‘Elite to elitist’: How the Abercrombie & Fitch CEO may have crossed the line

As Abercrombie & Fitch’s U.S. sales dropped by 17 per cent Friday, one branding expert says CEO Mike Jeffries violated some unwritten rules of marketing in a past interview that recently resurfaced…. While York University’s Schulich School of Business marketing Professor Alan Middleton said there’s no doubt Jeffries’ comments are bad public relations for the organization, he thinks they’ve had a very minor impact –if any – on the first quarter results….“If I was a shareholder, I wouldn’t be looking at it so much as the impact on the first quarter results, as rather poor judgment in management,” said Middleton in Global News May 27. “In which case, how good is the rest of the judgment in management about other things? That’s what would worry me.” Read full story.

NHL teams sit down with prospects at combine
How does an NHL team sort through a hundred potential draft picks at the annual scouting combine?…Paul Dennis, former team psychologist with the Maple Leafs and now professor of sports psychology at York University, was one of the evaluators that used the “pill” to help management make up its mind. Would the player take a magic pill that guaranteed he would make the NHL right away, win the Calder Trophy, Stanley Cup and $5 million in endorsements – if it meant a 50 per cent chance he’d die by age 30? “I’d be looking for an answer such as, ‘although it would be difficult, I’d do my absolute best to try and achieve those goals without the pill’,” said Dennis in the Toronto Sun May 27. “Several players from Russia said yes [but] very few North Americans.” Read full story.

Mr. Big – Brilliant police strategy, or dangerous and coercive?
The Mr. Big technique involves undercover cops who pose as members of a criminal organization to target unwitting suspects by creating various scenarios in which they befriend and earn their trust….Timothy Moore, chair of psychology at Toronto’s York University, has done extensive research into the Mr. Big technique and calls it a “fundamentally deceitful exercise” that is not reliably documented. “Unless and until it is subjected to the same degree of critical scrutiny as custodial interrogations, the risk of false confessions will remain worrisomely high,” he said in the Edmonton Sun May 22. Read full story.

Cloud’ design envisioned for York U project
Toronto’s York University is poised to break ground on the new home of the Lassonde School of Engineering, a six-storey, 15,750-sq-m building designed to embrace 21st century learning. The university said the structure’s “cloud” design will be as iconic on the outside as it is radical on the inside, reported Daily Commercial News May 28. Innovative laboratories with the latest technology and flexible learning clusters will resemble design studios, a break from the tradition of engineering classroom environments. Offices will be replaced by open plan, accessible spaces filled with natural light, reflecting the school’s commitment to transparency. Read full story.

Why are Canadians giving Gawker money?
Last week, Gawker editor John Cook launched a crowd-funded project to purchase an alleged videotape of Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack. They called it a “Crackstarter”, a play on Kickstarter, and aimed to raise $200,000 from viewers like you….A Gawker post containing the video could draw record page views and advertising revenue….York University Professor Dennis Raphael made two $75 donations in the hope that the video’s release would force Ford to resign. “Around Toronto, there is little doubt that Mayor Rob is unfit for office and has a reputation for denying wrongdoing until [he’s] confronted with confirming evidence,” Raphael said in the New York Observer May 27. As for Gawker’s possible payday? “Everybody is making money off of everything. If some money can be made at the same time that public accountability can be supported, then so be it!” Read full story.