Coca-Cola lays off 2,200 employees, Google responds to latest antitrust lawsuit, and PepsiCo builds buzz for new ‘Cocoa cola’

Also: Neflix’s year in review, Vice Media joins OnlyFans with ‘food porn,’ the NFL aims to invite frontline health care workers to the Super Bowl, and more.

Hello, communicators:

PepsiCo is creating a new “Cocoa” flavor, which it will debut next year. To build buzz for the beverage ahead of time, the company’s social media team asked Twitter followers to retweet the news at least 2,021 times:

The number was hit within a few hours and the tweet has amassed more than 4,100 retweets at time of publishing:

Building off that momentum, Pepsi’s team is continuing to tweet “hot takes and cold Pepsi” (or so it says in its Twitter bio).

Here are today’s top stories:

Coca-Cola cuts 2,200 jobs

 The beverage company’s layoffs will affect 1,200 in the United States—roughly 12% of its workforce—with 500 jobs eliminated at Coke’s Atlanta headquarters. The job cuts are a mix of voluntary buyouts and job cuts, racking up $350 million to $550 million in severance costs.

CNN Business reported:

The company announced plans to trim its workforce over the summer, when it said that it was offering buyouts to 4,000 workers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

It also said then that it plans to reduce its number of operating units from 17 businesses in four regions to nine operating units in those areas. Coca-Cola did not share on Thursday which specific units would be affected.

Business Insider reported:

The coronavirus pandemic has hammered Coke’s business, as sales at places like stadiums and movie theaters dried up due to lockdowns. Its revenue fell 9% year-on-year to $8.7 billion between July and September.

 Why it’s important: It’s crucial for corporate, internal, executive and employee communicators to consistently share information and updates with the members of their workforce, so that if layoffs and realignments must happen, employees are warned ahead of news headlines and supported as much as possible as they prepare for next steps. Both your employees as well as consumers are watching to see how brands handle communicating tough business decisions, which will affect reputation and brand image.


In an effort to grab positive press, the National Football League is working on plans to invite frontline health care workers who have received the COVID-19 vaccine to Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7, 2021.

In a memo to Rob Higgins, president of the Super Bowl host committee in Tampa, Florida, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the organization is “discussing with public health officials” how to complete the effort “in a safe and responsible way”:


In Netflix’s annual review, “What We Watched 2020,” the streaming service revealed the top “stories that helped us escape at home,” saying this year’s viewership trends reflects the “highs and lows” of the year.

Though people stayed at home this year, many sought to learn, connect and embrace other cultures. Netflix reported that foreign language content rose more than 50% and useers spent twice as much time watching reality TV and documentaries in 2020, compared with last year. Not surprisingly, “Tiger King” and “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez” claimed the top spots for docu-series.


Netflix users also watch twice as much romantic content this year, compared with 2019. “Love is Blind” remained on the platform’s “Top 10” list in the United States for 47 consecutive days after its February release, making it the second-longest run in the Top 10 for any Netflix title.

Searches for “home baking shows” rose nearly 50% in March 2020, too, with food and home improvement shows such as “Nailed It!,” “Million Dollar Beach House” and “Crazy Delicious” as some of Netflix’s most popular titles. That trend matched consumers’ internet searches and purchasing behaviors as baking and do-it-yourself projects became a focus for many.

Netflix captured its yearly snapshot with a colorful graphic:

Image courtesy of Netflix.

You can view the entire report here.


Looking for more insight on how to address the current global crisis and lead your organization into a strong recovery?


Join Ragan’s Crisis Leadership Network to connect and brainstorm with peers, get the latest intelligence and research and start to strategize for the future of your organization.

Learn more about this exclusive membership here.

Google hit with another antitrust lawsuit

 Almost 40 states filed suit against the technology giant, making it the third such suit that Google must address—and it did, swiftly after the lawsuit was filed.

The Washington Post reported:

In the latest legal salvo, Democratic and Republican attorneys general from 38 states and territories, led by Colorado and Nebraska, took aim at a broad swath of Google’s digital empire. They claim that Google has solidified its monopoly in search—capturing roughly 90 percent of all queries—through an array of anti-competitive tactics that have created a “moat around its kingdom.” Chief among them are the special deals that Google signs to ensure it is the default option on many Web browsers, smartphones and newer connected devices such as smart televisions and speakers.

In a blog post striking out against the allegations, Google’s director of economic policy, Adam Cohen, wrote:

Redesigning Google Search [the way argued in the lawsuit] would harm the quality of your search results. And it would come at the expense of businesses like retailers, restaurants, repair shops, airlines and hotels whose listings in Google help them get discovered, and connect directly with customers. They would have a harder time reaching new customers and competing against big commerce and travel platforms and other aggregators and middlemen.

The data shows that our local results in Search drive more than 4 billion direct connections for businesses every month (such as visits to businesses’ websites, people calling merchants, getting directions to stores, ordering food from restaurants).

Why it matters: As consumers become more concerned over organization’s data and privacy policies, governments and regulators have been more aggressively trying to shut down monopolies. Both sets of concerns will grow in 2021, and communicators should be both mindful and proactive about them within their efforts and campaigns.


Vice’s food brand, Munchies, has joined OnlyFans—a subscription-based social media platform in which fans pay content creators for exclusive and tailored content. The platform is also known for its racy content, which Vice is leaning into by offering an “intimate” look at food through special step-by-step recipes and content:

The company is charging $4.99 monthly for a subscription, and said it’ll add more of its verticals to the platform if the experiment is successful.

Many organizations will want to steer clear of OnlyFans, but Vice’s efforts showcase the possibilities when you’re willing to take risks with content strategies and social media engagement to reach new audiences.


We want to know about how PR agencies are building lasting, sustainable relationships with clients, what is working and what is rubbing both parties the wrong way. That’s why we’re partnering with The Institute for Public Relations on a new survey to learn more about the state of the agency/client relationship.


Please take this 10-minute survey here.


As you’re altering your holiday campaigns and searching for ways to engage consumers and employees during COVID-19, don’t forget the power of gifts. These can come in the form of interactive content and holiday sweepstakes for your social media followers or thoughtful gifts given by you or your entire organization to members of your workforce, partners, influencers and more.


Check out these gift ideas:


We asked how often you create and distribute press releases, and nearly 54% of you use them only as needed, while 22% publish them monthly or quarterly and more than 19% send weekly press releases. Under 5% write press releases on a daily basis:

Is there a question you’d like us to ask in an upcoming poll? Let us know!


What are your favorite films or TV shows depicting communicators?

Share your thoughts below or on Twitter using the #DailyScoop hashtag.


Editor’s note: Ragan Communications may earn a commission through our affiliate partnerships when purchasing items in our content.



One Response to “Coca-Cola lays off 2,200 employees, Google responds to latest antitrust lawsuit, and PepsiCo builds buzz for new ‘Cocoa cola’”

    Ronald N. Levy says:

    With Google we’ll see a thrilling PR battle.

    THE ACCUSATION: “Those bastards,” some politicians will say, are crushing competitors and depriving the public of benefits that more competition could give us.

    THE DEFENSE: Some top management executives may be tempted to defend only by arguing what they see as “the truth” that Google (a) got its bigness by earning it, and (b) is using the bigness to give the public benefits that smaller companies can’t give as well or at all.

    THE WINNER may partly be determined by a different truth, the truth that most Americans are tiny compared with Google, and little guys tend to favor other little guys. We love the story of little David killing Goliath.

    Fortunately for Google, it can be guided by $1,000-an-hour lawyers and PR executives to not lose the battle because just as David won with weaponry not only his bare hands, Google can win with PR weapons.

    If you are ever on a jury, you’ll go into the jury box not knowing whether the accused is guilty or not guilty. The public doesn’t know whether Google is guilty. But great defense lawyers and PR executives know that which side’s evidence the jury believes more will depend not just on the evidence but on how much the jury LIKES the defendant.

    In courts of law, it’s not just a problem of Black defendants that White jurors may be prejudiced. Prejudice can also be a problem of White employers or car drivers among jurors who are not White.

    Can corporate defendants actually DO anything so “little guy” jurors which most of us are will be sympathetic to “big guy” defendants? Yes. A well-advised company can do two things.

    .1. USE WHAT YOU HAVE. Kim White, perhaps the greatest Health PR executive who ever lived, always encourages (some would say “pushes”) her account group leaders to do double-duty programs. If you are doing marketing support, include in your media work information on public service work the company does. If you are doing financial PR, report not just on sales and earnings but also on jobs provided, taxes paid, colleges aided and perhaps even environmental protection.

    What good are you? That’s a question most people care about each company, and silence is not golden. An early first step in Protective PR is knowing what makes a company GOOD. In what ways is the product better than other products? How much each year does the company pay in taxes? There are actually some senior PR executives who don’t know or care but they are like doctors who look closely at blood tests and other tests but may not look closely enough at the patient.

    .2. USE WHAT YOU CREATE. Just as parents provide loving care for children, great PR executives find ways for the company to provide loving care for the public. What some in PR call CSR for “Corporate Social Responsibility” might better be called CSO for “Corporate Social Opportunity.” What can you do, besides the annual corporate donations, to make life better for important segments of the public and win goodwill from the public jury? Casting bread upon the waters can create more than wet bread.

    One PR activity that can bring a company enormous public affection is health protection. Can you back a health research program that helps protect the lives of 300 million Americans? Seven of the world’s top superstars of successful cancer research are in New York: Dr. Andrei Holodny (brain tumors); Dr. Clifford Hudis (breast cancer); Dr. Richard Steingart (cardiology); Dr. Nai-Kong Cheung (children’s cancer); and Drs. Paul Hamlin and Andrew Zelenetz (lymphoma).

    Will the jury like your company more if you help sponsor a research project by one of the medical superstars, and TV twice a year shows your president and the doctor announcing the latest progress? We don’t have to guess at how much interest the public has in health progress; we can Google it!

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