismiss its claims with prejudice, and to dismiss Already’s counterclaim without prejudice on the ground that the covenant had extinguished the case or controversy.”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.

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