Schools suspend on-site classes as COVID-19 spreads, Reddit launches a marketing feature, and Wingstop offers ‘wearable billboards’

Also: Gender pay gaps in influencer campaigns, New York City Subway goes viral with a tweeted typo, the struggle to avoid touching your face, and more.

Princeton closes classes

Good morning, PR pros:

As COVID-19 and organizations’ crisis responses dominate headlines and add tasks to communicators’ to-do lists, you might relate to The Washington Post’s recent TikTok video, shared by the publication’s “Department of Satire” writer and producer, Dave Jorgenson:

Here are today’s top stories:

Academic organizations move online as COVID-19 continues

Schools and universities across the United States are closing campuses and directing students and staff to stay at home as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads.

CNN reported:

The cancellations have been focused in states and areas hardest hit by the virus, including the Seattle area, California and New York. The Ohio State University, which has an enrollment of more than 60,000 students, and Harvard University, the Ivy League institution, are the latest to announce they are closing classrooms.

Princeton announced its measures in a Twitter thread:

Why it matters: As organizations across industries struggle with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, you can take a page from Princeton’s crisis communications playbook. Make your messaging clear and succinct. Share it across channels (including your website, email and social media). Meet and engage your audience where they are, give them simple directives they can act upon, and recruit employees to assist you in spreading the word and supporting your efforts.


Gender pay gaps exist among social media influencers, Klear’s Influencer Marketing Rate Report revealed. A comparison of February 2019 rates to those this year show an even larger wage discrepancy: On average, female content creators made $108 less than their male counterparts last year. This year, the gap rose to an average of $128.


Influencer rates by gender

Image courtesy of Klear.

The wage gap continues despite women’s gains in the influencer industry. Last year, women made up 77% of content creators and this year make up 84%.


Influencer marketing chart

Image courtesy of Klear.

The industry niche might affect this wage disparity: Klear reported that 94% of do-it-yourself influencers are women—and nearly the same number are parenting and beauty influencers (93% and 92%, respectively). In comparison, 76% of gun influencers are men, and similar numbers dominate biking and football (74% and 73%, respectively). Another reason for the income gap might lie in influencers’ setting of their own prices, in which case female influencers might offer lower rates or negotiate less.

To learn more, check out the full report here.

Reddit offers marketers ‘Trending Takeover’ feature

Brand managers have a new way of reaching the “front page of the internet’s” more than 430 million monthly active users: Reddit launched an ad product called “Trending Takeover.”

The feature showcases branded content within the social media platform’s “Popular” feed and “Search” tab, two of the most commonly visited areas on the website. Each campaign can run up to 24 hours. Here’s an example featuring the cleaning products company Method:

Image courtesy of the Reddit blog.

Why it’s important: Reaching Reddit’s users can boost your organization’s visibility and help your campaign become part of a trending conversation. However, brand managers using the social media platform—whether through this feature or by posting organic content—should be selective in the content they post. Most Reddit users are savvy content consumers and skeptical of branded content.


Every day should be National Employee Appreciation Day. Editor Robby Brumberg shares how to show employees genuine, meaningful appreciation in his feature story on the subject. Read it here.

Wingstop offers ‘wearable billboards’

The restaurant chain took a different approach to influencer marketing when it offered consumers free sweatshirts bearing the message: “This is an ad for Wingstop.” The company promised to give each person who wore the sweatshirt and posted an ad about the chain to Instagram $10 via Venmo and mentioned it could award bigger payouts for more creative efforts.

Thrillist reported:

“Our fans are continually asking us to sponsor them and Wearable Billboards draws on this insight, allowing us to engage with brand loyalists in a way that only Wingstop can,” Christina Clarke, chief marketing officer, said in a release. “Wingstop fans are already talking about us on social media, so we thought, ‘why not make it official and pay them?’ This isn’t your average brand swag.”

The tactic worked; Wingstop quickly ran out of the wearable ads:

Why you should care: Limited-edition merchandise is a growing trend among fast-food chains and other consumer product companies. Wingstop is not only capitalizing on this trend, but it’s also putting a spin on influencer marketing and crowdsourced content. Its creativity has already garnered the restaurant media coverage.


If you want to quickly rack up engagement online, commit a typo.

That’s the lesson the Metropolitan Transport Authority learned when it tweeted a single symbol:


We asked what you thought of using COVID-19 as a PR or marketing hook, and nearly 57% of you said newsjacking the term might or might not be OK, depending on the message you share. Almost 40% said using it is tasteless and you should skip the tactic, no matter your campaign.


What type of influencer do you seek for your digital marketing campaigns?

Share your thoughts on top influencer traits below and under the #MorningScoop hashtag, and we’ll share in tomorrow’s roundup.


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