Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s has collaborated with Chance the Rapper on a new flavor that also aims to do some social good. A portion of the sales of “Mint Chocolate Chance” will benefit Chance the Rapper’s Chicago-based nonprofit, SocialWorks.
This is Ben & Jerry’s latest foray into retail activism—the company has become known for producing specialty ice cream flavors taking on everything from climate change to racial equality.
While Ben & Jerry’s mission remains unchanged, the addition of Chance the Rapper offers the brand an opportunity to make headlines with a well-worn brand story.
Here are today’s other top stories:
Federal appeals court allows Biden’s employer vaccine mandate to advance
A federal appeals court has approved President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for large employers (with 100 or more workers). Last week’s ruling reverses a previous decision that had halted the vaccine mandate set to go into effect Jan. 4.
In a statement, the White House doubled down on the president’s message about protecting workers: “Especially as the U.S. faces the highly transmissible Omicron variant, it’s critical we move forward with vaccination requirements and protections for workers with the urgency needed in this moment.”
The vaccine requirement would apply to companies with 100 or more employees and would cover about 84 million workers in the U.S. Employees who are not fully vaccinated would have to wear face masks and be subject to weekly COVID-19 tests. There would be exceptions, including for those who work outdoors or only at home.
The administration has estimated that the rule would save 6,500 lives and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations over six months. On Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor, which includes OSHA, said the 6th circuit’s ruling will allow the agency to implement “common-sense, science-based measures to keep workers safe and healthy during a deadly pandemic.”
Why it matters: While opponents of the vaccine mandate promised to appeal the decision, this latest news is a signal for communicators and employers to take preemptive action on vaccine rules with their workers. Even if the legal question of the mandate is unresolved in the near term, leaders can remove the uncertainty for employees by taking the initiative to require vaccines under their own authority—with the expectation that federal rules might soon follow.
By focusing on removing uncertainty and doubt for workers, employers can position a move toward a vaccine mandate as an effort to protect and serve stakeholders, even if the rule is still working through a lengthy legal process.
Morning Consult’s U.S. Economic Outlook for December 2021 shows more workers returned to the office in November compared with October.
Sixty-four percent of workers polled in November 2021 shared that they “leave home to work in an office or other workplace,” the second-highest share recorded since the beginning of the pandemic.
Despite these numbers, a recent uptick in cases and the looming threat of the omicron variant could prompt office closings—as well as personal decisions to work from home to mitigate risk.
Communicators should be prepared to rework messaging about workplace policies heading into the latest virus surge, with the knowledge that employees may be growing tired of the whipsawing between remote and in-person work.
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Forty-eight people have tested positive for COVID-19 aboard the world’s largest cruise ship, according to cruise operators.
Royal Caribbean, the company that operates the Symphony of the Seas, was quick to pass the blame for the outbreak in an email to passengers obtained by USA TODAY, claiming the first known case was found to be a passenger who had sailed on a cruise earlier in the month: “This guest did not report symptoms to our onboard medical teams as outlined in our health protocols. Their post cruise test results were subsequently confirmed as the omicron variant.”
The 48 cases on the recently disembarked cruise “were found as a result of immediately identifying close contacts after a guest tested positive,” [Lyan Sierra-Caro, spokesperson for Royal Caribbean] said, noting each person was quarantined quickly. “Everyone who tested positive is asymptomatic, and we continually monitored their health.”
Royal Caribbean was seemingly caught off-guard by the outbreak, even as the world faces new threats from the omicron variant and the lingering delta variant of COVID-19. As the world enters the third year of the pandemic, it’s important to have a solid crisis communications plan in place for virus-related emergencies—especially for companies who deal in hospitality and are at a higher risk for an outbreak.
Announcing the PR Daily Leadership Network
PR Daily is launching the PR Daily Leadership Network, a unique membership group from Ragan Communications offering peer-to-peer advisory and team training along with a unique slate of resources and events to help public relations professionals break through the noise, increase their visibility and forge meaningful connections.
The Network provides daily insights and coverage on a range of topics including media relations, social media, measurement, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, branding, thought leadership and crisis communications.
“The fast pace of change coupled with the demand on public relations professionals to protect and sometimes defend their company’s reputation make it imperative for leaders to tap into the wisdom of other communicators and continue to learn and grow,” says Diane Schwartz, CEO of Ragan Communications. “The PR Daily Leadership Network provides the answers but also encourages members to question the status quo and push for positive change.”
Visit leadership.prdaily.com to learn more.
Meta (formerly Facebook) voted worst company of the year
A new audience survey from Yahoo Finance found that people aren’t very happy with social media outfit Meta.
The company has faced a year of controversy, epitomized by the leak of the “Facebook Papers” by whistleblower Frances Haugen. Meta received 50% more votes than the runner-up, Alibaba, a Chinese ecommerce giant.
People hectored the platform for failing to police significant misinformation that in the view of critics contributed to people not taking the pandemic’s potential for death seriously (797,877 official deaths in the U.S. and counting). Facebook was also blamed for the rise of far-right extremism and “undermining democracy worldwide,” as one respondent put it.
Outside of the political conversation, many respondents were upset with the company’s effects on children and young people, citing its photo-sharing site Instagram and its effects on mental health, after internal documents revealed the company knew Instagram made teenage girls feel worse about body image issues but didn’t address the problem.
What it means: The survey is no surprise for those who have followed Meta’s many PR crises, dating back to the Cambridge Analytica scandal that marked the turn against the company. It’s another reminder of the true cost of brand reputation and public trust, sometimes nebulous company assets that PR pros can measure with numbers to make the business case for their work.
The survey is perhaps also confirmation that Meta’s attempt to change its name in the middle of a bad news cycle hasn’t enabled the company to leave its problems in the past. If anything, the new moniker has just raised questions about whether the company truly understands the problems and challenges it faces.