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
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 Backpage.com, 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 Backpage.com 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...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 26, 2012 10:02 AM
London’s Savile Row has long been the home of some of the world’s finest tailors. Everybody from Winston Churchill to Elton John and MI5's dashing James Bond has gotten their clothes made there. The street has been around since the early 1730s but didn’t become a tailoring hub until the early 1800s.
It got a shot of cool and street cred back in the ‘60s when the Beatles opened its Apple Records studios, but it’s still better known as the place for the monied classes to secure their waistcoats, cutaway tails, and other tailoring needs for hundreds of years.
A recent change on the “golden mile of tailoring,” however, has got a few bespoke knickers in a twist. Abercrombie & Fitch just opened a children’s store along the Row and some folks weren't happy, as evidenced by a flash mob protest against A&F that was organized by the wannabe dandies at The Chap magazine on that bastion of British fine tailoring.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 24, 2012 04:06 PM
As the globe tuned in to watch the Formula One race last Sunday in Bahrain — which went ahead despite the slew of politicians, human rights groups, and even F1 fans who argued against it — fans of the sport are questioning what kind of hit the F1 brand has taken as a result of the controversy, particularly as F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone is rumored to be planning a return in 2013.
The controversy stems from the months of violence and political unrest that have snarled the country. Protesters called the race “a publicity stunt by the country's rulers to make the nation seem more unified than it actually is,” according to CNN.
Even though last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled due to a spate of violence, F1 officials went ahead with the 2012 race, which saw the ouster of a team of a British journalists (a TV crew for Channel 4) who were covering the anti-government protests hours before Sunday's race. Reporters for CNN, Reuters and the Financial Times were denied entry altogether.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 20, 2012 12:01 PM
The folks at Lego thought they were throwing open a door to a wealth of new consumers when it introduced its Lego Friends line back in December. Since it’s being designed for and marketed to girls, the company figured it would be creating a whole new source of revenue and please any parents eager to bring their daughters into the world of Lego.
Instead, it got a whole lot more, with 50,000-plus people signing a petition against the new line. The uproar’s volume may have been turned down since then but Lego Friends still has its detractors, a fact that the toy-maker is aiming to turn around.
The first step comes today, when Lego execs are scheduled to meet with two young women who helped lead the petition and discuss possible improvements, a release from Change.org states. Bailey Shoemaker Richards and Stephanie Cole launched the campaign against Lego on the Change.org site. The two 20somethings are members of the “girl-fueled organization SPARK Movement,” according to a press release.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on April 16, 2012 06:05 PM
You're running McDonald's and you're the world's most successful fast-food chain, growing lately all over the world. That would seem to indicate an ever-expanding (no pun intended) audience of consumers worldwide who want to partake of your burgers, fries, salads and smoothies — right?
Yet across the United States and halfway across the world, more folks seem to be falling all over themselves demanding that McDonald's stay as far away from them as possible. Blame an obesity fixation.
In the U.K., for example, a leading medical academic (acamedic? or in this case, activist-medic) is calling McDonald's "unhelpful" for being a leading sponsor of the London Olympics this summer, along with another "unhelpful" corporate ogre, that Coca-Cola Company.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 3, 2012 02:07 PM
For more than a decade, Vermont artist Bo Muller-Moore has been making t-shirts that urge folks to “eat more kale” instead of, oh, fast food.
He’s received a lot of free publicity and an uptick in sales in recent months thanks to the legal eagles at Chick-fil-A who have been trying to get him to stop using the phrase after he filed for a trademark. The chain feels his t-shirt slogan is too close to its trademarked “Eat mor chikin” slogan (misspelled as a cow might spell it — if a cow could write signs begging fast food restaurant brands to serve another species' meat).
While plenty of folks have had a chuckle or two over the legal kerfuffle, it’s anything but funny to the food chain’s lawyers, who filed a complaint last week with the Trademark office that consumers may think the two messages are coming from the same place, according to Vermont's Burlington Free Press.
A day later, the Trademark office announced that it agreed with Chick-fil-A that "Eat more kale" is too close to "Eat more chikin," and now Muller-Moore has six months to respond or the rejection of this trademark request will become permanent.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on April 3, 2012 10:01 AM
A little anecdote from the booming Chinese port city of Dalian will tell you two different (but equally important) things about Apple's popularity in mainland China and what the brand is going through there.
It seems that the security detail from Mall 1 showed up at Mall 2 to "send a message." That message was communicated when Mall 1's security guards arrived at Mall 2 and knocked down billboards advertising the soon-to-open Apple store. That Apple store, set to the world's largest, will soon open at Parkland Mall. The mall is high-end and home to numerous foreign luxury brands. In fact, a close look at the video of the brouhaha, above, reveals it was shot from a Starbucks patio. (Starbucks, by the way, is plowing its way through China lately, too.)
And all this during a week when Apple CEO Tim Cook visited China, from the Foxconn factory floor to the vice premier, and the March 29th report on Foxconn seemed to make all Apple's Foxconn woes disappear.Continue reading...