Monday, September 30, 2019

Forever 21 files for bankruptcy and Apple plans movie theater releases: Monday Wake-Up Call | Advertising Age

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Forever 21 files for bankruptcy
Forever 21, the retailer once beloved of young women seeking a fast fashion fix, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late Sunday night, in a move that the New York Times describes as a “reminder of how quickly the retail landscape is transforming.”

Rumors emerged in August that bankruptcy was a possibility, but the company didn’t comment at the time. Now it has confirmed it's closing operations in 40 countries, including Canada and Japan, as well as shuttering up to 178 U.S. stores. Its website will continue, as will other stores in the U.S., Mexico and Latin America. Linda Chang, the chain’s executive VP, told the Times that the bankruptcy process would “simplify things.”

Forever 21 became popular in the early 2000s for selling cheap, disposable fashion, alongside the likes of H&M and Zara. Its rapid expansion, however, came as its target audience started to switch to online shopping; plus, questions are now arising over the ethical and environmental implications of fast fashion.

Apple’s plans for the movie business
Apple is planning to release feature-length movies in cinemas before making them available on its streaming service, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

The Journal cites people familiar with its plans, saying Apple is talking to cinema chains about showing its movies for several weeks in theaters prior to their release on Apple TV+.  In doing so, it hopes to attract big-name directors and talent and also avoid some of the clashes rival Netflix, which typically releases movies in theaters at the same time as streaming them, has had with cinemas.

The Journal says Apple has tapped Greg Foster, the former head of entertainment at Imax, to consult on the plans; he has experience working with the likes of James Cameron. One of Apple's first planned releases is “On the Rocks,” directed by Sofia Coppola, which stars Rashida Jones and Bill Murray.

Questions over Advertising Week’s Pitbull concert
Advertising Week may be over, but for some its final hours left a questionable taste in the mouth. Criticism arose on Friday from the event’s closing gig, a performance on Thursday night by rapper Pitbull.

As Ad Age’s Ilyse Liffreing reports, after a week of hearing multiple presentations about equality and sexism, “many industry execs were surprised and even disappointed with Advertising Week’s choice of selecting Pitbull as the headline act on the closing night of the event.” The rapper, says Liffreing, “flanked by backup dancers wearing sparkly red thong one-pieces, performed choreography full of booty-spanking and objectifying gestures.”

Critics were vocal on Twitter, with Matt MacDonald, group executive creative director at BBDO, writing: "Advertising industry closes week of diversity and equality panels with an empowering display of twerking and booty-slapping.” Meanwhile the equality campaigner Cindy Gallop commented that “it is wholly inappropriate to feature a closing Advertising Week musical act that objectifies women.” So far, Advertising Week has not responded.

Just briefly:
Hacked: An Asics store in Auckland, New Zealand was hacked and broadcast “adult content” from giant TV screens until employees arrived to open up on Sunday morning, reports The Guardian. The Japanese sportswear brand has apologized to anyone who saw the material.

Rebranding: The Grocery Manufacturers Association is renaming itself as the Consumer Brands Association, reports Ad Age’s Jessica Wohl. The rebrand, due in January, comes as it seeks to recover following the exodus of some of the nation's largest food marketers.

Behind the ad: If you haven’t yet seen Sandy Hook Promise’s latest powerful PSA, which puts a chilling spin on back-to-school goods for kids, you need to. Read about how it was made as Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz takes a fascinating look behind the scenes.

Makeover of the day: Streaming site Twitch has unveiled a new look, writes Ad Age’s I-Hsien Sherwood, including an updated logo of a “redesigned glitch” and a new slogan, “You are already one of us.”

Campaign of the day: Marketers often team up with Airbnb for fun reasons (like the recent “stay at Downton Abbey” experience to tie in with the movie) but a new campaign from a Canadian hospital partners with the brand for different purposes. Toronto agency No Fixed Address recreated a three-hour stay in the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit. It invited celebrities along to be the first guests, and made sure everyone got the message that the hospital is in dire need of infrastructure improvements. Read more here from Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz, and don’t forget to check out Creativity’s Top 5 campaigns from last week, including a heartbreaking ad from the Born Free Foundation about South Africa’s “Instagram lions.”

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