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  • Dummies at DKNY

    Apologies are being offered 75% off at DKNY.   That’s no bargain.

    PRNewser alerted us to a story of a screw up by fashion outfit DKNY, an ensuing social media crisis, and a half-hearted response.


    Here is the back story:  DKNY approached Brandon Stanton, a New York photographer, with a proposal to use 300 of his slice-of-life pictures in their store windows  around the world.  They offered him $15,000 for the rights.  Stanton turned them down thinking DKNY was under-pricing his goods.

    Some time later Stanton stumbled across a photo of a window display of a DKNY store in Thailand displaying many of his images which he says were used “without (his) knowledge , and without compensation.”

    Rather than take to the courts, Stanton took to social media. Using Facebook he laid out his case and asked DKNY to make good by making a $100,000 donation to the Bedford-Stuyvestant YMCA.

    In a flash, the photog’s fans hit “like” more than 38,000 times and shared his posting another 37,000. A short while later DKNY answered up saying in part:

    For the Spring 2013 windows program, we licensed and paid for photos from established photography service providers. However, it appears that inadvertently the store in Bangkok used an internal mock up containing some of Mr. Stanton’s images that was intended to merely show the direction of the spring visual program. We apologize for this error and are working to ensure that only the approved artwork is used.

    DKNY has always supported the arts and we deeply regret this mistake. Accordingly, we are making a charitable donation of $25,000 to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn in Mr. Stanton’s name.

    Problem solved?  Not likely.  DKNY’s parent company did $36 billion in revenue last year.  So the $25K (tax deductible) donation they made to the YMCA is decimal dust to them.  But because they skimped on their response — they have earned thousands of additional comments on Stanton’s Facebook page — most of which are highly dissatisfied with the company’s peace offering. By making amends on the cheap — DKNY has kept the negative story going.

  • NYT Assault on Battery

    Elon Musk, the CEO of  Tesla, which manufactures electric cars, is getting testy with the New York Times.

    Musk, in interviews with the media and a lengthy post on his website says that a reporter for the Times who wrote a very negative review of the company’s “Model S” vehicle failed to follow instructions, failed to charge the car fully, made power-sapping side trips, and drove the car way over posted speed limits.

    The Times pretty much disagrees in every respect. They stand by their story which said that the vehicle did not meet its own promises and that the battery failed, requiring the Model S make the last part of its journey on a flatbed truck.

    It is not just “he said” vs “she said” however since Tesla published data captured by their onboard computer which seemed to back up some of what they claim.

    There are lessons for automotive reporters to be drawn from all the charges and counter charges being thrown around.  These cars record what  you are doing while you report about them.  So making exaggerations about a vehicle’s lack of performance is ill-advised.

    And a lesson for all reporters — if he or she is smart — the interviewee records what they say so they can compare the recording to quotes in your story.  In this case, a computer was watching a NY Times reporter as he drove.

    We’ll let the engineers sort out the data – but the most astonishing error that Musk reveals is not one by the NYT but by his own staff.  He writes:

    We assumed that the reporter would be fair and impartial, as has been our experience with The New York Times, an organization that prides itself on journalistic integrity. As a result, we did not think to read his past articles and were unaware of his outright disdain for electric cars. We were played for a fool and as a result, let down the cause of electric vehicles. For that, I am deeply sorry.

    By all accounts, Teslas are extremely complex machines.  We certainly hope they are not built on assumptions. If you assume a reporter will be evenhanded without having read their past writings — you have no one to blame but yourself if the resulting story turns out to be a lemon.


  • Duck Tale: New Way to Look Silly Avoiding Media

    Lots of people try to duck reporters. Here’s the worst tactic we’ve seen in a while: literally hiding under your desk.

    St Louis resident wanted to avoid something like this

    KSDK-TV in St Louis was doing one of those we’re “on your side” reports that many stations do.  Deborah Smith, a retired Department of Mental Health worker, was fighting a local corporation which owned an empty lot next to her home.  A dying tree on the lot was leaning over her yard and Smith feared it would fall on her house. The company ignored her calls for over two years.

    So a reporter from KSDK showed up at Roberts Brothers, the company in question, to ask why they were being so un-neighborly.  Roberts Brothers front door was locked — but it is made of glass and the receptionist can be seen crawling under her desk to avoid the camera.  According to KSDK she stayed there for over a half hour — sticking her head up from time to time to see if the coast was clear.  It wasn’t.

    Eventually Robert Brothers did the right thing and had the tree removed.  But we’re stumped why someone from the company didn’t just let the reporter in and tell him they will look into his concerns.  Had they done so – the report, which you can see below, would have had an entirely different tone.

    In the “you can’t make this stuff up” category:  Roberts Brothers reportedly is in the hospitality business and owns at least one TV station.

    h/t Poynter