McDonald’s takes hit on chief’s ouster, National Sandwich Day marketing messages, and Blizzard’s apology to fans

Also: Influencer marketing’s effectiveness by generation, Arby’s pop-up sandwich store, Airbnb responds after tragic house party deaths, and more.

Good morning, PR pros:

McDonald’s ousted its former chief executive, Steve Easterbrook, for having a relationship with an employee. The fast-food chain named Chris Kempszinski as its new president and chief executive.

In its press release, McDonald’s wrote only one sentence about Easterbrook’s departure:

Kempczinski succeeds Steve Easterbrook, who has separated from the Company following the Board’s determination that he violated company policy and demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee.

Easterbrook elaborated, CNBC reported:

“This was a mistake,” Easterbrook wrote in an email to employees. “Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on.”

What do you think of the way McDonald’s handled its executive shakeup? Share with us your thoughts under the #MorningScoop hashtag.

Here are today’s top stories:

Marketers serve up tweets on #NationalSandwichDay

On Sunday, Popeyes took the opportunity to remind consumers that its chicken sandwich was back in time for National Sandwich Day—and several other chains clucked similar messages:

Jimmy John’s also played off the viral sandwich’s fame with its tweet:

Marketers who weren’t crowing about chicken took to Twitter to showcase examples of sandwiches within their brands. These included Historic Environment Scotland, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Pixar, JetBlue, Kikkoman, “The Simpsons” and more.

Why it matters: A “holiday” is an opportune time to stretch your humorous content skills (provided it fits with your brand voice) and find creative ways to take part in the conversation. Don’t overstretch, however. Though some might argue that a hot dog is a sandwich, not all organizations can logically create a tie-in. Also, don’t make Chick-fil-A’s mistake and forget an elemental brand tenet—it’s closed on Sundays.

Related reading:


MEASURED THOUGHTS

Influencer marketing continues to be a popular (and effective) strategy in communicators’ campaigns, but a survey by Influence.co revealed that authenticity is crucial for influencers to maintain relationships with their community members.

Three in five consumers overall (61%) think social media influencers should thoroughly research the products or services they share. That number increases with both millennial consumers (63%) and Baby Boomers (73%).

Image courtesy of Influence.co.

 Roughly the same average number of consumers (62%) think it’s unethical for influencers to promote products and services they don’t use themselves. That number increases among women (70%) and with Gen X (68%) as well as Baby Boomers (75%).

Image courtesy of Influence.co.

 Blizzard seeks to smooth over player ban

 The gaming company’s president, J. Allen Brack, opened BlizzCon 2019 by issuing an apology following Blizzard’s suspension of e-sports gamer Ng Wai and two casters over pro-Hong Kong statements made during a broadcast:

In his address, Brack said:

When I think about what I’m most unhappy about, there’s really two things: The first one is that we didn’t live up to the high standards that we set for ourselves. And the second is that we failed in our purpose. And for that, I am sorry, and I accept accountability.

… As you walk around this weekend, I hope it’s clear how committed we are for everyone’s right to express themselves in all kinds of ways and all kinds of places.

However, many criticized his statements because Blizzard refused to repeal the suspensions. In an interview with PCGamer, Brack said that when it comes to the company’s official broadcasts, rules apply:

We want the official broadcasts, which are a small percentage of the overall content that gets created, to be about the games. And we want those to be focused on the games. Again, it’s not about the content of Blitzchung’s message. It’s about the fact that it was not around the games. If we hadn’t taken action, if we hadn’t done something, you can imagine the trail that would be in our future around doing interviews. They would become times for people to make a statement about whatever they wanted to, on whatever issue. That’s just a path that we don’t want to go down. We really want the content of those official broadcasts to be focused on the games, and keep that focus.

Why you should care: If you want employees, brand ambassadors, influencers and other users of your products and services to adhere to certain social media policies, make sure you clearly tell them what those policies are ahead of time. When apologizing, make sure your actions align with your words. Though Brack took responsibility for the incident—a positive aspect of his mea culpa—the fact that it took so long for the statement to come and the lack of the policy explanation made the entire effort fall flat for many of Blizzard’s fans.

 Related reading:


TACTICALLY SPEAKING

Similar to other fast-food chains, including Wendy’s and KFC, Arby’s is opening “LaDainian Tomlinson’s Arby’s Steakhouse”—a faux gourmet dining experience—to promote its new “Petite Filet” sandwiches.

The restaurant opens marketing stunt takes place Nov. 7. The former National Football League star will sign autographs, and you can enjoy the sandwiches with plastic cutlery and linen napkins, while sipping Powerade out of a wine glass. It might not be the height of sophisticated dining, but it’s the oddball sort of campaign that matches Arby’s brand voice and its social media team’s sense of humor.

Airbnb bans ‘party houses’ after deaths

 The company announced that it was implementing measures to stop parties in hosts’ rental properties after a Halloween party shooting in Northern California killed five people and wounded several others. Airbnb’s co-founder, chief executive and head of community, Brian Chesky, tweeted a thread that ended by saying the company “must do better, and we will”:

Why it matters: When a crisis hits, act quickly and outline the steps you’ll take to rectify the problem. Chesky clearly did that in his tweets, and he even gave a date for the changes to be implemented.

Related reading:


WHAT YOU SAID

We recently shared a humorous font-based alignment chart and asked you to weigh in on the typeface you despise.

Tressa Robbins, client onboarding and implementation vice president at Burrelles, said she has an almost allergic reaction to Papyrus:

Communications pro Kamreshan Moonsamy said he’s trying to avoid Century Gothic, and communicator Meagan Parisian said she sees too much Comic Sans (the thought of which might make you shudder):


SOUNDING BOARD

How important is creating your personal brand for today’s PR pro? Offer your insights with our hashtag #MorningScoop.

Share your thoughts under the #MorningScoop hashtag.

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COMMENT

No Responses to “McDonald’s takes hit on chief’s ouster, National Sandwich Day marketing messages, and Blizzard’s apology to fans”

    Ronald N. Levy says:

    It’s PR. He’s been fired not for failing to do a great job but in the hope of keeping or gaining public popularity.

    It may be a triumph of PR wisdom that Easterbrook got a lavish and quiet settlement from the board in return for his not suing on the grounds of discrimination. Can you imagine if he had claimed in court and on TV that a company has no right to make rules about who a man marries, who he has a relationship with or anything else about his sex life?

    One can imagine chanting and whistle-blowing activists picketing McDonald’s that a public company has no say over private lives. We can picture a picket with a sign for “EQUAL RIGHTS NOW!” appealing to a TV reporter that in America, anyone should have as much right to date a McDonald’s employee as one from Burger King, Wendy’s or even a vegan group.

    Thanks to his settlement, perhaps a product of corporate PR wisdom, Mr. Easterbrook may not have to live on hamburgers.