Guinness asks consumers to ‘raise each other up,’ LVMH and distilleries offer hand sanitizer, and YouTube cracks down on misinformation

Also: Telecom companies offer free Wi-Fi and data, Microsoft’s Bing offers an interactive map of the outbreak, how to boost cybersecurity for remote workers, and more.


Good morning, PR pros:

 St. Patrick’s Day has a more somber mood as celebrations shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Guinness released an uplifiting message for the holiday:

“When you raise a pint of Guinness, also remember to raise each other up,” Guinness said in its video, also reminding consumers that it “wasn’t going anywhere.”

The message can serve as an example of how to tailor your PR and marketing messages in ways that resonate, inoffensively, during a crisis. The organization is also donating $500,000 through its fund “to help the communities where we live, work and celebrate.”

Here are today’s top stories:

 Distilleries and LVMH offer hand sanitizer

 LVMH, the parent company of designers such as Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Christian Dior, announced it would use its French production facilities to produce sanitizer gel. The company will distribute the sanitizer free of charge to hospitals and health authorities across France.

In the U.S., distilleries including Atlanta’s Old Routh Distillery and Portland’s Shine Distillery are also making and distributing hand sanitizer for free within their communities:

Why it matters: Brainstorm how your organization can help your customers and community, and use social media to get the word out—whether you’re offering a virtual tool or are matching donations to help a nonprofit currently struggling to respond to the current crisis. These actions can increase goodwill among both employees and consumers, and bolster your reputation.


Microsoft’s Bing team created an interactive map that gives people an easy and visual way to observe the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Image courtesy of Bing.

 The map continually updates with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and other sources. Visitors can click on a region on the map or in the sidebar to receive more detailed information on the current number of reported active COVID-19 cases, along with the numbers of people who have recovered and those who have died.

Bing’s map also offers news articles curated for the selected region.

Image courtesy of Bing.

Perhaps Microsoft’s tool can inspire competitor Google, which is scrambling to release a website with COVID-19 information after President Donald J. Trump announced the the tech giant was planning a national resource to help people determine if they should get tested (Google wasn’t planning a nation-wide rollout).

YouTube fights misinformation

 The social media platform is continuing to crack down on COVID-19 content to stop the spread of misinformation, and it warned content creators that more videos might be pulled as its automated systems could flag content that doesn’t end up violating the platform’s community guidelines.

 In a blog post to its creators, YouTube wrote:

As we do this, users and creators may see increased video removals, including some videos that may not violate policies. We won’t issue strikes on this content except in cases where we have high confidence that it’s violative. If creators think that their content was removed in error, they can appeal the decision and our teams will take a look. However, note that our workforce precautions will also result in delayed appeal reviews. We’ll also be more cautious about what content gets promoted, including livestreams. In some cases, unreviewed content may not be available via search, on the homepage, or in recommendations.

All eligible creators will still be able to monetize videos and this does not change the updates on monetization of coronavirus-related videos we shared last week. And we’ll continue to enforce our policies regarding coronavirus content, including removing videos that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim harmful substances have health benefits.

The warning follows a policy change enabling YouTubers to monetize videos related to the pandemic.

TechCrunch reported:

YouTube last week had said it would allow creators to monetize their videos about the novel coronavirus. Previously, those videos were a part of its advertising guidelines’ policy that prevented monetization of videos about “sensitive events” — like mass shootings, natural disasters or, until now, health crises. YouTube’s original policy was written to protect advertisers from having their brands next to exploitative videos that were capitalizing on some sort of human tragedy for views. But YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said the company chose to re-open monetization on coronavirus videos because the topic was now an important part of everyday conversation — not a short-term event of a significant magnitude.

Why it’s important: Social media platforms aren’t the only organizations fighting against misinformation regarding COVID-19, and communicators must balance the necessity for information and conversation with rules and procedures that cut down on fake news and fearmongering.


As more offices embrace remote work in response to the COVID-19 crisis, some experts warn that businesses and communicators should prepare for heightened cybersecurity threats.

Kaylin Trychon with Rokk Solutions shares how communicators can tackle and advocate for better cyber hygiene with their remote workforce.

Top tips include:

  • Embrace multifactor authentication.
  • Don’t link home and work devices.
  • Secure home internet connections.

To learn more, read the full article.


The COVID-19 crisis offers communicators an important opportunity to show their value.

One way to help your company is to become a brand journalist and start telling the many stories that are being generated by employees and stakeholders in response to these current challenges.

Ragan Consulting Group’s Jim Ylisela goes over the many strategies he recommends to help your organization navigate the crisis with aplomb, from media relations and internal communications to crisis management.

See all his recommendations here.

Comcast, Charter Communications and Mint Mobile

As more people stay indoors in an effort to stop the outbreak’s spread, telecom companies are making concessions on internet and data services.

Charter Communications is giving students free access to its Specturm Broadband and Wi-Fi:

Comcast is waving customers’ late fees and offering its Xfinity Wi-Fi and data for free:

Mint Mobile is offering customers free high-speed data packages:

Why you should care: Along with giving back to your employees, consumers and community, look for ways you can turn your in-person offerings into virtual connections. That could mean publishing blog posts with ideas to combat feelings of isolation and boredom while staying inside or transforming classes and meetings into livestreams.


In an effort to help people remain healthy while staying in their homes, Planet Fitness is offering free online workout classes through Facebook Live:

United we move! On Monday, tune in to Facebook Live for FREE at-home workouts for everyone to stay active and stress free.

Posted by Planet Fitness on Sunday, March 15, 2020

USA Today reported:

“Our daily routines have changed in unexpected ways, and we know that people may not be able to get to the gym. That’s why we’re offering a free, daily virtual fitness class for everyone on Planet Fitness’ Facebook page from Monday through Friday,” said Jeremy Tucker, chief marketing officer of Planet Fitness, in a statement to USA TODAY.

The livestreams, which will take place every day at 7 p.m. Eastern time on the gym chain’s Facebook page, can also be watched following the session.

Home Work-Ins

Starting Monday, tune in to Facebook Live for FREE at-home workouts for anyone and everyone. Get moving with our trainers and even some surprise celebrity guests for a 20 minute workout to relieve stress and stay healthy. Let’s workout through this. United We Move.

Posted by Planet Fitness on Monday, March 16, 2020


 We asked what you think about the plethora of emails and messages from organizations in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and nearly 45% said you only want to hear from health care authorities and organizations. Roughly 28% said every organization should send messages outlining what they’re doing in light of the crisis, but almost 23% of you said you don’t want to receive any emails at all.

Your mixed responses highlight the necessity of crafting messages for targeted audiences across channels and formats, but also might make you reconsider whether to hold your upcoming email push.

Hinda Mitchell, president of Inspire PR Group, said short bursts of information, combined with a focus on engagement, can help combat COVID-19 messaging fatigue:


 What’s your biggest challenge with working from home?

Weigh in below and share what your virtual office looks like under the #DailyScoop hashtag. (Yes, we’ve rebranded the Scoop!)



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