Brands Brief: Consumers More Worried About Outsourcing Than Job Losses From Tech Advancements

Top Stories

  • American consumers are excited about Amazon.com Inc.’s cashier-less Amazon Go stores, and they’re more concerned about U.S. jobs being shipped overseas than job losses stemming from technological advancements, according a recent Morning Consult poll. (Morning Consult)
  • Shoppers were not in a rush to make their holiday purchases last month, as retail sales increased only 0.1 percent from October, falling short of analyst expectations for a 0.3 percent gain. (The Los Angeles Times)
  • Yahoo Inc. said more than 1 billion user accounts were compromised in 2013, a year before a separate data breach compromised 500 million accounts. The two attacks are the largest known data breaches of one company’s computer network. (The New York Times)

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Advertising and Marketing

Holiday shoppers didn’t jump into spending, November retail sales show
Shan Li, The Los Angeles Times

Consumers gave retailers only a modest boost in November, showing a reluctance to spend lavishly at the start of the holiday shopping season. Last month, retail sales climbed to $465.5 billion, up 0.1 percent from October and up 3.8 percent from November 2015, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

Kohl’s will be open 24 hours from Dec. 20 to Christmas Eve
Sonja Haller, The Arizona Republic

Hard to holiday shop when the kids are around? Wait until they’re asleep and head to Kohl’s.

In-N-Out has the most loyal fast-food customers in America — but critics say that love is misplaced
Kate Taylor, Business Insider

Fast-food shoppers are more loyal to In-N-Out than any other chain in the business. In-N-Out customers are more likely to recommend the chain to friends than customers of any other fast-food chain, according to new brand advocacy rankings from YouGov BrandIndex.

Smith & Wesson shareholders ‘overwhelmingly approve’ brand name change as company expands to outdoor camping gear
Michelle Williams, MassLive

After the clock strikes midnight and 2017 has begun, Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation will transform into American Outdoor Brands Corporation. Stockholders “overwhelmingly approved” a change to the holding company’s name Tuesday, Smith & Wesson said in a statement.

Despite A Comeback, Lululemon Can’t Shake Its Gadfly Founder
Abram Brown, Forbes

Sitting in a shaded cafe in a cobblestone neighborhood in Vancouver, Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon Athletica, laments the fate of the company he created. “There’s no innovation,” he says with a sigh, ripping apart a croissant.

How Sporting Giants Nike and Adidas Are Pushing The Future of Retail
John Kell, Fortune

The future of retail features a basketball court. This fall, the world’s two largest athletic-gear makers—Nike and Adidas—opened massive multi-floor stores in Manhattan as a way to champion a more immersive retail experience to promote the sports brands in a way that cannot be delivered by department stores and specialty sports retailers.

Victoria’s Secret Invaded China’s Digital Space But Is Moving Cautiously on Retail
Angela Donald, Advertising Age

Lately, Victoria’s Secret has been all over China’s digital space. Its fashion show in Paris was a trending topic on microblogging platform Weibo last week.

Tod’s, Ferrari make craftsmanship comparison to launch co-branded line
Staff reports, Luxury Daily

Italian apparel and accessories label is translating the aesthetics of Ferrari’s vehicles into a collection of footwear. For fall/winter 2016-17, the brands have teamed up on a collection of driving shoes and sneakers for men that feature elements such as the prancing horse and Ferrari’s iconic shade of red.

Star Shower Price War Shakes Up Retailers
Sarah Nassauer et al., The Wall Street Journal

Call it the Star Shower wars. In the days after Thanksgiving, A.J. Khubani watched his company’s holiday laser-light machine, the Star Shower Motion, rocket up in Amazon’s sales rankings.

The year of the #sponsored post
Peter Adams, Marketing Dive

Influencer marketing proved in 2016 that it could move beyond the niche. Brands facing both a growing consumer indifference to traditional messaging and a need for better social outreach increasingly saw influencers as essential digital ambassadors with built-in, loyal audiences.

Media and Entertainment

TV Ratings: ‘Fox News Sunday’ Nears Series High With Trump Sit-Down
Michael O’Connell, The Hollywood Reporter

The president-elect’s visit averages 2.3 million viewers. For Fox News Sunday, the only thing more interesting than Donald Trump is the late Saddam Hussein.

BuzzFeed Hires Leo Burnett Veteran to Run Brand Strategy in Chicago
Patrick Coffee, Adweek

Digital media giant BuzzFeed has deepened its connection to the agency world by hiring a longtime veteran of the Leo Burnett organization to serve as its SVP of brand strategy for the Midwest region operating out of its Chicago office. Rachel Winer joined the BF last month after spending nearly 16 years with Leo Burnett, where she was EVP, account director.

Social Media and Technology

Amazon Go and Job Losses: Survey Says It’s Not as Bad as Outsourcing
Laura Nichols, Morning Consult

President-elect Donald Trump’s unexpected victory brought plenty of attention to jobs, and his promise to bring back work from overseas. But what about jobs that are lost to technological advances?

Amazon Conducts First Commercial Drone Delivery
Georgia Wells et al., The Wall Street Journal

Amazon.com Inc. said Wednesday it made its first customer delivery by drone, putting the online retailer in the lead to use drones as a new delivery method. The first customer, a British man near Cambridge in the U.K., last week ordered a Fire TV and a bag of popcorn, Amazon said.

Donald Trump Adds Elon Musk, Travis Kalanick, and Indra Nooyi to His Team of Advisers
Madeline Farber, Fortune

The CEOs of Tesla, Uber, and Pepsi will now offer their expertise to Donald Trump. The President-elect announced Wednesday that he’s added all three executives to his Strategic and Policy forum: Tesla’s Elon Musk, Travis Kalanick of Uber, and Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo.

PR and Communications

Yahoo Says 1 Billion User Accounts Were Hacked
Vindu Goel et al., The New York Times

Yahoo, already reeling from its September disclosure that 500 million user accounts had been hacked in 2014, disclosed Wednesday that a different attack in 2013 compromised more than 1 billion accounts. The two attacks are the largest known security breaches of one company’s computer network.

Affair site Ashley Madison reaches $1.6M settlement
Kevin McCoy, USA Today

The owner of affair and dating website Ashley Madison has reached a more than $1.6 million settlements of findings it used lax online security, misled users and created fake female profiles to lure male customers. Announced Wednesday by the Federal Trade Commission, 13 states and the District of Columbia, the settlement stems from an investigation of the July 2015 computer hacking of the website once known for the slogan: “Life is short. Have an affair.”

The 50 Most Powerful Public Relations Firms in America
Michael Kaminer et al., Observer

Over breakfast with the Observer this summer, Havas PR CEO Marian Salzman sat back in her banquette and sighed, “I don’t know what business we’re in anymore,” she said.

A year after food safety scares, Chipotle has a new set of problems
Sarah Halzack, The Washington Post

It was a little more than a year ago that Chipotle was rocked by the first in a brief flurry of food contamination incidents that sent many customers fleeing from the burrito chain. Since then, the company has been trying to win back diners in a variety of ways, ranging from a sweeping overhaul of its food safety measures to adding chorizo to its menu.

Recall roulette: Which auto brands come out on top
Jim Gorzelany, NWI Times

Though it’s encouraging that automakers and regulators have become increasingly proactive with regard to safety-related recalls, it’s still annoying to have to bring a vehicle back to the dealership for required repairs, even if they’re performed at no charge. How annoying? According to published reports, more than 45 million vehicles that were the subject of safety recalls issued between 2013 and 2015 had yet to be brought in for covered repairs as of summer’s end, 2016.

FDA Recalls Monkey Bread And Cookies
WFMY News Staff

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced recall alerts for two products that could put a damper on your holiday celebrations. The secondary recall on food items containing ingredients from Valley Milk Products has affected Brand Castle’s “In The Mix” Monkey Bread Mix for Salmonella contamination.

Companies, fearing salmonella, recall powdered milk products
CNN Wires

The Food and Drug Administration announced a series of related recalls of products, including waffle mix, kettle chips and macaroni and cheese, because of possible salmonella contamination. Over the past week, eight recalls have been issued because the products contain contaminated milk powder.

Corporate Social Responsibility

‘Jeopardy!’ to donate late contestant’s earnings of over $20K to cancer research
Jessa Schroeder, New York Daily News

Cash prizes of the late Texas woman who passed away before her ‘Jeopardy!’ episode aired Tuesday will be donated to a handful of charities. Cindy Stowell, 41, achieved her lifelong goal of competing on the game show just weeks before losing her longtime battle with Stage IV colon cancer.

Op-Eds, Perspectives and Research

What Should PR Pros Do When It Comes to Fake News?
Scott Widmeyer and Marty Machowsky, Morning Consult

Fake news exploded, literally, earlier this month when a gunman allegedly fired an assault rifle inside Comet Pizza in Washington. His motivation? Reports that Bill and Hillary Clinton were running a child sex operation amidst the pasta and provolone.

Overconfident CEOs are less socially responsible
Barry Oliver, Bizcommunity

Overconfident CEOs tend to lead to less corporate social responsibility in a company, our research shows. The more confident the CEO, the less their firm invests in activity that has a positive impact on society.

Influencers seek authenticity and collaboration with brands as their roles evolve and grow, survey says
Laurie Fullerton, The Drum

Influencer marketing is a trend on the rise with 2016 showing more businesses turning towards social media personalities to create and produce branded content. A recent report by Julius, a SaaS marketing platform found that 90% of those influencers surveyed have worked with a brand for sponsored content prior to becoming an influencer or on an ongoing basis.

9 of 10 Top tech searches are for Android or iPhone
Rob Jackson, Phandroid

Google today revealed their Top Google Searches of 2016 along with a highlight reel and deep dive into various search segments. Among them was consumer tech, where Android and iPhone were featured in 9 out of the top 10 searches.

Vans Takes Risks Not To Look Cool, But Because They Are Cool
Hugh McIntyre, The Huffington Post

Aside from typical advertising, many brands look to associate themselves with the biggest, the brightest, and the coolest in all verticals. They need these connections to rockers, pop stars, athletes, actors and actresses, and the like to help them become even just a bit closer to their consumers, and potential new customers.

Hotel Websites Don’t Matter—and 3 Other Insights on Travel Booking Trends
Christine Birkner, Adweek

As Airbnb continues to disrupt tourism and travelers seek out more unique, localized experiences, hotel marketers need to break out of industry tropes and adapt to guests’ changing tastes. “Where They Go. Why They Stay,” a new report released today by brand engagement firm Sullivan and qualitative research firm 20|20 Research, provides a look at travelers’ decision-making processes and offers tips for attracting more guests.

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