JCPenney takes heat over new ad spot
I’m probably going to get into trouble for bullying in this post, but I’m prepared for a deeper discussion on the topic. Many upset customers have taken offense to one of JCPenney’s back-to-school ads, claiming that it promotes bullying. Watch for yourself:
[pl_video type=”youtube” id=”niQSECd1Oag”]
Did you catch it? Honestly, I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t looking for it. The scene in question is when the kid is at the table in the cafeteria, and the mom states that when buying school clothes, she’s “…been told this stuff can make or break your entire year.”
First of all, I cannot stress the importance of anti-bullying initiatives. I get that, I too am a mother, and I am a firm believer in a no-bullying policy across the board.
Hard to spot the bullying
That being said, I honestly cannot see how this particular ad encourages bullying. The voiceover states the idea of the year going in a positive or negative direction… and when the kids disappear, it’s an illustration of the school year not going so well. To say that it encourages bullying seems to be digging a little deep.
It would be one thing if they showed the stereotypical school bully punching his fist while walking toward the poorly-dressed student, but the actual scene is nothing of the sort. Essentially, we’re being told that all of the cool kids wear clothes from JCPenney.
How effective would their ad be if the message they conveyed was, “We have cool back-to-school clothes. As does Sears, Target, Gap, and your local thrift store. Here’s a trophy for simply covering your body while simultaneously breathing.”
No wait, we’d probably hear from the National Asthma Foundation or something.
JCPenney responds, pulls campaign
The company issued a statement saying, “Our intent was not to trivialize or promote bullying. At JCPenney, we’re committed to carrying a broad range of styles that let kids express their individuality and make a positive first impression. Our marketing is meant to inspire kids to create and reveal their look as they head back to school this season. The ad is part of a handful of back to school TV ads we are airing this season. It aired earlier this summer as scheduled but is not currently part of our TV campaign.”
Again, bullying is a serious matter, absolutely. But this just seems like a slight overreaction. In the unfortunate event a bullying situation occurred, could it be traced back to the department store clothing purchase? With the ad, JCPenney has just chosen to simply say, “Buy our clothes… all of the cool kids are wearing them.” Elevating their product above the competitors’ – isn’t that the point of an advertisement?
Gloves that translate sign language in real time
(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new wearable tech translates American Sign Language into audible English in real time.
Advancements in technology never cease to amaze. The same is true right this moment as a new technology has been released that helps translate American Sign Language (ASL) signs into spoken English in real time.
This technology comes in the form of a hand glove – similar looking on the front side to what one would wear in the winter, but much more advanced when in view of the palm. The palm side of the glove contains sensors on the wearer to identify each word, phrase, or letter that they form via ASL, and is then translated into audible English via an app that coincides with the glove.
This is all done in real time and allows for instant communication without the need for a human translator. The signals are translated at a rate of one word per second.
The project was developed by scientists at UCLA. “Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them,” said lead researcher Jun Chen.
The hope is to make communication easier for those who rely on ASL, and to help those unfamiliar with ASL adapt to the signs. It is thought that between 250,000 and 500,000 people in the United States use ASL. As of now, the glove does not translate British Sign Language – the other form a sign language that utilizes English.
According to CNN, the researchers also added adhesive sensors to the faces of people used to test the device — between their eyebrows and on one side of their mouths — to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language. However, this facet of the technology is not loved by all.
“The tech is redundant because deaf signers already make extensive use of text-to-speech or text translation software on their phones, or simply write with pen and paper, or even gesture clearly,” said Gabrielle Hodge, a deaf post-doctoral researcher from the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) at University College London. “There is nothing wrong with these forms of communication.”
What are your thoughts on this advancement? Comment below!
Stand out with video as part of your resume (but be careful)
(MARKETING) This new tool helps you stand out in the job market, as video now dominates – so it’s possible to use this to your advantage (with caution).
In the midst of a pandemic, people are finding themselves thrust back into the job market sooner than expected due to mass company layoffs or underemployment as a freelancer. Fields are oversaturated and jobs are sparse so it can be hard to stand out in today’s job market.
Although standing out in the job market is hardly a new problem, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use some new and creative solutions. One company, VCV.ME has designed a tool to help you get creative and stand out from your competition.
VCV.ME turns your traditional resume into a video à la Instagram stories.
The process is simple. You answer a few questions and upload a video of yourself then the tool will provide you with a sharable link.
VCV Founder and CEO, Arik Akverdian, believes that video is the future saying, “Video will represent 80% of all internet traffic by 2021 according to Cisco, and according to eMarketer 94.1% of millennial internet users were streaming digital video in 2019. With growing demand for video social media such as TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram stories, and others, we’re bringing the short video format to the job market.”
There are some obvious limitations to using this tool in your job hunt.
First, not all employers will take videos as part of an application both for technical and legal reasons.
On the technical side, many automated tracking systems are not designed to filter that kind of file, so there may not even be an opportunity to showcase it. That’s not to say there aren’t some work-arounds. Many job applications will have a place for applicants to link to their portfolio or websites. An alternate option for this tool could be to place the video introduction on your website.
Another problem with the tool is how it exposes candidates and hiring managers to bias.
As more companies work to remove bias from their hiring practices and hire more diverse candidates, a video intro just won’t fly. Some companies have removed names and even alma maters from their applicants in order to make more unbiased hiring decisions. A video introduction would expose many characteristics that people have conscious and subconscious biases towards such as race, gender, age, and ethnicity.
Although VCV.ME’s intentions are to help candidates stand out in the job market, it’s worth questioning whether they would be standing out for the right reasons, so tread carefully.
Why should you take Facebook’s ‘Summer of Support’ courses
(BUSINESS MARKETING) Every company can use a little marketing advice, well Facebook has partnered with big companies to give you some free digital marketing courses.
Our world has turned into a place of upheaval and unrest and we are continuously surrounded by more and more evidence of it. One thing that the majority of us are constantly seeing is announcements from companies. Some of those are about closing hours, but others are more helpful. As they all attempt to get used to this new world that COVID-19 has created we begin to see some different tactics. Some are only politically motivated, but others are more focused on helping out their communities.
Earlier this week Facebook announced that they will be putting on a six-week digital marketing education series. This series will be an extensive collection of videos with a full in depth set of courses that will cover a large amount of topics. The company has put together a cast of renowned entrepreneurs for the presenters as well.
The topics will be done in themed weeks starting on June 24th, and running through the month of July. They include categories such “The Changing World” & “Resilience”. Focusing primarily on the world that is here and now, with recommendations on how to adapt to it. With this world in a constant state of flux the push for adapting to change and staying in front of the tide is crucial for a small business.
The next two courses will be going forward with discussing “Reinvention” & “Re-Emergence”. Encouraging struggling companies to take a serious look at their potential for moving forward, or changing the things that they can to stay more on top of their client base. They also plan on attacking the confusing world that we will have when things get closer to normal.
The last two weeks are focused on community and customer care, which is actually their names as well: “Customers & Commerce” & “Community”. These will help develop a sense of how your business affects your community and the impact you have on it. Keeping that in mind you can then develop a plan for how you want your community to see you and shape things within it.
These courses are all set up for free and open to anyone. With a completely online set up with their new “Summer of Support” mini-site they are prepped to reach millions of people. They’ve organized this with a range of partners as well: Dell, PayPal, American Express, & Small Business Roundtable. A helping hand for people who wouldn’t currently be able to source things like this.
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Ladies and gentlemen, the U.S. National Anthem
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