Time releases ‘worst year ever’ cover, Lufthansa Group to lay off 29,000, and Zalando co-CEO steps down to support wife’s career

Also: Microsoft embraces positivity and connection with its holiday commercial, Planters ages its mascot again, a guide to creating effective infographics, and more.

Hello, communicators:

Microsoft’s holiday commercial highlights virtual activities including video games and Zoom meetings, but does it through a dog’s eyes:


“The holidays are a lot different this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t experience joy and connection,” Microsoft wrote in its video description on YouTube.

The effort is a great example of tailoring your marketing messages to the current climate and evoke emotions through storytelling, but with a positive and upbeat take on a year full of uncertainty and upheaval.

Here are today’s top stories:

Time releases ‘the worst year ever’ cover

 The magazine crossed out “2020” for its image this year, and its film critic Stephanie Zacharek said the latest edition of its annual roundup was “the story of a year you’ll never want to revisit”:

In the feature story, Zacharek wrote:

We’re bored, we’re anxious, we’re overworked or, worse, unemployed: We’ve had lots of time to get to know ourselves better, which often leaves us more bewildered and less trusting of our judgment. We’re drained. We give up and watch “The Office” again, though there are worse things. This isn’t the time to be hard on ourselves for not knowing exactly what we want, except to continue to remain healthy and alive, and to do what we can to make sure the same goes for our neighbors and loved ones. Amid the pandemic’s worst days of New York’s first wave–those days in April when the number of cases and deaths continued to climb, when refrigerated trucks lined up to keep corpses from rotting, when we had no idea how, or if, this horror could be stemmed–one of my neighbors stepped out onto his fire escape during the evening cheer and re-created Jimi Hendrix’s “The Star Spangled Banner” on his guitar. The notes wailed and withered, swelled and crested, a story we’d heard a million times yet somehow needed to hear right then.

Why it’s important: Communicators must balance crisis communications and continuing uncertainty with moments of inspiration and happiness, lest they overwhelm audiences who are already fatigued. For both external and internal communicators, that requires listening more closely to consumers and employees, so you can pinpoint emotions, as well as needs, and cater your efforts accordingly.

Brand managers are currently grappling with holiday campaigns to balance festive and joyful messages with the current crisis landscape. This balance will be a focus as we look toward 2021 and find ways to break through both the noise of a crowded media landscape as well as audiences that are inundated with both negative and fake news.


 Rubin Ritter, co-chief executive of European e-commerce giant Zalando, is stepping down next year to support his wife’s career.

In a press release, Ritter said:

My decision is the result of many months of careful consideration. After more than 11 amazing years where Zalando has been my priority, I feel that it is time to give my life a new direction. I want to devote more time to my growing family. My wife and I have agreed that for the coming years, her professional ambitions should take priority. And regarding my own future, I am eager to allow myself time to explore new interests beyond Zalando.

 A McKinsey & Co. report revealed that one in four women are either leaving the workforce or taking a leave of absence because of COVID-19—meaning roughly 2 million women are transitioning out of the workplace.

You might not be in a position to follow in Ritter’s footsteps, but you can take inspiration from the move by brainstorming ways to support the women in your workforce—whether through benefits offerings or increased flexibility, as many grapple to balance childcare with their career path.


If you want gathered data and analytics to pack an emotional punch and increase your chances of obtaining buy-in (or eliciting action from consumers), tell your story visually. SEMrush says an infographic is the perfect way to present that information, especially to boost your search engine optimization efforts.

However, not all infographics are created equal. Here’s the guide SEMrush suggests:

The software company’s biggest tips include making your infographics sharable and linkable, as well as tailoring the content to your audience and including a clear call to action—all tips that are best practices for any type of content marketing campaign.

You can read the full list here.


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


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.

Lufthansa to cut 29,000 jobs

 The German airline group, which includes Swiss, Austrian, Eurowings and Brussels Airlines as well as Lufthansa, is planning the layoffs for this month. The company will cut an additional 10,000 positions in 2021, which will affect employees in Germany.

Simple Flying reported the following statement from Lufthansa Group:

No one can reliably predict these effects. We are determined nevertheless to preserve at least 100,000 of the Lufthansa Group’s 130,000 current jobs. Even if we do not currently have nearly enough work for a workforce of this size.

After a summer that gave us all reason for hope, we are now once again in a situation that is tantamount to a lockdown in effect.

Why it matters: Whether you’re preparing for layoffs or are looking for ways to increase employee engagement as uncertainty continues, brainstorm ways you can connect with the members of your workforce without overwhelming them. That starts with eliciting feedback, which can happen both through surveys and one-on-one meetings with managers and other leaders. As you create ways for your executives and employees to connect, even as teams work remotely, don’t neglect your manager communications. This is the most-used touchpoint for your employees, so information and engagement coming through your managers is crucial—and will continue to be through 2021.


Planters Peanuts’ mascot is getting another overhaul as the 21-year-old transforms into a 50-year-old with a new name.

“Peanut Jr. is growing into Bartholomew Richard Fitzgerald-Smythe, or Bart for short,” the Kraft Heinz brand said in a press release.

The company is launching interactive content and sweepstakes to drum up excitement for its branded merchandise, as well as limited-edition products that include “Winter Spiced Mix”:

What do you think of the campaign? Share your thoughts under the #DailyScoop hashtag.


We want to know about how PR agencies are building lasting, sustainable relationships with clients, what is working and what is rubbing both parties the wrong way. That’s why we’re partnering with The Institute for Public Relations on a new survey to learn more about the state of the agency/client relationship.


Please take this 10-minute survey here.


Though the holiday season looks different this year amid COVID-19, many organizations and agencies are creating themed content and extras for customers and social media followers, as well as sharing holiday cards and sending gifts that can provide a much-needed boost to employees, partners and influencers.


Check out these fitting holiday gifts:


We asked if your organization is throwing a holiday party in 2020, and nearly 60% of you are skipping the occasion, while 31% are connecting virtually and roughly 9% are meeting in small groups:

If your organization is foregoing this year’s holiday festivities, view Miller Lite’s reasons why it’s not such a bad thing.

Is there a question you’d like us to ask in an upcoming poll? Let us know!


Are you looking at ways to add uplifting and lighthearted content into your digital marketing and social media strategies?

Share your thoughts below or on Twitter using the #DailyScoop hashtag.


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


One Response to “Time releases ‘worst year ever’ cover, Lufthansa Group to lay off 29,000, and Zalando co-CEO steps down to support wife’s career”

    Ronald Levy says:

    It was a marvelous year for many of us who achieved goals and created a foundation for achieving even more in coming years. We had the joy of loving others, we were loved by others and some of us for good reasons loved ourselves. We exercised and dieted to improve our health, we read and took courses to improve our minds, plus we volunteered and did good deeds to improve life for others.

    If we didn’t yet do all this or any of it, there’s still time to resolve that we’ll do it next year. We can improve our job success by working at it, and improve our relationships and our happiness by working at it. We can look back at this past year as not a bad or good year but as a year when we did—or didn’t—do as much as we could to make it good. Realizing that, we can resolve to do what we can to make the coming year as good as we can, and we can think of WAYS to do that.

    When we read and think about crisis PR we realize that how crises work out often depends not on luck but on what we DO in advance, during and after. If this year we realize it’s that way with not only crises but with life’s opportunities, this year of heightened awareness can be a great year for us regardless of how the economics this past year worked out.

    We can take our choice. We can believe in (a) helpless predestination, that “what will be will be.” Or we can believe in (b) our own powers to help make our own lives better. None of us has as much power over our lives as we’d like but powers we have. Things we can do. Just as we think about PR crises we can think about personal opportunities. With opportunities as with crises, how they work out may depend on our looking ahead and DOING what may work for us.

    Instead of decrying the old year as Time’s movie critic has done, we can in some ways script our own movies. We can rejoice that the coming year will be better if we try to MAKE it better. “Happy New Year” is not just something to wish for but something we can DO things to create.

    Time Magazine may not be on our side but time is. So is PR daily because by reporting what others are doing and what we can do, it is very much on our side. Fortunately, what we resolve to do can help to make our side win.

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