Oscars makes history with ‘Parasite’ win, traits of top digital PR leaders, and Instagram helps users hone feeds

Also: Nvida, Amazon and Sony pull out of Mobile World Congress event amid coronavirus fears, Chipotle offers free guacamole, Justin Bieber and Quavo rack up donations, and more.

Good morning, PR pros:

 The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made history Sunday when it awarded Kwak Sin Ae, Bong Joon Ho and their colleagues the “Best Picture” award for “Parasite.” It’s the first film not in the English language to receive the honor:

The Academy, which has been battling criticism over its lack of diversity among nominees and winners in recent years, was lauded for the decision, though several complained the Academy cut short the teams’ acceptance speeches:

Here are today’s top stories:

Nvidia, Amazon, Sony bail out of mobile event citing coronavirus concerns

Though Nvidia is a main sponsor of Mobile World Congress, which begins on Feb. 24 in Barcelona, Spain, the company’s employees won’t attend the event amid the continuing coronavirus outbreak. Nvidia’s decision follows similar withdrawals from Ericsson and LG.

Amazon and Sony also pulled out of the event, with Sony declaring it would place “the utmost importance on the safety and well-being of our customers, partners, media and employees.”

The company’s actions are just the latest in a string of store closings and emergency messages to global employees working at and with organizations in China. Many organizations have directed their workforce to work from home or avoid traveling to offices located in mainland China, as others (such as Starbucks and KFC) have temporarily closed locations.

Why it matters: Unexpected crises can quickly send communicators scrambling, but as you seek to respond quickly and transparently, remain flexible. This goes for your messages,campaigns and strategies. Communication plans succeed with careful planning, as well as the ability to pivot when necessary. Whether it’s restructuring your employees’ workflow or temporarily shutting down operations while getting ahead of the narrative with proactive messaging, help your colleagues and executives adapt to changing situations as they arise. You can help them prepare through crisis exercises and drills.


Digital PR leaders are energetic, assertive, adventurous, smart and ambitious, according to IBM’s Watson. The computer revealed the insights through its Personality Insights API in a recent BuzzStream and Fractl report.

Image courtesy of BuzzStream.

Traits such as “energetic” were linked to “fast-paced and busy lives”—something to which many PR pros can relate. “Adventurousness” was linked to the risks that communicators must take to stand out in headlines and grab wins for their organizations and clients.

The report also broke down the personalities of top digital PR pro leaders, including Spin Sucks’ Gini Dietrich, Brian Solis and IBM’s Brandi Boatner. PR Daily also was represented, at No. 8, in the results:

Image courtesy of BuzzStream.

  Chipotle dishes up guacamole to loyal customers

 To celebrate the first anniversary of its loyalty program, the restaurant chain has launched “Guac Mode,” which gives Chipotle Rewards members a free topping or side of guacamole with the purchase of an entrée.

Why you should care: Chipotle’s effort can teach you a few best practices for loyalty programs: Make it easy, entice users with something they want, and tie it to your brand portfolio. The restaurant chain’s rewards club members are automatically enrolled in the promotion, but anyone wanting free guacamole just has to tex “Guac Mode” to 888-222 (which is displayed prominently on Chipotle’s social media feeds). The topping is a customer favorite and an integral part of Chipotle’s menu, which means its marketing team can have fun instead of extolling the virtues of a new item with messages that hungry consumers will only tune out.


A new music video from Justin Bieber and Quavo showcase the power of storytelling by racking up both views and donations for a good cause.

The video, titled “Intentions,” features stories of three women in Los Angeles striving for a better life. The women currently reside at the city’s Alexandria House, a shelter for homeless women with and without children.

At the end of the video, Bieber and Quavo announced a $200,000 donation to the shelter and invited people to donate through a link. The video has been viewed more than 20.5 million times since it was published on Feb. 6.

 TMZ reported that Alexandria House has received more than $10,000 in donations as well as an 800% increase in website traffic compared with the day before Bieber published the video on Youtube.

Instagram introduces features to better tailor users’ feeds

 The social media app is now showing users a list of accounts they interact with the least—along with those accounts whose content pops up in their feeds the most.

The features offer individual users a better experience personalized to the content they want to see most often, but they also create more opportunities for marketers to capitalize on increased attention rates.

 TechCrunch reported:

By increasing the density of high-quality posts in your feed and Stories by getting you to unfollow irrelevant accounts, Instagram could boost ad views. You’ll come across fewer lame posts that might make you close the app so you instead keep scrolling and fast-forwarding while racking up ad impressions. Instagram reportedly hit $20 billion in 2019 revenue according to Bloomberg, and soon it may start running ads in IGTV while splitting revenue with creators.

Why it’s important: The change can boost Instagram ads, but brand managers can also hone their social media strategies to provide more compelling and interactive content, as well as interactions with followers. If you’re offering online communities additional information or entertainment they deem useful—and your engagement is thoughtful—you stand a much better chance of remaining in consumers’ feeds as they sort the wheat from the chaff on Instagram.


 We wanted to know more about how truthful employees are when filling out internal surveys.  Are you 100% upfront about criticisms for your leaders, or do you hold back to avoid possible repercussions?

Most respondents said they are candid and open, but almost 30% said they hold back to be safe. If your role requires you to engage employees, take note: Your team might be keeping some of their most-consequential gripes to themselves.


The coronavirus continues to draw headlines as the death toll overseas grows and fears about a global pandemic spread. Some businesses are also addressing the health crisis, especially if segments of their business operate in Asia.

Are you talking about the coronavirus within your organization?

If you are talking about it, what messages are important and effective? Share your thoughts with our hashtag #MorningScoop.


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One Response to “Oscars makes history with ‘Parasite’ win, traits of top digital PR leaders, and Instagram helps users hone feeds”

    Ronald N. Levy says:

    So far we’re not seeing companies or governments say who should PAY for all the coronavirus costs—medical care plus lost sales, lost compensation and lost productivity. On the MedPage Today online newsletter I enjoy, readers and political leaders often call for drug companies to pay for all kinds of things.

    We can see one PR peril of drug companies when we read that candidate Yang says drug companies “profited to the tune of tens of billions of dollars” from opioids. He says “we will take back those profits” although billions and billions in opioid sales are for use in hospitals and lawful prescriptions to avoid pain and even agony by millions of patients.

    Public policy ideas that could be even more costly come from Sen. Klobuchar. She says: “We will get [from drug companies] $40 billion from a coming settlement,” and “we can put a 2-cents-per-milligram tax on opioids that brings in another $40 billion.”

    The PR challenge is for drug and other companies to make clear that there is no free money. Whatever drug companies pay must ultimately come from the public including insurers and government agencies supported by the public. To stay in business drug companies must charge the public enough to pay for taxes, settlements and enough profit to attract investors who will gamble billions on research to find new drugs.

    The increasingly urgent PR need is to help the public see that drug company taxes and settlements must ultimately be paid for by the pubic because who else will pay? This is true, important and not obvious but look how difficult it is even for great PR teams, some brilliant, to explain to the public through PR what are the realities of economics.