mobile brands

Amid Child Labor Claims, Samsung Diverts Attention Back to Battle with Apple

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 14, 2014 12:47 PM

The fight for mobile dominance isn't getting any easier, but Samsung isn't backing down from the competition or anything that could stand in its way of becoming the mobile platform of choice for hundreds of millions of cell phone users. 

Reuters reports that Samsung has parted ways with a supplier in China “over suspected use of child workers.” The company has been accused of not paying close enough attention to the supplier's operations, and so it has made its decision to cut ties very public.

"The Chinese authorities are also looking into the case," Samsung said in its statement, according to Reuters, noting that the split with the supplier will endure if it is shown that the child-labor accusations prove correct.

US-based China Labor Watch reported less than a week ago that the supplier had "at least five child workers" without contracts and they were being paid less than adults for the same work. Samsung says it has conducted three audits of the supplier since 2013.Continue reading...

brand targets

Brands Come Out in Force Against Discriminatory Arizona Legislation

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 25, 2014 07:20 PM

A growing firestorm fueled by social media is brewing around Arizona's proposed bill SB 1062, which would permit businesses to refuse service on religious grounds, a measure activists and a growing list of corporations see as "state-sanctioned discrimination" against gays.

Companies from AT&T and Apple to Marriott, Delta and American Airlines, along with Arizona’s two Republican US Senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, are now taking a stand and asking Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the bill. The request from Apple comes as it prepares to open a new sapphire glass manufacturing plant in Mesa which would create about 700 full-time jobs and join its five stores already in Arizona.

Bill SB1062 is similar to measures proposed in Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Mississippi and Kansas in response to the growing gay marriage movement that 17 states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized.

Reaction against the proposed bill is growing so strong that the measure passed last week is prompting tourists to cancel travel plans and has companies threatening to relocate.

“There is genuine concern throughout the business community that this bill, if signed into law, would jeopardize all that has been accomplished so far,” Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, wrote to Brewer, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. “Our economy thrives best when the doors of commerce are open to all,” he wrote.Continue reading...

olympic effort

Brands See ROI On Controversial Olympics Marketing After Sochi Comes to a Close

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 24, 2014 11:14 AM

As the most expensive Olympics ever came to a close this weekend, many brands breathed a sigh of relief after months of the threat of consumer backlash have finally come to an end. Russia's human rights issues proved to be a big challenge for major Olympic sponsors like Coca-Cola, McDonald's and more, who spent millions on the marketing opportunity.

While not all escaped unscathed, several brands have actually improved their consumer perception, such as Visa and Chobani, according to YouGov's BrandIndex.

Chobani, whose yogurt shipments for Olympic athletes were held at the Russian border due to a customs issue, seized the moment to donate 5,000 cups of its product to food banks in the US—and tweet a creative opposition to Russia's anti-gay laws. According to YouGov, Chobani increased purchase consideration and garnered more positive buzz than any other official Olympic sponsor.Continue reading...

Outside the US, Brands Are Quick to Challenge Russia's Anti-Gay Laws

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 5, 2014 03:12 PM

The ban on “gay propaganda” in Russia has inspired a few companies to lash back ahead of the start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. AT&T is the first US Olympic team sponsor to publicly criticize Russia for its law. But other global brand have also joined in.

Scottish brewery BrewDog has debuted a new beer, "Hello, My Name is Vladimir," which it has ironically marketed with the hashtag #NotForGays. Joining in the fun is the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion, which has released a new commercial featuring two male lugers and the tagline: “The Games have always been a little gay.”

"The discrimination in Russia is unacceptable,” Michael Bach, founder and CEO of the CIDI, said in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post. “As an organization, we want to show our support, especially for the athletes competing at the Olympics in Sochi." CIDI is also encouraging people across the globe to change their Facebook profile photos to the suggestive symbol of two-man luge, which CIDI provides on its home page, during the course of the games to show their disagreement with Russia’s current laws.Continue reading...

olympic effort

On Eve of Sochi Olympics, AT&T Leads Brands Protesting Russia's LGBT Stance

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 4, 2014 07:17 PM

With the Super Bowl over, it's time for the US and the rest of the world to move on to the Winter Olympics, which are set to begin this Friday in Sochi, Russia. Amid the controversy over Russia's anti-gay laws, brands are doing their best to keep spirits high and tread carefully in what has become a very sensitive situation for sponsors, athletes and fans alike.

AT&T is the latest Team USA Olympic sponsor to debut its campaign, but it's doing so in a way that makes its views clear beyond cheering athletes. For the It's Our Time campaign (hashtag: #ItsOurTime) the telecom giant is rolling out an app, a website and video booths around the US to encourage fans to send "USA!" chants over to Sochi to show their support for their home team.

That's not the only messaging attached to the campaign. While it was Coca-Cola that recently took a stance by running the first ever Super Bowl ad featuring a gay couple, it's AT&T that's leading the way on the Olympic LGBT front by publicly speaking out in favor of equality and condemning homophobia, specifically Russia's ban on gay "propaganda."Continue reading...

sporting brands

Team USA Kicks Off Road to Sochi With Brand Sponsors in NYC's Times Square

Posted by Dale Buss on October 28, 2013 05:32 PM

NBC already has indicated it will enjoy a record haul for US TV advertising during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. But the job for brand sponsors of the Games and athletes has only begun on their path to the opening of the games on February 7.

Top-tier marketers including Coca-Cola, P&G, Target, and Kellogg's are signing up to sponsor Team USA athletes as well as trying to navigate the increasingly icy waters around Sochi regarding the tendency of the Russian government to violate human rights and LGBT rights.

On Tuesday, the US Olympic Committee will kick-off a 100-Day Countdown campaign featuring Team USA in Times Square in New York, hoping to recreate the excitement of 2012's Road to London event (at top) with the Liberty Mutual-sponsored Road to Sochi (#RoadtoSochi) tour.Continue reading...


Madonna Hopes 'Secret Project' Will Promote Expression, End Oppression

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 4, 2013 05:22 PM

Ever in the limelight, these days Madonna is increasingly using her celebrity stature for social activism, with her latest initiative introduced via a 17-minute film, Secret Project Revolution. The film unveils the star's Art for Freedom project—a initiative that serves to elevate any and all forms of expression.

"My goal is to show by the example of secretprojectrevolution my creative commitment to inspire change in the world through artistic expression," Madonna said, according to USA Today. "I hope my film and other submissions to Art For Freedom will be a call-to-action and give people a place to voice their own creative expression to help fight oppression, intolerance and complacency."

In partnership with VICE Magazine and BitTorrent, the public art initiative will live online and be open to submissions worldwide, which will aim to answer the questions, "What does freedom mean to you?" Submissions via social media can be tagged with #ArtForFreedom.Continue reading...

brands under fire

2014 Olympic Sponsors Faced with Criticism Over Russia's Anti-LGBT Sentiment

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 15, 2013 03:58 PM

Major global brands shell out millions of dollars to attach their names to the Olympics, usually one of the world's perennial feel-good stories. However, global politics can sometimes get in the way of that. 

Enter Sochi, Russia, where the world’s top winter athletes will be gathering next year to perform their athletic fetes. Unfortunately for them and for the brands involved, Russia has just passed several anti-LGBT laws that has left everyone involved wondering whether they should take a stand on the issue or just stick their heads deep in the snow and not mention it.

Already, 320,000 people have signed a petition protesting Russia's position, which was delivered to the International Olympic Committee Wednesday, but it remains to be seen what the corporate sponsors will do.

According to Buzzfeed, “only one corporate sponsor of the Olympics, General Electric, is pressing the International Olympic Committee publicly for action in support of human rights.” Others, such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, said they have done their part elsewhere to support LGBT rights, but told Buzzfeed they aren’t planning to ask the IOC to do anything about the ongoing public anti-LGBT state of affairs in Russia.Continue reading...

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