Twitter bans political ad buys, Toyota changes messaging on emissions, and when to use ROI or KPI measures

Also: A viral Popeyes-themed Halloween costume, Deadspin’s splashy staff exodus, Southwest’s crisis response over alleged bathroom camera, where PR pros get their news, and more.

Good morning PR pros:

The imminent return of Popeyes’ chicken sandwich has been fortuitous for a mother-and-son duo. They turned the marketing message into a Halloween costume—and made national headlines.

USA Today reported:

“I wanted something to match my son’s personality,” Cummings told USA TODAY, adding that her toddler has a big personality and is also a big fan of snacks and eating.

Nathan was in the NICU for a month after he was born and had surgery on his stomach at just 4 days old, the mom shared. She said that it was an “uphill battle” trying to get him to eat and that she was always worried he wasn’t going to be able to.

Luckily, the “fun and funny” boy is now a “really good eater.”

If Popeyes’ social media team can’t find a partnership here, this will be a big missed opportunity.

How are you working with your community to celebrate Halloween? Share your stories with our hashtag #MorningScoop.

Here are today’s top stories:

Twitter bans political ads on its platform

In a tweet thread, Jack Dorsey shared that his social media company would not allow political campaigns for candidates or issues to buy reach on his platform.

The move is in stark contrast with Facebook, which has taken flak in recent weeks for its decision to allow any kind of statement, even debunked conspiracy theories, to be advertised by political campaigns on its platform.

Recode reported:

Dorsey laid out Twitter’s reasoning, explaining that political messages earn reach when people decide to follow or retweet an account. “Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money,” he wrote.

Why it matters: Most businesses in the same industry struggle to differentiate based on products. Twitter doesn’t have Facebook’s user base, nor its global influence and share of the advertising pie, but the company can make a case on other values.

Twitter has grappled with how to address false claims and misinformation on its platform, and by taking a strong and unprecedented stand, the company might win fans and garner goodwill.

Related reading:              


MEASURED THOUGHTS

Many marketers also measure key performance indicators, such as traffic and clicks, instead of actual ROI. LinkedIn reported that 42% of marketers with a lead-generation objective used “cost per click” as an ROI metric, instead of the more aligned “cost per lead” metric.

ROI metrics and KPIs have their time and place for planning and strategic thinking. Here’s how the report says each should be used:

Toyota risks consumer goodwill over emissions in California

The automaker recently sided with the Trump administration over the Golden State’s legal battle to impose higher emissions and fuel economy standards than required by the federal government.

The move has baffled some industry experts, who say the company risks losing the favor of climate-concerned Californians.

The New York Times reported:

“What are they thinking?” said Jeff Goodby, a co-founder of the Goodby, Silverstein & Partners ad agency in San Francisco, which handles campaigns for BMW. “I can’t imagine any Californian saying, ‘All things being equal, I’m buying the brand that spews more poison into our children’s air!’”

Why it matters: Brand managers and business leaders are being asked to take sides on issues once relegated to the realm of politics. When taking a stand, it’s important to remain true to organizational values and principles. For many consumers, Toyota has been at the forefront of cleaner, greener automobiles with its highly popular Prius series.

By siding with the Trump administration, some feel like the company is betraying its values.

The Times continued:

“The brand perception of Toyota is quite at odds with this view,” said Puneet Manchanda, a marketing professor at the University of Michigan. “If any brand is going to be hurt, Toyota would probably be the most.”

Related reading:


SOCIAL BUZZ

The staff at Deadspin might have modernized Mark Twain’s warning about arguing with people who “buy ink by the barrel.” The modern take might be “those who use Twitter for a living.”

The digital publication saw an exodus of employees over rules telling staff writers to “stick to sports.” The phrase is popularly taken to mean avoiding political and social issues.

The resignations came fast and thick on Twitter:

The union that represents the Deadspin writers wrote a note backing their members:

When trying to bring change to an organization, you must engage all stakeholders, and that crucially includes employees. Reports suggest new leadership wasn’t ready to take pushback or criticism from the rank and file—and now the publication faces serious staffing challenges.

It also reveals the continuing struggle for businesses to come to terms with how to make money and grow digital publications. For most writers and communicators, it never hurts to go above and beyond for the audience and not the accountants.

Southwest responds to accusations of bathroom recording

A flight attendant is suing the airline over how she says it handled her complaint of an alleged hidden camera in the bathroom on one of its aircraft.

The Dallas Morning News reported:

In a lawsuit filed in Phoenix against Southwest Airlines, flight attendant Renee Steinaker alleged that she saw pilots in the cockpit on a 2017 flight streaming video on an iPad that showed the inside of the plane’s forward bathroom. Steinaker claimed in the suit that she witnessed the iPad showing live images of a pilot who had just left the cockpit to use the restroom, and that the co-pilot acknowledged the camera, calling it a “top-secret security measure.”

The airline says an investigation confirms there was never any camera present in the bathroom and the whole incident was an elaborate—if distasteful—joke.

Southwest has said it is prepared to “vigorously defend the lawsuit.’

Why it matters: What you can prove in a court of law and what you can allege in the court of public opinion are two different things. Southwest has been careful to firmly respond to the allegations, offer an alternative story, and avoid attacking the would-be whistleblower. Even if she has mistaken a prank for serious wrongdoing, she is still a sympathetic figure.

Related reading:


WHAT YOU SAID

We asked what your first stop was for your daily news, and many of you said Twitter.

Perhaps that’s less surprising when you consider it was a Twitter Poll. However, the news does highlight the importance of being on social media platforms and illustrates how many PR pros might rely on the platform.


SOUNDING BOARD

Netflix made headlines by announcing it would test a new feature that would enable some users to speed up their shows and movies to watch at faster speeds. The feature has long been a part of podcast consumption, but the latest move is getting big blowback from artists and moviemakers.

Which do you think is more important, to serve the audience or to serve the message you want the audience to receive?

Weigh in on our Twitter Poll with the hashtag #MorningScoop.

 

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COMMENT

2 Responses to “Twitter bans political ad buys, Toyota changes messaging on emissions, and when to use ROI or KPI measures”

    White Pixel says:

    Hello Ted Kitterman,

    This blog was awesome as it helped me to get connected to new sources and gave some valuable information. Keep writing such wonderful blogs!

    Regards

    Ronald N. Levy says:

    Twitter is banning political ads but the most important determinant of your success in issues communication is not where you communicate but what.

    WHAT is the main issue? Look how you can increase your chances of victory if you get the public to answer that question the way you do.

    MORE IMPORTS vs. LESS. To opponents of imports the issue is jobs in America because what we import is not a product of American jobs. To advocates of imports the issue is prices because imports don’t get imported unless they have a better price, better quality or both.

    SUGAR IN OUR FOODS. Sugar opponents say the issue is our health–especially the health of our children–because more sugar leads to more obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Snack and soft drink companies say the issue is balanced nutrition—not too much of anything—rather than a total ban on any one ingredient. We can be BOTH healthy and happy.

    TRUMP PUSHING UKRAINE TO INVESTIGATE. Trump opponents say the main issue is whether Trump broke the law by pushing Ukraine to investigate the son of Trump’s political opponent. Savvy Trump fans may soon say that the issue is whether ANY president should oppose obvious corruption like a foreign gas company paying $50,000 s month to our VP’s son whose knowledge of the gas business was admittedly almost zero.

    Sometimes a flash of PR brilliance is shown by PR execs who win by defining an issue winningly. An exceptionally bright PR guy for the Cereal Institute was in effect begged to “save us” by cereal company executives when the media ran damning numbers on how much sugar was included in breakfast cereals for kids. Sales plummeted!

    “The issue” said the genius PR exec convincingly, “is what’s best for our children. Grains are a nutritional blessing from God, and parents know that children eat more grain-rich cereals when they have sugar!”

    Cereal sales had been declining sharply but after “child nutrition” was defined as the issue, sales turned around and went up!