Good morning, PR pros:
With legal battles making headlines, Mattel has made a judicious—and judicial—choice for its Barbie Career of the Year doll:
The verdict is in! With over 200 careers since 1959, this year Barbie takes the stand as a Judge! The Barbie Judge Doll encourages girls to learn more about making decisions to change the world for the better.
— Barbie (@Barbie) October 7, 2019
Mattel partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for three nonprofits supporting female empowerment: She’s The First, Step Up and She Should Run.
Lisa McKnight, Barbie’s senior vice president and global brand general manager, told USA Today that the career was selected after the company learned that only 33% of sitting U.S. state judges are female:
“Barbie has had over 200 careers,” global head of Barbie Lisa McKnight told USA TODAY. “We like to say, ‘There isn’t a plastic ceiling that Barbie hasn’t broken.’ “
How can you and your organization get involved with “closing the dream gap,” as Mattel aims to do? Share your thoughts with us under the hashtag #MorningScoop.
Here are today’s top stories:
Blizzard, Vans, ‘South Park’ and more grapple with Hong Kong protests
As the NBA’s PR crisis with China intensifies, other organizations have entered the fray.
Activation Blizzard is facing backlash after it suspended videogame player Chung “Bitzchung” Ng Wai for a year, rescinded his prize money and removed him from a top-tier competition after he said, “Liberate Hong Kong” during a post-match interview. Blizzard also purportedly fired the two interviewers.
As the news trends on Twitter, Blizzard has met with outrage, including tweets such as this:
How does a pro player defending his country against authoritarian rule "damage Blizzard's image"? The corporate world needs to stop trying to suppress people's personal lives and ability to express their opinions. https://t.co/RXR7jN83hI
— Madero (@Shinobi_Madero) October 8, 2019
In its annual competition, Vans removed a design that referenced the Hong Kong protesters, and the removal promptly stoked criticism. Vans issued a statement on its Hong Kong Facebook page, saying that even though it’s “open to everyone,” it has “never taken a political position and therefore review[s] designs to ensure they are in line with [its] company’s long-held values of respect and tolerance”:
Though Blizzard, Vans and the NBA are all trying to sidestep angering Chinese authorities, “South Park” creators took a different tack.
Whereas the N.B.A. has struggled to respond to the geopolitical fracas, the creators of “South Park” appeared to relish the fight. The show’s creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, put out a fake apology on Monday, poking fun at the N.B.A. while insulting Xi Jinping, China’s president.
“Like the N.B.A., we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts,” the tongue-in-cheek statement read. “We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all.”
Why it matters: For most organizations, speaking out on political and social issues comes only after a risk assessment. However, brand managers increasingly are facing the tough decision to potentially lose the huge Chinese consumer market or face growing criticism from consumers in the United States and other countries. It’s a tough position without a PR best practice, as most organizations don’t have the luxury of alienating China’s huge consumer group to take a stand.
- Hong Kong seeks to hire PR crisis firm—but finds no takers
- Report: Gen Z wants companies to take a stand, but risks loom large
- LinkedIn offers marketers more data, YouTube curtails ‘fake news’ about Hong Kong, and Amazon and DoorDash cave on tipping
What drives consumers to buy? The most effective tool for brand managers is the referral from a friend or family member.
That’s what the results say in Brandwatch’s recent report:
That means it is crucial to solicit reviews of your product and source user-generated content to help drive interaction and provide credibility for your organization.
To learn more, read the full report.
Twitter users snark over whisky ‘Tide pod’
Scotch whisky brand The Glenlivet caused a stir after it introduced its drink in capsule form:
— The Glenlivet (@TheGlenlivet) October 2, 2019
Twitter users quickly ridiculed the marketing move:
Are people having trouble pouring it into a glass?
— Aaron E. Carroll (@aaronecarroll) October 5, 2019
No one asked for this.
— Josh Moody (@byJoshMoody) October 4, 2019
Finally, that huge burden of having to find a glass, pour liquid into a glass, bring that glass all the way up to my mouth, repeatedly, in order to drink said liquid, and afterwards, cleaning and shelving that glass, has finally fallen from my shoulders.
— AlternativeObedience (@AltObedience) October 5, 2019
However, The Glenlivet is taking its response—and the trending hashtag #ScotchPod—stirred, not shaken:
It seems our cocktail Capsule Collection has caused a bit of a stir – we wanted to reassure you The Glenlivet is committed to producing safe, responsible & delicious products for adults. Our seaweed capsules are a limited London Cocktail Week release & are not available elsewhere
— The Glenlivet (@TheGlenlivet) October 7, 2019
Why you should care: The adage “all publicity is good publicity” is terrible PR advice, but embracing a quirky marketing move to stoke conversation isn’t a bad idea. If you debut such a product or campaign, let the naysayers’ criticism roll off you as headlines stack up.
- Consumers question PR pros’ integrity, United courts Gen Z with discounts, and KFC offers a ‘date’ with the Colonel
- 3 brands that use social media snark effectively (and deliciously)
- Dove’s UK bottle campaign incites ridicule online
McDonald’s McRib is back, and the fast-food chain has turned to social media to beef pork up the sandwich’s buzz. Along with the hashtag #McRibSZN, McDonald’s launched an online McRib locator and offered 16 GIFs that Instagram users can place in their Instagram Stories:
— McDonald's (@McDonalds) October 7, 2019
The efforts underline the importance of encouraging passionate fans of your products and services to post their stories across social media. McDonald’s is hoping to replicate the success of Popeyes’ viral chicken sandwich.
Walgreens and Krogers stop selling e-cigarettes
The pharmacy and grocery store chains announced their decision Monday. CVS told USA Today in August that it never sold e-cigarettes.
Why you should care: As more studies on the dangers of vaping are released, organizations are keen to distance themselves from the crisis Juul and others are facing. The monetary loss taken by not selling the devices is outweighed by the boost in brand reputation and consumer trust.
- Juul reputation’s up in smoke, kid-focused videos get 3X the YouTube views, and many PR pros are introverts
- Kroger’s audacious plan to limit food waste is boosting staff pride
- CVS and Walgreens join anti-gun trend, Forbes admits gender bias in innovators list, and why many employees criticize your brand
WHAT YOU SAID
We asked how you handle negative comments online, and 62% of you said you respond to the unhappy consumer publicly. Only 21% said you don’t respond at all:
Do you respond to negative comments and reviews online? Share your thoughts for our #morningscoop.
— PR Daily (@PRDaily) October 7, 2019
Responding to a negative review online or criticism through a social media platform can repair a broken relationship with the unhappy party and show others that you’re ready to provide customer service. However, that doesn’t mean you should respond to all negativity, especially if you determine that it’s coming from a someone trolling your brand.
What’s standing in the way of your PR campaign’s success?
PR pros, what's the biggest obstacle to your PR campaigns and efforts?
Share your thoughts below for tomorrow's #MorningScoop!
— PR Daily (@PRDaily) October 8, 2019
Share your struggles and how you’re overcoming them with the hashtag #MorningScoop.