Ogilvy’s angry staff, 7-Eleven’s brush with serendipity, and the ‘Cats’ trailer gets clawed

Plus, SEO failures and how PR pros can do better, Miss Michigan’s forced abdication, and Ernest Hemingway’s 120th birthday.

Good morning, PR pros:

 Universal Pictures’ “Cats” film trailer has sparked some purrs but mostly yowls.

Journalists and other viewers responded immediately with snark.

Refinery29’s headline read, “Questions the internet (& I) have about the ‘Cats’ trailer.” CNN’s headline read, “Why the ‘Cats’ trailer creeped us out.” BingePost couldn’t choose and wrote an article titled, “20 headlines we almost wrote concerning the ‘Cats’ trailer.”

Social media users’ response was just as negative, and the trailer has more than 202,000 downvotes on YouTube (compared with 83,000 upvotes).

The negativity isn’t a death knell for the mouser film, however. “An extreme response is catnip for a studio chasing audiences in the age of Netflix,” The Guardian reported.

How might you land on your feet after scathing criticism?

Here are today’s top stories:

Ogilvy employees outraged over controversial client

Buzzfeed recently published a transcript of a meeting between Ogilvy’s chief executive, John Seifert, and employees discussing the agency’s decision to retain as a client the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, especially as political and human rights issues fester.

Here’s what one employee had to say:

“So I think what I heard is that we’re willing to work with companies that have oil spills. We’re willing to work with companies that sell big tobacco. We’re willing to work with companies that contribute to obesity rates. And I guess, what I’m mostly hearing is that we’re willing to work with companies that are allowing children to die and that are running concentration camps.”

 Why you should care: The transcript underlines the crucial nature of employee advocacy and how an organization’s values are tied to it. In the meeting, another employee stated, “I’m not sure what our values are.” Make sure your employees know what your organization stands for.

 Related reading:


When is it appropriate to use parentheses? Should the word “while” be used as a synonym for “although”? Ragan’s Russell Working shares tips to help steer your writing in this final installment of our series on Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style,” marking its 100th anniversary.

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7-Eleven seizes the (birth)day for an eponymous goodwill gesture

Here’s a Big Gulp of serendipity for you.

At 7:11 p.m. Central time on July 11 (that’s 7/11, of course), J’Aime Brown was born—weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces. (Yes, we know.)

7-Eleven’s PR team jumped at the opportunity, welcoming the baby with a gift basket. But wait; there’s more. Soon after, the convenience store chain pledged $7,111 to Brown’s college fund.

Why it matters: Consumers love a feel-good story, so pounce when you see an opportunity that elevates your brand. Focus on the hero(es) of the story, not your marketing messages—a storytelling best practice.

 Related reading:


Communicators have work to do when it comes to search engine optimization.

A recent SEO report by Reboot looked at 30 top marketing agencies and revealed that 70% of agencies had a poor page speed, according to Google’s Page Speed Insights tool. More than half (63%) lacked internal links, and 57% had undesirable pages indexed by Google.

Other issues include thin content—or website pages with no content—and pages that were poorly optimized for keywords (52% and 47%, respectively).

Miss Michigan swiftly loses crown over tweets

Just one day after Kathy Zhu was given the title “Miss Michigan,” the Miss World America organization stripped it after finding “offensive, insensitive and inappropriate content” under her Twitter account.

Why you should care: The incident reveals the importance of vetting anyone you want to employ as a public face of your organization. As more brand managers turn to influencers and rising internet stars to make headlines, ample research is necessary to avoid controversy.

Related reading:


Many on social media celebrated writer Ernest Hemingway’s 120th birthday over the weekend.

The author’s terse, straightforward style has inspired generations of scribes—and even a writing app bearing his name.

Do you have a favorite writer who guides your prose style? Share your influencers @bekiweki with #MorningScoop.


It can be rough to jump into a long list of tasks after the weekend, but some news and emails can be as good as a cup of coffee (almost).

What gets you excited to hit “send?” Caption the GIF below under the hashtag #MorningScoop, and we’ll share the best in tomorrow’s Scoop.

(Image via)

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