Thursday, April 19

Vans for Girls Skate India

This is a great partnership on so many levels.

Evidently, skateboarding is considered off limits for girls in India. Believe it or not.

So now it’s International Women’s Day...the day, among all days, when women (and young girls) should feel empowered to take on the world however they’d like. On their terms.

Enter brand Vans. Yes, Vans. Yes, as in those shoes.

Enter India’s first female professional skateboarder. Yes, you read that right.

This year on International Women’s Day, the brand Vans released an online film featuring Girls Skate India, a group that was founded by that first female professional skateboarder who’s name is Anita Verghese.

But Vans did more than just release an online documentary featuring girls in India skateboarding, they also opened up 100 skateboard clinics around the world to teach girls how to skateboard.

So awesome!

A mix of online and off. A mix of pop culture and societal norms. A mix of gender smashing with inspiration with empowerment with education. With access. Fueled by a brand known to be in this pop cultural mix. Supporting a woman doing an amazing thing for the world.

Marketing at its best. What’s your experience? JIM.

Wednesday, April 18

Starbucks In Crisis - Anti-bias Training

Most experts in public relations will say that it’s often not the crisis itself that determines the fate of a brand, but how the brand handles the crisis. When handled well, consumers often forgive a brand and move on...sometimes pretty quickly, of course depending on the depth of the crisis. When the crisis is not handled well, consumers can have a very long memory...and act accordingly.

Starbucks found itself in a massive crisis  this week when two black men were arrested in one of their locations in Philadelphia. They were apparently just there to meet a friend and use the bathroom, but hadn’t ordered anything. Been there, done, that but without the arrest.

Bad situation to say the least, especially for the two gentlemen. Starbucks immediately sprung into action.

I’m not saying proof positively that consumers will forgive Starbucks this time around, but I am going to say that the brand handled the crisis very well and very quickly.

The CEO immediately made a statement, taking responsibility and announcing that the arrests are a “reprehensible outcome.”  Then just a few days later he announced that the company will be closing 8,000 of their stores on May 29th to give their 175,000 employees “anti-bias training.” Closing 8,000 stores for a day! He also pledged to do whatever necessary to correct the situation and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

This type of anti-bias training across a huge portion of their employee base could be setting a trend not only for how to handle a situation of this sort, but also how to truly impact change...especially when you’re a brand so entrenched in many of our daily lives and certainly in many of our communities.

They’re putting their money where their mouth is to try to correct a horrible mistake.

This isn’t the first time that the brand has been in the middle of tensions surrounding race relations. Back in 2015, Starbucks threw themselves in the middle with a cup campaign called #RaceTogether where they encouraged customers to talk about race relations with their baristas. It didn’t go well, and the brand quickly called off the initiative. Smart move.

Will consumers forgive Starbucks this time around? Is the brand acting appropriately, given the situation? What’s your experience? JIM

Sunday, April 15

Budweiser 100% Renewable Electricity

Last year, AB InBev (makers of Budweiser) announced that by 2025 all of its beer will be produced with renewable electricity. Very commendable.

Evidently the company is making good progress...this year all of its Budweiser-branded US beer will be produced with renewable electricity. That's a lot of beer. Very commendable.

To make sure consumers know, the brand is adding a new symbol to every bottle that has been brewed with renewable electricity and it's encouraging other brands to adopt the label as well.

Keep an eye out. Very commendable. What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, April 12

Serena Williams for The Lincoln Navigator

There’s a new spokesperson in town for Lincoln, so move over Matthew McConaughey.

Serena Williams.

She’s not taking the place of Matthew, but is appearing in a series of content videos for social media that highlight her relationship with the brand and how The Lincoln Navigator is helping her with parenting.

Here she talks about her first Lincoln...

The series includes different takes on life. This one is on intuition and timing...

The series goes on with several iterations, all very well produced, and certainly set the feel for The Lincoln Navigator brand.

Convincing? What’s your experience? JIM