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The Ticker: Microsoft Layoff Memo; ‘TV Whisperer’ Leaves White House; Travel Branding Challenges; And More

With Drought Measures Becoming More Strict, Nestle Continues California Water Bottling

arrowheadNestle is kicking up controversy with its continued water bottling operations despite a drought that is so severe, it has prompted water restrictions.

Nestle owns Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, which is sourced from a spring  Millard Canyon, CA. Nestle Pure Life is another one of its brands, both of which are bottled on a Native American reservation in the state.

In January, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency because of water shortages. On Tuesday, water regulators approved fines of $500 for things like watering lawns and washing cars. The measures were put in place after the governor announced he wanted to reduce water usage by 20 percent and that goal hadn’t been achieved. The drought has been going on for three years. Other measures will be considered if water usage still isn’t reduced.

Reservations are considered sovereign states that don’t have to follow state regulations. But knowing the dire situation that the state is in, should Nestle do something?

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Thank God Hillary Clinton’s ‘Book Tour’ Is Over

In case you missed it, Hillary Clinton appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Tuesday to “talk about her new book,” Hard Choices.

“No one cares” about the book, Stewart said. “They just want to know if you’re running for president.”

Talk about the elephant in the room—he must be tired after making appearances at every stop on Clinton’s book publicity campaign. Read more

Airbnb Shows Its New Face to the World

You may have heard of Airbnb. The company (and other “sharing economy” businesses lumped together despite serving different constituencies in different industries) has struggled a bit to define itself to the public as its business is a patchwork “community” made up of people who want to share their homes and people looking for homes to be shared.

Today the company launched a new website, a new logo, and a slew of content designed to give us all a better idea of what it does–and to give the members of its community a clearer sense of identity.

First, the video explaining the logo and tying it into the brand proposition:

According to the release, the Bélo also stands for ”open windows, open doors, and shared values.”

Founder Brian Chesky explains things in a blog post after the jump.

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Marvel Targets Women With Goddess Thor

thorThe Thor that we’ve all come to know — the manly blond man throwing a hammer — has undergone quite the makeover. Marvel has announced that the god Thor is now a goddess.

“While details are scarce, we now know that this new Thor was saved by her predecessor, the former male Thor, who is no longer worthy to wield Mjolnir,” writes iO9. “The only other details we have is that this #1 issue will premiere in October under the supervision of Jason Aaron and Russell Dautermann.”

Thor is one of the “big three” characters for Marvel (the other two are Iron Man and Captain America), so this is huge for the company and for the comic book world.

The move also says a lot about how Marvel is trying to grow its audience.

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Nordstrom Ads Feature Models with Disabilities, Generate Goodwill

Image via press.nordstrom.com

Fact: At least one-third of Nordstrom’s advertisements feature models of color and/or models with disabilities.

For Nordstrom, this isn’t just a commitment to diversity—it’s a commitment to accurately reflecting its shoppers. It’s also a smart move.

According to Meg O’Connell, a partner at the consulting firm Global Disability Inclusion, people with disabilities represent a significant marketing opportunity, with $225 billion in discretionary spending.

“Companies that understand this will have an advantage,” she says. “[Nordstrom] is a leader in this space and has been a long-standing supporter of disability inclusion not only in their advertising but also in employment and accessibility in their stores.”

The company has been using models with disabilities since 1997 and regularly advertises in minority publications including Essence, Latina, and Ability magazines.

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Someone Fooled Nikki Finke

Nikki Finke, the least favorite blogger of many Hollywood publicists, took a small hit to her credibility this week via the revelation that she received several fake tips regarding a recent “scoop” but published the story anyway.

Someone with a vendetta used Finke’s tipline to send several emails from separate sources claiming that screenwriter Mike Landis (son of Ghostbusters director Jon Landis) was reworking the script for the perpetually pending sequel. Not true.

Here’s the media relations angle:

“Dangling the carrot further, one ‘tipster’ claimed Deadline was running the Landis story the next day. Another begged Finke not to run the story as it was promised exclusively to Variety.”

Crafty. Finke claims that a Sony studio executive “mistakenly confirmed it”, but Sony unsurprisingly told Page Six that she doesn’t check with studios on stories like these.

Two questions: Are fake stories relatively easy to place on blogs? And do we really need a Ghostbusters 3?

Two answers: Yes and hell no.

Roll Call: Edelman, French/West/Vaughan, Nielsen, and More

Edelman named Liz Lee its U.S. Digital Practice head; Andrew Foote will succeed her as general manager, Digital New York. In her new role, Lee will oversee all of the agency’s digital operations across 14 offices in the U.S.; she will report directly to global practice chair, digital Kevin King. Foote, respectively, will manage more than 140 employees in the digital section of the agency’s New York office and report to Jennifer Cohan, president of Edelman New York.

Recently appointed U.S. president/CEO Russell Dubner writes, “Liz will focus on bringing our U.S. clients and teams the next generation of ideas and experiences that drive social engagement”; the New York-based digital practice tripled in size under Lee’s leadership over the past three years and now counts Samsung, Axe, eBay, Citi and Crayola as clients. Foote joined Edelman digital in 2000; he previously held positions at Cohn & Wolfe and Peppercomm. (Release)

French/West/Vaughan hired Lauren Kinelski as associate vice president and promoted Chris Shigas to SVP. Kinelski comes to the Raleigh, North Carolina firm from Rémy Cointreau USA in New York City, where she was public relations manager for a portfolio of luxury spirits; she previously managed PR, social media and event sponsorship for evian Natural Spring Water and worked at Weber Shandwick’s consumer marketing practice. She will be responsible for strategic client counsel and management. Shigas, who has more than 18 years of PR and TV news experience, will provide management oversight of the agency’s growing sports & entertainment practice as well as continuing to manage various B2B and tech accounts. (Release)

Nielsen expanded its leadership team with the addition of Andrew McCaskill as SVP, corporate communications. McCaskill, who will handle media relations duties based in New York and report to CCO Laura Nelson, most recently served as SVP of Weber Shandwick’s New York office. He brings more than 15 years of experience to the new role. (Release)

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Comcast ‘Provides’ What May Be The Worst Service Call Ever

comcast

There is no secret, no hidden truth, no mystery on this planet that refutes the abysmal customer service that call centers at cable companies provide. It’s like they all hire from the same discount store that shuttles HR rejects from the hotel.

The proposed Comcast and Time Warner merger? That’s a utopia of pleasantry just waiting for America (and one of those brands may vanish this year).  You would think the powers-that-don’t at Comcast would appreciate public perception.

Not when gems like this call to cancel service, which should serve as a crisis communications starter kit. (Oh, please take time to listen to these 10 minutes of bliss.)

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7-Eleven’s Birthday Week Thwarted Because of New App Glitch, Makes It Right All Month Long

slurpees

ICYMI: these glorious sugary rainbows of greatness were being given away 12 ounces at a time on July 11. Free. (Get it? 7 [July] 11?)

It’s been a tradition since 2002 that anyone can waltz inside a local 7/11, grab a small 12 oz. cup, and fill up on this sweet elixir of Texas love (born here, based here, y’all). This year, something went awry when 7-Eleven attempted to bring more technology to the mix. For months, the convenience empire has been promoting its fun little ‘Only at 7-Eleven’ app. When you download it, you would benefit from push-text offers sent exclusively to your phone.

Only, that didn’t happen for some folks, and America went nuts.

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