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sustainability

Greenpeace Turns #Detox Protests From Zara to Levi's

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 7, 2012 12:25 PM

Having taken Zara to task as part of its Detox/Toxic Threads campaign, Greenpeace is now turning the spotlight on the Levi’s brand.

This week, the eco-activists rolled out a multimedia campaign that included bringing 16 living mannequins to stage a protest outside the brand’s flagship store in San Francisco. Their demand: that the world’s largest maker of jeans (with sales of $4.8 billion in 2011) eliminate hazardous chemicals from their supply chain. The tactics: turning the denim giant's global Go Forth "marketing platform"— which was inspired by Walt Whitman's "O Pioneers" poem — against the brand.

Campaigners are using the language of "Go Forth" against the brand. Greenpeace is mimicking its graphic style and hashtag (#goforth) with its own #detox tag for a "#GoForth and #Detox!" message. The platform's "This is our time" tagline has turned into "Now is Your Time," in addition to co-opting other Levi's brand attributes (see the Pinterest/Facebook-ready "501 reasons to detox" infographic, below) to encourage the company to live up to its high-minded, noble mesaging.

Levi's is listening.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Greenpeace Targets Zara in Global Detox Campaign

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 26, 2012 10:51 AM

Now you don't have to worry about mannequins watching you — they may also be following you onto the sidewalk. As part of Greenpeace's global "Detox" campaign, more than 700 people, in over 80 cities, in 20 countries around the world protested, staged street theater and conducted "mannequin" walk-outs to demand Zara to eliminate the use of all hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chain.

From Bangkok to Buenos Aires, the activists also called on Zara store managers (who don't permit photos of their mannequins) to forward Greenpeace's Detox demands to their headquarters, after new research found traces of hazardous chemicals in ZARA clothing items, some of which can break down in the environment to become hormone-disrupting or even cancer-causing substances. As Greenpeace put it, "how will the world's largest fashion retailer — which responds so swiftly to changes in fashion trends — react to this global call for toxic-free fashion?"Continue reading...

black friday

Walmart's Biggest Black Friday Marred by Labor Dispute

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 23, 2012 07:58 AM

Black Friday shoppers in the US (and Canada) could set a record today, as the post-Thanksgiving annual retail rush is on.

Here in New York, just before midnight on Thanksgiving evening, I observed massive line-ups at the corner of Broadway and Lafayette for Adidas and Best Buy on the northeast corner of that intersection, and smaller queues starting at the southeast corner for Hollister, H&M, Uniqlo and, across the street, American Eagle and Victoria's Secret. Police, using bullhorns, tried to get the crowds to disperse by announcing, "Stores don't open until 8 A.M." — but the shoppers, mostly in their late teens and 20's it appeared, were undeterred.

All eyes, in particular, are on Walmart today, which has been downplaying the threat of OUR Walmart-organized employee strike action at its stores across the US, which are being organized online and shared on Twitter via the #walmartstrikers#changewalmart and #makingchange hashtags, and on Tumblr.Continue reading...

damage control

It's Cher vs. Hair as Donald Trump Protest Ropes in Macy's

Posted by Abe Sauer on November 14, 2012 12:03 PM

"Cher joins 400,000" is not an x-rated film for the AARP set — it's a headline trumpeting news that the singer/actress has signed a petition lobbying Macy's to "dump Trump."

Following Donald Trump's harsh comments against Barack Obama, including a $5 million offer to see the president's passport application and college transcripts, a "boycott Trump" effort has been growing. Macy's CEO was drawn into the fray after protesters zoomed in on Trump's "birther" comments its holiday campaign (top).

Trump's answer to anyone who opposes him is typically a metaphorical version of "you're fired." It's an impotent response to a boycott effort as impotent as Trump's hair piece.Continue reading...

no kidding around

Cheetos Crunchy Flamin' Hot Chips Come Under Fire

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 19, 2012 05:25 PM

Frito-Lay's Cheetos brand Crunchy Flamin' Hot chips may be free of gluten-free and trans fats, but some school officials feel it's free of any redeeming value whatsover and are moving to ban it. The New York Times Well blog reports that "School districts in three states are waging a battle against (the) spicy snack that is so laden with artificial ingredients it leaves a trail of red fingerprints behind."

What has school administrators in Pasadena, Calif., Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Rockford, Illinois, up in arms?

...some school districts say the chips are too high in calories, salt and fat, and too spicy for most children. Teachers and parents have complained that the artificial coloring has children leaving behind bright red fingerprints in their classrooms and on their clothing. And emergency room doctors say they have seen patients complaining of stomach pain after eating hot Cheetos, and they warn that eating the chips in excess – because of the bright food dye they contain – may cause discolored stool that can lead to unnecessary hospital visits.

The PepsiCo-owned Frito-Lay brand "has said that it does not specifically market Hot Cheetos to small children, nor does it sell its snack products directly to schools." A current promotion with Ubisoft's Just Dance Game featuring its Chester Cheetah mascot, for instance, is aimed at kids 13 and older.

Below, watch a video tribute ("Hot Cheetos & Takis") by some kids, which has racked up more than 3.5 million views on YouTube since it was posted in August:Continue reading...

brand challenges

As IPO Anniversary Approaches, Groupon Remains a High-Wire Act

Posted by Dale Buss on October 8, 2012 05:07 PM

The stock woes of Facebook, Zynga and other can't-miss investment darlings of the internet have distracted people from Groupon's travails. But as the daily-deals website nears the November anniversary of its IPO, Groupon appears to have many long-term challenges on its plate.

Groupon has run into stiff competition for signing up the local merchants across the country that provide the deals to fuel Groupon's discount machine. At the same time, some analysts assert, it's been difficult for Groupon to engender brand loyalty among consumers because, after all, ultimately what discount-seeking consumers want is the biggest discount — whoever provides it to them.

As a result, Groupon's growth has been slowing. And even as the Chicago-based company has tried to counter that by hiring more salespeople to sign up local merchants to provide discounts, other digital companies are trying to poach Groupon's best talent because they see weakness in the company.Continue reading...

brands with a cause

Ben & Jerry's Co-Founder Freezes Out Occupy Wall Street

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 1, 2012 01:27 PM

Ben Cohen may be a member of the elite 1% in America, but he’s a hippie at heart and always has been up for helping out the other 99%. Although the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand he co-founded with buddy Jerry Greenfield is now owned by Unilever, the brand still reflects their left-leaning vision by maintaining a commitment to activism, funded by a foundation to support “social justice, environmental protection, (and) sustainable food systems.” Plus, what makes the world happier than free ice cream? Ben & Jerry’s has been hosting a free cone day every year since it started in 1979.

Well, there’s one group of folks who aren’t too happy with Cohen today: Occupy Wall Street.Continue reading...

sustainability

Frack and Roll: Exxon, Other U.S. Energy Brands Open Tap on Hydraulic Fracturing

Posted by Dale Buss on September 25, 2012 06:03 PM

The revolution in discovery and exploitation of shale oil and gas in the American heartland, starting with North Dakota, is turning global energy economics and, potentially, politics upside-down. It's also prompting major shifts in strategy for the big brands on the energy map in the United States and the world.

ExxonMobil became the latest iconic energy brand to boost its stake in the Bakken Shale formation when last week it agreed to buy assets of Denbury Resources there for $1.6 billion in cash and interests in two oil fields. The move increased Exxon's acreage in the formation, centered under North Dakota, which has helped make the state the second-largest oil-producing state in America, after Texas.

Royal Dutch Shell also has invested more in such "unconventional" oil assets lately, recently buying $2 billion worth of such properties from Chesapeake Energy. And in efforts to exploit the growing potential of shale reserves worldwide, Chevron is helping the Chinese company Sinopec.Continue reading...

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