Tyson fires employees involved in COVID-19 ‘betting pool,’ Burger King turns Instagram over to competitors, and Twitch bans derogatory lingo

Also: Blue Apron and Disney+ provide socially-distanced ‘dinner and a movie,’ GroupM forecasts e-commerce success in 2021, holiday gifts for communicators, and more.

Hello, communicators:

Disney+ partnered with Geico in an ad showcasing how “X-Men” characters would use their abilities in daily routines:

The clever piece of branded content shows how you can promote your brand’s offerings without screaming your marketing messages into the digital void.

Here are today’s top stories:

Tyson fires employees involved in COVID-19 ‘betting pool’

 The company announced on Wednesday that it’s cutting ties with seven employees after allegations that its managers and supervisors formed a “betting pool” to forecast the number of employees who would catch COVID-19.

Associated Press reported:

The company said the investigation, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, revealed troubling behavior that resulted in the firings at the plant in Waterloo, Iowa. An outbreak centered around the plant infected more than 1,000 employees, at least six of whom died.

“We value our people and expect everyone on the team, especially our leaders, to operate with integrity and care in everything we do,” Tyson Foods President and CEO Dean Banks said in a statement. “The behavior exhibited by these individuals does not represent the Tyson core values, which is why we took immediate and appropriate action to get to the truth.”

Why it’s important: Whether in relation to COVID-19 or other crises, ensure your employees know, understand and support your organization’s mission and values. Those who stand at odds to those values—especially through actions that contribute to a toxic workplace—can irrevocably damage your brand image. As you scan the horizon for potential issues and crises, think about your manager communications, employee engagement and recruitment strategies in a similar light.


Twitch is updating its harassment policy, which will go into effect on Jan. 22, and the streaming platform’s chief operating officer, Sara Clemens, announced during a town hall on Wednesday that Twitch is banning the terms “simp,” “virgin” and “incel” as part of the revamp. (“Simp” refers to men who act in a desperate manner to earn women’s attention.)

However, Twitch said it will only enforce the policy when such words are being used to attack others on the platform, causing many social media users to ask how the new policy would be properly enforced.

The Verge reported:

“We will take action against the use of terms like ‘simp,’ ‘incel’ or ‘virgin’ specifically when they are being used to negatively refer to another person’s sexual practices. Using these terms on their own wouldn’t lead to an enforcement but we would take action if they were used repeatedly in a harassing manner,” a Twitch spokesperson told The Verge.

The policy overhaul comes after Twitch was inundated with reports of sexual harassment within its community and complaints that the company had ignored the issue for years. Twitch said in June that it was “committed to continuing our efforts to make Twitch a safer environment” and that a review of its hateful conduct and harassment policies was underway.


 In its recent “E-Commerce Forecast,” GroupM reported a 277% increase in retail sales through e-commerce channels during 2020’s second quarter.

Embracing online shopping campaigns shouldn’t stop at the end of the year, or after the COVID-19 crisis isn’t pushing consumers to purchase online. GroupM reported that  e-commerce will continue to take up a growing percentage of retail sales, especially in China, the United States, United Kingdom and Germany:

Image courtesy of GroupM.

You can read the entire report 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 connect 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.

Burger King UK, France and Sweden promote competitors

 The fast food chain’s U.K. team recently launched a campaign on Instagram promoting other restaurants, declaring: “Until they can reopen, they can advertise on our Instagram for free.”


Though the #WhopperandFriends campaign hasn’t launched in the United States, the company’s teams in Sweden and in France have also offered up their Instagram accounts to competing restaurants.

CBS News reported:

Last month, Burger King UK ran a similar campaign on Twitter, urging people to “order from McDonald’s” and other chains such as KFC, Pizza Hut and Five Guys.

“We never thought we’d be asking you to do this, but restaurants employing thousands of staff really need your support at the moment,” the post stated. “So, if you want to help, keep treating yourself to tasty meals through home delivery, takeaway, or drive thru.”

Fernando Machado, global chief marketing officer for Burger King’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International, shared the effort on LinkedIn with an adapted form of Loren Eiseley’s “The Star Thrower” as an explanation.

Why it matters: The campaign has racked up kudos for Burger King worldwide and highlights the power of purpose communications. As more consumers purchase from brands that match with their own values, PR and marketing pros should look for ways to follow in Burger King’s footsteps. The effort is outstanding because it’s in the fast food chain’s wheelhouse and offers a practical solution to a current issue. Donations are great, but when considering what you can do to better your community and industry, look to your owned resources and brainstorm ways to include them in your outreach.


Blue Apron partnered with Disney+ to promote Pixar’s upcoming film “Soul,” which will stream exclusively on Disney+ on Dec. 25. Blue Apron is offering four special recipes inspired by the film—a different take on the “dinner and a movie” promotion as people stay at home during COVID-19.

In a blog post, Blue Apron wrote:

These dinners were created with health in mind. Each recipe was designed by a certified nutritionist. With these recipes, your littlest cooks are welcome in the kitchen. Blue Apron will provide step-by-step guidance to help teach kids about wholesome ingredients, help you discover new flavors together, and build skills that will serve them for years to come.


Image courtesy of Blue Apron.


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A post shared by Blue Apron (@blueapron)

As you continue to adjust your PR and marketing strategies, consider new partnerships that could better deliver for your audiences during this time of continuing uncertainty and change.


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.


As you’re altering your holiday campaigns and searching for ways to engage consumers and employees during COVID-19, don’t forget the power of gifts. These can come in the form of interactive content and holiday sweepstakes for your social media followers or thoughtful gifts given by you or your entire organization to members of your workforce, partners, influencers and more.



Check out these gift ideas:


We asked what advice you’d give to new communicators entering the industry, and many of you responded with outstanding tips for those  paving their career path. Tressa Robbins, vice president of customer onboarding for Burrelles, said networking and building up your experiences will help you go far:

Communications strategist Tia Malloy added writing and flexibility to the list, reminding newcomers to share input and experiences as well:

PR pro Taja Chanel said the art of storytelling is a skill to master:

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


How often do you create and send press releases? Has this changed during this year’s crises dominating the news cycle—or have you been phasing them out in favor of storytelling and owned content?

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.


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