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Tonya Garcia

Crumbs Rises From The Ashes to Sell Cupcakes (And Other Stuff) For Another Day

lemonisLast week we were talking about the demise of Crumbs. Today, we’re talking about its resurrection, with some help from Dippin’ Dots.

Word is the cupcake company will be sold to an investor group that will include Marcus Lemonis, CNBC host (right), and Fischer Enterprises, owner of Dippin’ Dots.

Many people said that Crumbs’ biggest problem was the fact that it hitched its wagon exclusively to a food trend that eventually died out. By the sound of the details that have been revealed so far, the company plans to change that. The addition of these new leaders will also solve some of the marketing challenges that the company clearly had.

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George Clooney Uses the Media to Respond to the Lies in the Media

george clooneyWe’ve written recently about how much entertainment PR has changed because of the Internet. But it’s not just digital channels prompting these dramatic changes.

George Clooney, his fiancée and her family became the center of a tabloid story published in The Daily Mail that alleged the mother of Amal Alamuddin was so unhappy with her daughter’s choice for a husband that she’s joking about traditions in the Druze religion that would result in the death of the bride.

These days, when a celebrity wants to refute a rumor, they tend to take to a Facebook page or a Twitter account. In this case, Clooney went straight to traditional media with a full column. USA Today is online, but it’s the colorful newspaper that appears at your hotel room door that we probably most associate with the title.

That Clooney chose that paper to publish his column is certainly a big get for them. But it also speaks to the ways in which the relationship between celebrities and the media continues to change.

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Whole Foods Is Getting Hit By Hobby Lobby In An Unexpected Way

whole foods signSometimes, a brand can get hit with a controversy that they didn’t even know they were involved with. Surely, that must be what Whole Foods is thinking.

Usually involved with issues surrounding food and the prices at their shops, it’s likely they didn’t have a crisis plan in place for the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, which made it OK for employers to determine whether or not to offer contraception coverage. The company itself has no plans of discontinuing the coverage. However, one of the brands they carry, Eden Foods, is trying to opt out of the coverage. And now there’s a petition against Whole Foods with 12,500 names, demanding that they stop selling Eden Foods products. According to The Daily Beast, the company is one of 82 trying to discontinue the coverage.

“While individual-level boycotting of Eden Foods may not have much of an impact, telling Whole Foods to stop carrying Eden Foods’ products in their stores around the nation should have a much bigger effect. Let’s seek out the best messenger to send this message to Eden Foods- and in this case, Whole Foods seems like the perfect fit,” reads the petition.

We can all just imagine the looks on faces of the Whole Foods publicists when they saw this.

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Beyonce Voters Get Their Own Tumblr and It’s Pretty Great

beyonce votersIn its continuing coverage of the ladies, Fox NewsJesse Watters has discovered a new political demographic. They are the Beyonce Voters, and these “Single Ladies” (get it?) are all up in arms about the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, not because they are concerned with women’s health. No. It’s because “[t]hey depend on government because they’re not depending on their husbands.” That’s a direct quote; words that came out of this man’s mouth on national television as he sat on a couch surrounded by women who giggled nervously when he vomited this out of his mouth.

“They need contraception, health care and they love to talk about equal pay, ” he continued.

It should be noted that Watters later defended these remarks after he came under fire, saying that single women depend on government assistance more than other groups and Hillary Clinton needs to fire up these women so they’ll vote for her if she runs for president. Moreover, while talking to Bill O’Reilly, they both expressed the opinion that the backlash to this BS is because Beyonce’s name is involved. For Watters, it’s just one huge lump of fail.

But smart women never miss a chance to show how fabulously clever they are. So we have the Beyonce Voters Tumblr. And it is great.

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Crumbs Didn’t Fold Because It Only Focused on Cupcakes

crumbs bake shopNow that we’ve all wiped away the tears over the loss of the Crumbs Bake Shop, people are wondering what the heck happened. (*Now we’re also wondering if the shop will actually make a comeback.)

The biggest problems were financial. The company kept expanding, which is expensive, and they weren’t selling enough cupcakes to cover the cost. The company also went public in 2011, which can lead to a whole separate set of business issues.

Tied closely to that is the belief that the whole premise of the company was a fad, destined to flame out from a drop in sales. Cupcakes shot to prominence with Sex And The City and a guest appearance by Magnolia Bakery, another cupcake bakery, in the early 2000s. The AP makes the case that other companies like Krispy Kreme and TCBY also grew to great heights based on a food trend then eventually came crashing down along with all of our sugar highs. Things like changing health concerns (people are more calorie-conscious these days), shifting taste buds and increased competition from others who are chasing a fad can hurt business.

We’ll propose that it was less the cupcake fad and more the Crumbs brand that played a role in the company’s demise. People still like cupcakes. Maybe not as much as before, but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen someone turn one down. Part of the problem was that Crumbs wasn’t as fun as a cupcake business should be.

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Seems Crazy, But Taylor Swift Was Actually a Good Choice for a WSJ Op-Ed

taylor swiftWhen I first saw a tweet expressing disbelief that Taylor Swift had written an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, I ignored it, thinking it was a mistake. But it turns out that yes, indeed, this story does exist.

As part of its 125th anniversary celebration, The WSJ included a column by singer/songwriter/everyone’s bestie during a break up, Taylor Swift. On its face, this is a stunt. The WSJ is considered stuffy and serious, usually not the place where you would see much about a country-pop music star, let alone a byline by one. But actually, it’s an inspired move that shines a light on the creative ways that you can present a brand to the world.

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J.Crew Is Selling Clothes In Size 000 Because of Asia

jcrewJ. Crew, purveyor of the $250 Collection Jeweled Paillette Boy Shirt (pictured right), has added a new size to its spectrum: 000. Because 00 wasn’t small enough? Because we’re all dieting so much that we need something to wear before we disappear? Because obesity is a myth?

Actually the retailer says it’s responding to feedback from Asia.

“We are simply addressing the demand coming from Asia for smaller sizes than what we had carried. Our sizes typically run big and the Asia market tends to run small,” a company spokesperson told CNBC. “To further put into perspective, these sizes add up to the smallest possible percentage of our overall sizing assortment.”

But others say that it’s “vanity sizing,” a manipulation of the sizing chart to make customers feel better. But seriously, does anyone feel better saying, “I’m a triple zero?”

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Target Is Using Philanthropy to Make Back-To-School Better Than the Holiday Season

targetThe holiday shopping season certainly wasn’t good to Target. Perhaps a little too eager to put that in the past, the retailer is already focusing on the back-to-school season. Not even a week after the 4th of July.

To get its mojo back post-data breach, Target is launching a campaign focused on social responsibility — Buy One, Give One — that will give one of Target’s brand of up & up school supply items to a student in need for every purchase made between July 13 and August 2. Items like crayons and paper will be included, more than 300 products in total. The goal is to donate $25 million worth of things to Kids in Need.

“If we reach that goal, this will be the largest cause campaign donation Target has ever made to a single organization; an important milestone on our way to giving $1 billion for education by the end of 2015,” reads the press release about the program.

This is great. The company points out that parents are spending an average of $600 on back-to-school shopping each year, a steep price for many people. But it doesn’t really address the whole data-breach, digital-security thing. Read more

Marc Jacobs Chooses ‘Real People’ from Instagram for His Latest Campaign

marc jacobs real peopleAnother brand is doing the whole “real models” thing, and this time it’s going high-end.

Marc Jacobs put out a call in April for fans and models to submit their names via Instagram to be considered for the upcoming campaign. According to The Daily Beast, 70,000 people responded and a new hashtag, #CastMeMarc, was born. After some deliberation, nine people were chosen to appear in the Fall/Winter 2014 campaign, which will make its debut in Teen Vogue.

Jacobs says he was looking to tap into “youth and energy” by going the social media route. The Beast has another take: “It was a well-played PR stunt; Jacobs accumulated plenty of free press for—let’s be honest—finding pretty people on the Internet.

“And the media ate it up, praising the campaign’s diversity and selection of ‘real people’ (apparently paid models aren’t actually human). It’s unclear whether these very real and authentic people are being paid as much (if at all) as previous faces of Marc by Marc campaigns—which includes unreal people like M.I.A. and Dakota Fanning—though we can assume that they are being compensated mostly in flattery and social cache,” the article continues.

So lots of different kinds of free publicity here. But we’re going to fall back on our previous question: How much more of this “real people” stuff will people go for?

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Air New Zealand Pulls Safety Video Starring Sports Illustrated Models After Backlash

Air New Zealand partnered with Sports Illustrated in February to celebrate the magazine’s 50th anniversary and make an airline safety video. (???)

But once the video went public, it was met with push back from activists in Australia, namely Natasha Young, who launched an online petition to have the video nixed because it “objectifies” women and “disregards those who are conservative” and have conservative sensibilities. That spawned a hashtag, #AirNZsexism. The petition attracted 11,000 signatures. And now, Air New Zealand has pulled the video.

The airline says the video — which stars Sports Illustrated swimsuit models, including Chrissy Teigen and Christie Brinkley – has been pulled as a matter of course; it regularly rotates the clips the airline says.

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