brands under fire

Gotcha Milk: MilkPEP #GetReal Milk Truth Fights Whitewashing Claims

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 28, 2015 02:03 PM

Milk Truth

A glass of milk once sat on a sainted list for all Americans that included such things as baseball and Budweiser. The former, of course, became tainted with the performance-enhancing-drug era while the latter now boasts corporate headquarters in Belgium.

Milk is facing its own hurdles and the dairy industry is doing all it can to fight back. Last year MilkPEP (aka the US dairy industry's Milk Processor Education Program) ended its longstanding "Got Milk?" campaign—known for its celeb-heavy milk mustaches—in a bid to address a deeper existential crisis.

Last year was also when the British Medical Journal published findings that challenged milk's health claims with research indicating that “drinking lots of milk could lead to earlier deaths and higher incidents of fractures,” the Associated Press reports. While the British researchers “urged a cautious interpretation” of the study, that didn’t stop a slew of news organizations and anti-dairy bloggers brabbing onto the idea that “Milk Can Kill You!”

Now the dairy industry is fighting back in the most modern way it can—social media—with a campaign that was quickly ambushed by the forces it's trying to fight.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Uber Woes Pile Up World-Wide; Cause Marketing to the Rescue?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 10, 2014 12:34 PM

Lately, it seems that wherever Uber operates, it brings trouble—and lots of it.

Adding to its mounting PR crisis: allegations of an Uber driver sexually assaulting a woman in India, Uber getting banned in Spain, Thailand suddenly not allowing residents to use taxi services whose drivers use their own personal vehicles; Portland, OR filing a lawsuit against the app, and a laundry list of other incidents have been giving the brand one public-relations black eye after another in a very short amount of time.

No wonder the Wall Street Journal's headline today reads "Uber Under Attack Around the Globe."

Even with all the bad press, however, the brand is spending a lot of time and money to salvage its reputation.Continue reading...

brands under fire

30 Years On, Bhopal Disaster Weighs on Victims—and Dow Chemical's Reputation

Posted by Dale Buss on December 3, 2014 05:05 PM

Before BP and the Exxon Valdez, the Bhopal pesticide plant leak in India—which happened 30 years ago this week—remains the world's worst industrial disaster.

Is the toxic legacy of the Bhopal gas explosion disaster at a Union Carbide plant in India any responsibility of U.S.-based Dow Chemical, which now owns Union Carbide? Or is it fully on the shoulders of the Indian government that settled with Union Carbide 25 years ago?

Or is it a brand-building and corporate citizenship opportunity for today's Dow management team to alleviate the continued suffering of many among the population of Bhopal's some half-million Indian victims? So many questions, and so much angst, as the company faces protests this week by Bhopal survivors still fighting for compensation.

The gas leak from the pesticide plant killed about 2,500 people almost instantly when the pesticide factory began to seep toxins and the explosion occurred. But that was just the beginning of its repercussions—and some major issues remain unresolved.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Can Uber Reverse the Damage Before Driving its Brand Into a Ditch?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 19, 2014 02:09 PM

Uber can take pride that it pretty much created the global ride-sharing industry that didn’t exist when it launched only four years ago. Yet the company, valued at anywhere from $17 billion to $25 billion depending who you talk to, has made so many PR missteps that it shouldn’t feel too good about itself. 

Growing faster than its staff can keep up with has generated, it seems, a culture of arrogance—and a ton of bad news.

Among the flood of negative press, TIME and The Daily Beast have recounted the litany of PR disasters, including a driver that ran over and kill a six-year-old, accusations of sexual assault levied against its drivers, wage protests by its own drivers, claims of causing mayhem for rival Lyft by booking and canceling rides, and a driver who (reportedly) verbally attacked a cancer patient who canceled a ride a minute after scheduling it.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Detergent Pods Defended as Report Highlights Need to Protect Children

Posted by Dale Buss on November 10, 2014 04:44 PM

A new report in respected U.S. medical journal Pediatrics has underscored the continuing danger to children from Tide Pods and other competing concentrated detergent packets, and calls for manufacturers to do more to protect kids from ingesting the products, according to USA Today.

But there are at least two reasons why the industry might be a bit skeptical about the latest anti-Pods broadside. First, the new study doesn't cover statistics in child poisoning this year but from 2012-13, which is an important bit of timeline information, considering that P&G and other manufacturers changed their packaging and took other important steps in late 2013 that apparently reduced the problem.

The other issue, of course, is—who's watching the children? Child-proofing the house is a time-honored discipline of parenting, but most people who responded to a recent industry survey on this issue admitted that they kept their unit-dose laundry packets "well within arm's reach of children," the Wall Street Journal reports.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Virgin Galactic Crash: Branson’s Space Plans Take a Big Hit

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 3, 2014 10:51 AM

Richard Branson, the controversial billionaire cowboy who once threw water in Stephen Colbert's face, was uncharacteristically subdued on Saturday, the day after Virgin Galactic suffered the death of one of its pilots in a test flight crash over the Mojave Desert. Galactic, perhaps the most buzzworthy branch of the Virgin Group, is part of the mega-million-dollar private spacecraft movement that Branson hopes to one day rule.

His future kingdom took a big hit Friday when Galactic's SpaceShipTwo broke apart in mid-air, leaving one pilot dead and another injured. Though there will be a long investigation, the media consensus is that the accident happened due to “pilot error,” according to Reuters. If this is indeed the case, Galactic execs can breathe a sigh of relief that the company isn't heading toward a potential shutdown. 

Continue reading...

brands under fire

Lego Breaks Shell Partnership, Pushed by Greenpeace Video Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 9, 2014 02:11 PM

Greenpeace has scored another major victory in its savvy social- and content-driven lobbying of brands.

Lego announced today it will not renew its marketing contract with Shell, ending a partnership that dates back to the 1960s.

The environmental activist group targeted the world’s largest toymaker with a petition and a brilliantly-executed campaign: a YouTube video of a pristine Arctic environment, constructed from 265 pounds of Lego bricks and characters, becoming slowly submerged in oil.

Titled "Everything is NOT Awesome" in reference to The Lego Movie's "Everything is Awesome" anthem, the video (which linked to a petition) has garnered nearly 6 million views to date.Continue reading...

brands under fire

NFL Meets on Domestic Violence as Sponsors Watch on the Sidelines [Updated]

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 8, 2014 11:02 AM

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with team owners on Wednesday to discuss (among other agenda items) how to repair the damage to the league's brand including possible changes to the personal-conduct policy for players. As a lead up, owners were schooled on domestic violence by a 40-minute presentation the league has put together to show all of its employees, the AP reports.

That presentation included a powerful video presentation by former player Joe Ehrmann, a defensive tackle for 10 pro seasons back in the ’70s and early ’80s and (as the head of the Coach For America Foundation) a persuasive speaker. "Men play a critical role in reducing domestic violence by being active in interventions," Deana Garner, the league's director of player engagement and education, said, according to the AP. "Step in. Speak out. Have thoughtful conversations." 

Under intense scrutiny by the public and sponsors alike, Goodell and the owners went into today's meeting knowing they're also under intense scrutiny by not only fans and the public court of opinion, but also sponsors.Continue reading...

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