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Corporate Reputation

Unilever Is Cool with People Mocking Latest Dove ‘Real Beauty’ Campaign

Every brand wants to start a conversation, right? Unilever’s Dove has unquestionably scored one of the biggest media wins in recent years with its extended “Real Beauty” campaign by Ogilvy.

The latest spot, titled “Patches”, went viral faster than any of its predecessors. In an interview earlier this month, a branding expert told us it was an example for other brands to mimic.

And yet, with success comes criticism. As the ad got bigger, nearly every blog weighed in to knock it. EDGE Collective founder Ryan Aynes told us that the amplification of negative sentiments on social media made the backlash look larger than it actually was, but plenty of people still disapprove.

This parody of the spot isn’t the funniest thing you’ll see this week, but it does summarize the complaints made against Dove:

As our headline reads, however, Unilever is totally cool with it.

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Apple Highlights Environmental Efforts, Counters Greenwashing Charges

Apple has suffered from significant challenges to its reputation for ethics and business practices due to dirty laundry aired during its ongoing legal battles.

But when it comes to CSR and particularly environmental practices, the company seems to be doing fairly well. Today brought this campaign anticipating Earth Day:

As several outlets have noted, it’s not simply a high-budget video documenting internal operations.

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Steve Jobs Is Now Bad for Apple’s Reputation

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To say that recent lawsuits have been terrible PR for Apple would be an understatement.

The company’s ongoing copyright battle with Samsung, for example, produced a string of internal emails between its marketing manager and its ad agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, over “brand likability” and the failure of recent campaigns to elevate the iPhone over the Galaxy.

The other big suit going on at the moment concerns supposed anti-employee collusion between four top tech companies: Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe. The plan’s mastermind was Steve Jobs himself, but Apple would prefer that no one mention that fact at trial.

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Coming to a Freezer Near You: PR from the Frozen Food Section?

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Because even the frozen pork rinds need love

DYK that there has been a shortage in the frozen food section?

Evidently, it has grown to Hungry-Man XXL proportions because the entire frozen food industry believes it has an image problem. It could be America’s push to eat healthy. Possibly, farm-to-table is to blame. Maybe, it is because of all those shows Food Network keeps creating forcing at-home cooks to believe they can be the next Emeril Lagasse.

Whatever the case, the American Frozen Food Institute has decided to invest in a “multi-year, multimillion dollar PR campaign.” Oh, it’s real. It’s very real.  Read more

GM Needs a New Spokesperson, Stat

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Not going so well for her.

This young week has already brought us two new job openings that sound great on paper but might just make you think twice: social media manager at U.S. Airways and director of communications at General Motors.

You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the first execs to get the axe in GM’s ongoing recall drama were the heads of PR and HR. In yet another non-surprise, the company refused to tie the departures directly to the recall. (This is the kind of decision that makes journalists roll their eyes back as far as humanly possible.)

CEO Mary Barra’s most visible statement this week? A blog post encouraging employees to report safety concerns “whether openly or anonymously.”

Cue that eye roll again…

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STUDY: Your Employees Probably Don’t Like You

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Don’t take it too personally, though: you’re definitely not the only one.

CreativeLive’s inaugural jobs report should probably serve as a wake-up call to your corporate clients. The basic conclusion: Americans aren’t happy at their jobs, and they don’t much care for their employers. The reason? They want to be more creative.

Some key numbers after the jump.

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More #McFail: Managers Admit to Stealing Employee’s Money

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They’re baaaaaaaaaack! 

Unfortunately for the Clown, McDonald’s just can’t stay out of the #PRFail spotlight.

When we last left this saga, McDonald’s was accused of kicking some old couple out on their keisters – canes, walkers, and all — for sitting too long. And as shameful as that was, there’s also the open case of slave labor under the veiled threat of deportation because that’s good for team morale.

Next up in the Clown’s PR issues, we have a story of former managers admitting they stole money from their miserly paid employees. This should be good.  Read more

Chevron Can Make Its Own Local News

One Donald Draper famously quipped, “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”

In this week’s case study in heavy-handed message management, Chevron took that one to heart. In fact, it created an entirely new conversation on its own terms.

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The company, which has operated a refinery in Richmond, California for over 100 years, created the Richmond Standard site to present its public with under-reported news stories like this video of high schoolers lifting weights and this more popular entry about an effort to prevent prostitutes from walking through a residential neighborhood on the way to work.

The writers are experienced journalists, but–shocker–there may be a bit of self-interest at play here.

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What Can ‘Brown’ Do For You? Hand Out 250 Pink Slips for Free Speech.

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This guy was in a coma after being hit by a car on the job. He is now about to be fired.

It’s not like UPS needed another #PRFail moment after the not-so-Yuletide fun it had over the holidays, but here we are — UPS, its employees, and a colossal public faux-pas. According to the New York Daily NewsUPS just fired 250 of its unionized employees in Queens, N.Y. because of free speech.

These workers walked off the job (granted, bad form) to protest the dismissal of one of their buddies. On Monday, 20 employees were terminated after their shifts — “and the remaining 230 notified that they’ll be canned as soon as replacements are trained,” a company spokesman said.

“They just called me in … (and) said, ‘Effective immediately, you are no longer on the payroll,’” said Steve Curcio, 41, a 20-year employee earning $32 an hour.

And it gets even awesomer…

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New Mozilla CEO Tries to Control ‘Gay Marriage Firestorm’

Brendan-EichIn case you missed it (and you probably didn’t), Mozilla’s incoming CEO Brendan Eich has weathered a bit of criticism thanks to a 2008 donation to a group supporting Prop 8, the law that outlawed same-sex marriage in the state of California.

While Mozilla released a corporate statement reaffirming its support for “equality for all, including marriage equality for LGBT couples”, other companies like OkCupid turned the issue into a cause.

Mozilla employees also made their disapproval quite clear on social.

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