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Tonya Garcia

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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CIA Answers Your Burning Questions for Its One-Month Twitterversary

The CIA, not usually known for having the best sense of humor, celebrated its one-month #Twitterversary with 10 minutes of jokes, answering what it says are the most asked questions they’ve gotten. To kick things off, we get the answer above. We’re not quite sure we believe them. Read more

YouTube Is Rethinking Its Tough Stance Against Indie Labels

youtube logoFor the longest time, YouTube was known as the place to go for grainy home videos of the funny, the incredible and the mundane. Now the site is an Internet staple. Big brands rely on it for their marketing efforts. Entertainment companies use it to introduce upcoming projects. Everyday people have stepped up their game, making it the place for not just low-budget clips but higher-production videos that have the capacity to go viral in a major way.

And now that MTV doesn’t really show videos anymore and fans haven’t made the shift to networks like Revolt and Fuse at a tremendous volume (that, of course, could change), YouTube has become a key online place for music videos. So it was a big blow to indie labels when they were faced what’s being called an “ultimatum” from YouTube.

“Indies were rankled most by what appeared to be an ultimatum by YouTube, with the company telling labels that they would remove advertisements on their music videos, the service’s principal revenue generator, if they refused the contract’s terms, cutting them off from a stream that generates hundreds of millions of dollars for labels each year,” reports The Hollywood Reporter.

When did YouTube turn into a grumpy old man?

The video site now seems to be changing its tune (according to Financial Timessub req’d), which is a good thing for its street cred.

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T-Mobile’s Reputation Could Take a Big Hit From FTC Allegations About Fake Fees

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T-Mobile has fashioned an entire marketing campaign around the benefits to customers for making the switch to their services, promising to pay up to $650 for any fees incurred for coming over to their side. So it’s especially damaging that the Federal Trade Commission is charging the mobile service provider with duping customers into paying fees they shouldn’t have been on the hook for.

In its complaint, the FTC says T-Mobile has made “hundreds of millions” of dollars charging customers for the ability to send “premium” text messages that they didn’t ask for. T-Mobile allegedly pocketed 35 to 40 percent of the $9.99 per month typically charged. This practice is called “cramming” and, back in November, according to CNET, carriers agreed to ban the practice. Moreover, T-Mobile has said that it will help customers recoup fees from third-party providers who charge for these services.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere has vehemently denied the charges in two different posts on the T-Mobile site, which have both been repeatedly tweeted out to his followers.

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Dining Goes Digital With a Mash-Up of IBM’s Watson and Bon Appetit

watson bon appetitIBM‘s Watson supercomputer and food magazine Bon Appetit have joined forces to create an app — “Chef Watson with Bon Appetit,” currently in beta — that finds new ways to mix and match foods based on 9,000 Bon Appetit recipes. Essentially, Watson consumed the recipe data and can now manipulate it into new flavors and concoctions.

“To come up with these creatively crafted cuisines, Watson uses Bon Appetit’s insights about ingredient pairings, cooking styles, and dishes and then mixes that with food chemistry, the psychology of people’s likes and dislikes, and regional and ethnic tastes,” reports CNET. “The idea is to help people discover new and flavorful recipes that are fine-tuned to make taste buds happy.”

Something like fennel-spiced baby back pork with a tangy apple-mustard sauce. Good grief. Sounds delish.

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Burger King Has a Gay Pride Whopper and It’s Just Like a Regular Whopper

Burger King, like the rest of us, is celebrating LGBT Pride Week. For this special occasion, one San Francisco BK restaurant has introduced a special Proud Whopper, a sandwich wrapped in a rainbow of bright colors. But when you unwrap it, inside, all you’ll find is a regular old Whopper.

What gives?

Well, the company says that’s kind of the point.

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Sufi Muslims Around the World Are Protesting Designer Roberto Cavalli’s Perfume Logo

just cavalliSo it’s not just companies that are tweeting the World Cup that are completely insensitive and out of touch. High-end designer Roberto Cavalli has kicked up some controversy with the new logo for his perfume, Just Cavalli, which closely resembles a symbol for “God” that’s used by Sufi Muslims. Oh goodness.

According to The Gloss, Cavalli’s logo is only slightly different and turned to the side.

“We have this sign that to us represents blessed peace. It’s a refuge. To see it disgraced like this for a company to make money is heartbreaking,” said Nasim Bahadorani, who has organized protests against the company over the ad.

According to The Independent, protests have taken place around the world — in Chicago, London, Texas and Germany — to have the symbol removed.

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Choice of Former P&G CEO Robert McDonald For VA Is A Nod to Agency’s Managerial, Comms Needs

 

In a surprise selection, President Obama will choose former P&G CEO Robert McDonald to head up the Department of Veterans Affairs, an agency that has come under fire in recent months for the poor job it’s been doing taking care of the needs of the nation’s veterans. By turning to McDonald, the administration is conveying to many that the agency’s problems go beyond an understanding of the military. It suffers from bureaucratic ills and communications issues.

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