Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 13, 2013 11:38 AM
Tens of millions of Americans tuned in to President Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night and a few brands benefited from getting a mention. Caterpillar, Ford and Apple were all named for bringing jobs back to America. Apple CEO Tim Cook even got a few seconds of airtime since he was sitting with First Lady Michelle Obama. Siemens America got a few sentences dedicated to its CEO saying that, “if we upgrade our infrastructure, they'll bring even more jobs.”
IBM snuck in there, too, as it has partnered with the City University of New York to create P-Tech, the Pathways in Technology early college high school in Brooklyn that serves grades 9-14 with a focus on technology and innovation. As Bloomberg Businessweek reports, "The 18-month-old experiment has caught not only the president’s eye but the attention of companies, politicians, and educators across the nation."
Students graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in engineering or computers. The school, which opened in September 2011, has already inspired five more similar programs to start up in Chicago, Obama’s adopted hometown. Idaho has announced plans to open a similar school as well.Continue reading...
social media watch
Posted by Abe Sauer on February 12, 2013 11:39 PM
It is now an expectation of any live event that some unforeseen detailed quirk will become the hot meme of the night's social media. Think Oreo during the Super Bowl blackout or "binders full of women."
On Tuesday, during the "opposition response" to President Obama's State of the Union address, one beverage brand got its opportunity when Republican golden boy senator Marco Rubio awkwardly reached for, and drank from, a small Poland Spring bottle.
But neither of the brand's two Twitter accounts had a reply. In fact, both accounts have had dry mouth for years.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 18, 2013 06:10 PM
Superstorm Sandy devastated much of the New Jersey shoreline and crippled parts of New York City. Many are still recovering, and will be for some time. On Staten Island, many storm victims remain living in a shelter.
Part of the region's recovery will inevitably depend on branding efforts that must override images of utter destruction from the public's mind, just as the need for donations remains as the rebuilding continues.
On the larger scale, New Jersey is deploying its first post-Sandy branding effort to woo tourists back in summer.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 12, 2013 10:31 AM
During both of President Obama's election bids, supporters received emails every few days asking for donations to help the cause, even it was just a couple of bucks. And in the wake of his initial victory, donors gladly gave more to help fund his inauguration. Obama capped personal donations at $50,000, however, and no corporate donations were allowed.
Monday's inauguration was quite a different story, with corporations throwing in a reported total of $50 million to make it all happen after an election campaign that cost more than $1 billion. (Lobbyists and political action committees remained excluded from the inaugural funding process.)
As a result, Washingtonians saw visitors wandering around the city with bags sporting the inaugural seal on one side and the AT&T logo on the other. AT&T forked over a good deal of money to be an official sponsor, even though the company's political wing gave $5,000 to the Romney campaign and company chairman Randall Stephenson gave $30,000 to the Republican National Committee last year.
Other corporations that donated to the inauguration included Southern Company, United Therapeutics, Centene Corp., Financial Innovations, Inc., Genentech, Microsoft, and Stream Line Circle, LLC, Politico reported.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 4, 2013 03:06 PM
Public apologies by high-profile experts are rare, making this week's anti-GMO reversal — call it a GMea Culpa — by British environmentalist, author and Oxford University visiting research associate Mark Lynas particularly stunning.
Lynas spurred the anti-GMO movement in the mid-‘90s, continuing to argue as recently as 2008 that corporate greed was threatening Mother Earth and her inhabitants; but at this week's Oxford Farming Conference, he recanted his position in a very public way.
“I want to start with some apologies," he stated. "For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.”
“As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely. So I guess you’ll be wondering—what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it?"Continue reading...
truth in packaging
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 17, 2012 05:00 PM
Kellogg's Kashi brand has just introduced two new USDA Certified organic cereals, touting that it's using real organic fruit and whole grains in the wake of its Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) flap earlier this year. "We've always believed that nature makes the best-tasting ingredients, like the hearty whole grains and luscious organic fruit you can see and taste in our Berry Fruitful and Blackberry Hills cereals," states Keegan Sheridan, natural food and lifestyle expert at Kashi, in a press release.
Each serving of Berry Fruitful provides 6g of fiber and 46g of whole grains, nearly 100% of the recommended daily value, while Blackberry Hills offers 3g of fiber and 16g of whole grains per serving – and like all Kashi foods, both are free of preservatives, artificial flavors, colors and high fructose corn syrup. Equally important, both cereals carry the official Non-GMO Project Verified seal. But that still won't convince its GMO foes to re-embrace the brand.
Kashi doesn't broadcast the fact that it's owned by Kellogg, nor that it has used GMOs, because it's trying to be perceived as an independent brand to win a bigger share of the natural and organic food category, which grew 9.5% in 2011 to $31.5 billion in US sales. The brand's still recovering from being engulfed in a social media firestorm back in April, when a New England store boycotted it after discovering "that 100% of the soy used in Kashi products is genetically modified, and that when the USDA tested the grains used there were found to be pesticides that are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors."
Kashi's Keegan Sheridan defended the company's GMO usage with a YouTube video, but it's still getting flack from consumers opposed to GMOs on its Facebook page, as you can see at top.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 14, 2012 10:01 AM
It doesn’t much matter what a high-ranking Republican’s actual politics are. At some point along the way, if he or she wants to be accepted by mainstream Republicans, he or she should pay some kind of homage to beloved GOP icon Ronald Reagan. And to those who somehow besmirch his name or his policies, look out.
As for those of you who try to actually own a piece of the 40th US president's hallowed legacy, be ready to feel the heat. The 54-year-old American Security Council Foundation (ASCF) is feeling it right about now after it trademarked one of Reagan’s most famous campaign mottos: “Peace Through Strength.”
That has left a few Republicans, especially those who worked in the Reagan White House, feeling a little frustrated. Seventeen former members of Reagan’s national security team put their names on a letter to the ACSF asking it “to back off its intent to sue any organization using the slogan in a proprietary fashion,” according to HumanEvents.com.
“For those of us who proudly served with President Reagan, it is unimaginable that anyone would seek to own a phrase immortalized by him – and, as a result, made not only an enduring feature of our country’s political lexicon, but a touchstone for all those who love freedom, and understand what is required to safeguard it,” they wrote, the site reports.Continue reading...
in the spotlight
Posted by Dale Buss on December 6, 2012 09:55 AM
President Obama lobbied a group of big business leaders in Washington this week with his views about the looming fiscal cliff. But at least one of the most important heads of a major American business, Ford CEO Alan Mulally, was taking no guff either from Obama or from the leaders of the Senate and House with whom the president is deadlocked — and apparently willing to push to the edge, if not over it, in a political stand-off.
"It's a concern to all of us, because this is a very, very fragile recovery," Mulally said on MSNBC this week. "It's just so important that we come together on a plan to deal with both the revenue side, but also the expense side, because really what we're talking about is keeping the economic development going. That's the most important thing about this issue."
And while so far the U.S. auto industry has more than carried its weight in the nation's sluggish economic recovery, Mulally said that he couldn't guarantee that it would be able to post continued sales increases if Obama and Congress don't deal quickly and decisively with the fiscal cliff.Continue reading...