A few weeks ago, I was looking at Ann Taylor's website when I saw that one of my all-time favorite dresses was back on the website for spring. Interestingly, it had been renamed the "Miracle Dress" -- which was exactly what I had called it in a post I wrote about it for The Stir last fall.
Since I had exchanged several emails and Tweets with Ann Taylor's social media team about the "Miracle Dress" and how my name for it had inspired them, I was surprised that they had renamed it without even bothering to let me know. I wrote as much in a recent post here on The Stir and, as other websites began picking up the story, ended up having several phone conversations with Ann Taylor's public relations director.
Check out how Ann Taylor handled the situation after the jump.
A few days ago, a friend forwarded me an email from Ann Taylor that contained this:
There it is. In print.
The term miracle dress is not unique, however it does seem clear that the two parties had been collaborating and Anne’s team had been inspired by her term -- unique or not -- so some sort of prior notification of name change and a shout out would have been in order I would think at the very least. So many brands pick the brains of bloggers without recognition or compensation -- as if they were entitled to it. That is what I find very uncool.
I think because there obviously was a past relationship and the idea obviously came from the blogger they should have acknowledged her as she mentioned above.
I just don't think "The Miracle Dress" is so creative that it's something that could be considered a copyright or trademark. There's a Miiracle Bra, Miracle Jeans... so I'd choose to be flattered, not in a way of "OMG, they STOLE my idea!" but "Cool. They thought my description was better."
As I said in the interview, I would never have expected compensation for the idea -- but since we had exchanged multiple emails about it, I think this email blast would have been a good idea right off the bat, rather than in response to criticism.
The story really struck a nerve with many bloggers because just about everyone who blogs professionally has been pumped for ideas and information by brands, and never acknowledged or compensated for their help -- and most bloggers are afraid to write about what happened, for fear that speaking out will ruin their potential relationships with other brands.
I believe that most brands and PR companies are still figuring things out on a daily basis when it comes to working with bloggers. Mistakes are bound to be made. I'm glad that Ann Taylor tried to make things right by sending out this email -- and I hope that other brands take note and work to avoid getting into situations like this one in the future.
In the end, things seem to have worked out for Ann Taylor. The 'Miracle Dress' has sold out once again.
What do you think about all this?
Image via Ann Taylor