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Desigual Clothing Brand Reflects Barcelona’s Sunny Spirit

desigual-logo-3“Our runway models are dancing and they’re not serious like they’re at a funeral, as are many models from other fashion brands”, said Borja Castresana, director of global marketing and communications at Desigual, a casual clothing line from Spain. His comment cut to the core of the brand’s positioning statement, “La vida es chula”, translated as “Life is cool.”

Castresana spoke during a Museum at FIT/Fashion Institute of Technology panel on Tuesday about Desigual and how the brand serves as an emblem for Barcelona where it’s based. Both the city and the brand convey similarly positive dispositions. As Spanish trends expert and author Gema Requena said, “the city as brand concept is key for competing in global markets.”

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The PhDs of Financial Scandals: Power, Hubris and (Billions of) Dollars

Citibank Game Final2Current financial scandals may be more complex and less glitzy than Wall Street crimes of the 1980s, but they involve similar underlying factors, according to two noted authors. Power, influence, egos, and hordes of money still play significant roles. Wolves still prowl Wall Street these days, though their fur has changed.

Bryan Burrough, co-author of Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, and William D. Cohan, author of Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World, spoke at a Museum of the City of New York event earlier this month to discuss changes in Wall Street culture and offer comments on the evolving cast of characters.

Press Coverage and Politics:
Press coverage has been hindered by complex “Wall Street jargon”, said Cohan. Financiers “created a black box so that fewer reporters can cover the subject since terminology is so foreign.” Financial reporting isn’t an area that can be easily added as a specialty.

The political climate also factors into today’s situation. “The public resents that bankers got bailouts for problems they caused and everyone else got bupkis”, said Cohan. He lamented the “symbiotic relationship between government and Wall Street and the revolving door” of former government officials joining financial firms.

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The High Life Atop New York’s Hotels: 16 Rooftop Heated Bars for Winter Celebrations

Monarch Lounge Terrace2Kimberly Hotel Outside2Manhattan’s high life is hotter than that of many major cities, including the home turf of the visiting Super Bowl teams. Denver has a scenic Rocky Mountain backdrop, and Seattle has the famous Space Needle. But the Big Apple has a growing number of hotel rooftop lounges with panoramic skyline views. The heat is on at many of these bars, now winterized with tents, heat lamps, or glass-enclosed with retractable roofs. So revelers can capture the outdoor spirit and sip a “Mad Mojito” without the Arctic chill.

PRNewser compiled a list of rooftop venues where you don’t need to be a hotel guest to enjoy the festive ambiance. Nearly all are open to the general public and can be set up for private events, though a few are for hosting groups only. These bars, located in midtown and downtown, on the east and west sides, range from casual to chic. But be sure to check ahead to see if the space is booked that night, or you may end up back on ground control.

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With LAUNCH NYC, a New Fashion Week Option Takes Shape

Launch NYC ImageAs New York Fashion Week (NYFW) revamps and streamlines, a locally based fashion organization is planning another option. From January 23-February 16, Manufacture New York (MNY), a fashion incubator and small run production facility, in partnership with retailer Adorama, will host MNY55, an integrated showroom, retail and event space concept in the Flatiron area. And during an 8-day event from February 5-12 called LAUNCH NYC, the venue will also incorporate live runway shows. Both initiatives will spotlight independent national and local fashion designers.

A different take on New York Fashion Week: “It’s a downtown space for up-and-coming designers, an effort to reinvent Fashion Week with a “more sane approach, that’s more dynamic, accessible, transparent and interesting,” said Bob Bland, MNY’s CEO and founder, during a press preview on Monday. As she noted, NYFW has experienced several issues during the past five years.

A brief recap of the buzz about official NYFW: As chronicled by PRNewser, the event has grown too big for individual brands, and generated too many would-be press attendees, event crashers and scenesters. Production in the tented venue has become costly, scheduling conflicts have occurred and there’s a delay between runway shows and clothes being available for purchase. Sponsor IMG has sought more control in 2014 with tighter press credentialing.

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15 Tips from Brand Pros on Setting Up Social Media Command Centers

MasterCard SM Command Center TeamIn this era where brands hit home runs or strike out in real-time, social media command centers have become more common. They may serve different purposes, but whatever the goals, they require advance planning and substantial resources.

At ANA’s recent Real-Time Marketing Conference in New York, speakers from three major brands shared their experiences and offered their perspectives on what’s involved:

Capital One: Patrick McLean, VP, Digital Marketing
Coca-Cola: Doug Busk, Director of Global Connections
MasterCard: Marcy Cohen, VP, Senior Business Leader

We’ve distilled their comments into a primer on each aspect of the process. Their advice could prove useful for other companies to establish new command centers or fine tune existing ones.

1.Decide on goals: Objectives for social media command centers vary, from listening to conversations, monitoring and analyzing sentiment to creating customized real-time content based on current events.

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MINI USA: the Car Brand Keeps it Cheeky in Real-Time

“It’s tricky to react quickly. So brands should be prepared to be spontaneous”, said Lee Nadler, marketing communications manager at MINI USA. He offered that advice, along with creative content and marketing tips, at ANA’s recent Real-Time Marketing Conference in New York.

The petite (aka “itty biggy”) British car brand has maximized its U.S. presence. When MINI first launched here 12 years ago, they threw a party, jointly hosted with The New Yorker magazine, at a showroom venue in Manhattan’s up-and-coming Chelsea neighborhood. “MINI works of art” featured several MINI cars where artists had painted the roofs with “you-nique” themes.

Fast forwarding to 2013, how does MINI’s lean marketing and comms staff and agency (Beam Interactive) stay ever-so-clever on real-time’s race track? For starters, check out this video about the car’s soon-to-be-redesigned MINI Hard Top model creative contest. The MINI Final Test Test Drives clip shows the brand’s marketing and design employees’ tongue-in-cheek reactions to the crowd-sourcing concept. (video courtesy of MINI USA)

Nadler provided a road map highlighting how the MINI brand stays fresh in real-time.

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5 Novel Low-Tech Holiday Gifts to Serve High-Tech PR Needs

Holiday Gifts Tent Club SandwichHoliday gifting has become so complex that one needs a special calendar and glossary. Today’s Cyber Monday is for online shopping and Giving Tuesday is for charity donations. Shopping via mobile, social showrooming and self-gifting are also on the rise. Whatever your preference, PRNewser searched design sites and museum stores to find PR-related items. The 5 products below are mostly low-tech, but they solve the latest digital dilemmas facing PR industry execs.

1.Pitch a Club Sandwich Tent for Top-Secret Meetings
Tents are hot in politics now, with President Obama and New York City’s Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio using them for different reasons. At De Blasio’s ‘Talking Transition’ Tent, residents offered input on pressing issues. Obama’s advisers always pack a security tent for his overseas trips that they pitch inside his hotel room to avert foreign spies. With the Club Sandwich Tent, you can join the trend. Just soundproof the inside with aluminum foil and check for electronic bugs. Then you’ll be ready to thwart eavesdroppers during crisis summits, or to host a picnic.

Holiday Gifts Ear Warmers Red Green Final2.Wear Strawberry Motif Earmuffs to Tune Out Airplane Passengers’ Loud Cell Phone Calls
You might ask, “On what occasion other than holidays would one wear these red and green earmuffs?” The answer: on airplanes, as soon as airlines allow cell phone calls. Public reaction so far has been thumbs-down, but soon passengers will fill planes with incessant chatter. With these comfy faux fur and plush earmuffs, you’ll protect your ears and send a clear signal to your loud seatmates: “Shush, I’m listening to the Beatles song, Strawberry Fields Forever.”

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10 Event Planning Pointers: Don’t Overlook These Logistics

NY Entrepreneur Week Elevator Pitch CroppedEvents should be a win-win for attendees, since they offer a change of scenery, generate news, and provide learning, entertainment and networking opportunities. Since more media brands now offer live programs, the events arena has become more competitive.

Event strategy and objectives remain top priorities, but key logistics shouldn’t be overlooked. We cover a range of events, and here’s our take from an attendee perspective. Some may seem obvious, but since we’ve experienced these faux pas recently, a refresher seems to be in order.

1. Panel moderators should be discussion enablers, not conversation hijackers. The moderator needs to hold his/her own, but events should be more about the panelists.

2. Skip reading long speaker bios on stage, and leave the details to the event website or handouts. Given short audience attention spans, first impressions count the most.

3. Set a limit of 4 panelists, since you’re not aiming for a Guinness World Record. There are reasons why TV shows only have up to 4 guests at a time: screen space and storytelling.

4. Provide detailed schedules, even for two-hour events and receptions. That’s especially useful in the early morning and evening when attendees scramble to arrive on time.

5. Stick as closely as possible to the promoted agenda, with some room for impromptu moments. But don’t have scripted plants in the audience, as happened recently.

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Starbucks Is Now on the Rails… In Switzerland

StarbuckswagenEuropean train travel has always conjured images of adventure or romance in classic movies. But in America, trips by rail seem to be more about getting from point A to point B. Now Starbucks has set out to capture the cachet of Continental railway voyages by branding a café car on the InterCity train from Geneva’s airport to St. Gallen in Switzerland.

Starbucks is also continuing its expansion plan to serve customers worldwide in community gathering spots using local designs. In 2001 the brand established a Swiss retail presence, and now they have 53 stores in the country. They partnered with Swiss Federal Railways, aka SBB, on this venture. Here the SBB initials don’t signify “Starbucks brand building”; they’re the Swiss-German translation of the national railway’s name. Switzerland was Starbucks’ first outpost in Continental Europe, and now this is the first train in the world with a Starbucks café.

SBB said their objectives are to enhance the on-board experience for their passengers by offering new food and beverage selections on Swiss trains.”Starbucks’ popularity in Switzerland spoke for our cooperation”, said Jeannine Pilloud, director of SBB’s passenger transportation. “We want our customers to enjoy a pleasant journey and to feel at home while traveling with us”, she added. Pilloud spoke during a recent preview in Zurich, as reported by Swiss media outlets.

The train cafe combines key branding elements and colors from both organizations, and the design process took two years. The design challenges were notable, including the “constant movement of the train, space limitations and stringent safety regulations”, according to Liz Muller, Starbucks’ creative director of global design. “This is one of the smallest espresso bars and stores we have ever designed”, she said.

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The New Yorker Editor David Remnick Comments on His Career, the Magazine’s Content and Cover Controversies

New Yorker Cover“While most magazines have their moments in the culture, The New Yorker has mattered a lot at various points in time,” said David Remnick, the magazine’s editor. New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute hosted a wide-ranging conversation with him on Tuesday evening.

Remnick shared his candid thoughts on his career, his editorial role, the magazine’s print and digital content and occasional controversies. While being The New Yorker editor is a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity, many takeaways from Remnick’s experiences about career timing, managing work relationships, having strong competitors and staying relevant apply across positions.

Below are selected highlights.

Early career: “There were things back then called paid internships”, Remnick emphasized, (in his only reference to the ongoing Conde Nast internship controversy). He got an internship at Newsday, and another at The Washington Post. He also taught English in Japan and served as WaPo’s foreign correspondent in Moscow, competing for stories with Bill Keller of The New York Times.

He attributes his eventual switch from newspapers to magazines to the waiting room at his father’s dental practice. He spent time there reading magazines while listening to rock music. “The New Yorker was hard to grasp beyond the cartoons when I was little, but I warmed to it.”

Being named editor : After Tina Brown left, Remnick, who had been working at The New Yorker, became editor. He said he got the job, even though he had no prior professional editorial experience, after Sy Newhouse’s initial choice was nixed. As Remnick recalled, “they really needed an editor in a hurry. But the geometry of my relationships with other editors changed, and that’s still complicated.”

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