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Fashion/Beauty

Should Instagram Let Fashion Bloggers Link to Sales Sites?

shutterstock_158730779Just as the first Instagram ad hit us in the form of a Michael Kors watch, many of the fashion bloggers who provide so much of the platform’s content asked “Wait, why can’t I do that?

PR may be asking the same question: why does Instagram still prohibit users from including links so followers can buy the products they highlight? It would make the give-and-take between designers and bloggers even more significant.

CEO Kevin Systrom told London Fashion Week attendees that he could see his company becoming a fashion commerce platform at some point, nothing that it’s already a great marketing tool for fashion brands—but then he waffled a bit. Here’s a key quote:

“If Instagram were full of commerce and there were ‘Buy now!’ links everywhere and that’s all you ever had, I don’t think it would get to the true spirit of communication.”

So Systrom sees Instagram as a comms tool rather than a sales tool but clearly allows for some flexibility on what he calls “the balance” between art and commerce. We get it, but we have a feeling that all four parties involved in the fashion chain would disagree: the shoppers, the bloggers, the brands and the firms representing them.

And yes, the guy is already rich—but don’t tell us he’s not jealous of Pinterest‘s ability to separate people from their money…

Thank McFly, JCPenney is Going Back to the Future

And how's that working out?

And how’s that working out?

For those who believe Apple, or anything that hails from it, can do wrong, I would like to introduce you to Mr. Ron Johnson.

He (pictured in this picture showing how long his career was at JCP) is an ousted, former CEO of JCPenney and an unscrupulous hack who believed his deified worship of smarmy hipsters who worked at his beloved Apple genius retail stores would work even better at the home of the Soccer Mom.

Only not so much. His sorely miscalculated ideas of removing all sales items, misreading what customers wanted, not testing his epiphanies in advance and inept acuity to understand the promise and premise of a brand cost him more than his job — it cost him his reputation and just about cost JCPenney its entire existence.

I think what was most telling of the Johnson era was he was rumored to be given a lovely severance package that he by no means deserved. Yet, his golden parachute ran out of the same strings he tried to puppeteer the JCPenney staff while he was there. Fitting for a…um, Johnson.

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Not So Suave: Unilever Sued for a Product That Allegedly Caused Hair Damage

via Facebook

via Facebook

Unilever is on the wrong end of a class action lawsuit over a now-discontinued Suave Keratin product that the plaintiffs allege caused hair breakage, hair loss and other kinds of hair damage.

The big problem, according to the plaintiffs lawyer, is that the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30-Day Smoothing Kit marketed itself as “formaldehyde free” when it actually contained another chemical that they say “is mainly synthesized from formaldehyde.” Unilever tried to have the lawsuit tossed, but a judge rejected that motion and now they’re going to trial. Eeek.

But as I said, the chemical contents are just one of the problems Unilever and Suave face in this case. The others are a weak recall and a social media program that continued long after the product did. Double eeek.

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Which Beauty Brands Have the Best Breast Cancer Awareness Month Campaigns?

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while the NFL might not be as generous as we’d hope in donating to related causes, some beauty brands are. We’ve gathered a few dedicated companies listed by different publications to see which ones are going above and beyond on the breast cancer PR front.

The New York Times lists:

Lucille Roberts adds a few more:

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Fashion and Instagram: The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

An industry driven by the power of instant visual impressions has found a natural partner in the app that’s all about capturing the moment and passing it along to the rest of the world.

The growing partnership between fashion and Instagram almost makes too much sense: for example, a quick search for #NYFW on the network yields an endless bounty of shots taken by users who range from schooled photographers to gawkers and lucky gatecrashers. It’s the perfect tool not just for fashion followers but for designers themselves, who cop to co-opting others’ shots for both inspirational and promotional purposes. What better way to see what everyone’s wearing without dirtying your brand new shoes on the streets of New York or Paris?

Nanette Lepore, for example, tells The New York Times that she regularly scrolls through her fans’ Instagram clips, where the themes that emerge from a never-ending sea of shots give her ideas for upcoming collections (someone must have been wearing a lot of white and beige last year):

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Kenneth Cole Says Controversial Tweets Are Great for Business

One man’s PR fail is another man’s business plan…if that other man happens to be “designer with a conscience“ Kenneth Cole.

In case you thought some clueless intern was responsible for what seemed like a tactless marketing message playing off the possibility of war in Syria, you’re wrong: Cole writes these controversial tweets himself, and he does it all on purpose. Cue maniacal laugh.

When the designer responded to his latest manufactured controversy by stating that he intended to start a dialogue, he apparently meant “dialogue” as in “a conversation that will help promote my own company.”

So…the joke’s on you!

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Kenneth Cole Responds to Controversial Syria Tweet, Welcomes ‘Dialogue’

Last night, designer Kenneth Cole responded to yesterday’s “boots on the ground” Twitter controversy with an Instagram video that’s a bit bolder than expected: no retreat, no surrender, no apology.

While he claims that the purpose of such controversial messages is to encourage global “dialogue” about difficult issues like AIDS and armed conflict, the tweet still looked like a combination promo/ploy for attention from here. What was with the #footwear hashtag?

At the same time, he certainly owned it, didn’t he?

So…bold move or deflection?

Has Fashion Week Lost Its PR Luster?

Today is the first day of New York Fashion Week, which has some asking the question: has the event grown too big for its own size 2 capri pants?

It’s a serious query, because anyone with fashion clients knows it’s the industry’s biggest event. This year’s affair, however, has already been plagued with problems: the fact that it falls during High Holy Days forces Jewish designers and employees to “choose between the shul and the runway“, and a lawsuit filed over the fact that its 2010 move to Lincoln Center restricts access to that (public) park will almost certainly force the whole undertaking to move in the near future.

For a publicist, however, the issue is this: is Fashion Week still the best promo forum for new collections and designers? How can editorial voices be heard when Everybody Who’s Anybody is there?

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PR Fail: Kenneth Cole Still Thinks War Is A Funny Promo Gimmick

We have no idea who’s in charge of the Kenneth Cole Twitter feed, but they clearly haven’t learned that the prospect of armed conflict isn’t a good tool for selling clothing.

Ugh.

Here’s the thing that really gets us: It’s been, as of this post, about three hours (and many outraged responses) since the tweet went live. No deletion, no apology, no follow-up explanation. And, given the flack the Kenneth Cole received for this equally tone-deaf 2011 tweet about Egypt, we have to wonder if its social media managers are toying with us here. Seriously. Tell us we’re wrong.

What Can Estée Lauder’s New Focus on Corporate Responsibility Accomplish?

Yesterday brought news that The Estée Lauder Companies, in an move clearly designed to strengthen the brand’s reputation as a responsible company around the world, created a new position within its corporate responsibility unit.

The company chose Pamela Gill Alabaster, former SVP of corporate comms, sustainable development and corporate affairs at L’Oreal, to fill the new role with the general purpose of keeping CSR strategy “in alignment with the Company’s long-term business objectives”. What does that mean, exactly?

In recent years, Lauder launched various CSR initiatives focused on highlighting environmental programs and presenting a more diverse face to an expanding global market. The company has faced related PR challenges in the past, particularly on the subjects of sustainability and animal testing—both of which will be central to this new CSR move.

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