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Corporate Reputation

Ratings Error Chips Away At Nielsen’s Credibility

multiple screensNielsen has admitted that the broadcast network ratings it has been reporting for the past seven months are inaccurate, favoring ABC while having a negative impact on the others. Even though it looks like the discrepancy is a small one, the damage to the company’s reputation could be much greater.

According to the company, the error in viewing totals is between .1 percent and .25 percent. The degree to which this could impact the ratings outcomes for different shows is yet to be seen. For instance, TVNewser has long tracked the competition among news broadcasts. ABC had been celebrating a rise above NBC, the first in five years. A revision could take that away. In other cases, the numbers might change slightly, but the outcome — first, second or third — would remain the same. Overall, Deadline reports that many of the larger outcomes would be unchanged.

These small amendments can have an effect on big advertising dollars for the networks. Moreover, Nielsen has been fighting a battle over its ability to thoroughly track TV viewership at a time of great audience fragmentation. That this error was made and wasn’t caught for so long has got some in the industry very upset.

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VICE Discovers the Ethical Perils of Corporate Sponsorship

VICE-logo

Looks like the cool kids sometimes get tripped up on ethics, too.

According to reports posted earlier this week, VICE — the very organization that inspired Edelman to make a call to defend itself for working on sustainability projects while representing clients who deny climate change — has occasional brushes with conflict-of-interest problems.

A post on Gawker and one on Capital New York both demonstrate how VICE editors worked to squash stories that could have reflected badly on corporate sponsors and/or media partners.

This is really a classic PR/media condundrum.

SPOILER: It’s about the money.

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Foggy Windows: How Microsoft Forgot to Count to 10

windows10

No company does a curtain raiser quite like Apple (horrible video streaming technology and forced rock star plug notwithstanding). Unfortunately, the company that knows this fact best is Microsoft.

As the number of Apple acolytes in this country swells up faster than Barry Bonds’ biceps, Microsoft floats in the raging ocean like chum waiting for sharks. We can only imagine the subject lines of its internal emails, though we assume that many include the letters W, T and F.

And then they got the epiphany that had been alluding them for decades: Windows 10!

What’s wrong with this lovely family portrait?

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The Future of Las Vegas No Longer Involves Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

delivering-happinessYou may not know his name, but you certainly know his company.

Many big businesses and top entrepreneurs place Zappos and its CEO Tony Hsieh, pronounced Shay, on the Mount Rushmore of “Best Service-Minded Companies in the Country” (arguably occupying a space next to The Container Store, Southwest Airlines, Chick-Fil-A, and Trader Joe’s).

Aside from making every person feel extremely special, he is very passionate about building businesses. This is why he took on the “Downtown Project” in Las Vegas to become an entrepreneur incubator. The project was a $350 million attempt by Hsieh and others to transform 60 acres of Downtown Las Vegas into a growing tech city.

Admirable. If only it had worked.

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THIS JUST IN: USPS to Start Delivering…Groceries?

THIS JUST IN 2Since the Internet became a thing, profits have been way down for the United States Postal Service. In fact, the Postmaster General has proclaimed that if things don’t improve, bankruptcy is coming faster than Winter in Westeros.

We’ve seen branches closing, talk of no deliveries on weekends, and consideration of consolidation to save money and jobs. To its credit, the USPS has been looking for ways to increase revenue and fix the gaping hole in the dam of U.S. mail.

And now, there’s this: a partnership with Amazon Fresh to deliver the groceries.

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Chipotle Co-CEO Turns His Nose Up at ‘Cheap, Irrelevant’ Fast Food Chains

chipotle-ingredients-are-better-billboard

It’s difficult to hate on the rollers of the edible fatties, Chipotle. It tastes great, it’s “all natural”, and it’s good for you (as long as you only consume 25% of a given burrito). Even if you didn’t dig the food, the company’s advertising and CSR work is splendid (good work, Edelman).

If anything could possibly damage Chipotle’s sterling reputation, it would be perceived snobbery.

For example: “My food is better than your food. And now, let’s make fun of your diabetes.” Stressing the quality of your ingredients should not be a big deal; Papa John’s Pizza tries to do the same thing.

So guess what happened?

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Bad News for CNN Employees: Jeff Zucker Just ‘Went There’

CNN Upfront 2014

So, you think the economy has rebounded and your savings account can begin its weatherstripping for the colder days. Vacations are being planned, allowances are no longer declined and date nights are back in full swing.

Only one problem: You work at CNN.

In a corporate-wide memo recently sent to all Turner Broadcasting employees, CNN Chief Jeff Zucker and Turner CEO John Martin said that, as part of the company’s “Turner 2020″ plan, the company will unveil a new corporate structure “in the next two months.”

This is CNN.

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Anthropologie Brings Us ‘Nipplegate’

breastfeedingAnthropologie shopper Ingrid Wiese Hesson recently spoke to CBS news about an unfortunate (and illegal, according to California state law) incident she experienced at the chain’s Beverly Hill’s store, which she is calling “nipplegate.”

Here’s the story:

After spending $700 dollars on “breastfeeding friendly” clothes, Hesson sat down to breastfeed on one of the stores plush vintage chairs. Before long, she was approached by a manager, who said “I’m here to escort you to the ladies’ room so you can finish breastfeeding…”

When the manager opened the door to the restroom, she apologized for the lack of a chair. “Of course the only thing in the bathroom is the toilet seat,” Hesson noted.

Hesson said she contacted the store manager later to find out more about what had happened. The manager “said there are other customers in the store, and she thought they would be more comfortable and you would be more comfortable,” she recalled.

The manager’s actions “won’t stop me from doing what’s best for my baby, but it could stop me from shopping at stores that aren’t tolerant,” Hessen said.

Frankly, this one shocks me because I swear I’ve come across an Anthro catalogue featuring a breastfeeding model in some tribal maxi skirt pedaling optional $100 nipple tassels to plug up leakage when not in use.

It just all seems to go against the brand’s bourgeoise bohemian ethos, amirite? Read more

Walmart’s #PRFail Recognition May Win the Retailer $3 Billion

Aisles of a Grocery StoreIn the wild and wacky world of corporate PR, it seems the larger the brand, the more difficult it becomes to acknowledge mistakes. The more transparent a brand is, the more vulnerable it becomes.

That may explain what takes place in Bentonville, Ark. (the corporate home of Walmart) on a daily basis. Until recently, the brand has seemed only proactive about growth and global domination.

And then, a story in Time came out last April that read: “Walmart has cut employee hours so deeply that it doesn’t have enough associates on hand to get stuff from back-of-the-store staging areas to the shelves.”

That caused Walmart to do something differently — respond. Sure, it’s more than a year later, but they’re new at this thing. Let’s cut them a break.

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General Mills Holds Its Nose, Leaps into Climate Change

GM-cereal

General Mills, the maker of Cheerios and other such consumer goods, took a bold step into the CSR pool this week by announcing that it would make changes to its agricultural practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously mounting related advocacy efforts designed to affect public policy.

What does this mean? From the company’s post on the matter yesterday:

“Nearly 2/3 of the GHG emissions and 99 percent of water use throughout our value chain occur upstream of our direct operations in agriculture, ingredients and packaging”

So they’re insisting that their suppliers get on board by reducing those emissions and “achiev[ing] zero net deforestation in high-risk supply chains by 2020″…or else. We assume.

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