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Apologies

When Geeks Attack: Mattel Apologizes for ‘Barbie Can’t Code’ Book

barbie computer designer

Graphic artist? Maybe. Engineer? Not so much. 

According to Mattel (BarbieMedia.com), Barbie has held more than 150 different jobs “spanning from registered nurse to rock star, veterinarian to aerobics instructor, pilot to police officer.”

Maybe a temp pool is next for the former bikini model?

Her latest career turn had many people in the tech world irate because of a seemingly sexist approach: seems Barbie can’t do much with a computer beyond plugging it in.

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How Bad Was Uber’s ‘Apology?’

You all saw Uber CEO Travis Kalinick‘s version of an “apology” earlier this week. We gave the company’s official response to its SVP of business’s “we will DESTROY you and your family” threat to Pando’s Sarah Lacy a D+ for minimal effort, and Lacy herself agreed, telling CNN that the company needs “accountability.” We take that to mean actions rather than empty words, but today a Bloomberg report covered by Mashable strongly indicated that the guilty party, Emil Michael, won’t be going anywhere.

Today our friends at Fast Company gave us their hot take on the story, and it’s quite amusing. Take it away, Jason Feifer:

Have to agree with him here: an apology made via a series of tweets reads, “do I REALLY have to do this?”

We have no idea what additional steps the company will take since Kalanick has been silent over the past couple of days. In the meantime, we’ll make a point of NOT waiting for more expert commentary from one Ashton Kutcher.

Dave & Busters Can’t Even Do Racism Right on #TacoTuesday

dave-busters-taco-tuesdayFrom Del Taco to Rosa’s Cafe to Taco Bell, no one really knows the source — but #TacoTuesday is a thing known to kids (and parents looking for a quick bargain) across this great land of ours. It’s fun. It’s cheap. It’s even famous on ‘the Twitter,’ from what our  parents tell us.

Yesterday, a happening place known to Texans for sports, games, and fun called Dave & Busters (that has no business chiming in on a day known for such snackable TexMex goodness), decided to tweet on this most festive of occasions.

And did so in a slightly-racist-but-we-have-the-jokey-jokes fashion.

The tweet may have been deleted but the conversation is still visible to everyone — will someone in charge of social media at anywhere finally realize that this is not necessarily the job for a hipster with little to lose but a paycheck? Read more

Uber CEO Apologizes

If you were waiting for Uber chief Travis Kalanick to apologize for last night’s BuzzFeed reveal, his statement arrived this afternoon in the form of fourteen tweets. Most of them are of the standard “his comments do not represent our ethos” variety. Here’s the most important and obvious one:

He added a personal apology to journalist Sarah Lacy, though a few of our fellow bloggers noted his inability to count to fourteen:

Tweets 12 and 13 in the series talk of how “folks who make mistakes can learn from them” in reference to SVP of business Emil Michael but strongly imply that he will not be fired.

We can only speak for ourselves here, but words without actions generally don’t amount to much.

Uber Really F*cked Up This Time

You’ve probably heard by now that Uber is in extreme crisis mode. More so than usual, even!

Why? To sum it up, the company’s SVP of business attended a private event packed with prominent journalists…and suggested that his company would spend a million dollars on “opposition research” to smear those who publish negative stories about Uber. For some reason, Emil Michael thought that every single word spoken at said event would be “off the record.”

It gets much, much worse.

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An Open Letter to Veterans Day

veterans-day-washington-dc-2014

(Photo Credit: AP)

Dear Veterans Day,

I realize that writing a letter to a holiday may be a strange thing for you (and everyone out there reading), but I need to talk to you. This is your day, a day that really is one of the best CSR campaigns ever. Sorry for the PR jargon, but I want you to know that we understand what’s going on.

This day wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the heroic sacrifice and service for America’s defenders in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Reserves. So, we want to thank them all and give them (and you, Veterans Day) the respect they richly deserve.

Still, I’m writing you on behalf of PR practitioners everywhere.

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U.S. Army Finally Catches Up with the 21st Century on the Word ‘Negro’

african-american-soldier-stands-beside-us-flag

(Source: REUTERS/U.S. Army/Sgt. Seandale Jackson)

The U.S. Armed Forces employs some of the bravest men and women in the world. Don’t believe us? You take your gun to a country whose name no one can pronounce.

While most of America applauds those heroes daily, the PRNewserverse needs to call one branch out for not being too terribly with it on the domestic perception front — the U.S. Army.

Late last week, a published Army regulation held that superiors could use the word “Negro” to refer to “black or African-American” personnel.

And then the 1960s (or even the 1860s) called wanting its non-complementary sociological term back.

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Walmart Kills Its ‘Fat Girl Costumes’ Category

Fat Girl Costumes via Jezebel

Image via Jezebel

Well, that was fast. Just a few hours after Jezebel and Adweek successively posted on the existence of the headlining category on Walmart’s retail page, it has disappeared.

We would talk about the “why” behind this story, but the “how” is more relevant — and based on multiple recent tales of big-name retailers associated with undesirable products (remember Sears and the swastika rings?), we have to blame the third-party merchandisers and/or developers who are hired to help run these brands’ retail sites.

Can we all agree at this point that such relationships are often problematic? These third-party providers have no real connection to the businesses they serve and often display a stunning unfamiliarity with the brands’ voices.

Also: based on the time elapsed between these two consumer complaints, we have to wonder whether it was the products themselves or the ensuing press coverage that spurred Walmart to action…

We do love Kristyn’s reponse to the response, though.

Uber France Cancels ‘Hot Chick’ Promo for Being Sexist

Sometimes I think it’s a shame that sex actually sells. I mean, think of the kids. And the dirty old men.

It works on everyone…but not every time.

Uber France got a reality check the other day when its  marketing people concocted the idea to hire “incredible hot chicks” as its drivers. Maybe it’s all the bread up there, but some women with muffin tops took some umbrage to that in a loud fashion.

Here’s the site, which quickly went dark:

avions-uber-france

The promo website and app is called Avions de Chasse, which means fighter jets in Francais, but it’s also slang for hot chicks. (Don’t ask me; not even my Cajun or Canadian relatives get that one.)

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UPDATE: Sears Apologizes for Third Party Connecting Them with Third Reich

Sears-SorryYesterday, we brought you the distressing story of Sears and Amazon trying to serve the niche (and morose) market of Goths and Emos.

Why? Who knows, but there it is — a business plan to reach the supercilious and splenetic kids down the hall…swallowing razor blades and considering hematolagnia.

In short, they were selling Swastika rings not because of the whole Nazi thing but because it’s trendy. In less than 12 hours, Sears proved that it is still a retailer for the common man while Amazon proves it is…not. One communicated directly with the media, while the other chose to ignore headlines (and customer complaints).

By understanding its own crisis communications plan, Sears proved that it really does have everything.

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