California is “done” with Walgreens, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced after the pharmacy giant said it would not ship the abortion pill to 20 states.
Last month, the group of attorneys general sent a letter to CVS and Walgreens saying that if they sold mifepristone, they would be in violation of the Comstock Act, an 1873 law that makes it illegal to send contraceptives, substances that induce abortion, pornographic content, sex toys and any written material about these items.
Several of the states that signed the letter — including Alaska, Iowa, Kansas and Montana — currently allow abortion access, including abortion medication, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group focusing on sexual and reproductive health.
In a statement to ABC News last week, Walgreens said it sent a letter to each of the attorneys general confirming it would not sell mifepristone in their states.
Newsom, a Democrat, tweeted that, “California won’t be doing business with Walgreens or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk. We’re done.”
Why it matters: Businesses are increasingly finding themselves caught between competing demands — and politicians who will use their clap backs against businesses to score points.
From Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida to Newsom on the West Coast and everyone in between, businesses may feel like they’re in a no-win scenario — and they often are. Pleasing one politician can mean angering another.
Don’t be afraid to take your own message to the people as well. Use your owned media channels, social media and the traditional media to make it clear that your focus is on serving your customers first and foremost — and how your actions do that.
Victoria’s Secret fashion show returns, promising inclusivity
The famed event that sees “Angels” strutting down the runway in skimpy lingerie is returning after a three-year hiatus due to flagging interest, criticism over the uniformly waifish and white models and even connections by one then-executive to Jeffrey Epstein, the Washington Post reports.
The move comes as Victoria’s Secret faces new threats of weak sales and increased competition.
The underwear-and-bra brand declined to tell the Washington Post exactly how the show will change, but it’s widely anticipated that size and racial inclusivity would be a significant factor, as Victoria’s Secret has switched up the models in its ads and the sizes it carries.
But not all are convinced that will be enough.
“While we recognize and applaud management’s commitment and efforts to make Victoria’s Secret more inclusive and palatable, this still hasn’t filtered through to customer perception. Nor, in our view, will it for some time,” Neil Saunders, managing director of the analytics company GlobalData, told the Washington Post.
Why it matters: Victoria’s Secret spent years and years building a brand built on traditional beauty standards that did not reflect the country they sold in. While an (expected) turnaround now is good business, one fashion show is unlikely to erase the memory of impossibly thin models in impossibly high heels.
Victoria’s Secret needs to show consistency and follow-through in its diversity efforts — including size. The fashion show still has a great deal of equity in it, and taking the event in a truly new direction that embraces a vision of what its customer base actually is, rather than what they wanted it to be in the early 2000s, can work. But as Saunders points out, it’s likely to be the work of years.
Customers seek ‘revenge’ for bad experiences, survey says
Nine percent of customers who have had a bad experience with a product have taken action to settle a score with a company, according to the National Customer Rage Survey (yes, that’s its real name) and reported by the Wall Street Journal.
That might not sound like a huge number — it’s less than 10% of all customers, after all — but that number has tripled since 2020.
Those negative actions taken might include bad reviews, posting on social media or “pestering” the company, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The rise in revenge posting comes amid a general decline in customer satisfaction, the poll found. Seventy-four percent of the customers surveyed said they had had a problem with a product or service in the last year, a jump from 66% in 2020, the last year the survey was conducted.
Why it matters: Customers have more outlets than ever to vent their frustrations in a matter of seconds, and beefs can go viral at frightening speed.
The best defense is good customer service, but as PR pros, we’re not always in charge of that. What we can help with is proactive monitoring on social media and review sites, flagging issues early and working to get resolution as soon as possible.
Make sure you have your plan in place.
More TikTok drama
The fate of TikTok in the United States remains uncertain as politicians try to pass the buck to one another for curtailing the service, with its deep ties to the Chinese government and questionable privacy policies.
The New York Times reports that President Joe Biden is considering asking Congress to give him more power to police apps in general — not just TikTok.
White House officials are weighing whether to support legislation being developed by Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, that would give the government more authority to police apps and services that could pose a risk to Americans’ data security or be used in foreign influence campaigns, two of the people said. That could be used to target TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.
The administration has provided feedback on the draft bill, which would offer an alternative to legislation that outright bans the app, the two people said. Mr. Warner is expected to introduce the legislation on Tuesday alongside Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota. It’s unclear exactly how the administration would back Mr. Warner’s bill or other legislation should it choose to do so.
Why it matters: Besides the existential threat to TikTok, this bill — which we need to note is still in very, very early stages — could give the president more power to curtain multiple kinds of apps, injecting uncertainty into the marketplace. It’s too early to panic, but definitely keep an eye on this issue moving forward.