Juul seeks to ‘reset’ after $40M settlement, U.S. fears of job loss to automation decrease, and Facebook antitrust lawsuit is dismissed

Also: Dominos partners with DraftKings, Google adds context to search, and Toyota responds to donation scandal.

Hello, communicators:

As supply chain issues have caused shortages for some fast food chains, Dominos Pizza has been working to make its delivery time even shorter, launching a new campaign that guarantees pizza delivery to your car in two minutes or your order is free. As part of the campaign, Dominos has partnered with fantasy sports betting company DraftKings to offer the “Domino’s Carside Delivery 2-Minute Guarantee Over/Under Challenge,” which gives customers the chance to predict their delivery time for a chance to win $200,000.

“While Domino’s is no stranger to guarantees, this is the first time DraftKings has created a betting pool based on a company’s performance,” Art D’Elia, Domino’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer said in a press release. “We want to make every delivery to customers’ cars an easy and fast experience, and if we don’t, we’re going to make it right. As a company that prides itself on transparency, and to show how much we believe in our franchisees and stores across the country, we’re giving customers the opportunity to predict how we’ll do and have a little fun, for free!”

This Dominos and DraftKings promotion serves is an example of how to work with partners to bring a little joy and excitement to consumers as the country continues to reopen post-pandemic. A gamified contest can also be an opportunity to begin a conversation around your brand values.

Juul attempts to turn the page after its legal settlement

E-cigarette company Juul Labs has reached a $40 million settlement with North Carolina over a lawsuit claiming that the company’s marketing practices encouraged a wide number underage kids to develop nicotine addictions. The lawsuit is the first of many against Juul to be settled, and others pending in California, Massachusetts, New York and D.C. make similar claims about the company’s marketing that critics claim targeted kids.

According to its statement:

“This settlement is consistent with our ongoing effort to reset our company and its relationship with our stakeholders, as we continue to combat underage usage and advance the opportunity for harm reduction for adult smokers. Importantly, we look forward to working with Attorney General Stein and other manufacturers on the development of potential industrywide marketing practices based on science and evidence. In addition, we support the Attorney General’s desire to deploy funds to generate appropriate science to support North Carolina’s public health interventions to reduce underage use.

“We seek to continue to earn trust through action. Over the past two years, for example, we ceased the distribution of our non-tobacco, non-menthol flavored products in advance of FDA guidance and halted all mass market product advertising. This settlement is another step in that direction.”

What it means:

A statement about a settlement can go a long way toward reputational repair when the message isn’t strictly a defense or a deflection of wrongdoing. Partner with your legal counsel to vet past statements and determine what level of apology and commitment is safe to make with an emphasis on striking the balance between coming off as actionable and genuine without overpromising specific changes that might not be seen through to fruition.


MEASURED THOUGHTS

A new study by Morning Consult has found that American adults are less skeptical about the rise of automation and associated tech decreasing job opportunities in the U.S. workforce, with 48% of respondents claiming automation would lead to a decrease in job opportunities in 2021 compared to 59% in 2018.

Courtesy of Morning Consult

Consider the cultural impact of each automated tool that you implement in your business and be sure to communicate that impact, both to your workforce and external stakeholders. Listen to feedback from employees, customers and audiences around how your company’s automated efforts are impacting their experiences and provide that feedback to your operations team to ensure that the tools are being properly utilized and adding value.

Check out the full data here.


TECH TALK

Google is testing a new feature in its search engine that will alert people when their search terms yield unreliable results. The new prompt will let users know that the results for their search are changing quickly, as new information comes to light.

Recode reports:

“When anybody does a search on Google, we’re trying to show you the most relevant, reliable information we can,” said Danny Sullivan, a public liaison for Google Search. “But we get a lot of things that are entirely new.” Sullivan said the notice isn’t saying that what you’re seeing in search results is right or wrong—but that it’s a changing situation, and more information may come out later.

Google’s approach to moderating mis/disinformation serves as a reminder that context can be used to combat rumor and supposition without involving a direct judgement of whether a piece of incomplete information is true or false. Consider tackling misinformation about your brand or organization with context and education, sharing trusted sources rather than impugning an  impassioned detractor.


RAGAN’S DISNEY CHARACTER CONTEST  

Which Disney character best resembles your work life? Are you like Moana, who chooses not to blindly follow tradition and instead live independently? Maybe you’re more like Belle, whose voracious appetite for reading is overshadowed by other people’s assumptions about her? Or Raya, trying to save the world alone before realizing she needs the help of others?

Ragan has announced a reader contest to find out who your Disney double is (yes, Star Wars and Marvel characters count). One winner will be selected to win a free night at Walt Disney World’s Swan & Dolphin Resort during our upcoming Social Media Conference for PR, Marketing and Communications Professionals Sept. 9-10.

E-mail us at submissions@ragan.com with your name, title, Disney character, and photo of yourself (optional) by July 12.

The winner will be announced the week of July 19 on PR Daily, where we will run all the entries we receive. We could all use a little levity in our day, so share away!


CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS

Toyota has come under fire after Axios reported that the auto manufacturer is the leading contributor by a wide margin to politicians who objected to the certification of the 2020 elections.

Axios reports:

We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification,” a Toyota spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Axios.

“Based on our thorough review, we decided against giving to some members who, through their statements and actions, undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions.”

The spokesperson did not respond to a follow-up about the specific threshold for statements that cross that line.

The group that released the initial report quickly pointed out the glaring inconsistency in Toyota’s statement:

https://twitter.com/CREWcrew/status/1409663123859021827

News of Toyota’s donations soon trended on Twitter, where users poked more holes in its crisis response:

Others reminded the auto manufacturer that this news could damage its bottom line:

And then there were the jokes:

Toyota’s gaffe serves as a reminder of how brand trust drives spending habits. Audiences and consumers vote for the companies that they trust with their wallets. In a polarized age, it should be assumed that all corporate donations will eventually be disclosed to the public, especially high-profile companies.

Partner with your finance teams now to conduct an audit to uncover any donations or investments that could signal a problem for your brand reputation and craft holding statements that reinforce your brand values and are ready to release in the event that those financial transactions are made public.


COMMUNICATIONS WEEK

Ragan is delighted to add industry event and thought leadership brand Communications Week to our portfolio. You can read the full press release here.

“We are reimagining Communications Week as a year-round endeavor,” says Ragan Communications CEO Diane Schwartz. “The rollout will begin next month with thought-provoking content on the future of communications on Commsweek.com, Ragan.com and PRDaily.com, culminating with a weeklong series in November that will feature conferences, networking events, workshops, webinars and more.”

via GIPHY

The flagship event for 2021 will take place Nov. 15-19. Stay tuned for updates on the many opportunities and offerings that will help communicators connect, learn and celebrate their achievements later this year.

Facebook responds to dismissed FTC antitrust lawsuit

A federal judge has thrown out lawsuits against Facebook filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and over 40 states, claiming that prosecutors didn’t provide enough facts to suggest that Facebook had a social media monopoly and that states waited too long to file their claims.

The New York Times reports:

Christopher Sgro, a spokesman for Facebook, said: “We are pleased that today’s decisions recognize the defects in the government complaints filed against Facebook. We compete fairly every day to earn people’s time and attention and will continue to deliver great products for the people and businesses that use our services.”

Judge Boasberg, who was appointed to his current post by President Barack Obama, said the F.T.C. did not sufficiently prove that Facebook was a monopoly. He said the agency’s definition for social media was too vague, and in a reference to an interpretation of antitrust law prevalent in courts that is anchored in consumer prices, he noted that the product was free.

After news of the decision broke, Facebook’s stock went up as the social network became a trillion-dollar company for the first time:

Why it Matters:

While this decision comes strikes a blow to regulators seeking to rein in big tech companies, Judge Boasberg’s feedback for the FTC also serves as a reminder to write with your intended audience in mind, tailoring your language to meet theirs and the way that they communicate.

Notice that Facebook’s statement doesn’t poke holes in the FTC’s larger accusations of monopolization so much as attack the regulatory agency’s approach and messaging (“the defects in the government complaints”). Just as a lawsuit must make its claims within the strict legal definitions of what each term means, you should craft messaging that doesn’t require your audiences to have any past context or information to understand the points that you are trying to convey.


SOUNDING BOARD

Do you use any automated tools or tech to streamline your communications efforts, PR pros and communicators?

Let us know what automated solutions you use for your reporting, pitching, media relations, employee engagement and more by tagging #DailyScoop!

COMMENT

3 Responses to “Juul seeks to ‘reset’ after $40M settlement, U.S. fears of job loss to automation decrease, and Facebook antitrust lawsuit is dismissed”

    Ronald N Levy says:

    The Toyota story above shows the reality, and Philip Morris International can learn from this, that a company is judged partly by how it spends money.

    Since Toyota has been the leading contributor to politicians who objected to certification of 2020 elections, many people may judge (and it’s not a crazy idea) that Toyota may favor what the politicians it supports favor.

    If Philip Morris International donates perhaps $250 million or even $100 million to find a CANCER VACCINE, PMI will be seen correctly as strongly opposing cancer.

    At America’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a big medical research team under Dr. Andrew Zelenetz is world famous. If PMI’s Dr. Moira Gilchrist is seen on TV worldwide next to Dr. Andrew Zelenetz announcing a $250 million program to find a cancer vaccine, not only will 100 million Americans be grateful to PMI but some of those millions may PRAY for PMI.

    Worldwide PMI could gain over a billion fans which could mean more sales of JUUL and less fines like the $40 million settlement with North Carolina reported today on page one of New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

    Many corporate executives discuss “what should we say to sound good,” and some corporate executives with good PR guidance think “what should we do to BE good.” PR wisdom is that good behavior tends to get good results.

    Ronald N Levy says:

    The power of prayer may influence not only the Almighty but also the mighty in Washington and state capitals. Edelman, Burson, Ruder Finn or whoever Philip Morris is using these days can easily line up top preachers nationally to praise PMI with deep sincerity for helping to protect the public by hunting for a cancer vaccine.

    Lymphoma (a specialty of Dr. Zelenetz) afflicts Blacks twice as much as others. Breast cancer afflicts women almost entirely, prostate cancer afflicts men only, and skin cancer hits even children and young adults. So well-deserved praise from preachers could influence not only legislators and government enforcers but also hundreds of millions of average Americans who’d be protected by the hunt for a cancer vaccine.

    A vaccine hunt would give scientists from PMI and Memorial Sloan Kettering a chance to do quarterly progress briefings—including expert tips on how to avoid cancer and how to spot it early enough to medically defeat it—that get massive worldwide media coverage.

    We can judge the power of “participatory PR,” a project in which the company and the public participate jointly in seeking a common objective. In this case the joint objective would be less cancer thanks to whatever cancer vaccine is eventually developed plus even before then switching smokers from smoking to JUUL.

    Participatory PR could save many lives and save PMI a lot of grief, adding
    longevity for the public and earnings for PMI (plus hopefully happiness and money for the visionary PR types who counsel and execute this project).

    Ronald N Levy says:

    Blacks will benefit especially, we can see online, if people switch from tobacco to JUUL: “Lung cancer incidence in the U.S. is characterized by significant racial disparities, with African American men having bout 50% higher incidence than whites.”

PR Daily News Feed

Sign up to receive the latest articles from PR Daily directly in your inbox.