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social commerce

How TOMS Inspired a Generation of Socially-Conscious, Booming Businesses

Posted by Barry Silverstein on April 24, 2013 01:41 PM

Sometimes a brand blazes a trail, only to find itself outrun by the competition. 

Back in 2006, entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie, who made his name and a small fortune as a contestant on reality TV show, The Amazing Race, came up with a unique proposition for a new brand, TOMS Shoes. The business model: TOMS would donate a pair of shoes to a child who lived in poverty for every pair of shoes sold. The philanthropic concept quickly became a sensation that catapulted the company's brand awareness to superstar status.

Not surprisingly, other companies started to knock off the idea. The most egregious copycat has been a line of shoes called "BOBS" that Skechers introduced in 2010. BOBS not only look exactly like TOMS signature shoe, right down to the logo stitched on a visible exterior label, but Skechers also shamelessly followed TOMS' "one-for-one" model of giving away a pair of shoes for every pair sold.Continue reading...

celebrity designers

Matthew McConaughey Puts a Shirt on for New Clothing Line

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 22, 2013 01:38 PM

When many people think of actor Matthew McConaughey, it isn’t his work in such films as Boys on the Side, Dazed and Confused and Magic Mike that comes to mind, but rather his penchant for being half-naked all the time. After all, the actor was hauled away in 1999 for resisting arrest after officers came to his Austin, Texas home to deal with complaints of him loudly playing bongo drums while nude.

These days, though, it looks like McConaughey has found some motivation for keeping his shirt on. He has partnered with Canadian apparel manufacturer Grand National Apparel—manufacturer of Perry Ellis, Pacific Trail and Savane—to launch his own active sportswear collection, JKL. While the duds will be available on JKL’s site, consumers can also find them at Dillard’s stores and dillards.com.Continue reading...

social media watch

Brands Show Solidarity, Support in Wake of Boston Marathon Bombings

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on April 16, 2013 01:13 PM

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday, many took to social media to help locate loved ones and confirm safety, while brands spoke out, offering consoling thoughts along with offers of free services and aid to victims and locals affected by the attack — and then retreated to the sidelines, cancelling promoted tweets and Facebook status updates unless they could be of service.

In that vein, Google quickly developed a Boston version of its Person Finder tool, while JetBlue, Airbnb and other brands and businesses (big and small) that could help the distressed and stranded sprang into action. For some, like Adidas, sponsorship of the event led to an unfortunate juxtaposition with terror, as the brand's logo and "All In" tagline was featured at the finish line, and thus the front page of the Boston Globe.

Ford's head of social media, Scott Monty, tweeted some advice to brands for those unsure of how to respond—but sadly, with horrific events becoming more frequent these days, marketers are getting more adept at what to do (and more importantly, what not to do).Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

AT&T Takes Top Billing on Best Corporate Citizens List

Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 12, 2013 04:34 PM

AT&T has landed at top spot on CR Magazine's 14th annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, beating out other top Russell 1000 large-capitalization companies on merits including human rights and corporate governance.

Rounding out the top 10 on the new list: Mattel, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eaton Corp, Intel, Gap, Hasbro, Merck & Co., Campbell Soup Co. and Coca-Cola. 

The ranking crunches 298 data points of disclosure and performance measures across seven categories: environment, climate change, employee relations, human rights, governance, finance and philanthropy. 

Notably, 26 companies on the 2013 list were not on the 2012 list, while 11 companies have appeared on the list every year since 2007. For those that were bestowed the honor, many were quick to highlight the significance of employee participation to the success of the company's initiatives.Continue reading...

health matters

Gates Foundation Looking To Bring Pleasure and Protection to the World

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 1, 2013 12:28 PM

Condoms already come in plenty of forms. You’ve got your ribbed, you glow-in-the-dark, your cola-flavored, your French ticklers and your textured and studded ones. But Bill and Melinda Gates would like to see one that hasn’t been invented yet—and they are willing to fork over more than $1 million for it.

That's why the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is offering up the cash to anyone who can design such a thing in the hopes of stopping the spread of HIV and AIDS, CNN reports.

The contraceptive they’d like to see is a "next generation condom that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure" and promotes "regular use" as part of the foundation's commitment to addressing the global HIV and AIDS crisis.

"Male condoms are cheap, easy to manufacture, easy to distribute, and available globally, including in resource-poor settings, through numerous well-developed distribution channels," the Foundation says, according to CNN. So what’s the problem? Well, people complain that condoms get in the way of intimacy and pleasure, which are generally the goal of most people having intercourse.Continue reading...

click for a cause

eBay Sells it Forward with Mobile Giving Push and Global Commerce Goals

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 28, 2013 07:14 PM

eBay's latest initiative, Sell it Forward, adds a touch of philanthropy to its recent push to make the service more brand-centric and expand PayPal’s usage.

Sell it Forward lets users sell their new or lightly-used clothes, shoes, handbags and other wares and share the proceeds with Goodwill. If an item is deemed saleable and sells within two weeks, eBay customers receive 50 percent of the proceeds and the other 50 percent helps fund Goodwill's operations and charitable efforts. (If an item is not sold in 14 days, it becomes a straight donation to Goodwill, and customers receive a tax-deductable donation form.)Continue reading...

brands with a cause

Brands Mark World Water Day 2013

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 22, 2013 12:26 PM

Somewhere, a world exists where more people have access to smartphones than toilets. Oh, wait. That's us.

Today marks the 20th annual World Water Day, observed on March 22 since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared a global effort to improve access to clean water. Today, hundreds of multinational brands, political figures, celebrities and NGO's are offering up innovative ways to participate. 

While Americans are drinking more water than ever before, the rest of the world's water crisis is becoming increasingly pressing, making it to the agenda of the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos. That's when a report ranked water among the top five global factors equal in impact to systemic financial failure and fiscal imbalance, with 2.7 billion people affected by water shortages, compounded by climate change and a global population nearing 8 billion.

Two official meetings—in The Hague, The Netherlands and at the U.N. Headquarters in New York City—are taking place today to facilitate a global conversation on water cooperation, this year's theme, but hundreds of initiatives have launched across the globe in support of the effort.

In keeping with the theme of 2013 being the year of water cooperations, we've found some inspiring examples of the type of public-private partnerships spurring sustainable innovation to address the world's water crisis.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Reddit Sensation Grumpy Cat Readies for Trademark Battles

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 15, 2013 02:28 PM

You want to make Reddit sensation Grumpy Cat really grumpy? Try using her name on a product without prior authorization.

The owners of the cat that took social media by storm five months ago have filed for a trademark for the name "Grumpy Cat" as well as the cat’s likeness. After all, their little kitty, whose name is actually Tardar Sauce, has since gotten her own website, Facebook fan page, retail space, an appearance on the Today Show and her own commercial for Friskies cat food, according to SmallBizTrends.com.Continue reading...

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