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Tonya Garcia

The New Thing For TV Shows: Debut the Pilot Episode Online In Advance

a to zThese days, consumers get endless teasers before the actual debut of the thing that’s teasing them. A song comes out before the album drops. (Two songs, two albums if you’re Prince.) Movie trailers keep coming and they get longer and longer as opening day approaches.

TV has to tease its programs too. And apparently the new thing is to make the pilot available online before it’s actual premiere date. Just in the past couple of weeks, we’ve had the pilot of Selfie, the ABC show starring John Cho and Karen Gillan, and the NBC show A to Z starring Ben Feldman (better known as Mad Men‘s Ginsberg, the guy who gave Peggy his nipple in a box) and Cristin Milioti. Both are comedies geared toward a younger crowd. Which might explain the online premiere.

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A Few Reasons Why the Ice Bucket Challenge Has Been So Popular with CEOs

jeff bezos ice bucketEvery time you turn on the internet, someone’s dumping a bucket of cold H2O over their heads. It’s the the ALS ice bucket challenge and it’s for a good cause so go right ahead. A million times yes. As of Sunday, the challenge has raised $70.2 million.

Lots of ordinary folk are doing it. Of course, celebrities are getting in on the action. But surprisingly, a ton of CEOs are also doing it. From Mark Zuckerberg to Jeff Bezos, top executives from some big companies are getting in on the viral philanthropy action. This isn’t normal. So what gives?

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One J.Crew Shirt is So Ubiquitous It Has Its Own Instagram Account

gingham shirtLots of people wear lots of J. Crew. In the past few years, it has become a go-to for staples the same way The Gap or Banana Republic are. But there’s one item in particular that has caught the eye of a number of men walking around New York City: a blue gingham button-down shirt.

So ubiquitous is the shirt that it has inspired an Instagram account, aptly called ThatJCrewGinghamShirt. It’s actually kind of insane how many men bought this item of clothing.

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PSAs Focused on Ferguson Air During MTV Video Music Awards

MTV‘s Look Different campaign aired PSAs last night during the VMAs, clips that MTV president Stephen Friedman says could open the door for conversation about racism and the protests in Ferguson, MO.

“Eighty percent of our audience believes that bias is at the root of racism and prejudice… Ironically, part of the problem is that this generation was taught to be color-blind,” he told The Washington Post. “As a result, they feel like they’re going to step on a land mine if they say the wrong thing. In fact, our research has shown that fully 70 percent of our white audience grew up not talking about race in their households. They’re striving for fairness and equality and often just aren’t sure how to to proceed.”

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Food Companies Using Their Farming Connections To Tackle Big Problems


Lost amid a good deal of the talk about the wave of unaccompanied immigrant children who have crossed the southern border into the US are the children themselves and the circumstances that drove them to take a lonely, frightening and perilous journey on their own.

Coffee company Kenco is using some of its marketing effort to talk about its work in Honduras to counter the deadly gang culture that has overtaken San Pedro Sula and other areas around that country. They’ve created the clip above to talk up the program, “Coffee vs Gangs,” that will teach 20 Honduran children how to be coffee farmers. And they will publish regular updates to let people know about the progress the selected kids are making.

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P&G Wants To Convince You That You’re Just-Worn Clothing Needs A ‘Swash’

swashPicture it: It’s an ordinary evening. You’ve had a day filled with meetings, writing a press release for a client and lunch with a reporter. You’re finally home. You’ve pulled on your favorite sweats for an evening of wine and Dating Naked when you take another look at the shirt you wore that day, tossed over the back of a chair. You kind of want to wash it but you think, “Is it really that dirty?” What’s a person to do?

[Insert image of wide-eyed man/woman shrugging in an exaggerated manner.]

You Swash it!

At least that’s the conclusion that P&G wants you to come to. The company will sell a $500, four-foot-tall machine that uses “gel-filled pods” ($6.99 for a pack of 12 single use pods) to “neutralize odors,” rid a garment of wrinkles and restore its fit. It’s not really washing. Not really dry cleaning. It’s “swashing.” The machine will be available at Bloomingdale’s next month.

The target market for this item is what The Wall Street Journal calls the “re-wearer,” someone who feels the item they just wore isn’t really that dirty so they want to get one more wear out of it.

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Vogue Continues Its Social Media Quest with September #Instagirls

vogue sept coverVogue is really working hard to pick up its social media game. The magazine has actually turned over its all-important September issue to — GASP! Dun dun dun… — models.

The trend over past years has turned to putting Hollywood actresses, even reality stars, on the covers of magazines. So for Vogue to turn over not just any cover, but the monster Fall issue cover to a group of models is a big deal.

But these aren’t just any models. These are #instagirls. Back in the 90s, we had supermodels: Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford among them. Basically, the cast of George Michael’s “Freedom” video. Nowadays, models have not risen to that pop culture level so that we’re all on a first name basis with them. Instead, they have a powerful presence on social media.

Vogue is hoping to capitalize on that by turning over its biggest cover to these tweeting, Instagramming digital fashion celebrities.

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Ferguson, MO Hires Common Ground Public Relations

Ferguson, MO, the town that is roiling with protests and racial strife after the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of the police, has hired a PR firm, Common Ground Public Relations for communications help.

In comments to Talking Points Memo, Nina Kult, a Common Ground rep, makes it abundantly clear that the firm is only handling the deluge of media requests that the city has been getting since protests began about a week ago. Or at least that’s all they’ll talk about.

“We’re just handling media relations as of very recently and that’s really all we’re doing. We’re just handling media queries and that’s all I can really say right now,” Kult is quoted saying.

Chances are, the number of media inquiries is more than the city has ever had to deal with. A suburb of St. Louis, the town is now basically the subject of round-the-clock coverage on major outlets, including MSNBC, The New York Times and The Huffington Post.

Continuing with the close scrutiny of all the goings on, TPM notes that the Common Ground’s “Meet The Team” page is populated by an entirely White staff. Oh geez.

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Now the Sultan of Brunei Has His Eye on The Plaza Hotel in New York

plaza hotelThe Sultan of Brunei is looking to expand his holdings with the possible purchase of The Plaza hotel in New York City. That hotel plus two others come with a price tag of $2.2 billion. The current owner,  Subrata Roy, head of the Sahara Group, would like to sell in order to get his hands on some cash to get out of prison. He was arrested in India earlier this year on money laundering charges.

Back in May, the Sultan — and by extension, the Beverly Hills Hotel — faced some high-profile protesters including Jay Leno, Richard Branson and Ellen DeGeneres because of Sharia laws he put in place in April. These laws promise to inflict harsh punishments such as incarceration, stonings and amputation for “crimes” such as homosexuality, abortion and adultery.

“Christopher Cowdrey, CEO of the Dorchester Collection, which owns the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air, has been quick to respond, speaking to the media directly about the issue. But what he’s been saying is terrible,” we wrote at the time. The Sultan’s investment agency owns the Dorchester Collection.

These big-name Hollywood celebs asked for a boycott and promised to keep away from events held at these hotels until there was change. It cost $2 million in business.

New York has its fair share of celebrities. But more than that, what New York has is a lot of business travel in addition to millions of tourists per year. And a lot of high-end hospitality competition. Criticism on the East coast could be just as, if not more, potent.

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Burger King Learns That People Are Not Interested In Healthy French Fries

 

Back in September, Burger King introduced Satisfries, a low-fat version of their French fries. Not even a year later, two-thirds of Burger King restaurants are phasing out the “healthy” alternative. Darren Tristano,EVP of Technomic, a food industry consultancy, tells Today that people are looking for indulgence when they go to Burger King. And even though YouGov BrandIndex found that the BK brand got a bump from the healthy offering, it wasn’t long-term.

One reason the fries didn’t succeed is price. Preparing two different kinds of fries adds costs for the restaurant. But secondly, and probably more importantly, people don’t give a flying fig about eating healthy fries. Bring on the greasy stuff, the ketchup and the mayo because when it comes to fries, it’s no holds barred.

Which isn’t to say that people don’t want fast food chains to offer a healthy alternative. McDonald’s catches heat all the time for being unhealthy, and has added fruit and salads to its menu to answer criticism.

The issue seems to be the menu choice BK made for its attempt at being health-conscious. We’d propose that people aren’t sure a “healthy” French fry is an actual thing.

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