The Gap deletes post-election tweet, ‘Baby Shark’ becomes most-watched YouTube video, and Snapchat adds follower counts

Also: The New York Times reaches 7 million digital subscribers, Pet Valu to permanently close, Warner Bros. answers backlash over ‘The Witches,’ and more.

Hello, communicators:

“Baby Shark” has become YouTube’s most-viewed video in history, racking up more than 7.04 billion views for the South Korean creator Pinkfong.

Insider reported:

Pinkfong’s version of “Baby Shark” has become a cultural sensation in its own right, hitting number 32 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles Chart in 2019. The song has no clearly identifiable origin, as Rolling Stone reported, but the Pinkfong version, recorded by Korean-American singer Hope Segoine, is indubitably what catapulted the song into the pop culture zeitgeist.

Here are today’s top stories:

Gap deletes post-election tweet after backlash

The retail chain was criticized for a tweet featuring a half-blue, half-red sweatshirt with the message: “The one thing we know, is that together, we can move forward.” The Gap deleted it an hour after posting.

Many Twitter users called out Gap for using a divisive presidential election for marketing purposes, with some comparing it to PepsiCo’s 2017 commercial featuring Kendall Jenner among protesters. Pepsi also pulled its ad after backlash grew.

Social media and digital marketing pro Jon-Stephen Stansel posited that the tweet wasn’t a last-minute decision, but rather, a thought-out and deliberate piece of election-related content:

Gap stuck by its message, but said it was “too soon” for the sentiment.

The New York Times reported:

A representative for Gap, which has been working to increase the relevance of its brand, said the sweatshirt was not actually for sale and that the image had been created for social media.

“From the start we have been a brand that bridges the gap between individuals, cultures and generations,” the company said in a statement. “The intention of our social media post, that featured a red and blue hoodie, was to show the power of unity. It was just too soon for this message. We remain optimistic that our country will come together to drive positive change for all.”

Why it’s important: Consumers and employees alike are pushing for brands to take a stand on political and social issues, but using a tumultuous presidential election as a marketing hook is not the way to do it. You should speak out in support of issues that tie with your organization’s mission and values, especially your DE&I commitments. You shouldn’t try to be clever with politics—especially if you generally stay away from such topics.


CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS

Pet store chain Pet Valu is permanently closing, which includes shuttering 358 locations in the United States as the company braces for liquidation sales.

USA Today reported:

With stores throughout the Northeast and the Midwest, Pet Valu blamed a “severe impact from COVID-19.”

“The Company’s stores have been significantly impacted by the protracted COVID-19-related restrictions,” Pet Value chief restructuring officer Jamie Gould said in a statement. “After a thorough review of all available alternatives, we made the difficult but necessary decision to commence this orderly wind down.”


MEASURED THOUGHTS

The New York Times has amassed 7 million digital subscribers—bringing more revenue from online subscriptions than print for the first time in its history.

Though the announcement is promising for both publications and PR and marketing pros creating digital-first content, it also carries a warning as advertising revenue drops.

The Times reported: 

Digital readers were the only growth business for The Times. Every other unit fell. As online subscription revenue rose 34 percent, to $155.3 million, print subscriptions decreased 3.8 percent to $145.7 million. And advertising sales, once the lifeblood of the newspaper business, dropped 30 percent, to $79.3 million. The pandemic has cut even deeper into ad sales, which were already falling as fewer people read the paper in print and many companies cut their marketing budgets.

Online advertising has fallen, too, despite the gains in digital readers. The decline came about, in part, because of a falloff in the company’s native content business, in which it creates paid articles for sponsors. As a whole, digital advertising fell 12.6 percent, to $47.8 million.

The decline of advertising revenue could further squeeze shrinking newsrooms, and as the digital media landscape becomes even more cluttered, communicators will have to be more creative and more dialed-in to reader and consumer insights to stand out amid the noise.

What do you think of the announcement? Share your thoughts with us under the #DailyScoop hashtag.


CRISIS LEADERSHIP NETWORK

Looking for more insight on how to address the current global crisis and lead your organization into a strong recovery?

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Join Ragan’s Crisis Leadership Network to network and brainstorm with peers, get the latest intelligence and research and start to strategize for the future of your organization.

Learn more about this exclusive membership here.


SOCIAL BUZZ

Snapchat has introduced subscriber counts, with social media content and analytics researcher Mike Metzler showing off the follower numbers of Kylie Jeenner, DJ Khaled and David Dobrik:

The follower counts could help PR and marketing pros better identify influencers on the platform (and gain executive buy-in for their selections), but you should also remember that follower counts aren’t the holy grail of social media influence. Don’t forget to look at content creators’ engagement numbers as well.


CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS

Warner Bros. is receiving backlash for its depiction of disabilities in “The Witches,” the studio’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel. Disability advocates said Anne Hathaway’s character—who has three webbed fingers on each of her hands—perpetuated harmful stereotypes.

Warner Bros. has already issued a soft mea culpa.

NBC News reported:

The company said in a statement to NBC News that they were “deeply saddened to learn that our depiction of fictional characters in The Witches could upset people with disabilities” and “regret any offense caused.”

… “In adapting the original story, we worked with designers and artists to come up with a new interpretation of the cat-like claws that are described in the book,” the studio said. “It was never the intention for viewers to feel that the fantastical, non-human creatures were meant to represent them.”


CATCH UP WITH OUR REPORT

More than half (57%) of social media managers say they plan to leave their current position within two years, according to a new survey from the Institute for Public Relations, Ragan Communications and the University of Florida. Though these managers are ambitious, the career path to social media leadership roles remains unclear.

 

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The report sheds light on social media pros’ career trajectory as well as the challenging lack of resources and employee burnout that’s on the rise. Check out the findings here.

To learn more about how to prepare for the future of social media and more, join us at Ragan’s Future of Communications Conference, Nov. 10-11.  You’ll learn from PR, social media, marketing and internal communications experts about the top trends and what’s on the horizon for the industry.


EDITOR’S PICKS

Health experts have compared the damages of constantly sitting all day to the effects of smoking. Especially as you work longer days to respond to crises and protect your brand, don’t forget to move. Doing so can help you feel more alert and better handle stress. Exercise can also inspire creativity, too, so if you’re stuck for ideas, consider brainstorming during at at-home gym routine.

 

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Check out these items to up your exercise game:


SOUNDING BOARD

What networking activity have you leaned into the most during COVID-19, PR and comms pros?

Share your thoughts with us below and under the hashtag #DailyScoop, and we’ll share the results in Wednesday’s roundup. Is there a question you’d like us to ask in an upcoming poll? Let us know!

 

Editor’s note: Ragan Communications may earn a commission through our affiliate partnerships when purchasing items in our content.

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