Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a real learning opportunity for corporations who do not have communicators at the table for these decisions, as DKNY apparently does not. They could have noted that the photographer did not seek financial gain, and tied their contribution not only to "support of the arts," but to integrity in the arts and elsewhere. And they could have upped his bid by $25k, buying good will in a viral campaign for $125K, which, as you point out, does not rise to the level of a rounding error for them.