Relief orgs tweet support following tornadoes, more Black employees received C-level promotions in 2021, and how Patagonia used its CEO to share core values

Also: FTC warns shoppers against gift card scams, Peloton responds to HBO product placement, and more.

Hello, communicators:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reminding shoppers to be wary of gift card scams, noting that Americans lost $148 million to fraudulent gift cards in the first nine months of the year.

The federal agency noted also that Target gift cards, in particular, appear to be the most popular choice for scammers.

The FTC reports gift card scams have increased every year for the past three years, message it hopes to drive home with video storytelling:

Coming two weeks before Christmas, when busy shoppers can be most susceptible to holiday scams, the agency’s message is an example of finding ways to stand out using popular channels for online audiences.

Here are today’s other top stories:

Twitter an essential channel for relief orgs after tornadoes

Local and federal relief agencies took to Twitter in the aftermath of the deadly string of tornadoes which destroyed homes and businesses in Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee late last week.

The Kentucky Red Cross shared an infographic with tips for locating missing people amid spotty cellphone service:

Kentucky’s state department of emergency management issued an advisory about avoiding dangerous areas during search and rescue efforts:

FEMA’s spokesperson tweeted coverage of the agency’s listening sessions for emergency responders:

And the agency spotlighted the work of Kentucky organizations collecting donations to aid in cleanup:

Why it matters: From providing emergency updates to spotlighting the work of relief organizations and showing how you communicate with responders, social media remains one of the best tools for disaster communications because of its short-form structure and wide reach.


A new study by SheRunsIt and Seramount found that 28% of promotions at the corporate executive level in tech, media and marketing were given to Black employees in 2021.

Courtesy of SheRunsIt/Seramount

As marketing seeks to embrace smarter, more ethical practices for recruiting and retaining diverse talent, the study shows a promising trend in industry C-level promotions and board seats.

Check out the full study here.


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Is all press good press? Despite garnering an otherwise enviable product placement in HBO’s reboot of “Sex and the City,” Peloton issued a statement and tongue-in-cheek ad following the death of one of the series’ main characters immediately after using one of the company’s exercise bikes.

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventative cardiologist and member of Peloton’s health and wellness advisory council, told the LA Times:

“I’m sure ‘SATC’ fans, like me, are saddened by the news that Mr. Big dies of a heart attack. Mr. Big lived what many would call an extravagant lifestyle—including cocktails, cigars, and big steaks—and was at serious risk as he had a previous cardiac event in Season 6. These lifestyle choices and perhaps even his family history, which often is a significant factor, were the likely cause of his death. Riding his Peloton Bike may have even helped delay his cardiac event.”

The exercise equipment company then released a video showing the actor who plays Mr. Big, Chris Noth, alive and well, sitting next to the Peloton instructor who led his last on-screen ride.

While Peloton said it was aware that its bike would appear in “And Just Like That…,” many speculated that its ties to Mr. Big’s death had come as a surprise to the company.

Peloton’s short video—featuring narrator Ryan Reynolds—shows that the company not only knew about the nature of the product placement, but had planned marketing tied to it. Reynolds has his own history with Peloton, having capitalized on the viral ad campaign that saw backlash to Peloton’s ad about a woman who was given a Peloton by her husband for Christmas.

Announcing the PR Daily Leadership Network

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Patagonia’s CEO defines how company advocates around core values

Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert spoke to the New York Times about balancing the outdoor outfitter’s values against the company’s business and growth goals.

Gellert discussed his background in extreme sports and environmentalism along with Patagonia’s commitment to fighting climate change in a politically polarized world.

The Times reports:

“If you really want to understand a business and its intent, look at its body of work and make your own decision. I am comfortable with the imperfect but consistently committed body of work that Patagonia has delivered. We try to be relentlessly transparent, both internally and externally, about the work we’re doing and our shortcomings.”

“My belief is that our biggest contribution has not been the money we’ve given away. It’s not individual issues that we’ve advocated for. It’s not scaling grass-roots environmental activism through different levels of support. It’s operating from the bowels of business and proving that businesses can exist to do more than maximize the wealth of their owners, really consistently proving that in ways big and small over decades.”

What it means: Patagonia often stands out as an example of a company at the forefront of corporate social responsibility (CSR). It continues to exemplify the practice of living its values, just as it did when Gellert organized a Facebook ad boycott in protest of Meta’s “hate speech and misinformation about climate change.”

Gellert’s interview is a reminder for companies to identify how their purpose connects to greater societal needs and that being a values-driven company requires incorporating those choices into your organization from the very beginning.




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