NYC requires proof of vaccination for indoor activities, SEO-friendly blog tips, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo responds to sexual harassment report
Also: Spicy Cheetos makes its debut as ice cream flavor, YouTube invests in creators, and Frontier Airlines suspends flight attendants who used duct tape to restrain an unruly passenger.
Marble Slab Creamery has announced a new Cheetos Flamin’ Hot ice cream and shake, a mashup of the brand’s sweet cream flavor with crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos scattered throughout. The limited-time flavor, a partnership between Frito-Lay and Marble Slab, will be available throughout the summer at Marble Slab locations across the country.
“Marble Slab Creamery and Cheetos have a lot in common. Our brands are both fun, witty, youthful and provide a playful release from reality, said Annica Conrad, Chief Marketing Officer for FAT Brands, QSR Division, the parent company of Marble Slab Creamery in a press release. “Our Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Ice Cream encourages you to not take life too seriously. Its unexpected, a bit surprising and a whole lot of delicious. What’s not to love?”
Courtesy of Marble Slab Creamery
“As a brand, Cheetos loves to work with partners who are as imaginative and playful as we are, and Marble Slab Creamery is a perfect fit,” added Jessica Spaulding, Cheetos head of marketing Jessica Spaulding.
As the recent Airheads chicken sandwich has proven, food brands aren’t afraid to concoct unexpected flavor fusions. This spicy ice cream campaign is different, however. By emphasizing the similarities between Marble Slab and Cheetos ’respective brand voices, the spokespeople almost convince your taste buds that this is an inspired pairing for true connoisseurs. But we will let you be the judge.
NYC mandates proof of vaccination for indoor activities
New York City (NYC) has announced that it will require employees and guests of all indoor businesses to provide proof of vaccination beginning Sept. 13, making it the first city to take such action. The “Key to NYC Pass” program will officially launch on Aug. 16, and city officials will collect feedback and conduct education sessions with local businesses in the weeks leading up to the program’s launch. Acceptable proof of vaccination will include vaccine cards, the city’s NYC COVID SAFE App or New York state’s Excelsior Pass.
“The Key to New York City. When you hear those words, I want you to imagine the notion that because someone’s vaccinated they can do all the amazing things that are available in this city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“But if you’re unvaccinated, unfortunately, you will not be able to participate in many things,” he added.
The announcement came one day after Equinox fitness clubs announced that it will require all members and employees in NYC to be vaccinated in order to access its locations, as well as its SoulCycle Studios.
“We have always made the health and safety of our communities our top priority, and we will continue to do so in partnership with infectious disease experts as well as local governments,” said Harvey Spevak, Equinox Group Executive Chairman and Managing Partner.
Last week restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which owns the popular Shake Shack franchise among others, announced that it would also require proof of vaccination.
“I’m not a scientist, but I know how to read data, and what I see is that this is a crisis of people who have not been vaccinated, and I feel strong responsibility, on our part as business leaders, to take care of our team and our guests, and that’s what we’re doing,” Meyer said.
Why it matters:
As Mayor de Blasio continues to encourage more NYC residents to get vaccinated, his messaging makes a point to emphasize communication with a federal agency as means of answering any questions around the legality of this program before those questions have a chance to even be asked. The timing of his announcement, coming one day after Equinox’s decision and one week after Union Square Hospitality Group’s, also highlights the importance of encouraging leadership to listen to fellow business partners.
The similarities between Equinox and Union Square’s language also serve as a reminder that the most effective leaders understand that there is nothing wrong with co-opting a strong idea from fellow leaders, and that mirroring the messaging of others creates clear, consistent communication that is more likely to resonate with audiences.
A new infographic from SEMRush offers tips on how you can write SEO-friendly blog posts more quickly, including conducting thorough keyword research by starting a month or two in advance and saving keywords that match what you want to rank for, listing the post’s sections in the H2 format, starting with the body of your story before writing the intro, making an SEO checklist and more. The infographic argues that these tips can help you come up with a 1,000-word article in under an hour.
These hacks emphasize how planning for SEO ahead of time can not only expedite your content creation and editing process, but also allow you to focus on writing and storytelling instead of worrying about the technical performance of your piece.
YouTube has launched a $100 million fund intended to reward creators using its new “YouTube Shorts” to scale its creators’ interest in short-video offering and compete with TikTok, which dominates the short-form video market. YouTube will invite thousands of eligible creators to claim a payment from the fund each month that ranges anywhere from $100 to $10,000 based on viewership and engagement.
YouTube has declined to share what exact viewership thresholds creators will be required to reach to earn payouts, claiming the thresholds will change month to month.
YouTube chief product officer Neil Mohan went on The Verge’s “Recode” podcast to speak about the reasoning behind The Shorts Fund and what the future of monetization looks like for creators on YouTube:
“I would just say that we look at the Shorts product through the lens of ‘simple, fast, easy, but powerful mobile creation.’ When you think about it through a mobile creation lens, there’s lots of pieces that might, at the highest level, seem similar. But then, when you scratch the surface, I think hopefully our users and our creators will start to see many of the things that make YouTube Shorts unique to YouTube.”
Responding to a question on TikTok’s advanced editing capabilities compared to Shorts:
“That’s an area where you can expect to continue to see us invest [and] where I also think we’re going to take our cues from our creators. One of the things that we’re already starting to see, in terms of feedback from our creators, is they really like the product, but they would like to see XYZ. Some of that might be around effects. Some of that might be around things like filters, editing, all those types of capabilities that you described. Like I said, I think that we have the makings of a really fun and powerful product there, but we’re by no means done. So, the answer in short is yes, we should be doing a lot more there.”
Mohan’s answers highlight the need for communicators to work with product and development teams to craft messaging that differentiates new products from those of its competitors, then train leaders on those talking points to put the emphasis on customer experience ahead of company goals. It also highlights the need to communicate with your partners, including influencers and creators, what insights and tips they need to be successful in the partnership.
TAKE OUR SURVEY
The Institute for Public Relations, Ragan Communications, and the University of Florida are conducting a follow-up survey to their 2020 report, “The Career Path of a Social Media Professional.”
This year’s survey investigates and illuminates the career path potential of social media professionals, shedding light on how social media is being managed, viewed and evaluated within organizations. Here are some highlights from our 2020 report.
We invite you to take this survey whether you’re in charge of social media for your company or are involved in some aspect of social media for a client. The survey should take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete, and all responses will remain confidential.
As thanks for taking the survey, you’ll get an opportunity to enter a drawing for three $50 gift cards and will receive a copy of the full report, which promises to be chock-full of valuable data for benchmarking and budgeting purposes. The report will be presented on Sept. 9, 2021 at Ragan’s Social Media Conference in Orlando, Florida and published through IPR and PR Daily.
Frontier Airlines has suspended flight attendants who restrained a drunk and unruly passenger to his seat with duct tape during a flight after a video captured by ABC reporter Sam Sweeny documenting the incident went viral online:
Frontier passenger allegedly touched 2 flight attendants breasts, then screamed his parents are worth $2 million, before punching a flight attendant. Frontier suspended the crew for duct taping the passenger to his seat as they landed in Miami. 22 yr old Max Berry is in custody. pic.twitter.com/4xS9Rwvafx
— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) August 3, 2021
Where is the line?@FlyFrontier relieved flight attendants after they restrained an unruly and physically abusive passenger.
Airline says suspension is “required in such circumstances” but Flight Attendant Union Pres. @FlyingWithSara says this is what makes FA’s feel unsafe. https://t.co/eNgITU8JaS pic.twitter.com/giyhMxJ8si
— errol barnett (@errolbarnett) August 3, 2021
Several considered the suspension of flight attendants as misdirected, tantamount to blaming the victim:
So frontier is punishing employees after two of them were sexually assaulted? Everywhere I look, victims are punished. We really are expected to just sit there and take it https://t.co/GRzO3gTfjT
— Wagatwe Wanjuki 🇰🇪 🇧🇸 (@wagatwe) August 3, 2021
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA union, immediately released a statement demanding that Frontier Airlines reverse course on suspending the crew:
If this is not immediately corrected @FlyFrontier, Flight Attendants may feel unsafe to come to work. Management has a legal duty to maintain a safe work environment for employees. #OurSafetyYourDuty https://t.co/NChl8gWmV1 pic.twitter.com/BW2lyWGfJg
— Sara Nelson (@FlyingWithSara) August 3, 2021
Soon after, Frontier Airlines reversed course with new messaging that put its crew members first, claiming they would be put on paid leave while the investigation continued:
New @FlyFrontier statement to @CBSNews:
“We are supporting the needs of these team members and are working w/ law enforcement to fully support the prosecution of the passenger… The inflight crew members’ current paid leave status is in line with an event of this nature…” pic.twitter.com/xUzp2UIuOu
— errol barnett (@errolbarnett) August 3, 2021
Frontier Airlines’ backpedaling emphasizes the need to always consult industry experts, including trade groups and unions, before rushing to respond in a crisis. The failure to fold in key industry groups can create hiccups that undermine your culture and cause lasting reputational damage.
RAGAN’S 2021 BENCHMARK REPORT
Ragan has released its annual Communications Benchmark Report, an exclusive study from Ragan’s Communications Leadership Council that analyzes the major trends in the profession over the last year.
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NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo responds to independent sexual harassment report
The top executive for the New York state responded to a lengthy report released by the state Attorney General’s Office that summarized its findings following an independent investigation. The report determined that Cuomo has sexually harassed at least 11 women and created a toxic workplace environment:
“I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” Cuomo said. “I am 63 years old. I’ve lived my entire adult life in public view. That is just not who I am.”
“Politics and bias are interwoven throughout every aspect of this investigation,” Cuomo said. “One would be naive to think otherwise, and New Yorkers are not naive.”
But Cuomo also said that he understood that he had behaved toward some women in a way that made them feel uncomfortable. In one case, he noted, The New York Times had run a photo on its front page of him holding a woman’s face as she grimaced. That woman took offense at his gesture, which Cuomo claimed was “meant to convey warmth, nothing more.”
“For that, I apologize,” said Cuomo. “I now understand that there are generational or cultural perspectives that frankly I hadn’t fully appreciated, and I have learned from this.”
Cuomo’s claims that the decision is politically motivated are being challenged by Cuomo’s longtime colleagues, including President Biden and the Democratic Governors of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Rhode Island, all of whom called for his resignation following the publication of the report:
BREAKING: Pres. Biden calls on New York Gov. Cuomo to resign from office: "I think he should resign." pic.twitter.com/E2UJmrZdkZ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 3, 2021
Rare joint statement from Governors of NJ, PA, CT, RI: “Governor Cuomo should resign from office.” pic.twitter.com/KbWAhxmmS3
— Gary Grumbach (@GaryGrumbach) August 3, 2021
A past tweet of Cuomo’s from 2013 that suggests he holds a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment has also been widely recirculated:
There should be a zero tolerance policy when it comes to sexual harassment & must send a clear message that this behavior is not tolerated.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 17, 2013
What it means:
Cuomo’s bizarre defense, which included a slideshow of the governor hugging and kissing several world leaders, serves as a reminder that it is your job as a communicator to step in and urge restraint during times when crisis-laden leaders are better off saying nothing at all or speaking through legal counsel.
Considering NYC’s new vaccination requirements for indoor activities, have you and your leadership discussed requiring employees to show proof of vaccination before returning your workplace, PR pros and communicators?
Considering NYC’s unprecedented vaccination requirements for indoor activities, have you and your leadership discussed requiring employees to show proof of vaccination before returning your workplace, PR pros and communicators? #DailyScoop
— PR Daily (@PRDaily) August 4, 2021
Is there a question you’d like to see asked? Let us know using the hashtag #DailyScoop!
Accusation PR could become a specialty—like Washington PR, Travel PR, Food PR and other specialties—with pay enormous for PR people skilled at triumphing for the defense.
Just as Cuomo and other political leaders have been accused, so have hundreds of companies. Just as PR Daily columns and courses have provided expert guidance on ways to win, so have PR leaders like the two savvy warriors at Omnicom who had the nerve to counsel in PR Daily that at the core of successful PR is TRUTH. Not slogans, not contacts, not even hard work alone but truth!
What we may realize from the Cuomo accusations—and I am not admittedly for nor against Cuomo although I usually prefer defending—is that following an accusation it may be safer and more appealing for public figures to be against the accused than to be for or even indecisive. One way you’re opposed to an alleged bad guy and the other way—even if you only say there should be a presumption of innocence–you may seem to favor the accused.
Accusation PR has emerging principles like the PR Principle of Primacy:
The side that comes first (commonly the accuser) tends to be believed more, and defenders are believed less because the public has already been partly convinced by the accuser.
A big menace in Accusation PR is often not just the accusers but an accused company’s CEO who gets mad as hell, then says something unwise and possibly even untrue (which opponents jump on). But lawyers inhibit expressions of executive stupidity and so can PR leaders.
You can add to your Accusation PR knowledge and skills (perhaps most profitably) by reading all the PR Daily reports under “Crisis” at the top of page one, and by taking PR Daily courses on Crisis PR. Your benefit from the courses can be huge if PR Daily bosses get the good sense to award some diplomas with honors—cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa—and do what colleges do: encourage teachers to provide letters of recommendation for outstandingly gifted students.
A top company can make it MUCH more unlikely to be accused if it donates a building or a ton of money to what could win love from 200 million Americans:
research to find a cancer vaccine at the Dr. Zelenetz medical research team of America’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Nobody wants government to attack companies that are protecting our lives!
Accuse the accusers! Use PR techniques so you come of an accusation not only okay but as repeatedly possible, ahead! There’s a LOT more to know–ideas to help bring in successes. One can learn to project one’s career aspirations by learning to protect one’s corporate ass.