Best Global Green Brands 2014

brand trainwrecks

As Food Network, Smithfield Foods Cut Ties, Paula Deen Sees Fans Rally

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 24, 2013 04:48 PM

The Paula Deen scandal is the stuff media headlines are made of. After public court records revealed that the Food Network star admitted to using the "n-word" and tolerated racist jokes in her workplace, the network announced it will not renew her contract, ending a relationship that began in 1999 and culminated in her own show, Paula's Home Cooking, in 2002 and later Paula's Party and Paula's Best Dishes.

Deen was named in a suit filed by Lisa Jackson, a former employee who worked as a manager at a restaurant owned by Deen and her brother and business partner, Bubba Hiers. Jackson claimed she was sexually and racially harassed.

Late last week, Deen—whose reputation is still recovering from running afoul of anti-obesity campaigners—posted a video apology on YouTube, which now has over 3.4 million views, for using “inappropriate, hurtful language” and for failing to show up for a scheduled interview with NBC’s Today Show host Matt Lauer.

"I want people to understand that my family and I are not the kind of people that the press is wanting to say we are," she said. "Your color of your skin, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter to me. But it's what's in the heart, and my family and I try to live by that. I am here to say I am so sorry. I was wrong, yes.”Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Groupon Plays for Mobile E-Commerce but is Haunted by Past Underperformance

Posted by Dale Buss on June 10, 2013 12:56 PM

Groupon keeps pivoting to a new mobile-based e-commerce business model, but there are a lot of obstacles to morphing into a top competitor in a space that is attracting many other significant brands.

The Chicago-based company, of course, was the pioneer in the business of offering online deals at local merchants, and founder Andrew Mason built Groupon into the giant of that industry and a $20-a-share IPO nearly two years ago. Then Groupon got competition in that space and merchants began grousing that the architecture of the Groupon deals was far better for consumers than for them. Mason was sacked in February and now board members are looking for a permanent CEO.

In the meantime, investors and employees alike have been heartened that Groupon not only has shored up its local-deals business but also is in hard pursuit of a big chunk of the mobile-shopping business, hoping to become the first big e-commerce player to get the majority of its revenue from mobile.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Nike, Netflix, Walmart and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 29, 2013 09:12 AM

In the News

Nike drops Livestrong lines after 2013 holidays.

Netflix sees stock tank as poor reviews of new Arrested Development come in.

Walmart pleads guilty to illegal dumping.

Airbus tackles flaws in superjumbo jet.

Amazon launches men's grooming platform.

Apple hints at producing wearable devices as CEO Tim Cook insists company's innovation streak hasn't run out.

Chevrolet unveils social media effort for L.A. Galaxy sponsorship and says its new Corvette is the most powerful ever.

Comedy Central gets temporary lifting of ban in India.

Coty files for IPO of up to $1 billion.

Dell approaches heated phase of buyout battle.

GoDaddy gets ready for new domains.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Uniqlo Rejects Bangladesh Safety Agreement as Worker Unrest Spreads

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 28, 2013 05:12 PM

Uniqlo, the fourth-largest retail brand in the world, has gone the way of Walmart and refused to sign the Bangladesh safety agreement, opting instead to monitor its factories on its own.

"We want to first focus on what we can do right now, on our own," Yukihiro Nitta, head of Fast Retailing's Corporate Social Responsibility group told the Wall Street Journal. He said the company also will hire a Japanese company to assess the soundness of its suppliers' factories in Bangladesh, noting that ultrasound and x-ray technology can be used to check for cracks in concrete and piping.

Most of the 30 companies who have signed, including Uniqlo’s rival H&M, are European. Meanwhile, American companies including Walmart, Gap, JCPenney, Sears and Target have all held out on the point that the agreement includes a legally-binding clause, one that they argue could hurt US companies more than their international counterparts. For Uniqlo, this isn’t the first time the company, owned by Japan’s Fast Retailing, has come under activist pressure. Earlier this year, the brand bowed to a cause to sign a detox pledge spearheaded by Greenpeace, in which the company agreed to stop releasing hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chain and products by 2020.Continue reading...

brands under fire

US Brands Still Holding Out as Bangladesh Government Looks to Place Blame

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 23, 2013 01:54 PM

Almost one month to the day after the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh killing 1,127 people, American retailers and their international counterparts remain at odds over the plan to improve labor conditions, with legal liability still at the top of US concerns.   

Gap, one of the largest American retailers implicated in industry accidents in Bangladesh has said in recent weeks that it was close to signing the proposed agreement, if only clauses regarding arbitration were removed. “In the United States, there’s maybe a bigger legal risk than there is in Europe,” said Gap CEO Glenn Murphy, according to The New York Times. “If we were to sign onto something that had unlimited legal liability and risk, I think our shareholders should care about that.” Calling the language of the agreement "vague and unclear," Gap, along with Walmart, Target, JCPenney, Sears and other major US retailers have bilked at signing the accord, despite the fact that over 30 global brands had signed on by the proposed May 15 deadline.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Lamar Odom's Clothing Company Irks New York as Brewer Battle Rages On

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 22, 2013 03:53 PM

When you’re a 6-10 pro basketball player, you are used to getting things your way. But Los Angeles Clippers power forward Lamar Odom, husband to Khloe Kardashian, may not win the current battle he’s thrust himself into.

Odom and designer Jonathan Garcia launched a clothing line, Rich Soil, back in 2009 and one of its T-shirts caused so much of a stir that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo actually sent him a letter to tell him to stop selling it, the Associated Press reports. Cuomo expected Odom and his pal to stop sales within five days.

The problem? The shirt looks an awful lot like a logo for a New York State farming program. The Rich Soil shirt features a very similar Statue of Liberty that sits behind familiar-looking crop rows, encircled in a similar font reading "Rich Soil New York" as opposed to the program's "Pride of New York." Check out a side-by-side here.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Bangladesh Victims Yet to See Compensation as Governments Pressure Compliance

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 21, 2013 12:54 PM

Fortunately, the issues brought to light by the recent horrors in Bangladesh are not disappearing from the headlines. Unfortunately, those who are culpable are not acting swiftly enough.

What little consensus has emerged from the rubble of a collapsed eight-story factory, which claimed over 1,120 lives, underscores the fact that public-private collaboration is vital to enact the sweeping reforms required for real change rather than corporate social responsibility campaigns. Major retailers including Walmart, Gap, JCPenney and Sears have yet to sign the proposed fire and safety agreements, while Walmart, like the wolf guarding the hen house, said it will monitor its 300-plus Bangladeshi suppliers itself. However, H&M, along with 30 other international retailers committed to the $3 billion fund to improve the safety of garment factories in Bangladesh.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Investors Speak Out Against US Retailers Over Refusal of Bangladesh Reform

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on May 17, 2013 05:47 PM

It turns out that angry consumers aren't the only ones that American retailers need to worry about. In a joint statement published Thursday, a group of investors sought out to express their dissatisfaction with US retailers that have refused to sign the Bangladesh fire and safety agreement.

The release, undersigned by Amalgamated Bank Longview Funds and 14 others said, "We expect companies in our portfolios to ensure the integrity of their supply chains." The group, which reportedly holds a combined $1.35 trillion in assets, called out both Walmart and Gap, two major US retailers who spoke out against the accord, advising them to act swiftly and effectively in agreeance with the legally-binding proposal, which was signed by over 30 international companies by its May 15 deadline. 

The response is a reaction to the late-April factory collapse in Savar, Bangladesh that has now claimed over 1,120 lives. The accord, which is a version of a previously proposed agreement that was in effect turned down by several US retailers in 2011, hopes to protect the millions of Bangladeshi people that work in the country's 5,000 garment factories, for as little as $38 per month. The industry, now the second largest garment producer next to China, has seen a surge in recent years, resulting in the creation of faulty building sites and poor labor conditions. The circumstances surrounding the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory highlight the shortcomings of an industry built on loose ethics and fast, inexpensive turnaround. While the agreement looks to enforce independent building inspections and fire and safety training, it also hopes to create a more open administrative atmosphere for workers to present their concerns.Continue reading...

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