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UPDATE: Toys ‘R Us Breaking Bad Figures: Crisis or Not?

Bryan Cranston can joke about this, but it’s become a serious story for Toys ‘R Us if only because of the volume of press coverage about the Breaking Bad-themed toy line. Here’s the company’s only response to date:

“The products you reference are carried in very limited quantities and the product packaging clearly notes that the items are intended for ages 15 and up. Items from this TV series are located in the adult action figure area of our stores.”

So is this a big deal or not?

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Facebook Sues DEA Over Fake Profile Pages

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Facebook has tried, almost to a fault, to protect the identities of its users — as long as they’re real. See, for example, the site’s recent conflict that ended with the network allowing some users who dress as members of the opposite gender to use their stage names online.

The drama was based around fake profiles, which are highly frowned upon in Zuckerberg’s environment.

Recently, Facebook poked the Drug Enforcement Agency because it wants “assurances” that the feds are no longer using fake profile pages to conduct investigations. Read more

Monica Lewinsky Re-Emerges To Tackle Cyberbullying, Rebuild Her Reputation


Looks like that Vanity Fair article was just the beginning of the public return of Monica Lewinsky.

She started yesterday by joining Twitter and quickly gaining 61,000-plus followers (as of this afternoon at about 4pm ET). She has only tweeted three times.

Then she spoke at the Forbes Under 30 Summit to announce that she’s going to be actively involved in a “cultural revolution” against cyberbullying.

“I was Patient Zero,” she said to a crowd of about a thousand millennials.”The first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet.”

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Q&A: Targeting the ‘Conscious Consumer’

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Last week, Edelman’s second annual brandshare survey told us that a large majority of consumers (83 percent) aren’t satisfied by their “relationships” with brands. They want more in the way of information, but they feel like brands are only out to promote themselves.

This is especially true in the food/health space, where concerns about safety and nutrition occupy the minds of many.

Gibbs & Soell and rbb Public Relations recently joined forces to create New York-based Gibbs-rbb, a joint venture designed to target this very sort of “conscious consumer.” The new firm then produced a study that we discussed with managing director Jeffrey R. Graubard.

By the firm’s own estimate, the “conscious consumer” market was worth $120B in 2013. It’s growing quickly — and its members are willing to spend more money to get the kind of products they prefer.

So how do we reach them? Findings, questions and answers after the jump.

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Is BuzzFeed Really America’s ‘Least Trusted’ News Source?

The study that has everyone’s attention in the media world today concerns trust and political ideology.

Depending on your affiliation and your favorite outlets, the extensive Pew Research Journalism Project survey could be seen as either a good or bad thing: more American readers of various political persuasions trust The Wall Street Journal than any other publication, and CNN/Fox remain the biggest/most trusted sources of TV news (which is great for Brian Stelter).

We’re not too concerned with party politics, though. We’re most interested in the fact that the pubs with the smallest divide between “trust” and “distrust” were PBS and WSJ, while the pub with the largest difference between those numbers was…BuzzFeed. Here’s the chart:

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So does this survey encourage doubts about the value of placements on BuzzFeed?

We have to say no.

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Parisian Christmas Tree/Sex Toy Vandalized by Mystery Elves

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Quick quiz: What in the Yuletide halls is this?!

No, it’s not a unique pawn in a really large game of chess or an oddly colored wine-bottle stopper for the world’s largest jug of fermented juice.

From The Atlantic’s CityLab, we learn this piece of contemporary something or other is a sculpture by the American artist Paul McCarthy called “Tree.” It’s supposed to serve as the centerpiece of the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC).

It also looks like a certain sex toy…and now it’s flat as a pancake. Bad PR for the global art community.

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What You Could Have Bought on ‘National Boss Day’ But Didn’t

Worlds-Best-BossPublic relations is no different than any other industry — folk just have it in for the boss. Come on, people with alphabet soup in your title, statistics prove this to be true.

Even though our unemployment rate ebbs and flows from barely tolerable to utterly uncontrollable, more than 2 million people each month quit. Why? Polls have shown that at least 70 percent of U.S. workers have negative feelings about their jobs – and we shouldn’t assume that PR is any different.

ICYMI (and you probably did, reading that): National Boss Day was last week, and a few brands took the opportunity to honor their bosses promote themselves. If you didn’t get your PR director anything here’s a glorious idea for the PRNewserverse next year.

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Fashion and PR Celebrate the Life of Oscar de la Renta

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Last night, the fashion world suffered a major blow with the death of Oscar de la Renta, legendary designer turned celebrity in his own right, who lost his longtime battle with cancer at the age of 82.

While every major media outlet has run retrospectives on the man and his career, his company’s communications team has been quietly respectful. This morning Erika Bearman (aka OscarPRGirl) posted the above photo on Instagram and linked to the company’s home page, which featured a handwritten note from his stepdaughter Eliza Reed Bolen and her husband, Alex Bolen (who serve as the company’s executive VP and CEO).

Full letter after the jump.

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Jimmy Iovine Is Pretty Happy About How This NFL Ban on Beats Headphones Is Playing Out

jimmy iovineJimmy Iovine, co-founder of the company behind Beats by Dre headphones, spoke about the NFL ban on his product during a recent talk at the University of Southern California. And one might describe the tone of his comments as giddy.

“We didn’t do anything, and now the players are going out and putting black tape on our logo,” he said. “It’s like, I can’t believe I’m this lucky. ”

Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers player who was fined $10,000 for showing up to a press event wearing Beats headphones, showed up to a subsequent press event with hot pink Beats headphones (perhaps the same ones) but with tape over the logo. (Business Insider has a pic.)

All of it has made Beats even more conspicuous rather than less so. And Iovine had even more to say.

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People Still Think Their Data Is Vulnerable at Retailers That Experienced Data Breaches

target storeWith the holidays right around the corner, retailers are getting geared up for all the sales they’d like to make to end 2014 on a high note. But Target is still dealing with the repercussions of the big data breach from 2013′s holiday season.

A survey released yesterday by CreditCards.com found that 45 percent of customers would “probably not” or “definitely not” shop at retailers that said they had computer breaches. And 48 percent of people said they’ll probably be shopping with cash, which means that they’ll have very fixed budgets. Once the cash is gone, the shopping stops, which will curb spending.

These aren’t good stats for retailers.

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