retail watch

JCPenney Raises Conservative Hackles With Gay Dads Ad

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 30, 2012 06:01 PM

JCPenney raised some eyebrows and a few hackles last month when its May online and print flier featured a real-life lesbian couple among various real moms, partners and kids for Mother’s Day.

Now the corporation is giving some equal time to gay men ahead of Father's Day by featuring two real-life dads/partners with their two kids in the retailer's June book. And once again, One Million Moms is up in arms at the same-sex parenting image and urging their followers to boycott JCP stores.

Fearless marketing, alas, hasn't helped the retailer (so far) post better results. JCP, despite refreshing its brand and pricing strategy with a bold new vision in January, lost $163 million and sales went down 20% in the first quarter of 2012.

"Our first 90 days are a little tougher than we expected," CEO Ron Johnson recently told analysts and investors, Ad Age reports. "But the good news is the transformation, from my perspective, is way ahead of schedule. ... We're trying to essentially convert the Titanic into 1,100 WaveRunners."

brands under fire

Asia Pulp & Paper Swipes Back at Greenpeace Rainforest Protests

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 30, 2012 10:02 AM

Greenpeace and Asia Pulp & Paper have been battling for years over the issue of brands using APP for packaging, as the eco-activists believe the company is one of many brands contributing to the deforestation of “critical habitats and last remaining biodiversity hotspots” by using what it sees as unsustainable packaging materials sourced by APP. 

Greenpeace's latest campaign against APP, via its global KFC protests, prompted the paper supplier to send us a rebuttal from Ian Lifshitz, Sustainability Manager for APP in the Americas.

“APP has been taking into account the critical issues raised by our international stakeholders, and we’ve announced important milestones in our business policies. Namely, on May 15, we announced the suspension of natural forest clearance in Indonesia, and that we will begin holding ourselves and our suppliers to the internationally-recognized high standards of HCVF (high conservation value forest)."Continue reading...

brands under fire

Greenpeace Accuses KFC of Supporting Deforestation in Global Protest

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 25, 2012 01:09 PM

Greenpeace activists recently scaled the headquarters of the KFC headquarters building in Louisville, Kentucky to hang a giant banner with a Sumatran tiger saying: “KFC Stop Trashing My Home.” A second banner was deployed on the lake the KFC building, dubbed “the White House” due to its resemblance to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, overlooks, bearing a similar message.

“We're here today to expose KFC's secret recipe. KFC customers worldwide will be horrified to learn that the fast food giant is using rainforests to make its packaging,” said Greenpeace Forest Campaign Director, Rolf Skar, about the protest action, which has gone global including a protest stunt in China and London this week. “The decisions being made here at KFC HQ are fuelling the destruction of some of the world’s last remaining rainforests, driving climate change and pushing the Sumatran tiger closer to extinction.”Continue reading...

brand partners

NASCAR Fans Cry Foul Over EPA Team Up

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 24, 2012 09:56 AM

"Rubbin', son, is racin'."

So goes the often quoted line from crew chief Harry Hogge in Tom Cruise's 1990 NASCAR blockbuster, Days of Thunder. Meant to be a statement about how the sport is a rough business, it's so popular that NASCAR's president used it last year when he subtly pushed for a little more "rough business" to boost ratings.

Lately, NASCAR has taken on a whole new political form of "rubbin'. And, in some ways, it's more preposterous than anything in Days of Thunder,  going by the cold reception from fans for the new EPA-NASCAR team-up.Continue reading...

personal brands

Uproar Subsides for Manny Pacquiao and His Sponsors

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 17, 2012 03:01 PM

"To the gay community, I apologize," stated boxer Manny Pacquiao in an interview with Mario Lopez on Extra that aired today. "I'm against same-sex marriage, but I'm not condemning you. My favorite verse is 'Love one another as you love yourself. Love your neighbor.' So I love everybody!"

That's Pacquiao, a national icon in the Philippines and one of Hennessy’s “Wild Rabbit” campaign stars, extricating himself from the hot water he landed in this week, just as he strives to change his image from indulging in cockfighting, drinking and womanizing. (His Hennessy commercial’s tagline: ''Fighting the fights that really matter. That's my 'Wild Rabbit.'")

The controversy erupted after a profile on him published May 12th in the National Conservative Examiner referenced the oft-cited Biblical passage from Leviticus 20:13, "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death.”

Pacquiao subsequently clarified that readers had erroneously believed he had quoted the verse, and that he loves and supports gays and lesbians, denounces anti-gay allegations, but does not approve of gay marriage because of his Roman Catholic beliefs.Continue reading...

social media watch

Facebook Addresses Privacy Concerns on Eve of Historic IPO

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 14, 2012 05:03 PM

Facebook may feel it has addressed privacy time and time again during its brief history, including recently addressing concerns about app privacy with the launch of Timeline.

But on the eve of its historic $96 billion (up to $104 billion) initial public offering, when it is expected to sell shares on NASDAQ starting Friday, Chief Privacy Officer for Policy Erin Egan hosted a live event today concerning the latest changes to its privacy policy in response to an audit by the Irish government.Continue reading...

brand commentary

Obama's In. Now, Can We Close the Gay Ad Gap Already?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 10, 2012 11:06 AM

Making history this week, President Obama finally declared his support of same-sex marriage, the first such declaration by a U.S. president. Now it's time for brands to step up and get over any aversion to showing same-sex couples in their campaigns.

Case in point: Gap’s new billboard featuring a real-life same-sex couple — Tony nominee Rory O'Malley and his boyfriend Gerold Schroeder — helps bridges the gap a little bit more between mainstream advertising and homophobic prejudice.

Featured prominently on a Los Angeles corner, the ad is part of Gap’s "Be Bright" campaign and the handsome couple are certainly a significant step in the brand’s efforts to reinvigorate lackluster sales and enlarge its customer embrace.

JCPenney, under its new "Fair and Square" tagline, continues to fight the good fight, too, facing down conservative pressure groups like One Million Moms by choosing openly gay Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson and recently featuring a lesbian couple and their daughter on their Mother's Day catalog.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Brands Boycott Village Voice's Backpage Over Sex Trafficking

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 3, 2012 03:03 PM

The Village Voice is under fire over Backpage — not the classified-jammed back page of its iconic free city newspaper, but, the subsidiary of Villlage Voice Media which expands its lucrative classifieds biz, warts and all, to the web. And by warts, we mean venereal warts, because makes a big portion of its income from adult classifieds, which have been accused of enabling human trafficking.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has been on Backpage's back over the issue, which is near and dear to his heart. And now brands are protesting too.Continue reading...

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