Kudos to LOFT – Another Brand That’s Listening

For those of you who know me, you may know that one of my guilty pleasures is reading fashion blogs. Fashion? Social media? Count me in!

A few months ago, you may remember that Ann Taylor LOFT was caught red-handed in participating in a blogger payola program, to which the FTC promptly said “nuh uh!” LOFT was offering bloggers a chance to win a $500 gift card if they blogged about a LOFT-sponsored event within 24-hours of its occurrence.

Well, it seemed that LOFT had done it once again — tried something fun with social media — and failed. Wednesday, LOFT’s Facebook page included photos of their new “drapey silk cargo pants.” No, the fail wasn’t the fact that they had created silk cargo pants — or in the fact that they shared them on social media. It was the WAY they showed the pants being worn. Some fans commented that the pants looked good on the model, but wrote that the pants weren’t
“universally flattering” and wouldn’t look great if you’re “petite,” “curvy,” “a mom,” etc.

The Infamous Silk Pants

So what did LOFT do? Did they ignore the comments? Did they tell facebook users to get off their lazy butts and work out if they wanted to look good in the pants? No — they responded. They created two new albums: How I Wear Our New Silk Cargo Pant, where Julie, LOFT’s Digital Media person shows how she’d wear the pants and How LOFT Is Wearing Our Favorite New Pant, where other LOFT employees of all shapes and sizes share how they’d wear the bottoms.

The response, through nearly 50 comments on each album (as of Friday) has been great. Most readers have even suggested that after seeing it on a LOFT employee with their shape, they’d be likely to buy the pants.

Looks like LOFT did a good job this time!

The Cleveland Indians Have Gone Social!

Have you heard about the new Tribe Social Deck?

The Cleveland Indians are doing something really cool and, well, social. They’ve created a new social media section at Progressive Field for social media folks (bloggers, tweeters, and other nerds  cool people like myself) to have an exclusive view to the game. No longer is traditional media the only group who gets an insider’s view — now social media people can as well!

As you may know (but probably don’t because  I should have written a post about this already), I was lucky enough to be one of the first social media folks to try out the Social Deck at the Indians Home Opener. I received an email a few days before the game from the Indians’ new PR pro, Rob Campbell, that read:

“As a fellow member of the Cleveland social media community, we at the Cleveland Indians have identified you as a key player with a passion for the City of Cleveland, as well as our baseball team.  The Indians organization would like to extend to you the opportunity to attend Opening Day at Progressive Field … seated in the newly created Tribe Social Deck. The Tribe Social Deck sits atop the left field wall at Progressive Field near the base of Section 180 in the bleachers and provides not only stunning views of the action on the field, but also the opportunity to network with 9 other social media peers in your very own private section.”

I was slightly skeptical, having not heard of the Deck before, but accepted the invite to see for myself what the Social Deck was all about. Basically it’s an “invite only” section behind third base, right next to the bleachers. There are ten seats (two rows), a TV for another look at the game AND a sign that reads “social deck” right behind you, so you can feel REALLY special.

I had a great experience at the game with only one gripe — no wireless! I was able to tweet and check into foursquare (thus earning my first swarm badge!) using my Treo, but the reception was spotty and for most of the game I was unable to go online. I’ve heard that since that game, the Indians have installed electrical outlets and special WiFi for laptops/iPads/other cool things, so hopefully this should no longer be a problem.

So why am I writing about this experience (which yes, happened nearly two months ago) now? Great news — the Indians have now opened up the social deck to everyone — meaning you no longer have to wait to be contacted by them! They’re accepting applications, so if you’d like to participate you can visit this page on the Tribe website.

I definitely recommend you apply. It’s a great way to meet other social media folks in Cleveland and catch an exclusive view of the game. Plus, there’s a rumor that if it’s a fireworks game you can watch the fireworks from the dugout!

I think this is the first MLB team to try something like this – ESPN the Magazine did a short blurb about the social deck a few weeks ago, which you can see here.  (yes, that’s me in the red sweater!)

Thanks again to @tribetalk and the Indians for this invite. Kudos to what you’re doing. I hope to be back later in the summer!