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Celestial Couture: Premiere Catwalk at One World Trade Center

WTC Fashion Show Poster JMA“Having friends in high places” is often considered to be a ticket to business and personal success. For model turned entrepreneur Jessica Minh Ahn, it’s all about fashion in high places. She’s staged catwalk events worldwide in spots like the Grand Canyon Skywalk, London’s Tower Bridge and sky-high settings in the Middle East and Asia.

On Wednesday evening Minh Ahn assembled a global cast of designers for a first-ever catwalk event at One World Trade Center (WTC) in New York. She was undaunted by the ongoing construction at the tallest building in the western hemisphere and hosted the show on the 63rd floor. The runway was a mix of 8 brands, comprising haute couture, premium ready-to-wear and active wear. Each designer debuted a signature collection based on the landmark locale.

“Fashion is the international language and there are no more boundaries now”, said participating designer Diego Cortizas of Chula. Indeed, the show reflected a veritable World Cup of fashion. Here’s a selection of brands and images in the WTC spotlight.

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Kim Jong Un Officially Condemns Seth Rogen and James Franco’s New Film

The Interview | official trailer US (2014) Seth Rogen - YouTube

We can’t say we’re surprised that North Korea’s Supreme Leader is unamused by a film about his own assassination (we’re pretty sure even the US wouldn’t terribly appreciate a foreign country making a comedy about our president’s demise), but we do think Kim Jong Un‘s official condemnation of “The Interview” might be the best advertising the movie could ask for. What that says about the state of politics in our sick, sad world or what it says about our society’s need to “laugh so we don’t cry” is a post for a different sort of blog.

The plot of the new comedy follows Seth Rogen and James Franco as the less-than-dynamic duo attempts to take out North Korea’s infamous leader. In an interview with The Telegraph, Kim Myong-chol, executive director of The Centre for North Korea-US Peace and an unofficial spokesman for the country’s political regime, makes it quite clear that North Korea is not laughing.

“There is a special irony in this storyline as it shows the desperation of the US government and American society…A film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the US has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine…And let us not forget who killed [President John F.] Kennedy – Americans.

Ouch. Read more

Brazil’s Image Shifts As Protests Surge During World Cup’s First Day

brazil world cup street artRight now on Univision, Brazil and Croatia are on the pitch, kicking off the first day of action for the World Cup 2014. Out in the streets near the stadium, the scene was much less jovial with protesters expressing their anger. According to The New York Timespolice were on the scene using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Protesters, who numbered in the hundreds, seemed “stunned” by the force used to quiet the crowd. “Several protesters and journalists were injured in the tumult, including a producer for CNN,” the NYT says. Last year, a crowd that was reported to be in the millions came out to push for better public services. Images of the swarms of people traveled around the globe.

Protests and worker strikes have been taking place in Brazil over the fact that the country has spent $11 billion over seven years on a sporting event while people struggle.

At this point, much like in the lead up to the Sochi Olympics, we’ve also heard stories about the last-minute preparations for the games, with a scramble to finish public transportation channels and stadiums.

If that isn’t enough, you have Brazilians who would like to see a match but say the sky-high prices make it cost-prohibitive.

This is much different from the usual pictures of care-free, samba-dancing, beautiful people on beautiful beaches that we’re all accustomed to seeing out Brazil.

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PRCA Wins Big Legal Victory Over Newspaper Distributors in Europe

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BREAKING: PR has triumphed over media in the UK. Well, sort of.

The not-quite-shocking conclusion reached by The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg holds that web surfers can Google and click to their hearts’ content without the permission of whoever holds the copyrights for the content they see.

Does this make sense to you?

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PSA Turns Passed-Out Drunks into Human Billboards

If you thought the ritual of writing shaming, embarrassing things on passed-out drunk people was relegated to college parties, you’d be mistaken. Now two major ad agencies in Japan are doing virtually the same thing, but for a good cause.

In partnership with Yaocho, one of the biggest bar chains in Tokyo, Ogilvy & Mather and Geometry Global have created a campaign aimed at discouraging Japanese citizens from getting so blitzed that they pass out and sleep in the streets. And what better way to dissuade such behavior than creating a shaming, public spectacle out of those who fail to excercise better judgement?

Such unfortunate, inhibriated individuals are marked with the hashtag #NOMISUGI, which translates to “too drunk,” and surrounded by a square of white tape. All over Japan, passersby have been Instagram-ing images of these human billboards, creating a viral PSA of sorts. While we agree with AdWeek that it’s difficult to tell whether these individuals truly draped themselves so horrendously on subway staircases and on sidewalks or whether the scenes have been staged, the campaign still sends a clear message: Behave, or risk becoming our next literal poster child for poor decision making.

Just some food for thought to get your weekend off to a somewhat-honorable start…

Lunar Advertising: Japanese Company to Launch Can of Soda to the Moon

LUNAR DREAM CAPSULE PROJECT | キミの夢を、月に届けよう。

Japanese soda company Otsuka is about to take “one giant leap” for advertising.

The moon’s surface, once described by Neil Armstrong as “magnificent desolation,” is about to become a bit less desolate thanks to a 2.2-pound titanium capsule filled with “powdered sports drink and children’s dreams,” which the beverage maker, in partnership with Pittsburgh-based aerospace company Astrobiotic Technology, plans to bestow upon our lunar neighbor.

Astrobiotic is currently in competition for the $20-million Google Lunar X prize, which will be awarded to the first company to land a payload on the moon’s surface that can travel at least 1,640 feet and transmit high-definition images back to Earth. To fund such a project and to purchase a spot on a launch vehicle (which, in this case, is the Falcon 9 rocket designed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX), the company needs sponsors, and Otsuka has offered Astrobiotic a hefty half-million in exchange for a can of its Pocari Sweat sports drink acting as a stowaway. Read more

Nintendo Responds to Petition Asking for Reinstatement of Same-Sex Relationships in ‘Tomodachi Life’ Game

Nintendo Strikes Down Gay Marriage Requests for Tomodachi Life - IGNJust weeks before Nintendo plans to release its life-simulation game Tomodachi Life in western markets, it has patched out a “bug” that allowed — as the company put it — “strange relationships,” AKA same-sex romances between characters. The decision has sparked an increasingly-popular online petition called Miiquality, which is asking Nintendo to reverse its actions.

Tye Marini, the 23-year-old Nintendo fan from Mesa, Arizona, who launched the campaign last month, said of his hopes for the 3DS game, “I want to be able to marry my real-life fiancé’s Mii, but I can’t do that…My only options are to marry some female Mii, to change the gender of either my Mii or my fiancé’s Mii, or to completely avoid marriage altogether and miss out on the exclusive content that comes with it.”

In response to the petition and growing controversy, Nintendo released a statement, saying:

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Beverly Hills Hotel Under Fire for Ties to Sultan of Brunei, CEO Response Is Inadequate

beverly hills hotelThe Beverly Hills Hotel, a Hollywood institution since 1912, is used to being the site of many celebrity events. These days, the city’s famous elite are keeping clear because of ties to the Sultan of Brunei.

In April, the country instituted strict Sharia laws that would result in harsh punishments against those found guilty of “crimes” like homosexuality, adultery and getting an abortion, punishments that include stoning people to death.

On Monday, Jay Leno stood beside protesters across the street from the iconic hotel, saying he wanted to “make people aware” of the injustice and the hotel’s ties to it. Ellen DeGeneres says she won’t be going to the hotel “until this is resolved.” Richard Branson, Sharon Osbourne and Rob Reiner have also spoken out against the hotel. The Feminist Majority Foundation, Teen Line (a helpline for teens), The International Women’s Media Foundation and The Night Before the Oscars party have all been pulled from the venue. The pre-Oscar party is one of the most-star studded of the year and has been held at the hotel since 2003, raising $60 million for charity over the past dozen years. According to a spokesperson for the hotel, a total of nine events have been canceled out of a total of 550 that the venue hosts each year.

Christopher Cowdrey, CEO of the Dorchester Collection, which owns the Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air, has been quick to respond, speaking to the media directly about the issue. But what he’s been saying is terrible.

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Holland Tourism: Masters of Cool

Amsterdam Clipper Ship Sign2 Cropped“I never had such a good backdrop”, said President Obama. During a recent state visit to The Netherlands, he took a side trip to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, home of Rembrandt’s renowned Nightwatch painting. As his comment indicates, he was duly impressed. Only select destinations worldwide merit presidential visits, and a visit to The Hague prompted Obama’s trip.

The President’s visit may help put The Netherlands front and center for U.S. travelers, who represent the country’s fourth largest source of visitors. The Dutch tourism effort in the U.S. has been quite active lately, as Holland continues to upgrade its star attractions. Many of its famous museums are being renovated, and they’re reopening in stages.

We checked with The Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC) about its PR and marketing programs. They partnered with Amsterdam Marketing, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for a 3-year joint marketing program, “Holland. The Original Cool”. The campaign’s video series has been the most visible joint effort. Launched last year, it features Pim de Koel, the country’s cool brand ambassador, as he teaches an American traveler about unique aspects of Dutch culture. Last year the video received over a million views, and this year it’s a three-part series, with the second episode debuting today.

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Avril Lavigne Responds to ‘Hello Kitty’ Critics and Cries of ‘Racism’

Avril Lavigne (who apparently still exists) is taking some serious flack for her new video “Hello Kitty.”

Since the video first appeared on YouTube this past Tuesday (it has since been taken down and re-posted), shaming, angry tweets have abounded, and even the experts haven’t been sure what to make of it — the general consensus seems to be that it might be racist (pandering at best), and it’s definitely terrible.

Billboard magazine’s Jason Lipshutz called the video “an embarrassment in any language,” and Entertainment Weekly‘s Darren Frenich said, “There are serious questions about whether it’s offensive (expressionless Asian dancers, Tokyo-as-prop) or offensively obvious (this one’s for you, large Japanese fanbase!).” Read more

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