Browns, NFL quiet on DeShaun Watson, companies address ‘shrinkflation’ and which LGBTQ+ issues get the most press
Also: OceanX wins over TikTok viewers with animated colossal squid short.
Ocean exploration initiative OceanX had a TikTok hit this week.
An informational video about the colossal squid garnered nearly 3 million views on the app, proving the efficacy of well-produced short form videos for advancing brand awareness:
The colossal #squid is the world’s largest invertebrate. It can possibly grow to 14 meters long (46 feet) and weigh over 500 kg (1,000 lbs). #ocean
PR pros, if you’re still writing off TikTok as an app for kids, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to connect with audiences. Nearly 50% of TikTok’s audience is aged between 18 and 34 — a crucial demographic for most communicators.
Here are today’s other top stories:
Browns, NFL quiet on DeShaun Watson situation
Professional football player DeShaun Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct — harassment or assault — by more than two dozen women. Watson and his lawyers deny the claims, which accuse him of making unwanted sexual advances during professional massage appointments.
The New York Times reports that during the saga, Watson signed a five-year, $230 million deal with the Cleveland Browns. The Times’ reporting also asserts that Watson’s former team, the Houston Texans, provided the hotel room in which some of the alleged assaults took place, as well as a nondisclosure agreement for the women to sign.
But the Texans, Browns and NFL at large have remained relatively silent on the matter:
The Texans did not respond to specific questions about Watson’s use of team resources. They said in a statement that they first learned of the allegations against him in March 2021, have cooperated with investigators and “will continue to do so.”
A spokesman for the Browns said the team had no immediate comment. An N.F.L. spokesman declined to comment, saying the Watson matter is under review.
Why it matters: Releasing a “no immediate comment” statement is a good way to placate press and the public while your organization conducts internal investigations and decides on a course of action. However, if you wait too long to say something of substance, you’ll risk coming off as disingenuous or seeming like your organization doesn’t care enough about the issue to address it.
New data from Signal AI reveals which media organizations have been the most active in publishing LGBTQ+-related content, as well as which topics are generating the most coverage.
In the last year, the publications with the most coverage of LGBTQ+ issues are Yahoo Finance USA, with 264 stories, the Associated Press (170) and the San Francisco Chronicle (138).
Additionally, the most-covered topics related to LGBTQ+ issues are belonging programs (like gay-straight alliance school programs or employee resource groups), regulatory changes, regulation, regulatory enforcement and fines and inequality.
It’s important for PR pros to review this kind of data in order to better pitch journalists. Looking for more advice on pitching? Here’s what journalists really want from PR pros.
Companies respond to claims of “shrinkflation”
What is “shrinkflation?”
According to the Associated Press, it’s the slimming-down and marking up of products, mostly food and drink, to accommodate for increased production costs during times of economic inflation.
“In the U.S., a small box of Kleenex now has 60 tissues; a few months ago, it had 65,” AP’s Dee-Ann Durbin writes. “Chobani Flips yogurts have shrunk from 5.3 ounces to 4.5 ounces. In the U.K., Nestle slimmed down its Nescafe Azera Americano coffee tins from 100 grams to 90 grams. In India, a bar of Vim dish soap has shrunk from 155 grams to 135 grams.”
And some companies are addressing the issue, while others remain silent.
According to AP, Folgers says the downsizing of its 51-oz. container to 43.5 ounces is due to new technology that results in lighter beans. PepsiCo acknowledges that its Gatorade bottles have slimmed down to 28 ounces from 32 ounces, but didn’t address why the 28-oz. bottle is more expensive.
Some companies are straightforward about the changes. In Japan, snack maker Calbee Inc. announced 10% weight reductions — and 10% price increases — for many of its products in May, including veggie chips and crispy edamame. The company blamed a sharp rise in the cost of raw materials.
Domino’s Pizza announced in January it was shrinking the size of its 10-piece chicken wings to eight pieces for the same $7.99 carryout price. Domino’s cited the rising cost of chicken.
Why it matters: Transparency is always a best PR practice, but there are often situations in which legal or business constraints call for silence on an issue. However, data from Morning Consult shows trust in corporations is down from this time last year; it may be time to re-think your organization’s transparency around rising prices and shrinking packaging.