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diversity watch

Brands Come Out to Support Gay Marriage

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 27, 2013 04:26 PM

The U.S. federal government still defines the act of marriage as one taking place between a man and a woman even though a number of states have made gay marriage legal and President Obama made it clear in his Inauguration speech (and other speeches since) that gay marriage is something he firmly believes in. “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law—for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” Obama said after being sworn in on Jan. 21 by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Roberts will have a lot to do with possibly making a change to the way the federal government defines marriage when his Court hears two gay-marriage-related cases on March 26 and 27. Nearly 300 companies came out Wednesday to “urge the U.S. Supreme Court … to strike down a federal law that restricts the definition of marriage to heterosexual unions,” Reuters reports.

Considering the size and number of brands taking part, it will be hard for conservatives who have long opposed gay marriage to try and boycott everyone involved.Continue reading...

china

China's Kingsoft Mocks North Korea in Liebao Browser Ad

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 21, 2013 11:01 AM

Following the countdown, the launch plans of a Kim Jung-Un lookalike are thwarted by a crashed browser. The dictator grabs a rifle, intent on immediately executing the cadre responsible for the embarrassment. But the fast-fingered lackey whips open a Liebao browser and saves the day. "Use Liebao. Launch Victoriously" reads the tagline. Then everyone starts Gangnam Styling because… of course.

Poking fun at ally North Korea is just the latest little stunt by China's Kingsoft to promote its new Lieboa (猎豹; Cheetah) browser. But is the world ready for a Chinese face on its Internet?Continue reading...

doing good

PSA Watch: Michelle Obama Taps Big Bird; Disney's Cinderella Finds a Cause

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 21, 2013 10:46 AM

The White House is celebrating the third anniversary of the Let's Move healthy kids challenge with an old friend: Big Bird.

The beloved Sesame Street character became a talking point during the last presidential election debates regarding PBS funding. Now he's been a VIP at the White House to help First Lady Michelle Obama engage kids in her national anti-obesity program with a new PSA above (see another spot here).

Another powerhouse kids entertainment franchise is lending one of its stars to a government effort. Disney is leveraging its Princess power by hiring out Cinderella for a new spot for the Ad Council, promoting safer car seats in a new public awareness campaign you can watch below.Continue reading...

tech champs

IBM Takes the Spotlight as Obama Praises Brands Supporting Tech Education

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

Poland Spring's #SOTU Social Flop: Rubio Response a Missed "Oreo Moment"

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...

place branding

Sandy Recovery: A 'Come Back!' Campaign, and a Special Beer Pitches In

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...

political season

Big Switch from '09: Obama's Inauguration, Brought to You in Part By...

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

Fresh Food for Thought as Major GMO Foe Changes Thinking

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...

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