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Posts Tagged ‘Macy’s’

Macy’s Has A “Special” Black Santa That They Didn’t Tell Anyone About

In light of a steady stream of racial profiling incidents reported in the media and the firestorm generated by Megyn Kelly over her thoughts on Santa’s skin color, we find out now that Macy’s has a “special” black Santa Claus that they’ve basically kept hidden for what could be many years.

Animal New York posted this story with the video above on its website this week, showing the twists and turns that their correspondent had to journey through to visit this jolly St. Nick. If you happen to know about him, you have to ask an elf to direct you to him. It’s like black Santa is also speakeasy Santa. If you don’t know what to say to get past the door, you can’t see him.

While it’s great that Macy’s recognizes a multicultural celebration of Christmas, it’s a fail that they don’t publicize it.

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Jay-Z Has Barney’s Back in Racial Profiling Crisis

shutterstock_108551027Don’t worry, Barney’s: Hova’s got you covered.

The New York department store’s recent racial profiling scandal has led execs to take desperate measures including a “blame the NYPD” damage control strategy as the state’s attorney general investigates the matter. An upcoming holiday sponsorship with Jay-Z complicated things, but the man’s sticking with the brand: he refused online requests to back out of the campaign, and now he’s announced a new move seemingly designed to take some of the heat off Barney’s.

On Friday, he made a statement via his website announcing a change in the campaign: the parties previously planned to donate 25% of sales generated by the partnership to the Shawn Carter Foundation, which provides scholarships to underprivileged youth. That number will now be 100% plus 10% of sales on launch day November 20th.

Jay also gives the impression that he’s taking the lead on the race relations issue:

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How to Help Your Brand Connect to LGBT Audiences

Now that the majority of Americans (if not the majority of American states) have accepted same-sex marriage and effectively welcomed the LGBT community into mainstream culture, brand strategists are brainstorming over how to make the most of a large and passionate demographic. Why? Well, gay men and women do “have the largest amount of disposable income of any niche market,” so…money.

That’s according to Community Marketing Inc., a gay-centric research organization that just released its 7th annual LGBT community survey of more than 30,000 consumers in 100 different countries. Their findings should help marketing/PR pros better understand the community.

The fact that LGBT individuals “keep up with online media” isn’t much of a revelation, but here are some more interesting conclusions:

  • “LGBT” is the preferred term for gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals, though gay men are equally receptive to the phrase “gay and lesbian”. Words like “queer”, “rainbow” and “gay-welcoming” are less effective (probably because they’re condescending).
  • Consumers prefer that corporate communications refer to their legal relationships with the terms “spouse” or “husband/wife”, though “partner” also works. Dated terms like “significant other” and “gay couple” don’t test so well.

eBay Banks on Time to Deliver Online Glory

We live. And then we die.

Time is of the essence.

The public, understandably, hates waiting for anything. We want our food fast, our deliveries now and the transactions in our lives to be instantaneous. Money comes with many benefits, but perhaps the greatest power money holds is that it can save us time. eBay, the once darling and maverick of the Internet, has now entered the time game.

The brand has just launched the eBay Now app where customers can order anything carried by partners such as Best Buy, Macy’s, REI and Target, and have it delivered within an hour. Yes, 60 minutes. The time it takes you to remember you forgot that digital camera with which you were supposed to film your interview with the star of the documentary you’ve been working on for six years. Time changes everything, and eBay is hoping that time with compel customers to pay for convenience.

Saving customers time is a marketing strategy as old as time, and has worked well for every business endeavor from convenience stores to pizza delivery. Anyone in the public who has been to a funeral knows the importance of time, and so we’re guessing eBay Now will be a popular app with consumers—particularly those consumers experiencing a moment of weakness upon discovering they’ve forgotten something important, something they need now.

Is the eBay Now app enough to catapult the brand back into the online superstardom? We’ll have to wait and see as the public decides. But we all have a friend addicted to eBay, and if addicts like one thing, it’s instant gratification.

Oh Hi: We Threw a Party This Week!

Big thanks to all who came out to our party at the Empire Room on Tuesday night! We greatly appreciated you all showing up to have a couple of drinks, trade business cards, look for new career opportunities and listen politely as your host tested his latest, lamest jokes. Apologies to anyone who wasn’t able to get in (we are popular for some reason) and a special thank you to the folks at Horn Group for sponsoring and organizing a great event. Here are some pictures:

Attendees getting their network on…

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What’s Up With Phantom Facebook Likes?

Even though Facebook has taken steps to eliminate fake likes, we must admit that we, like Bernard Meisler of readwrite.com, have noticed some strange “liking” activity on our newsfeeds of late.

During election season, we noticed liberal friends suspiciously “liking” Mitt Romney–and now, as Americans go about our holiday shopping, we see some of our friends liking things like Target and Verragio Engagement Rings multiple times. Per day. No one we know is that much of a bargain-lover or bridezilla-in-training. We’ve even read reports of deceased persons “liking” things from beyond the grave. What’s going on here?

The thing is, while several possible explanations for this phenomenon exist, some weird “likes” remain shrouded in mystery. Take, for example, one carless-by-choice individual who found that his profile said he “liked” Subaru, when he didn’t in fact own, want, or feel any affinity toward Subarus whatsoever.

Similarly, we’ve had friends tell us that they had to manually “unlike” everything from retailers to movies that they swear they never clicked in the first place. It’s possible for someone to like something by inadvertently pressing a button–especially while using Facebook’s mobile app. But this fact hardly explains the larger phantom phenomenon.

Mystery likes aside, you can thank Facebook’s recent business strategy — allowing users to “promote” their posts for a fee — for those repeated reminders that your friend Annie from middle school likes Macy’s. The new promote “option” has been lambasted from all sides — we “friend” people so we can read about what their cat did today, not because we care which fast food joint they prefer. Businesses, blogs, bands, and other entities that people “liked” in order to keep abreast of relevant information feel like they’re being used as well.

PR strategist and social media expert Ryan Holiday called Facebook’s “promote” feature the “biggest bait and switch in history.”

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NYPD’s Heartwarming Photo Goes Viral

NYPD Facebook PhotoWe recently reported on the NYPD‘s social media unit and the department’s new-found skill in using Facebook and Twitter to track down criminals. Turns out New York City cops and their spokespeople also know how to use social media to generate some positive PR.

Here’s the story: On November 14, a tourist wandering through Times Square happened upon an officer tending to a barefoot homeless man. According to Officer Lawrence DePrimo, “It was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet”–so he decided to stop in a nearby store and buy the guy a new pair of boots. The tourist snapped this photo of DePrimo presenting the boots, shared it, and presto–it went viral, quickly accumulating 350,000 likes, 90,000 shares and 22,000 comments on the department’s Facebook page.

As the photo made its way around the Internet thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and others, thousands voiced support for the NYPD–even those who “have a grudge against law enforcement everywhere”. In a follow-up interview with The New York Times, DePrimo said he keeps the receipt in his pocket “to remind me that sometimes people have it worse”. Some commenters wondered whether the picture had been staged, but it still looks like a big PR win to us.

We understand why the NYPD would be very cautious when it comes to social media, but they’re clearly learning: A quick glance at the department’s photo stream reveals pics of the Macy’s parade as well as visits to senior centers and schools for autistic children alongside the usual gun seizures and awards ceremonies.

What do we think? Was this pic a fluke, or is the NYPD learning how to use social media to improve its image with the public?

Half a Million People Urge Macy’s to ‘Dump Trump’

Macy's Department Store New York CityDisclaimer: We hate to give undue attention to Donald Trump, but this story simply offers too much Schadenfreude to pass up.

Despite the controversy inspired by The Donald’s presidential run, conspiracy theory stunts and Twitter freakouts over the past year or so, Macy’s apparently plans to stand by its (spokes)man. An official company statement called him “important to Macy’s, both as a brand and as an endorser”, noting that his ties are top-sellers.

“The world’s largest store” doesn’t just carry Trump’s clothing and his signature fragrance “Success by Trump”; it also included him in a huge upcoming Christmas ad campaign starring Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Martha Stewart, Tommy Hilfiger and more in a blatant re-purposing of the holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street.

Yet the man may prove to be more of a liability than Macy’s would like. Signon.org, a subsidiary of political advocacy group Moveon.org that claims to have helped engineer several political PR wins, recently posted a petition urging Macy’s to “Dump Donald Trump”–and as of today, the page has nearly reached its goal of half a million signatures.

The petition statement reads:

“Macy’s: Donald Trump does not reflect the ‘magic of Macy’s.’ We urge you to sever ties with him. Macy’s says it has a strong obligation to be ‘socially responsible’ and that ‘actions speak louder than words.’ Indeed. It’s time to act.”

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Fashion Retailers Turn To TV for Branding Tie-Ins

A look from Banana Republic's 'Mad Men' collection.

The NBC network and Bloomingdale’s have entered into a two-month Fall partnership that will provide branding opportunities for both organizations: Bloomie’s catalogs will feature actors from some of NBC’s new shows (The Playboy Club and Prime Suspect are a couple of them), and Bloomingdale’s will be featured during the network’s Primetime Preview Show. Bloomie’s will also have in-store promotions and store windows as part of the tie-in.

“The combination of NBC’s new fall slate of programming with Bloomingdale’s powerful brand and multiple touch points creates a very engaging consumer experience,” Tim Farish, NBC Entertainment’s SVP of marketing said in a statement.

These days, it seems clothing retailers are finding a great deal of promo value in TV partnerships that largely bypass the traditional 30-second spot.

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Consumers Dig QR Codes, But There’s More Learning to Do

About one-third of smartphone users (32 percent) have used a QR code, and 70 percent say they would use one, according to an MGH survey. The company surveyed 415 smartphone users last year. With Ad Age reporting that large companies like Macy’s are building consumer awareness of the bar codes (the retailer launched the Backstage Pass campaign shown above more recently), these numbers may already be climbing. However, there are obstacles to overcome.

“Poor internet connection, slow load times and outdated phones all contribute to an inconsistent experience for consumers,” Ad Age writes. Laura Marriott, CEO of NeoMedia, a QR company, adds that people are reluctant to download the mobile apps or think that using the codes are a “hassle.”

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