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Consumer

McDonald’s Voted America’s Least Favorite Fast-Food Chain

mcd's drive throughThe most recent study from the American Customer Service Index shows that McDonald’s is America’s least favorite fast-food chain. For the report, the organization, which measures customer satisfaction in a number of industries, finds that the average customer satisfaction rating is 80 out of 100. Pizza Hut and Papa John’s are two of the few chains that scored the average. Burger King and Taco Bell were below the average (76 and 72 scores respectively). And McDonald’s comes in last with 71.

Also noticeable from the chart: a number of fast-food chains scored below average. Many more this year than last actually.

But when you talk about fast food in America, it’s McDonald’s that’s synonymous. That’s where larger trends become key factors.

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Best Interview Ever: Starbucks’ CEO Schultz Talks About ASU College Partnership With Jon Stewart

starbucks cupIt’s not too often that The Daily Show invites a corporate leader to sit in the special guest chair opposite Jon Stewart. Usually it’s political activists and elected officials, authors and thinkers, or actors and directors. Last night, Howard Schultz, the CEO and chairman of Starbucksmade an appearance on the program. And he opened with the big news of the day (hey, it was on our Ticker!): Starbucks will be offering a free college education to its employees.

Through a partnership with the *Arizona State University, the company will give workers seeking a Bachelor’s degree the opportunity to pursue one, tuition-free, through online courses. He could barely get the words out and the audience was cheering.

“It is my job to hate everything. I’m having a really hard time with this one,” Stewart replied. “This sounds really lovely.” A talk show appearance – particularly one with Jon Stewart – doesn’t get much better than that.

Schultz said this is an opportunity for his company to tackle the issue of student indebtedness and help workers achieve something they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get on their own. And waiting on Washington is a waste of time.

“We’ve got to step up as we have in the past and show true leadership,” Schultz continued.

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The Dockers ‘Dad Pants’ Campaign Works on a Few Different Levels


Father’s Day might be over, but the awfulness of dad pants lives on. To help remedy that, Dockers has its #StopDadPants campaign. And even better, the brand has chosen a big-name football couple — San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and his wife Sarah — to serve as the face of this effort.

This campaign is a great example of a marketing and PR effort that brings it all together — spokespeople, sports, hashtags, advertising, etc — to speak volumes about the brand and reach its audience.

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Girls Are Scientists, Too: LEGO Responds to Customer Demands for Female Minifigures

lego 1_0Last week we told you about Disney coming to the hard-won, customer-fueled realization that girls like Star Wars, too, and that it might be a good idea to make Princess Leia toys (who knew??). Now, thanks to consumer demand, LEGO has come to a similar conclusion; the company has just announced the approval of the “Research Institute” set, which will feature a female astronomer, chemist, and a paleontologist.

A few months back, we covered the story of a little girl named Charlotte, who, dissatisfied with the limited selection of female minifigures and their stereotypical themes (beauty parlor, shopping, etc.), wrote a strongly-worded letter to LEGO, saying:

“My name is Charlotte. I am 7 years old and I have LEGOs, but I don’t like that there are more LEGO boy people and barely any LEGO girls. Today I went to a store and saw LEGOs in two sections…All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs, but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks. I want you to make more LEGO girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun OK?!?”

Little Charlotte, it seems, is nowhere near alone in her strong sentiment; Read more

Disney to Make Princess Leia Toys Thanks to #WeWantLeia Hashtag

leiaBack in May, Disney announced it would be rolling out a new line of Star Wars themed toys, which will be available for purchase in Disney stores. As excited customers browsed through the soon-to-be-collectibles, they quickly noticed the lack of products featuring female characters — Sure, Luke and R2 and Han and Vader were all represented, but where was the no-nonsense heroine Princess Leia?

A mother shopping for her daughter asked Disney that exact question via Twitter, to which the brand responded:

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Why Does IKEA Need to Know How Often New Yorkers Do Work On the Toilet?

ikea styleIKEA is definitely one brand that you will find in tons of homes around the world. But do they need to be all up in your business too?

IKEA has released the results of its Life At Home study and basically they know everything about everyone everywhere on Earth. The company surveyed 1,000 people in cities including New York, Singapore, Berlin, Mumbai, Moscow and Stockholm. And they did a deep dive into the minutiae of the average person’s morning routine.

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Online Retailers Should Launch PR Campaigns Around Site Safety

e-commerce

A study from USA Today finds that nearly a quarter of Americans (24 percent) have stopped shopping online, at least for the moment. These respondents have ceased their online shopping activity after the string of stories about data breaches and cyber attacks. A full 56 percent have said they’re only making their purchases on sites that belong to major companies with reputable online portals. And more than half (55 percent) say that they’re keeping an eye on their checking account and other financial information more closely.

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Google Has Become eBay’s Panda in the Butt

google-panda-ebay-and-hackers_2-1

As a copywriter, PR professional, and overall Class-A nerd, I love Google.

Why? If you understand the ‘Google Zoo’ — Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird — then you would know about the many changes Google has made to the search algorithms. In fact, the Internet guardian has practically declared war on Black Hat hackers and other ne’er-do-wells living in Mom’s basement with the latest version of Alienware.

NEWS FLASH: Google is making us better writers. Of course, in the process, they are so angering brands who spam the Internet. Latest on its ess-list is eBay. Not good.

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It Just Got Real: Fast Food Workers Protest In the South

fatfoodglobalThe fast-food industry was warned about today’s global protest, so they should have been ready for it… it was pretty big.

Workers in 150 American cities participated in today’s strike, with newcomers like Philadelphia and Miami joining the movement for a $15 per hour wage and the formation of a union. In addition, protests took place in countries as diverse as Germany and Malawi. In all, 33 countries took part.

But perhaps most surprising were the protests that took place in the American South.

“Walkouts took place in every region of the country, including the South, where labor organizing is notoriously difficult,” says MSNBC. Colorlines also notes the importance of this development.

“In what may be Opelika’s [in Alabama] first labor protest ever and the latest so far, in piecemeal worker grumblings in right-to-work states that are anti-union and proud, local McDonald’s and Burger King employees are joining today’s #FastFoodGlobal strikes.” Far fewer people walked out in the South than in other places. But the fact that it happened is significant.

The labor market has changed over the past few years and as a result, it looks like the fast food industry will have to change as well.

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Is Coca-Cola’s New Ad with Exploited Workers ‘The Real Thing’ or a Fake PR Stunt?

coke commercials

Sure, they look happy. It’s possible they don’t know they’re being used for PR brownie points.

When some global companies — from car manufacturers to retail developers — spend millions of dollars on advertising, there is always a “one-upsmanship” that exists in whiteboard and brainstorm meetings. Forget the wheel. They want to reinvent an entirely new mode of transportation with every new campaign.

Coca-Cola is known for that happy-happy-joy-joy advertising. From cutesy polar bears sucking down caffeine to legendary football players throwing their stank jersey at a child football fan, Coke has come up with iconic advertisements. Why they can’t be happy with that success is beyond me. Maybe that’s why I’m in the perception, earned media rather than pleasure, paid media.

Speaking of perception, there’s also this commercial where Coke is shown exploiting the plight of slave workers in Dubai. Yeah, this happened…

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